If the routine European League The group stage win is not mentioned for anything in the space of a few months, Arsenal fans may remember the stunning path along the byline by Gabriel Jesus allowing Fabio Vieira to decorate the scoreline of late. However, arguably the most telling sequence came an hour later. Bodo / Glimt improved since the first half and the dangerous raid to the left of Arsenal was their latest attempt, growing more convinced each time to undermine their two-goal deficit. Busting everything to stop them was Jesus’ blistering figure, making 60 yards and finally dispensing with the danger inside his trunk.
“When he does that, and has won everything in the last five years, imagine what the others have to do,” said Mikel Arteta of a player who has driven performance, belief and standards since his summer arrival. “So follow him, because he’s always in the right place.”
Jesus’ cruelty seems to be fading away. Arsenal won this match easily because they dealt with it Bodo / Glimt Like any other opponent, destroy the hero of Norway in the fierce first half and make sure that the match is won before legs get tired and brains are distracted. Only Gabriel Magalhaes, Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Martinelli were kept from the starting lineup that overshadowed Spurs but the supporting cast turned to a show with a much similar focus: they previously lacked such consistency in performance, and even if the occasion was dull, it bodes well.
The vibe was several notches higher thanks to healthy home support, perhaps bolstered more by the excitement surrounding their team than by the late return of continental football here, and the vibrant Bodo/Glimt collectively dressed in custard yellow. The team from Inside the Arctic Circle, the local champions and stunning strikers for Roma in the Conference League last season, is a true fairy tale and adds to the fun even if there is little prospect of a new chapter here.
Vieira had already come close twice, his second attempt at pressing the bar, when Eddie Nketiah scored the opening goal that was inevitable from the start. Bodø/Glimt was willing to force the players forward with style that carried them so far, but a quick break from Martinelli, followed by a sharp left pass to Kieran Tierney, revealed them. Tierney’s massive shot against the far post deserved a goal. In fairness the point reaction, which dominated his finish despite the speed of the recoil, did so too and any doubts in the house were allayed.
Four minutes later, the score was decided when Vieira, who had just forced Nikita Heiken to a fine save, made a superb cross for a chance that rising Rob Holding couldn’t turn down.
Vieira was inches away again shortly thereafter; It’s an exhilarating, gliding drive that immediately integrated into Arsenal’s attacking scheme. “You could see the quality every time he was around the box,” Arteta said. “He’s a real threat, a real smart player, really brave.”
Vieira certainly deserved his goal and Arsenal could have had more goals in the second half through Xhaka and Nketiah, the latter of which amplified the ball on pass. But Bodø/Glimt did contest things, superbly saving Matt Turner from Amahl Pellegrino, and showing enough to suggest Arsenal won’t have an easy ride on their artificial surface next week.
Arteta wasn’t happy with the spell, on either side of the clock, when the away team threatened, though the arrivals of Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard and Jesus eventually returned to their old rhythm. “When the score is in your hands, you have to manage the match better,” Arteta said. Thank God he found a spell to set the tone.