Zurich 1-2 Arsenal: Gunners pay tribute to Queen in opening Europa League win
Eddie Nketiah played a big part at both ends as Arsenal beat Zurich 2-1 in their opening Europa League match.FotMob - 6 months ago
Arsenal and Zurich held a minute's silence following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, with the news being confirmed during the half-time interval of the Gunners' 2-1 Europa League win.
The sides were drawing 1-1 at the midway point at AFG Arena on Thursday after Mirlind Kryeziu converted a penalty to cancel out debutant Marquinhos' 16th-minute opener.
It was decided that a period of reflection would be held ahead of the second half, with Arsenal playing the remainder of the Group A contest with black armbands.
Eddie Nketiah – heavily involved at both ends – put Arsenal back ahead after the hour mark in Switzerland and the visitors saw out their sixth win in seven matches this season.
Zurich are winless in seven league matches in what has been a poor start to the season and were behind early on against Arsenal.
Nketiah carried the ball down the left and picked out Marquinhos, who thumped an impressive first-time finish into the roof of the net.
Having played a big part in that opener, Nketiah went from hero to zero when bringing down Fidan Aliti to concede a penalty, which Kryeziu slotted in to level up the contest.
After a sombre start to the second period, Arsenal soon got going and regained their lead through an Nketiah header – Marquinhos turning provider with his cross from the right.
Arsenal were unable to find a third goal, but they held their opponents firmly at bay to respond to Sunday's loss against Manchester United in the best way possible.
What does it mean? Arsenal up and running
Back in Europe after a rare absence last year, Mikel Arteta has made clear his intention is to end Arsenal's 29-year wait for European silverware of some sort.
The Premier League side did not exactly find things easy in Zurich, but they got the job done to make it seven wins out of seven against Swiss opposition.
This victory also ensures Arsenal keep their momentum going, having won six of their seven matches in all competitions this term.
Eddie rekindles Europa love affair
Nketiah more than made amends for giving away a penalty by scoring what proved to be the winning goal, having also earlier set up Marquinhos' opener.
He has scored in the past three games he has started in the Europa League, making him the fifth Englishman to do so after Bobby Zamora, Jermain Defoe, Harry Kane and James Tavernier.
Making his Marq
As far as debuts go, this was not a bad way for Marquinhos to introduce himself to Arsenal supporters – the forward scoring one and returning the favour to Nketiah by assisting the other.
The Brazilian is the first player since Raphael Meade against Panathinaikos in September 1981 to make his competitive debut for Arsenal in a European game and score in that fixture.
Key Opta Facts:
- Arsenal have won their opening group game in each of their five seasons in the Europa League.
- Marquinhos became the fourth different Brazilian scorer for Arsenal in all competitions this season, with no other Premier League side having more than one. Indeed, eight of the Gunners' goals this term have been scored by Brazilians, as many as all other Premier League sides combined.
- Arsenal have conceded nine of the past 10 penalties they have faced in all competitions, with the only exception during this period being a Bruno Fernandes miss in the Premier League in April of this year.
- Nketiah became the fifth Englishman to score in three consecutive starts in the UEFA Europa League, after Bobby Zamora, Jermain Defoe, Harry Kane and James Tavernier.
- After losing just one of their first 11 home matches in the Europa League (W6 D4), Zurich have since lost each of their past three home matches in the competition.
Arsenal host Everton in the Premier League on Sunday, the same day that Zurich travel to Servette in the Swiss Super League.