Bukayo saka
Bukayo saka

Arsenal kicked off their UEFA Europa League campaign with a 3-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt at the Commerzbank-Arena on Thursday.

The hosts had plenty of chances in the first half but could not find a way past goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez and fell behind when Joe Willock’s deflected shot flew in off the underside of the crossbar.

Frankfurt had more chances in the second half but were let down by some poor finishing and went down to  10 men when Dominik Kohr picked up a second yellow card late on for a foul on Bukayo Saka.

Arsenal made the most of their man advantage and wrapped up the win with two late goals. Saka curled home the Gunners’ second from outside the penalty area before slipping in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to fire home their third.

Unai Emery made seven changes to his team and handed starts to youngsters Willock, Saka and Emile Smith Rowe in Germany. Meanwhile, Eintracht Frankfurt brought experienced stars Bas Dost, Filip Kostic and Kohr back into their starting XI.

An eventful first half saw plenty of chances for both sides but only one goal. Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira spurned a glorious chance after just five minutes, blasting wastefully over the bar after arriving in the box unmarked.

Frankfurt went close with Kostic, Dost and Andre Silva all having sights of goal. However, the hosts were let down by a combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeping from Martinez. 

Squawka Football noted Frankfurt’s attacking intent:

Yet Arsenal created chances of their own at the other end. Willock fired wastefully wide after good work from Aubameyang, while Smith Rowe placed a tame shot straight at Kevin Trapp.

The deadlock was broken on 38 minutes when Willock’s shot took a deflection off captain David Abraham and looped over Trapp and in via the underside of the crossbar:

Frankfurt could have equalised just before half-time. Danny da Costa and Kohr combined to feed Silva, but his shot across goal was saved by Martinez.

The match followed a similar pattern in the second half. Frankfurt continued to pepper the Arsenal goal with shots but could not find an equaliser:

The hosts suffered a further blow when Kohr was second off with a little over 10 minutes of normal time remaining. The midfielder was handed his second yellow card of the match after bringing down Saka.

The Arsenal youngster then piled more misery on Frankfurt by doubling the visitors’ lead. He curled home a superb shot from outside the box for his first Gunners goal:

The 18-year-old then nicked possession in midfield and slid in Aubameyang to roll the ball past Trapp and complete an impressive result for Emery’s men.

What’s Next?

Both teams return to domestic action on Sunday. Eintracht Frankfurt host Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga, while Arsenal welcome Aston Villa to the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League. Both teams return to Europa League action on Oct. 3 with Arsenal hosting Standard Liege and Eintracht hosting Vitoria.