By 90Min
September 20, 2019

After the debacle at Watford (shudder), Arsenal got their Europa League campaign off to the perfect start with a 3-0 win away at last season's semi-finalists Eintracht Frankfurt. 

Goals from Joe Willock, Bukayo 'Lionel' Saka (yes, we'll be getting to him shortly) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang secured the victory, in what was perhaps flattering fashion, considering the home side rained down a whopping 24 shots.

Christian Kaspar-Bartke/GettyImages

Still, the end result can't be sniffed at, with Arsenal having more than enough chances on the counter to negate that peppering, especially when you take into account their German form going into the encounter.

Courtesy of the great folks at Opta, this was the first time Arsenal have won away in Europe against German opposition since November 2013 (1-0 v Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League), having failed to win on any of their previous five trips, drawing once and losing four times. 

Sure, a lot of those were against Bayern Munich, but still, not to be sniffed at, as I said. This was the side that pushed Chelsea all the way to penalties last season, something the Gunners, well, couldn't do in Baku.

And, in truth, Unai Emery's side had one man to thank for this quasi-smooth ride in Frankfurt, and that was, yes, Saka. Thierry Henry but English. You get the drift. Sure, there were other players who shone - Willock and Emiliano Martinez in particular - but this was Saka's moment. 

This was the moment where, at 18, he became the youngest player to score for Arsenal in European competition since October 2008, when a certain Aaron Ramsey (17 years, 300 days) netted against Fenerbahce. And what a goal it was, too.

That was on top off assisting the first and third, don't forget. The kid was everywhere, and it would be malpractice if he isn't seen everywhere else this season.

Let's not get too carried away, mind. This is, after all, the Europa League, a competition that Arsenal have - unfortunately - grown accustomed to. At least in the initial stages, they know how to get it done, having lost just one of their last 13 group stage games in the competition (10 wins, two draws).

This was also their sixth consecutive clean sheet in the group stage of the competition which, when David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi are careering around in tandem, is probably the greatest achievement of them all.

You May Like