Eddie Nketiah joins exclusive group as Arsenal get off to winning Europa League start
Arsenal got their Europa League campaign off to a winning start with a 2-1 win in Zurich this evening.
Mikel Arteta’s men went in front on two separate occasions through debutant Marquinhos and Eddie Nketiah, each creating the other’s goal, while Mirlind Kryeziu scored FC Zurich’s consolation from the spot.
Nketiah’s effort in particular was significant as not only was it his first of the season but a third successive strike when starting in this competition meaning he became the fifth Englishman to score in three consecutive Europa League starts after Bobby Zamora, Jermain Defoe, Harry Kane and James Tavernier.
🏆 Off the mark in the @EuropaLeague
🙌 Marquinhos becomes the first player to score on his debut since Charlie Patino in December 2021
🔵 0-1 ⚫️ (37) pic.twitter.com/vLDz1YNNVe
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) September 8, 2022
It was a return to successful ways for the Gunners who last time out in Premier League action suffered a 3-1 loss to long-time rivals Manchester United on the road. Consequently, their 100% start evaporated and Arteta used Thursday’s showdown in Switzerland to rotate his squad. Marquinhos, who relocated from boyhood club São Paulo in the summer, was handed a first start and subsequently made the most of his opportunity. The 19-year-old forward put the visitors ahead while creating no fewer than four chances before coming off for Bukayo Saka in the 69th minute.
His last major contribution was teeing-up Nketiah for the winner. Before this latest European outing the Londoner had enjoyed 76 minutes of Premier League football (across six appearances), he played two more minutes total on Swiss soil. Before the arrival of Gabriel Jesus many observers felt the former Leeds United loanee would spearhead Arsenal’s attack after finishing last season strongly. That has not come to pass but on today’s showing Nketiah and Marquinhos have proven to be capable understudies.