Red Star Belgrade 0-1 Arsenal: Giroud wondergoal maintains Gunners’ 100 per cent record – 5 talking points

Olivier Giroud’s wondergoal maintained Arsenal’s 100 per cent record in the Europa League in Serbia against Red Star Belgrade.

The Frenchman finished brilliantly to cap a move involving Jack Wilshere and Olivier Giroud in the final 10 minutes.

Wilshere brilliantly jinked past two defenders before passing to Walcott who flicked on for Giroud and the Frenchman acrobatically finished with an overhead kick into the top corner.

Milan Rodic was sent off shortly before for a second bookable offence as Red Star suffered late heartbreak.

Here are five talking points…

1. Wenger gives youth a chance

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Arsene Wenger has rung the changes throughout the Europa League group stage, giving youth a chance but including enough experience to secure six points from six prior to this evening.

It was a similar tale in terms of team selection here, with nine changes from the defeat at Watford in the Premier League.

Only Mohamed Elneny and Petr Cech kept their places, with youngsters Rob Holding, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock being given starts.

2. Wilshere deserves a Premier League start

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The Gunners rolled over and had their bellies tickled by Watford at the weekend in a show of vulnerability which has become all too regular in the last few years.

Jack Wilshere showed once again tonight that he has the tenacity and the enthusiasm to help on that score, and it’s about time he was given a start in the Premier League.

He was instrumental in the goal to cap a fine performance.

Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey haven’t had impressive starts to the season, and they must be looking over their shoulders.

3. Boakye fails to impress Chelsea scouts

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All eyes were on Red Star Belgrade striker Richmond Boakye – well, at least those in south-west London, that is – in tonight’s Europa League game.

Chelsea sent scouts to the Serbian ground to keep tabs on the former Juventus forward amid claims Antonio Conte will move for him in January.

But for the most part the Ghana front man failed to impress in a rather dull game against Arsenal.

Facing a watered down Gunners back three in Mathieu Debuchy, Mohamed Elneny and Rob Holding, Boakye should have caused all sorts of problems. But he didn’t.

He came close at one point, hitting the bar with a headed effort, and certainly looked useful on the ball. But is he really an improvement on what they already have in Michy Batshuayi, or the on loan Tammy Abraham for that matter?

That’s for Conte to decide.

4. Nelson handed another chance

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Arsene Wenger handed Reiss Nelson another opportunity to show just why he has been touted as the future of Arsenal.

Bright and lively, Nelson can ghost past opponents with ease, but he failed to fully grasp the chance afforded to him in a tough environment.

Confident enough to grab the ball at set-pieces, the 17-year-old failed to beat the wall.

More opportunities will be forthcoming, especially in this competition, but Nelson was unable to show his scintillating best tonight.

5. Giroud adds another masterpiece

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Olivier Giroud added another wonder goal to his collection following outstanding work from Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott.

The Frenchman proved his elegant side by twisting to guide an overhead kick into the top left corner after Wilshere chipped a delightful ball into Walcott’s path before his header back across goal.

Giroud has a reputation for pulling off the spectacular and this may rank above the sensation bicycle kick against Bournemouth last season.

Wenger will just be pleased he produced when the pressure was on to keep the Gunners’ 100 percent record in the Europa League this season.

mirror.co.uk

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