There were less than 140 seconds between Gabriel Martinelli’s two goals as Arsenal beat Standard Liege at the Emirates on Thursday night. Arsenal made 10 changes to the side that drew against Manchester United. Three goals before the 22nd minutes meant it was pretty much game set match at the quarter way in the match as the visitors didn’t do enough to stage any form of challenge in the tie.
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A second half goal by Dani Ceballos made it four for the home side. It was Ceballos’ first goal in an Arsenal Jersey and the first European goal for the Spaniard.
It was the first time Arsenal has scored three goals before the 30 minutes mark in Europe since October 2008 against Fenerbahce.
Gabriel Martinelli was the undoubted man of the match. He was involved in three goals on the night contributing a brace and an assist. The Brazilian netted two in the space of two minutes but could have had as many as four goals in the match. He put the Liege defense under pressure all night.
Academy graduate Willock pounced on a rebound to register a goal to make it two in two for the young English forward.
Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin starts on their return from injury with Bellerin wearing the captain band on the night. Mesut Ozil was missing on the night amidst speculations of a loan move away from the Emirates.
The manager speaking after the match said:
“To have six points after the two matches, it’s really important. The players, when they did all they can, it is perfect. We did a lot of good, we can analyse to continue to improve. It’s a fantastic victory.
“We can improve in how to keep the ball and make more chances but for the players [on Thursday], they are very tired after playing on Monday and they still played fantastic, it’s a fantastic victory.”
On playing young players: “We have to give the chances to the young players and they take them. They are close to playing for us at the highest levels. They showed that they can perform and they can score. They are playing well, it’s good.”
Goal scorer Joe Willock had this to say:
“One of my targets is to get more goals in my game and it’s even better that my goal and my team’s goals has also come with a clean sheet. The manager told us to keep going even if it’s three or four nil. We want to get the ball back and get more goals. He drills that into us.
“We have a manager here who wants to play youngsters and I have to make sure I take my chances and prove why that is the way forward.”