Nicolas Pepe put his red card against Leeds United behind him with the opening goal against Molde as Arsenal secured their place in the last 32 of the Europa League.
The Ivory Coast forward curled a powerful strike into the top corner after a difficult week following his dismissal at Elland Road.
Reiss Nelson doubled the Gunners’ lead shortly after with a tap-in from close range as Arsenal progressed to the knockout stage with two games to spare.
Substitute Folarin Balogun, 19, scored with his first touch to cement victory for Mikel Arteta’s side in Norway.
The North London side have won all four games in Group B and scored 12 goals in the process, displaying a consistency that is in contrast to their Premier League campaign.
After a bright but goalless first half, £72m signing Pepe broke the deadlock for the Gunners in a style befitting his price tag.
A lovely cushioned touch set the 25-year-old up to fire home past goalkeeper Andreas Linde and put Arsenal on their way to last 32.
The Gunners quickly increased their advantage when Nelson, Arsenal’s best player along with Pepe, tapped home after a good pass into the box by Joe Willock.
A comfortable win was completed when Balogun swivelled in the penalty area and fired home a low strike to cap off a positive performance by Arteta’s side.
With qualification to the knockout stage secured, the focal point for Arsenal in Europe will be the return of a small number of supporters to Emirates Stadium for the tie against Rapid Vienna on 3 December.
The club tweeted before the game in Norway: “It’s been a long nine long months without our fans. And our matches simply haven’t been the same. So we’re delighted to confirm we’ll be safely welcoming 2,000 fans back to Emirates Stadium for next week’s #UEL fixture.”
Gunners find form in Norway
An away game in wintry Norway might not have seemed an ideal fixture for Arteta and Arsenal to face after a modest performance in the draw against Leeds and a sobering 3-0 home defeat to Aston Villa in the Premier League.
But Pepe, red carded for a headbutt on Ezgjan Alioski on Sunday, looked keen to repay Arteta’s pre-match words of support with a bright performance.
The former Lille winger’s first moment of threat came when he sprinted down the left and cut inside to make space for a shot but fired over the bar.
He got closer with his next effort from the outside the area as his curling drive hit the crossbar with Molde goalkeeper Linde beaten.
The club’s record signing, who will now start the first of his three-match domestic ban against Wolves, eventually got his third goal in the Europa League this season with a neat piece of control and shot.
Pepe’s strike gave Arsenal’s youthful side an injection of confidence and, after a dearth of goals in their previous two fixtures, suddenly Arteta’s side looked dangerous with every attack.
Nelson, who turns 21 in December, was a bright note from the start at the Arker Stadium as he linked up well with captain Alexandre Lacazette and got an early effort on target.
The winger was rewarded for his persistence as he doubled the advantage from the six-yard box and then Balogun, linked with a move from Arsenal in the summer, staked his claim for a new contract by scoring on only his second appearance for the Gunners.
- 6GregersenSubstituted forKnudtzonat 85′minutes
- 3RisaSubstituted forHolmgren Pedersenat 82′minutes
- 16HussainSubstituted forBollyat 61′minutes
- 7Wolff EikremSubstituted forBrynhildsenat 81′minutes
- 10JamesSubstituted forOmoijuanfoat 61′minutes
- 27Holmgren Pedersen
- 17Cédric Soares
- 23David LuizSubstituted forHoldingat 45′minutes
- 28WillockSubstituted forTierneyat 75′minutes
- 34XhakaSubstituted forCeballosat 62′minutes
- 9LacazetteSubstituted forSmith Roweat 75′minutes
- 30NketiahSubstituted forBalogunat 82′minutes
- 32Smith Rowe
- Irfan Peljto
Match ends, Molde 0, Arsenal 3.
Second Half ends, Molde 0, Arsenal 3.
Attempt blocked. Nicolas Pépé (Arsenal) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Dani Ceballos.
Offside, Arsenal. Cédric Soares tries a through ball, but Folarin Balogun is caught offside.
Attempt blocked. Fredrik Aursnes (Molde) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Henry Wingo.
Substitution, Molde. Erling Knudtzon replaces Stian Rode Gregersen.
Foul by Folarin Balogun (Arsenal).
Stian Rode Gregersen (Molde) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Goal! Molde 0, Arsenal 3. Folarin Balogun (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Emile Smith Rowe.
Substitution, Arsenal. Folarin Balogun replaces Eddie Nketiah.
Substitution, Molde. Marcus Holmgren Pedersen replaces Birk Risa.
Substitution, Molde. Ola Brynhildsen replaces Magnus Wolff Eikrem.
Foul by Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal).
Sheriff Sinyan (Molde) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Mathis Bolly (Molde) right footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Fredrik Aursnes.
Substitution, Arsenal. Kieran Tierney replaces Joseph Willock.
Substitution, Arsenal. Emile Smith Rowe replaces Alexandre Lacazette.
Joseph Willock (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Stian Rode Gregersen (Molde).
Attempt missed. Rob Holding (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Nicolas Pépé with a cross following a corner.
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