Bukayo Saka had a night that every young professional footballer only dreams of having as he was more than immaculate for the Gunners as he helped the team beat Frankfurt in the UEFA Eruopa League opener.
In the absence of the a very rested Ozil, young guns Joe Willock and especially the impressive Bukayo Saka took centre stage before senior star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang applied the final shine to get the Gunners off to a Group F flyer.
As well as scoring his first for the club, Saka also set up Arsenal’s two other goals on a breakthrough night to remember for the exciting young player.
The margin of victory, though, masked what for long spells another Arsenal nerve-shredder and less than certain defensive display, despite the more-than-welcome clean sheet.
For the second game running Arsenal allowed their opponents an abundance of attempts at their under-fire goal. Mustafi and Luiz looked shaky while Chambers clearly showed that he has been missing action for long.
After Watford’s record 31 on Sunday, ten-man Frankfurt fashioned another 24 shots on Thursday night. A lot needs to be done at Arsenal in regards to defensive set up and midfield positioning.
This time, unlike at Vicarage Road, Arsenal got away with it largely thanks to the heroics of goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, whose shot stopping and handling was excellent throughout his first appearance of the season. He was so overworked at one stage during a frantic first-half spell he appeared to beg his teammates for greater protection.
With little defensive help coming from those in front of him Arsenal ended the night also hugely indebted to Frankfurt’s frankly awful finishing and nervy defending.
The Bundesliga side lost Luka Jovic, Sebastian Haller and Ante Rebic, the trio dubbed the Buffalo Herd who fired them to last season’s semi-final against eventual winners Chelsea, during the summer.
Frankfurt attempted to replace them on the cheap during the summer having banked almost £100m from the sales of Jovic and Haller to Real Madrid and West Ham respectively.
As the Germans blew chance after the chance their cut-price replacements Bas Dost and Andre Silva, two of the biggest culprits along with Filip Kostic, underlined the theory that you get what you pay for.
Arsenal and Unai Emery will be pleased with the result and will look to carry that good result all the way back to English Premier League.
Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is an avid Sports and Tech enthusiast. He loves to keep up to date with all the latest information and research on some of the most compelling stories.