First game against Rapid Vienna. Hard to know what to expect from them. The 3000 strong crowd sounded like 30,000, with the echo
And first start for Partey who oozed class, effortlessly breaking up attacks, and starting counters. Lacazette came in as captain – partnered by Nketiah and Pepe up front. Arsenal started with a back four.
Early minutes showed Rapid Vienna to be solid defensively – getting into shape quickly – but anything but rapid.
A good one two between Saka and Nketiah in the first ten saw the ball go loose.
A Cedric free kick and Luiz header angled down was saved by Vianna goalkeeper, Sterbinger.
Leno was called to stretch to save.
Partey saved a one two between Kara and Fountas and generally oozed class, and showed steel in midfield, but was booked for catching a face with a flailing elbow in a midfield tussle.
Fountas drove through and shot – saved by Leno.
Nketiah was booked for knocking the ball into the net, after an offside.
An Aras chance was blocked by Luiz.
Kara turned Luiz and shot dangerously across the goal.
Arteta told Cedric to play further forward. And no sooner had he done so, it left space for Pepe to go on a mazy run.
Nketiah, on a yellow got away with an elbow in Stojkovic’s face. And Saka escaped giving away a penalty with a ball that hit the arm on the T-shirt line.
Arsenal have passed out from the back so many times, successfully, that it is easy to forget, it is not foolproof. Luiz passed to Leno back to Luiz, but Kara nicked the pass out and Fountas hit it into the net.
Arsenal needed more players in the opposition box as two crosses went begging.
Saka performed a one-two with Kolasinac but the cross was cut out by Strebinger.
Leno, clearly rattled by his mistake, hit is straight to Fountas on a kick-out but the German saved.
On 60, Aubameyang came on for Nketiah and Bellerin for Cedric. The pace increased. And Partey straight away sent a ball over the top and found Aubameyang.
Rapid Vienna kept fouling. Pepe was blocked off, and his free kick served justice as it was guided into the net by Luiz – his third goal on his fiftieth game for Arsenal.
Leno wasn’t settling and he rushed out unnecessarily and the ball rebounded against Luiz with Fountas hitting a long shot at an unguarded net, wide.
Elneny cut the Vienna defence with a straight pass which found Bellerin free. He crossed for Aubameyang to tap in.
Lacazette was free from a long ball but lost it; and Pepe with a good chance whipped it over the bar.
Willock and Tierney came on for Lacazette and Saka. And good game management saw out the last ten minutes.
Leno capped a poor performance getting booked for timewasting.
Arteta said on Partey: “I think he held the midfield by himself in the second half when we were a little bit more open,” said the Arsenal boss. “He started to take more chances attacking certain spaces with some players.
“I think he was fantastic and there is much more to come from him.”
On playing out from the back: “”In a split second you have to make a decision, you have to make the right touch and the right pass. The opponents as well are intuitive and they are waiting for that.
“It’s something we have to keep working on because we want to play the way I want to. It’s necessary that I keep using both in our build-up play.”
Rapid Vienna: Strebinger, Arase (Booked at 60, Substituted for Schickat 79),Stojkovic, Hofmann, Barac, Ullmann, Ljubicic Grahovac (Booked at 15), Ritzmaier (Booked at 69, Substituted for Knasmüllnerat 88),Kara (Booked at 63, Substituted for Kitagawa at 76) Fountas
Arsenal: Leno (Booked at 90),Cédric Soares (Substituted for Bellerín at 61), David Luiz, Magalhães,Kolasinac, Elneny, Partey (Booked at 34), Saka (Substituted for Tierney at 84),Pépé (Substituted for Nelson at 90+4),Lacazette (Booked at 27, Substituted for Willockat 84), Nketiah Booked at 37 Substituted for Aubameyang at 61)