Hits and Misses: Bodo/Glimt (a)

On Thursday, Arsenal put up possibly their worst performance of the season. They traveled to the Arctic Circle to take on Bodo/Glimt for the second time in a week and found themselves unable to properly control the match. A scrappy affair on an artificial pitch ended with a 1-0 win for Arsenal, courtesy of a goal from Bukayo Saka in the 24th minute. The result sees them stays top of Group A in the Europa League after three matches. Below are three Hits and three Misses from a rather forgettable game.


Matt Turner

The American took another step toward establishing himself as a reliable backup to Aaron Ramsdale. He managed to keep a clean sheet, and had to work a little to earn it. In particular, he made a fine stop when Amahl Pellegrino was played in on goal. Turner was pretty commanding of his area when crosses came in, and his distribution looks to have improved as well. All in all, it was an assured performance that should ease the doubts of supporters.

Sambi Lokonga

Another player who hopefully improved their reputation among the club faithful on Thursday was Sambi. Once again filling in at the base of midfield, the Belgian was impressive on the ball. He demonstrated some great close control under pressure and played some incisive passes as well. The highlight of his performance came during a give-and-go move with Saka on the edge of Bodo/Glimt’s penalty area that assisted the Englishman’s winner. He still needs to improve off the ball, but it is another good showing as a six.

Granit Xhaka

To start the second half, Arsenal looked shaky. Bodo/Glimt were gaining control of the match, launching several attacks on the Gunners’ goal in quick succession. In the 59th minute, Xhaka came on, replacing Saka. The Swiss midfielder added a leadership presence to the side and spurred Arsenal to up their game enough to hold on to the lead. His was a much-needed veteran hand to steady the ship.


Fabio Vieira

The man who vacated the left eight role for Xhaka’s entrance was Vieira, who was rather disappointing on the day. The Portuguese starlet struggled to impose himself on the match, often being crowded out in midfield. He did demonstrate his versatility by playing in three different positions over the course of the match. However, it is another quiet game in European competition for Vieira, and hopefully he improves on that moving forward.

Rob Holding

Arsenal have a terrific collection of defenders; William Saliba, Ben White, Gabriel, and Takehiro Tomiyasu are all potentially elite players who are secure at the back while possessing the athleticism and technical ability needed to contribute in possession. So far, Arsenal’s Europa League matches have demonstrated that Holding does not fall into this group. His technical ability is not impressive but more relevant on the night was his inability to play in a high line. He sat rather deep at times and was caught out by a long ball that gave Bodo/Glimt their best chance. As Arsenal progress further into the season, it is likely Holding will become a rarer sight.

Bodo/Glimt’s pitch

It is understandable that due to the club’s location in the Arctic Circle, maintenance of a normal grass pitch is difficult and thus the use of artificial fields is warranted. But Bodo/Glimt’s pitch hindered the level of play greatly. It made the movement of the ball was unpredictable for the players, who also struggled slightly to get about the pitch. At one point in the first half, Martin Odegaard went down with an apparent ankle injury, highlighting the increased risk of playing on turf. Overall, the pitch contributed to a disappointing spectacle. Hopefully, Arsenal do not have to play on such a surface again for a while.

Sham writes and podcasts regularly about The Arsenal, and once wrote a poem that was read by Peter Drury. He can be followed on Twitter @dopegooner.