Arsenal maintained their 100% start to the Europa League group stage with a hard-fought 1-0 away win against Bodo/Glimt in Norway.
The Gunners weren’t at their scintillating best but dug deep to take their third win from three matches so far on the continent.
Arsenal came close to taking a second-minute lead when Bukayo Saka lobbed the ball over the needlessly onrushing goalkeeper Nikita Haikin, though the ball was cleared off the line and Eddie Nketiah was punished for a foul.
Bodo/Glimt went down the other end almost immediately and came close to opening the scoring themselves, with Kieran Tierney just about turning an Amahl Pellegrino cross behind for a corner when Ola Solbakken was ready to tap in at the far post.
The Gunners broke the deadlock midway through the first half when Bukayo Saka played a one-two with Albert Sambi Lokonga to skip his way into the box, and his tame effort ricocheted off of Marius Hoibraten and back onto the winger’s leg, trickling in at the near post.
Pellegrino should have equalised after half an hour after a flick-on by Runar Espejord sent him racing through against Matt Turner, but he completely skewed his shot and Arsenal survived.
Espejord himself was inches was away finding a leveller after robbing Lokonga of the ball, but Turner just about beat him to a clever flick over the top of the Arsenal defence and the visitors went into half-time ahead.
After the break, another Lokonga error ended with Pellegrino running through on goal, and though this time he got a solid connection on his shot, Turner got down low to deny the winger.
Arsenal’s wilting continued as Solbakken cut inside from the left and just fired over the top of the crossbar, before Espejord somehow missed the target from six yards out.
Bodo/Glimt’s directness continued to cause the Gunners problems, but they were ultimately unable to find a way through and Arsenal secured the three points.
GK: Matt Turner – 7/10 – Not forced into too many saves but he swept up very well.
RB: Ben White – 7/10 – Forced Pellegrino to come inside to get in the game. Another solid outing.
CB: William Saliba – 6/10 – Wasn’t as aggressive as he’s been in Premier League matches but he didn’t really need to be.
CB: Rob Holding – 5/10 – Quite clearly not at the technical or physical levels to be playing bigger games than this.
LB: Kieran Tierney – 6/10 – Played far more on the wing and in midfield than at left-back.
DM: Albert Sambi Lokonga – 4/10 – Kind of got an assist, sure, but he didn’t take much responsibility, and when he did Bodo/Glimt instantly pressed him anyway.
RM: Bukayo Saka – 8/10 – Played extremely wide in the build-up phase. Wasn’t at his best technically but was always causing Bodo/Glimt problems one way or another.
CM: Martin Odegaard – 6/10 – Played at a lower intensity but was still largely fine on his return to his homeland.
CM: Fabio Vieira – 5/10 – Buzzed about into different areas trying to get on the ball, but was largely inconsequential.
LM: Reiss Nelson – 3/10 – Looked slow for a winger prized for his pace. Failed to get the better of his man on a regular basis and was deservedly hooked.
ST: Eddie Nketiah – 6/10 – Brought a lot of handy number-nine qualities to the game.
Manager: Mikel Arteta – 6/10 – Arsenal were very flat but it’s hard to imagine Arteta could have done much to get them going for a match like this.
SUB: Granit Xhaka (59′ for Saka) – 6/10
SUB: Gabriel Martinelli (59′ for Nelson) – 5/10
SUB: Takehiro Tomiyasu (70′ for White) – 6/10
SUB: Marquinhos (70′ for Odegaard) – 5/10
SUB: Thomas Partey (84′ for Lokonga) – N/A