Arsenal ease into Europa League last 16 with win over BATE Borisov

Arsenal 3 BATE Borisov 0 (3-1 on agg)
Volkov 4 og, Mustafi 39, Sokratis, 60

Arsenal eased into the Europa League last 16 with a comfortable win over Belarus champions BATE Borisov. Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, the Gunners took the lead on the night after just four minutes in which they had as many chances on their opponents goal. When Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sped past his marker, his low cross was deflected past his own keeper by Zakhar Volkov for Arsenal to finally register in this tie. They doubled their lead on the night when Shkodran Mustafi powered in a header six minutes from the break. Substitute Sokrtais who Unai Emery later explained was introduced as a precaution after Laurent Koscielny felt an ankle niggle, headed in Arsenal’s third and that seemed to knock the wind out of the Borisov sails. The visitors did have chances, the best falling to Stanislav Dragun with the score at 1-0. Stephan Lichsteiner was on the goal line to make the clearance.

Lacazette sent off as Arsenal lose to BATE Borisov

BATE Borisov 1 Arsenal 0
Dragun 45

Arsenal were reduced to ten men when Alexandre Lacazette was shown a straight red card for elbowing Aleksandar Filipovic five minutes from full time. By then, the Gunners had endured a horror show of a performance to leave Belarus a goal down in their Europa League first leg last 32 tie. The Gunners enjoyed seventy seven percent of the possession, but it was a Stanislav Dragun header on the stroke of half time which proved to be the undoing of Unai Emery’s side. Igor Stasevich floated in a free kick which Sead Kolasinac failed to respond to, allowed Dragun time to powerfully head past Petr Cech. The Gunners could and should have been ahead after 90 seconds. Kolasinac’s cross for the advanced Henrickh Mkhitaryan was met first time by the Armenian, but Denis Scherbitski got down well to make the save. The theme continued with both Kolasinac and Alex Iwobi tormenting Borisov from the left, but there was little in the way of penetration and the home side realised that they could sit back and contain the Gunners apparent sole form of attack. Former Gunner Alex Hleb started and played for 58 minutes, the 37 year old apparently came back for another season with Borisov, once he knew that there would be two Europa League games against his former club. Borisov are in their pre-season, but they demonstrated little in the way of ring rust and in the end achieved their first home win over an English side.

Arsenal secure rare Premier League away win at Huddersfield in pursuit of top four finish

Huddersfield Town 1 Arsenal 2
Kolasinac og 93, Iwobi 16, Lacazette 44

Arsenal’s secured their first away win since November with a challenging 2-1 win at Huddersfield. First half strikes from Alex Iwobi and Alexandre Lacazette ensured the Gunners looked comfortable. A rare clean sheet was on the cards until injury time when Sean Kolasinac got the last touch in an attempted clearance to inadvertently steer the ball past Bernd Leno. Kolasinac’s left wing run and cross set up Iwobi to control and shoot for the game’s opener. Laurent Koscielny’s clearance saw the home side appeal for a penalty as the ball appeared to catch his arm. The Gunners survived that scare to double their lead a minute before the break. Some good work from Henrikh Mkhitaryan as he fed to ball to Ainsley Maitland-Niles on the right. His cross was briskly struck in first time by Lacazette for his 12th goal of the season. When Huddersfield halved the deficit deep into stoppage time, Arsenal agonisingly relinquished the opportunity to claim a clean sheet, however they held on for a crucial win which following Chelsea’s 6-0 thrashing at Manchester City meant that the Gunners moved into fifth place above the Blues.

Aguero treble gives City win over Arsenal

Manchester City 1 Arsenal 3
Aguero 1, 44, 61, Koscielny 11

Sergio Aguero struck his 14th hat-trick for Manchester City as the hosts saw off Arsenal at the Etihad stadium. The Argentine was on target after just 50 seconds when the Arsenal defence dithered in clearing their lines. Alex Iwobi should have launched the ball into row Z, but having lost possession to Aymeric Laporte, his cross fell right for Aguero to head past Bernd Leno. Despite being under pressure for large parts on the opening exchanges, Arsenal levelled through captain Laurent Koscielny who headed in from Nacho Monreal’s flick on from Lucas Torreira’s corner. If that was a re-working of the famous old Tony Adams, Steve Bould routine which served the Gunners so well in the recent past. Sadly the modern day defending was a more of a horror show of an affair compared to what these former Gunners legends were used to producing. City re-gained the lead just before the break when Ilkay Gundogan’s floated ball found Raheem Sterling in space. The England man crossed and Aguero had a simple tap in. His hat-trick was completed in fortuitous circumstances, the ball coming off him arm from yet another Sterling cross as it went past the despairing dive and tumble of Bernd Leno and Koscielny respectively.

Aubameyang and Lacazette hit Cardiff for win on an emotional night at Emirates

Arsenal 2 Cardiff City 1
Aubameyang 66, Lacazette 83, Mendez-Laing 93>span

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette struck to beat Cardiff on an emotional night at the Emirates. Tributes to Cardiff striker Emiliano Sala hung over the Emirates stadium with both side’s captains Mesut Ozil and Sol Bamba laying flowers in the centre circle before the kick off. The Arsenal matchday programme had Sala named in the Cardiff line up, with the visiting supporters holding up yellow placards in tribute to Sala’s former club Nantes. There was little sign of the aircraft piloted by David Ibbotson in which Sala was travelling back to Wales in following his farewells to his former team mates. The Argentine was due to feature in this match following his record ¬£15m signing for the Bluebirds, however all contact was lost with his privately registered aircraft as it flew over the English Chanel last week. The Bluebirds got themselves up for this contest with Bamba and Bruno Ecuele Manga having decent games in defence while Bobby Reid was lively in attack. Reid should have put the visitors ahead with a low shot which flew past the post.

Arsenal suffer FA Cup exit at the hands of United

Arsenal 1 Manchester United 3
Aubameyang 43, Sanchez 31, Lingard 33, Martial 82

Arsenal suffered FA Cup elimination at the hands of Manchester United with former Gunner Alexis Sanchez returning to the Emirates stadium to score the game’s opener just past the half hour mark. Barely two minutes later and United doubled their lead when Jesse Linagrd raced onto a three on two counter attack move to beat Petr Cech. Arsenal had looked comfortable in the early exchanges, but failed to really test Sergio Romero. He was finally beaten however as Arsenal rallied late into the second half with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang tapping in at the far post. Romero’s early second half save from Aaron Ramsey’s header kept United in front. Soktratis had already gone off with an ankle injury, and when Laurent Koscielny went off with what may be a broken jaw, Arsenal were up against it. Substitute Anthony Martial made it 3-1 as the Gunners exited the competiton in Unai Emery’s ultimately unsuccessful first attempt to land the trophy.

Lacazette and Koscielny score to beat Chelsea

Arsenal 2 Chelsea 0
Lacazette 14, Koscielny 39

Alexandre Lacazette and Laurent Koscileny scored in a dominant Arsenal first half to beat Chelsea at the Emirates. The only surprise was that more goals weren’t added in a pulsating London derby. A dominant early exchange and Arsenal could have been four goals to the good had Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored from two chances he would normally have buried. The quick feet of Lacazette in the area however gave the Gunners the lead as he clipped over Kepa at his near post. Six minutes before the break and Koscielny rose unmarked to head in, the ball finally glancing off his shoulder as the Gunners doubled their lead. The win was tempered however with the sight of Hector Bellerin crumpling in a heap in what appeared to be an injury to his left knee. The Spain defender had to be stretchered off with Mohamed Elneny coming on as substitute in the 72nd minute. The Blues enjoyed long periods of possession, but it came to nothing as Arsenal held on for a massive three points and a confidence booster for the rest of the season.

Arsenal succumb to West Ham loss at the London stadium

West Ham United 1 Arsenal 0
D.Rice 48

Arsenal succumbed to their first loss to West Ham in 13 years when Declan Rice pounced to slot home from Samir Nasri’s assist at the London stadium. The Gunners started with some imaginative play and mounted several attacks on Lukasz Fabianski’s goal, with one shot from Alexandre Lacazette worthy of the game’s opener. Matteo Guendouzi too saw an effort lift just over Fabianski’s goal from 25 yards, but the visitors were unable to get their rewards. Mesut Ozil was once again missing. Having declared that training had gone well on social media, the German was not amongst the 18 man squad. How Arsenal could have done with his creativity when ideas and vision began to run down. West Ham took the lead three minutes after the re-start, when 19 year old Rice placed home from Nasri following Granit Xhaka’s weak header to clear from a corner. Buoyed by an expectant crowd and Felipe Anderson’s drive, West Ham easily went through the Gunners midfield. Unai Emery brought on Aaron Ramsey and Lucas Torreira for Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi on the hour mark. Arsenal solidified marginally, but found their hosts and Rice in particular were having the game of their lives with some intelligent defensive cover. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had great chance to get his 15th Premier League goal of the season, but skied his effort when under pressure from a last ditch defensive tackle.

Willock at the double as Arsenal see off Blackpool to progress in the FA Cup

Blackpool 0 Arsenal 3
Willock 11,37  Iwobi 82

Joe Willock grabbed a first half double to help Arsenal progress to the fourth round of the FA Cup. The 19 year old reacted first to head past Mark Howard after Aaron Ramsey saw his free kick come back off the goal frame. Comfortable in possession, the Gunners worked a free-flowing move involving Iwobi and Carl Jenkinson whose cross from the right evaded several Blackpool defenders, but Willock was at the far post to finish for the second goal. Ramsey was the orchestrator of the Arsenal attacks. Playing in a deeper role, Ramsey displayed all the brilliance of a player who the travelling Arsenal fans chanted “we want you to stay.” His earlier pass to find Eddie Nketiah was perfect, but the young Gunners forward could only find the side netting. Nketiah could and should have netted a first half treble, his next effort from Ainsley Maitland-Niles unselfish pass went wide of the target, and when one on one with Howard, Nketiah placed his shot which the Blackpool keeper held. Armand Gnanduillet gave Blackpool hope when he danced through the Arsenal defence, but Petr Cech made the save at his near post. Alexandre Lacazette came on for Nketiah after 64 minutes, and the France striker was instrumental in the move also involving Ramsey which saw Iwobi finish after substitute Blackpool keeper Christoffer Mafoumbi had saved Ramsey’s initial shot.

Arsenal bounce back from Anfield loss with Fulham thrashing

Arsenal 4 Fulham 1
Xhaka 26, Lacazette 55, Ramsey 79, Aubameyang 83, Kamara 69

Arsenal bounced back from their loss at Liverpool with a 4-1 thrashing of Fulham at the Emirates. Granit Xhaka, Alexandre Lacazette, Aaron Ramsey and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were on target as the Gunners ran out for a comfortable win. There was a scare for the Gunners when Fulham saw Ryan Sessegnon squander two good chances to get the Cottagers off the mark. They did finally register when substitute Aboubakar Kamara tapped in to make it 2-1. But Arsenal just stepped up through the gears to finish strong with two further goals. Only some fine saves from Sergio Rico kept the Gunners scoring below four. Talentd 17 year old Bukayo Saka came off the bench to make his Premier League first team debut for the Gunners.