Arsenal have opened up their Europa League account under Unai Emery with a resounding 4-2 win against Ukrainian unknowns Vorskla Poltava at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday.
The Gunners recovered from a slow start to the match with a ruthless display in the second half, getting the job done through a couple of goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and one apiece for Danny Welbeck and Mesut Ozil.
Three-time winner of the competition Emery once again saw his side fail to keep a clean sheet, however, as Volodymyr Chesnakov and Vyacheslav Sharpar bagged consolation goals for the Green-Whites in what is their second ever appearance in a major European competition.
Alex Iwobi’s wayward shot 29 minutes in was their only attempt of any note in the opening half an hour, in fact, as an Arsenal side showing eight changes from their most recent outing struggled to get going.
The breakthrough moment would arrive shortly after, however, and it all came from a rare Vorskla voyage forward into the opposition half.
After pouncing on a loose pass on the edge of his own box, Henrikh Mkhitaryan fed Iwobi on the left and the Nigerian winger crossed for an unmarked Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to tuck past Bogdan Shust.
Arsenal managed to push on from that strong finish to the first half, taking just a few minutes of the second period to double their tally for the night.
A clipped Mkhitaryan cross from the left was guided past Shust by the head of Danny Welbeck, giving last season’s beaten semi-finalists some breathing space and a chance to flex their muscles.
Arsenal did not have to wait long for the killer third to arrive, though, with Aubameyang this time picking out the bottom corner after pouncing on his own misplaced pass just outside the opposition box.
Arsenal were always the more likely to bag the game’s next goal and it duly arrived before full time.
Stephan Lichsteiner lifted the ball over Shust towards the back post, where substitute Mesut Ozil was waiting to help it past a couple of defenders on the line with the underside of his boot.
Arsenal could not keep the opposition out, however, as Chesnakov thumped the ball past debutant Bernd Leno after the hosts failed to clear their lines from a corner.
Sharpar then pulled back a second for Vasyl Sachko’s men from the final kick of the match, sending the ball high into Leno’s net from right on the edge of the area with an equally-as-emphatic finish.