Match ends, Eintracht Frankfurt 0, Arsenal 3.
Eintracht Frankfurt 0-3 Arsenal: Gunners begin Europa League with win in Germany
Goals from academy graduates Joe Willock and Bukayo Saka helped Arsenal overcome a difficult test against Eintracht Frankfurt and begin their Europa League campaign with a victory.
Willock put the Gunners in front with a deflected shot in the first half before Saka smashed in his first senior goal for the club in the 85th minute.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang added a third two minutes later as Arsenal ended their three-game winless run.
The Gunners had created further chances but also relied on goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez to come to the aid of their fragile defence.
The Argentine produced excellent low saves to deny Filip Kostic and Andre Silva in the first half.
The second period was frantic in front of a vociferous home crowd with Arsenal's late goals only coming after Dominik Kohr was shown a second yellow card for a cynical foul.
The Gunners, beaten finalists in last year's Europa League, are top of the early Group F table on goal difference after Standard Liege beat Vitoria in the night's other game.
- English youngsters make their mark in Europe - who are Saka and Greenwood?
- Relive Thursday's Europa League action
Youngsters star in attack
Manager Unai Emery opted for a mix of youth and experience for the game in Germany, despite it arguably being Arsenal's toughest test in Group F, and it was their young players who stood out.
Eighteen-year-old Saka, playing for the first team for the first time this season and fifth time in total, was excellent on the left flank, scoring once and setting up the other two goals.
He created Willock's goal by beating his marker with fine skill in midfield and was the main threat for the Gunners in the first half.
The only criticism was he spurned a number of chances to increase Arsenal's lead but he silenced those doubts with an emphatic finish from the edge of the area late on.
Willock played as the Gunners most advanced central midfielder and offered a goal threat but also linked play well, notably with a fine driving run in the second half which ended with Martin Hinteregger excellently blocking an Aubameyang shot.
The scoreline flattered Arsenal in the end but the game will be most memorable for the performance of their youngsters.
Defensive issues remain
The Gunners came into the game on the back of their disappointing 2-2 draw against Watford, after which their defensive display was heavily criticised as they spurned a two-goal lead.
Although Arsenal kept a second clean sheet of the season, they still looked uncertain at the back and allowed Eintracht 24 shots on goal - seven fewer than the Hornets' 31 on Sunday.
Arsenal's deeper midfielders Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira failed to control proceedings with the second half end-to-end until Kohr was dismissed.
Eintracht, who reached the semi-finals of the Europa League last season before losing on penalties to Chelsea, lost strikers Sebastien Haller and Luka Jovic to West Ham and Real Madrid respectively in the summer and had either been in their line-up on Thursday, Arsenal's slack defence may have been punished.
Kostic caused right-back Calum Chambers significant problems but was wasteful, as was AC Milan loanee Silva, who shot well wide in the second half when given another good opportunity.
That said, Martinez, brought in for first-choice goalkeeper Bernd Leno, impressed with key saves in the first half and assured handling when called upon.
Man of the match - Bukayo Saka
'A dream come true' - reaction
Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka: "I'm so happy to score for Arsenal, it's a dream come true - I have been dreaming of this moment since I was a kid.
"I just want to keep working hard to make sure I can feel this feeling again."
Arsenal manager Unai Emery: "We knew tonight was going to be difficult, they fell back very deep and caused us problems early on.
"We recovered the ball well and the young players showed the confidence to take their chances.
"Everybody can be happy and continuing in this competition is important, so it was good to get a good win, especially away from home."
Eintracht coach Adi Hutter: "It's a bitter defeat for us, because the performance does not reflect that result.
"When it was still 1-0 for Arsenal, we tried to score the equaliser but then conceded another one.
"The important thing is for us to create chances, I have seen enough of those. A goal can help open some doors, give you a boost, that did not happen today."
Aubameyang's goal-scoring run - the best stats
- Arsenal have only lost one of their 13 group stage games in the Europa League (W10 D2), while this was their sixth consecutive clean sheet in the group stage of the competition.
- Arsenal picked up their first European away win against German opposition since November 2013 (1-0 v Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League), having failed to win on any of their previous five trips (D1 L4).
- Eintracht Frankfurt suffered their heaviest home defeat across European competitions - in what was their 74th such game on home soil.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has netted seven goals in his last seven Europa League appearances for Arsenal, with four of those coming away from home.
- Bukayo Saka is the youngest player to score for Arsenal in the Europa League/Champions League since October 2008, when Aaron Ramsey (17y 300d) netted against Fenerbahce.
- 13HintereggerBooked at 12mins
- 24da CostaSubstituted forChandlerat 74'minutes
- 28KohrBooked at 79mins
- 15KamadaBooked at 82mins
- 9DostSubstituted forMendes Paciênciaat 66'minutes
- 33André Silva
- 39Mendes Paciência
- 21ChambersBooked at 83mins
- 23David Luiz
- 31KolasinacBooked at 75minsSubstituted forMaitland-Nilesat 80'minutes
- 32Smith RoweSubstituted forPépéat 60'minutes
- 28WillockBooked at 63minsSubstituted forCeballosat 72'minutes
- Davide Massa
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Eintracht Frankfurt 0, Arsenal 3.
André Silva (Eintracht Frankfurt) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Arsenal).
Attempt missed. Lucas Torreira (Arsenal) header from the left side of the six yard box misses to the left. Assisted by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Attempt missed. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Bukayo Saka with a cross following a fast break.
Goal! Eintracht Frankfurt 0, Arsenal 3. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Bukayo Saka with a through ball.
Goal! Eintracht Frankfurt 0, Arsenal 2. Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Nicolas Pépé.
Djibril Sow (Eintracht Frankfurt) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Bukayo Saka (Arsenal).
Calum Chambers (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Filip Kostic (Eintracht Frankfurt) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Calum Chambers (Arsenal).
Attempt missed. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Calum Chambers following a set piece situation.
Daichi Kamada (Eintracht Frankfurt) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Daichi Kamada (Eintracht Frankfurt).
Dani Ceballos (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitution, Arsenal. Ainsley Maitland-Niles replaces Sead Kolasinac.
Second yellow card to Dominik Kohr (Eintracht Frankfurt) for a bad foul.
Foul by Dominik Kohr (Eintracht Frankfurt).
Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt saved. Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Attempt blocked. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Dani Ceballos.
Attempt missed. Filip Kostic (Eintracht Frankfurt) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.
Sead Kolasinac (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card.
Substitution, Eintracht Frankfurt. Timothy Chandler replaces Danny da Costa.
Attempt missed. Danny da Costa (Eintracht Frankfurt) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right following a corner.
Corner, Eintracht Frankfurt. Conceded by Calum Chambers.
Substitution, Arsenal. Dani Ceballos replaces Joe Willock.
Attempt saved. André Silva (Eintracht Frankfurt) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Filip Kostic with a cross.
Corner, Eintracht Frankfurt. Conceded by Bukayo Saka.
Corner, Eintracht Frankfurt. Conceded by Sead Kolasinac.
Attempt saved. Gonçalo Paciência (Eintracht Frankfurt) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Danny da Costa.
Attempt missed. Filip Kostic (Eintracht Frankfurt) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Dominik Kohr.
Corner, Eintracht Frankfurt. Conceded by Calum Chambers.
Attempt blocked. André Silva (Eintracht Frankfurt) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Filip Kostic.
Attempt saved. Joe Willock (Arsenal) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Bukayo Saka.
Foul by Gonçalo Paciência (Eintracht Frankfurt).
Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Eintracht Frankfurt. Gonçalo Paciência replaces Bas Dost.