Arsenal faced a very tough challenge in Serbia today as they played in one of the toughest environments in Europe against Red Star Belgrade at Rajko Mitić Stadium. It’s a very intimidating stadium with incredibly passionate fans.
Arsenal choose to play a team of backups and youngsters, with the majority of starters not making the trip to Belgrade. Arsenal played a back line of Rob Holding, Mohamed Elneny, and Mathieu Debuchy (he’s still on the team?) along with three youth team players Reiss Nelson, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, and Joseph Willock.
The game was rather dull. Arsenal struggled in the first half to put much of anything together. The Gunners were cautious going forward and the trio of Olivier Giroud, Jack Wilshere, and Theo Walcott weren’t clicking too well.
The second half was much the same. Arsenal had a great chance to start the half, but Giroud couldn’t finish off the great pass from Walcott.
Red Star was extremely organized in defense all game, but they also began threatening Arsenal’s backline in the second half getting most of the chances. They were dangerous on set pieces, but thanks to some good saves from Petr Cech and some desperate defending Arsenal survived without conceding.
Walcott and Wilshere grew stronger later in the game. They found success playing quick one-twos with Giroud, but were still unable to break the tough Red Star defense.
That is until Milan Rodić was shown a second yellow for elbowing Francis Coquelin in the head while fighting for the ball. Red Star were down to 10 men and Arsenal took advantage of the extra space to score one the the better teams goals you will see.
Wilshere ➡️ Walcott ➡️ Wilshere ➡️ Walcott ➡️ Giroud— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) October 19, 2017
What. A. Goal. https://t.co/MsX5yPBjZi
This goal also comes on the 4 year anniversary of the famous Arsenal goal against Norwich also involving Wilshere and Giroud.
That one moment of brilliance captured all three point for Arsenal in one of the toughest environments in Europe. Getting a point would have been an acceptable result, but Arsenal stole all three with this great team goal.
This is the second dramatic late goal scored by Giroud to win a game for Arsenal this season along with his headed goal from a corner to beat Leicester. You have to love that big handsome frenchman.
Given the lineup that Arsenal played, this is a great result that moves Arsenal closer to the knockout stages of the Europa League. Arsenal stand atop the group with 9 points, 5 points clear of Red Star and BATE.
A win in their next Europa league match would secure a place in the knockout rounds for Arsenal, while a win and a BATE draw or loss would clinch the top spot in the group.
Arsenal’s next Europa league game is on November 2nd at the Emirates again against Red Star. The Gunners continue Premier League action this weekend on Saturday against Everton.