Aaron Ramsey Leads Arsenal Past Vorskla in 2018 Europa League Match

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2018

Arsenal players celebrate a goal during UEFA Europa League, Group E, football match Vorskla FC vs Arsenal FC at the Olympiyski Stadium in Kiev on November 29, 2018. (Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY / AFP)        (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

Arsenal beat Vorskla Poltava 3-0 on Thursday to win their UEFA Europa League group at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine.

Emile Smith Rowe gave them the lead after 10 minutes. He stroked home when the ball broke to him 12 yards out after Aaron Ramsey and Eddie Nketiah linked up well for the latter to drive into the box.

Ramsey doubled their tally from the penalty spot in the 27th minute, having been clumsily brought down by Igor Perduta.

Joe Willock made it 3-0 before half-time. Fed by Mohamed Elneny, Willock bore down on goal and coolly curled into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

Smith Rowe had the ball in the net a second time in the 67th minute when Stephan Lichtsteiner's cross ran through to him, but it was disallowed because Nketiah was offside and interfering with play.


Emery Must Make Better Use of Ramsey

With Ramsey in the final year of his Arsenal contract, manager Unai Emery has seemingly started to phase him out of his plans.

The Welshman has featured in every Premier League match for the Gunners this season, but he hasn't started in one since September. The Europa League and the Carabao Cup have proved to be his only significant outings of late.

However, while Emery may only have Ramsey until the end of the season, there's no reason not to make the most of him in the meantime.

Vorskla's Ukrainian defender Vadym Sapay (2nd-R) vies for the ball with Arsenal's Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey (L) during the UEFA Europa League Group E football match between Vorskla and Arsenal at the Olympiyski Stadium, in Kiev, on November 29, 2018.

In a starting lineup packed with youth, Ramsey showed his experience in Kiev. Though the penalty he was given was a little soft, it was cannily won by the midfielder as he invited contact from the obliging Perduta, and it was confidently dispatched.

The goal was something of a landmark for the 27-year-old:

Jake Entwistle @JakeEntwistle

Aaron Ramsey’s goal against Vorskla was the first penalty he has taken for the club; his 60th goal in total. He just had to take one before he leaves...

It was a neat reminder that Ramsey is one of the most incisive contributors Arsenal have in the final third.

Given that Henrikh Mkhitaryan is struggling to justify his place in the team, Ramsey can be put to much better use than he currently is.


Emile Smith Rowe, Arsenal Youngsters Have Earned Chance During Busy Festive Period

Arsenal play nine times in December, including trips to Manchester United and Liverpool as well as two home clashes with Tottenham.

While featuring in such matches will likely be beyond their young prospects at this stage, the Gunners will need to make full use of their squad during the festive period, and the likes of Smith Rowe have staked a claim for minutes.

The 18-year-old impressed again on Thursday and netted his third goal in his last four Arsenal appearances:

Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball

Emile Smith Rowe is the first player aged 18 to score multiple goals for Arsenal in a single European campaign since Theo Walcott in 2007/08 📈 https://t.co/6Vo2Rs5nLY

Though his second effort was ruled out, it showed his ability to position himself well in the penalty area to make the most of such opportunities.

Meanwhile, Willock showed impressive composure with his well-taken effort:

Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball

This is going very, very well for Arsenal's young side! 3-0 up before half time, and Joe Willock has his first goal for the club 👊 A beautiful finish 👌 https://t.co/NN1SifZr8N

As for Nketiah, he displayed good chemistry with Ramsey in the build-up to Arsenal's first goal.

Football.London's Charles Watts enjoyed his performance:

Charles Watts @charles_watts

Nketiah's been excellent, really hope he gets himself a goal. His movement and willingness to run the channels has caused Vorskla real problems.

Arsenal's youngsters will almost certainly get another run-out in the Gunners' final group game against Qarabag, particularly with their place in the knockout phase already secured.

Emery will need to rotate his side to keep his strongest players fit for their biggest games, so the likes of Smith Rowe, Nketiah and Willock deserve a chance to test themselves against opponents such as Huddersfield Town, Burnley and Brighton & Hove Albion.


What's Next

Arsenal take on local rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Sunday, while their final Europa League group game sees them host Qarabag on December 13. Vorskla travel to Sporting CP on the same day.