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Bodø/Glimt 0-1 Arsenal: Europa League League match report, player ratings, fan reaction and more

Bukayo Saka bagged the only goal of the match in the 24th-minute with Arsenal holding their narrow lead despite constant pressure from the Norwegian’s throughout

It was not pretty, but it did not need to be; Arsenal ran out 1-0 winners on the road against Norwegian upstarts Bodø/Glimt at Aspmyra Stadion on a night where the lone goal of Mikel Arteta’s troops was to bag three points in their bid to win the group and lighten the fixture load in the knockout stage.

Bukayo Saka added another goal to his account in all competitions this season in the 24th minute when he was through on goal from close range after the build-up would eventually see him on a diagonal run only for his effort to deflect off Bodø’s Marius Høibråten to then bounce off the England international’s chest and trickle past a wrong-footed Nikita Haikin.

That would be all that Arsenal would need to end Bodø’s 14-match unbeaten run at home in European competitions but Kjetil Knutsen’s Den Gule Horde certainly had their chances and put in a much-improved performance over the reverse fixture last week.

Arsenal coasted but was hardly brilliant in all departments, with a number of questions emerging on the back of the 1-0 win.

Sambi Lokonga – by the numbers – looked to have a very good outing in terms of his contributions when on the ball but still lacks cutting edge and an ability to read what is in front of him to a level required for the Premier League, while Reiss Nelson was sub-par at best after being given a chance in the XI in a telling performance commensurate with the pathway his career has taken thus far.

Overall, there is not much to take away from proceedings in the north of Norway tonight as the result was all that mattered irrespective of a performance that should not offer up too many conclusions either way. Now with three wins in three and a double-date with PSV Eindhoven on the horizon, Arsenal is one win away from all but guaranteeing the top spot in Group A and an immediate pathway into the round of 16.

Arsenal Player Ratings

RB: Ben White (7) – White’s continued transformation into a player now vying for the starting role at right-back continued again tonight across a strong 70-minute appearance. His removal suggests he will start again on Sunday.

CB: Rob Holding (7) – Relegated to first-choice minutes in Europa League, Holding put in another credible performance on the continent that shows he is ready when called upon by Arteta.

CB: William Saliba (7) – Not his best performance in an Arsenal shirt but the French starlet was solid once more while displaying how vital he has become in terms of building play from the back.

LB: Kieran Tierney (6.5) – A quiet night from Tierney who was not a problem area in any way but also has not given the additive quality in certain phases of play that Zinchenko has since his arrival.

CM: Sambi Lokonga (6.5) – A hard performance to judge, so perhaps the rating could be viewed as harsh on the surface. He was composed on the ball but it’s clear he is still a few levels away from having a consistent influence on the team.

CM: Fábio Vieira (6.5) – Being deployed in the center of the park on a night like tonight is all well and good for the Portuguese, but it was a muted effort and perhaps showed why his future is further up the pitch.

CAM: Martin Ødegaard (7) – Controlled as per usual by the Norwegian international and club captain who provided the same command on the ball as he usually does.

RW: Bukayo Saka (7) – A goal for Saka tonight as he continues to directly contribute on the scoresheet in some capacity in recent weeks. A good outing for him.

LW: Reiss Nelson (5) – Given a chance in the XI and once again completely failed to take it. At this point, it must surely be clear that he has no future at the club. A real shame.

CF: Eddie Nketiah (6.5) – The England youth international’s goal form for Arsenal took a bit of a hit tonight in what was a very quiet performance from the striker who lacked his usual cutting edge on a night like tonight.

Sub: Granit Xhaka (7) – Brought a measure of control and composure into the midfield in all phases of play that was lacking with Lokonga which gave some organizational improvement. Back into the XI at the weekend.

Sub: Gabriel Martinelli (6) – Thirty minutes for the Brazilian sparkplug tonight to keep him warm for the weekend clash with Leeds United. Did little but was not needed to influence matters.

Sub: Takehiro Tomiyasu (6.5) – Twenty minutes in the tank for the Japanese international who continues to build fitness before trying to arrest the starting birth away from Ben White.

Sub: Marquinhos (6) – Little improvement over Nelson once he was introduced but it is clear that he is still adjusting to life in England and adapting to his responsibilities under Arteta.

Sub: Thomas Partey (N/A) – Given mere minutes on a night where many would have been concerned given his fitness record on account of the playing surface but he came out unscathed and ready for action on Sunday.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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