Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck twice as Unai Emery’s first Europa League game in charge of Arsenal ended with a straightforward victory over Vorskla Poltava.
Emery is a specialist in this competition having won it three years in a row while at Sevilla and the Gunners eased to a comfortable 4-2 win to start this season’s group stage in style – although conceding two late goals will have irked the Spaniard.
Aubameyang scored in either half for an Arsenal side showing eight changes from the weekend win at Newcastle, with Danny Welbeck and substitute Mesut Ozil also weighing in with goals.
Goalkeeper Bernd Leno was handed his debut following his move to the Emirates Stadium in the summer – but the German was unable to toast the occasion with a clean sheet.
Captain Volodymyr Chesnakov pulled one back for Vorskla, who added a second as Vyacheslav Sharpar scored with the final kick of the evening.
Head coach Vasyl Sachko took his Vorskla players on a tour of London before the game and as the night wore on, the visitors began to resemble some of the famous statues which adorn the capital’s landmarks.
Much of the first half offered more than an overhang of Arsene Wenger’s final campaign with a sparsely-populated stadium, wholesale changes to the starting XI and a struggle to break down clearly weaker opposition.
But once the deadlock had been broken by Aubameyang at the end of a swift counter-attack, the night belonged to Arsenal.
A header from Welbeck made it 2-0, before Aubameyang and Ozil finished off the scoring for Arsenal on the night.
Lucas Torreira, on his first start for Arsenal, almost marked his full debut with a goal, but could only hit the side-netting with a free-kick after Stephan Lichtsteiner had been fouled by Pavlo Rebenok.
However, it was the Uruguayan’s performance on the night that impressed a lot of the Arsenal fans that were present and watching it on TV at home.
Most Arsenal fans have been called for Emery to start Torreira on a regular basis, but last night was the first time he adhered to the wishes of his new fanbase, and he will surely be happy with what he saw.
Torreira ran the game from centre-mid, and his passing just highlighted what he can bring to Arsenal.
In the above video package, it is very clear to see that Torreira is always looking for the forward pass and never settling for a sideways ball or backwards pass.
He loves to split open the defence and look over the top, and although it doesn’t come off every time, when it does, it’s a threat to the opponents.
Torreira may not be starting every game, but it’s already clear that Arsenal have signed a gem.