Arsenal ease past Dundalk to stay perfect in Europa League
DUBLIN - Arsenal maintained their perfect record in this season's Europa League as goals from Eddie Nketiah, Mohamed Elneny, Joe Willock and Folarin Balogun sealed a 4-2 win at Dundalk in their final Group B match on Thursday.
Much-changed Arsenal, 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 following a neat exchange with Michael Duffy.
Bottom-placed Dundalk had the opportunity 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 before Sean Hoare nodded in a consolation goal for the hosts at Dublin's Aviva Stadium.
"The group stage in general is really positive. It's never easy to win six games in Europe. We've been really consistent and performing well," Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta told reporters.
Arsenal, who scored 20 goals in the six group games, will discover their last-32 opponents in Monday's draw in Nyon, 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.