FC Zurich v Arsenal: Pictures
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Arsenal got their Europa League campaign off to a winning start on Thursday and there were plenty of positives for Mikel Arteta. The Gunners narrowly beat FC Zurich 2-1 thanks to goals from summer signing Marquinhos and Eddie Nketiah.
In truth, Arsenal should have been further ahead before Zurich equalised from the penalty spot just before half-time. The hosts were handed a way back into the match following a sloppy Nketiah challenge in his own 18-yard box.
But the striker made up for his error with a good headed effort just after the hour mark. Arsenal need to top Group A in order to avoid a round of 32 tie and go straight into the last-16.
Arteta would have hoped for a more comfortable scoreline. But four players in particular stood out in an overall positive evening for the north Londoners.
Nketiah has had to wait for his first start of the season following the arrival of Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City. He has had a few promising substitute appearances of late and took his opportunity in Switzerland.
He laid on the assist for Marquinhos’ goal and then took his own chance well. Nketiah is unlikely to replace Jesus anytime soon but Arteta could consider starting both players together if the England under-21 record holder keeps up his form.
Marking your debut with a goal is always a good thing. Arsenal fans have looked forward to seeing Marquinhos in action and he did not disappoint.
Arsenal need to be careful not to overload Bukayo Saka so early on in the season. Marquinhos looks like he is capable of filling in for the England star in the group stage of the Europa League at least.
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Vieira finally made his full debut following his £34million move from Porto in June. He is still working his way to full match fitness but showed a glimpse of what he is all about.
The 22-year-old’s creative qualities were there for everyone to see. Arteta says fans should be excited by Vieira and there is still plenty to come.
Albert Sambi Lokonga
Lokonga is still learning the art of playing in a deeper-lying midfield role. But the more opportunities he gets, the better he looks.
Arteta doesn’t require his No 6 to be a tough-tackling player but someone who can dictate play and pick out a pass. The lengthy absence of Mohamed Elneny means Lokonga is going to get plenty of game time over the coming months.
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