London: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a goal in each half as Arsenal eased to a 4-2 win over Vorskla in their Europa League campaign opener played Thursday. In the other match, Chelsea kicked off their campaign with a 1-0 victory over PAOK.
The Ukrainian visitors proved stubborn opponents initially, but the result was rarely in doubt from the moment Aubameyang broke the deadlock after 32 minutes.
Danny Welbeck was on target early in the second half before Aubameyang doubled his tally and Mesut Ozil came off the bench to get in on the act.
Captain Vladimir Chesnakov gave Vorskla something to shout about with an excellent finish 14 minutes from time and Vyacheslav Sharpar found the net in similar style with the last kick of the game.
Alex Iwobi was Arsenal’s liveliest attacking threat during a largely forgettable opening and the Nigeria international’s fine cross allowed Aubameyang to slide home at the back post after Henrikh Mkhitaryan drove at Vorskla on the counter-attack.
By the time Vorskla goalkeeper Bogdan Shust pushed a Mkhitaryan attempt over, the away side were certainly in need of half time.
Upon restart, Vasyl Sachko’s men were unable to stem the tide and Welbeck was on hand to head in Mkhitaryan’s 48th-minute centre.
Aubameyang crashed a volley over, but was the beneficiary of Shust’s questionable positioning to dispatch Arsenal’s third from the edge of the box in the 56th minute, Mkhitaryan again supplying the ammunition.
Stephan Lichtsteiner lifted the ball over the out-rushing Shust for substitute Ozil to grab a fourth in the 74th minute, but the experienced full-back was caught in possession when Chesnakov smashed in an emphatic strike.
At Thessaloniki, midfielder Willian’s early goal gave the Blues a winning start to their journey that made it six victories in a row for Maurizio Sarri’s men. The Brazil international’s fourth strike in his last five European matches followed a surging run from Ross Barkley.
Chelsea’s winning margin should have been far wider, but they were wasteful in front of goal, with Alvaro Morata the main culprit. But it mattered little as the Blues secured three points in what could be the toughest of their away trips in Group L.
AC Milan 1 F91 Dudelange 0
Frankfurt 2 Marseille 1
Sevilla 5 Standard Liege 1