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Rapid Wien 1-2 Arsenal: 5 Talking Points as Gunners come from behind to win| UEFA Europa League 2020-21 

Rapid Wien vs Arsenal FC: Group B - UEFA Europa League
Rapid Wien vs Arsenal FC: Group B - UEFA Europa League
Sunaadh Sagar
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 23 Oct 2020, 02:34 IST
Top 5 / Top 10
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Arsenal began their 2020-21 Europa League campaign in nervy fashion, coming from behind to defeat Rapid Wien in Vienna by a 2-1 scoreline.

The game kicked off against the backdrop of 3000 noisy Austrian fans who sounded as if they were 30,000. There was little to cheer for either team in the first half, though, as both goalkeepers were barely worked, with Ritzmaier's deflected backheel the only shot to trouble Bernd Leno in the Arsenal goal.

The Gunners came close via a David Luiz header from a set-piece, but the visitors offered little else going forward in a scrappy first half.

The second half, however, provided plenty of action. A nightmare clearance from Bernd Leno meant that Taxiarchis Fountas could roll the ball into the net from a narrow angle and give Rapid Wien the lead just six minutes into the second half. A few more nervy moments from Leno followed before David Luiz restored parity with an excellent header from a Nicolas Pepe set-piece in the 70th minute.

Four minutes later, substitute Hector Bellerin ran onto Mohamed Elneny's eye-of-the-needle pass into the box and squared for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to tap the ball home and make it 2-1 for Arsenal.

On that note, here are five major talking points from the game:


#1 Thomas Partey impresses in his first start for Arsenal

Thomas Partey made his Arsenal full debut against Rapid Wein.
Thomas Partey made his Arsenal full debut against Rapid Wein.
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Ghanaian Thomas Partey came on late against Manchester City for Arsenal, but had very few minutes to make a true impact. His first 90 minutes for Arsenal were much more impressive, with Partey immediately displaying why he's all set to be crucial to the Arsenal midfield after starting against Rapid Wein.

It was no surprise to see the Atletico Madrid arrival position himself excellently, with the midfielder snuffing out danger and even preventing a goal in the first half with a long-stretched leg to poke the ball away, something that was reminiscent of a certain French captain of Arsenal.

Even when Wien were double-pressing him, Partey still found the touch and pass to keep the ball moving as he grew into the game. Clearly there is more to Partey's game than just his defensive play, something that ought to provide Arteta more options in midfield.


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#2 Rapid Wien could leave a mark in European football this season

Rapid Wein (green) led Arsenal for 70 minutes before conceding two late goals.
Rapid Wein (green) led Arsenal for 70 minutes before conceding two late goals.

It was heartbreak for Rapid Wien on the opening night of their 2020-21 Europa League campaign, but for 70 minutes, the Austrian club could dare to dream. The scoreline may have been harsh on the hosts, who deserved at least a point from this game.

The tactics were clear from the off. Wien were not afraid to take the game to the Gunners and pressed hungrily. It paid off in the second half as Bernd Leno grew increasingly nervous, and Wien had two great chances to add to the score.

With Molde defeating Dundalk in the other group game, it could be down to Wien and the Norwegian club to fight for a place alongside Arsenal to qualify for the knockout rounds. On the basis of this performance Wien may very well be the favourites for that spot.

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Published 23 Oct 2020, 02:34 IST
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