Alexandre Lacazette scored a superb goal as Arsenal secured top spot in their Europa League Group B with a comfortable 4-1 victory over Rapid Vienna at the Emirates.
Alexandre Lacazette and Pablo Mari struck early before Eddie Nketiah made it 3-0 at half-time.
There were 2,000 fans in the stadium for the first time since March. And they did not have to wait long to see a goal. Lacazette picked up the ball midway into the opposition half and drove towards the box before unleashing a powerful drive.
That was after 10 minutes and it was 2-0 just eight minutes later. Mari rose in the box to head home Reiss Nelson’s inswinging corner.
Mikel Arteta’s men seemed to grow in confidence by the minute. Lacazette could have had a second on 27 minutes but his low shot struck the upright. On the half-hour mark, Ainsley Maitland-Niles did all the hard work before dragging his shot wide.
Look at the movement on that! 🌪
Alexandre Lacazette with a thunderbolt of a strike ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/ybn0r0JaTl
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) December 3, 2020
The fans were in full voice and lifted their heroes to a third goal on the stroke of half time. It was a ‘typical’ Gunners goal, with one-touch football from the halfway line.
Nelson found Nketiah with the final pass and the 21-year-old striker put it away. The Gunners were good value for their half-time lead against listless opposition.
Gunners switch off
Vienna replaced Maximilian Hofmann and Maximilian Ullmann with Mateo Barac and Thorsten Schick at the interval. And it seemed to do the trick as they pulled one back on 48 minutes.
Shkodran Mustafi twice cleared off the line from Kelvin Arase but Koya Kitagawa stabbed home from close range. The goal seemed to rattle Arsenal as the opposition started to boss proceedings.
However, it did not last for too long as the Gunners reasserted themselves. On the hour mark both Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Nicolas Pepe forced saves from Strebinger.
Arteta decided to shake things up on 63 minutes with a triple substitution. Mohamed Elneny, Nelson and Lacazette were replaced by Dani Ceballos, Emile Smith Rowe and Willian.
It took just three minutes before the change had an impact. Maitland-Niles picked out Smith Rowe who tapped home to make it 4-1.
Calum Chambers, who has been out since last December, replaced Shkodran Mustafi on 69 minutes.
Ceballos tried his luck with a free-kick late ini the game but Strebinger was equal to the task.
It was an excellent display by the Gunners which will have sent the fans home happy.