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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 8 March 2021

Under-strength Arsenal brush aside Ireland's Dundalk in Europa League

Arsenal are unbeaten in Europe but struggling in the Premier League

Arsenal's Folarin Balogun celebrates with Pepe after scoring during the Uefa Europa League against Dundalk. EPA
Arsenal's Folarin Balogun celebrates with Pepe after scoring during the Uefa Europa League against Dundalk. EPA

Arsenal maintained their perfect record in this season's Europa League as they sealed a 4-2 win at Dundalk in their final Group B match on Thursday.

The Gunners' scores were shared by Eddie Nketiah, Mohamed Elneny, Joe Willock and Folarin Balogun.

A much-changed Arsenal side, who rested several senior players having already qualified for the last 32, went ahead in the 12th minute when Nketiah chipped the ball over Dundalk goalkeeper Gary Rogers for his fifth goal in all competitions this season.

Elneny doubled the lead with a shot from distance six minutes later for his first Arsenal goal in three years, but the Irish side hit back through Jordan Flores, who beat Runar Runarsson after a neat exchange with Michael Duffy.

Bottom-placed Dundalk had the chance to equalise but Darragh Leahy's effort from point-blank range was blocked by Calum Chambers before Willock struck with a low shot after the interval to make it 3-1 to Arsenal.

Substitute Balogun added a fourth with a side-foot finish after being played in by Nicolas Pepe 10 minutes from time.

Then Sean Hoare nodded in a consolation goal for the hosts at Dublin's Aviva Stadium.

"The group stage in general is really positive," Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said after the match.

"It's never easy to win six games in Europe. We've been really consistent and performing well."

Arsenal, who scored 20 goals in the six group games, will discover their last-32 opponents on Monday, but Arteta was focusing Sunday's Premier League game against Burnley.

Arsenal are 15th in England's top flight with 13 points from 11 games, three places above Burnley who are in the relegation zone.

"We need to start winning football matches immediately. We know that has to start on Sunday," Spaniard Arteta said.

Updated: December 11, 2020 02:15 AM

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