ARSENAL 3 DUNDALK 0 'We made it look easy' - Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta insists his side gave Dundalk due respect in Europa League clash
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta suggested his team showed League of Ireland rivals Dundalk maximum respect as they secured a comfortable 3-0 win in the Europa League tie at Emirates Stadium.
Eddie Nketiah pounced from close range to give the Gunners the lead and Joe Willock blasted a shot into the roof of the net 125 seconds later, with Nicolas Pepe's brilliant effort from the edge of the box seconds after the restart killed the game off.
Yet the avalanche of goals Arsenal may have expected did not come in the second half and Arteta declared he was content with his side's performance as they bounced back from Sunday night's Premier League defeat against Leicester.
"We made it look easy because we were very disciplined, took it seriously and were at it from the beginning," stated Arteta.
"We made a lot of changes, gave opportunities to other players and I think they performed well.
"We have a large squad and I wanted to give opportunities to everybody. Today they showed they were prepared when I need them and today they made it more difficult for me for selection.
"Sometimes it is about the quality, sometimes it is about the tactical plan for the game. I am very pleased with the performance today.
"We missed Willian the last couple of weeks, he had a very short pre-season. He needs that bit of rhythm. He looked good today, great to get some minutes in his legs.
"Dundalk are a really committed team, the way they go about every ball and I’m happy to beat them
"After losing the way we lost against Leicester it was painful. It took us a few days to react but good to respond straight away with a win and now we go to Old Trafford (on Sunday) and try to win again."
Arteta selected a much-changed Arsenal side that saw him hand a debut to Iceland goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson, with a make-shift defence given a run-out as Shkodran Mustafi started in a back three along with midfielder Granit Xhaka and Sead Kolasinac.
While Dundalk did well to ensure Arsenal scored just three goals, coach Filippo Giovagnoli suggested the statistic that they failed to commit a foul in the game told a story
"Our team is so polite. They're such gentlemen," said Giovagnoli. "They work hard and fight hard but won't use other things to stop the opponent.
"We were competitive and did not give up until the end. We also had the first chance of the game with Patrick McEleney, so I’m happy with the performance and how my players played.
âªï¸ Those 2 goals late in the first half.— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) October 30, 2020
âªï¸ Was 2-0 harsh at half-time?
âªï¸ What he said to his players post-match.
Filippo Giovagnoli speaking to Ann-Marie after @DundalkFC's defeat at the Emirates. #CmonTheTown | #UEL | #VMSport pic.twitter.com/Uv17Ql2xMl
"Defenders are always under pressure in these kinds of games, but they perform. We have to be realistic but I’m happy for what we did in many moments of the game.
"I want to congratulate my team on their performance. Some good quality from a very good team allowed them to score, but this was a good display."