Arsenal 4 Vorskla 2: Aubameyang at the double in entertaining triumph
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a goal in each half as Arsenal eased to a 4-2 win over Vorskla in the Europa League.
The Ukrainian visitors proved stubborn opponents initially, but the result was rarely in doubt from the moment Aubameyang broke the deadlock after 32 minutes.
Danny Welbeck was on target early in the second half before Aubameyang doubled his tally and Mesut Ozil came off the bench to get in on the act.
Captain Vladimir Chesnakov gave Vorskla something to shout about with an excellent finish 14 minutes from time and Vyacheslav Sharpar found the net in similar style with the last kick of the game.
Alex Iwobi was Arsenal's liveliest attacking threat during a largely forgettable opening and the Nigeria international's fine cross allowed Aubameyang to slide home at the back post after Henrikh Mkhitaryan drove at Vorskla on the counter-attack.
Lucas Torriera whipped a free-kick into the side netting before Aubameyang darted inside a pair of challenges to curl an effort against the base of the post.
By the time Vorskla goalkeeper Bogdan Shust pushed a Mkhitaryan attempt over, the away side were certainly in need of half-time.
Upon the restart, Vasyl Sachko's men were unable to stem the tide and Welbeck was on hand to head in Mkhitaryan's 48th-minute centre.
2 - Danny Welbeck has scored in both of his first two home appearances of the 2018-19 campaign, while the last time he scored in consecutive outings at the Emirates was in his first two home appearances of 2017-18. Repeat. pic.twitter.com/PW4tB0kwyV
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 20, 2018
Aubameyang crashed a volley over, but was the beneficiary of Shust's questionable positioning to dispatch Arsenal's third from the edge of the box in the 56th minute – Mkhitaryan again supplying the ammunition.
Stephan Lichtsteiner lifted the ball over the out-rushing Shust for substitute Ozil to grab a fourth in the 74th minute, but the experienced full-back was caught in possession when Chesnakov smashed in an emphatic strike.
Arsenal had long settled for winding the clock down by the time Sharpar sent a side-footed effort flying past Bernd Leno.
What it means: Selection headache for Emery
Unai Emery has hit upon a relatively settled line-up in the Premier League, but those given their chance in the midweek rotation largely impressed. Iwobi was a constant threat down the Vorskla right and Lucas Torreira's first start in England's top flight is surely imminent. Leno might have liked a bit more to do in goal as he looks to dislodge Petr Cech and had no chance with the late goals.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) September 20, 2018
Pat on the back: Aubameyang hits his stride
One goal in five Premier League matches this season represents an unusually fallow run for Aubameyang – one of the most prolific marksmen in Europe over recent years. Sliding in and scuffing a finish into the turf for Arsenal's opener felt like just the sort of break a striker needs when things are not happening for him. From that point, shining in tandem with old Borussia Dortmund ally Mkhitaryan, the old swagger quickly returned.
Boot up the backside: Dodgy keeper persuades Arsenal to Shust on sight
Vorskla effectively operated with a back six early on. Once Shust was exposed between the posts, the ploy became even more understandable. The 32-year-old scampered unconvincingly whenever Iwobi and Mkhitaryan sent balls into his box, while Aubameyang's second goal should not have been so straightforward. Plenty of Vorskla players were in their goalmouth when Ozil made it four – Shust was not one of them.
Arsenal are aiming for a fourth consecutive Premier League win when they host Everton on Sunday. Vorskla are at home to Zorya in the Ukrainian Premier League.