Granit Xhaka’s volley ensured Arsenal secured qualification for the Europa League’s knockout ranges with two games to spare, firing the Gunners to a 1-0 home win over PSV.
Mikel Arteta chosen a strong facet as Arsenal seemed to ensure their progression from Group A on Thursday, however PSV appeared probably to make them wait after producing a resolute protective display.
Walter Benitez saved Arsenal at bay till the 70th minute, however Xhaka expertly diverted a right-wing delivery into the bottom-left nook to seal the hosts’ progress.
While Arsenal are now assured of a area in the Europa League’s knockout stages, a factor in next week’s return fixture will warranty them top spot and a bye to the competition’s round of 16.
Xhaka and Gabriel Jesus each dragged left-footed efforts wide as Arsenal laid siege to PSV’s intention in the early exchanges, with Kieran Tierney additionally sending a wild volley over.
Fabio Vieira then whipped a free-kick broad of the bottom-left nook after 41 minutes, with Arteta’s crew failing to control a shot on target before the break as PSV stood firm.
Arsenal improved after the restart, however Benitez made an excellent one-on-one store to deny Bukayo Saka after 53 minutes before turning Jesus’ effort away following a slaloming run from the Brazilian.
Eddie Nketiah then smashed an effort narrowly wide of the left-hand post.
But simply when Arsenal regarded to be running out of ideas, Xhaka had the final say.
The Switzerland global swivelled on Takehiro Tomiyasu’s shipping to drill a right-footed effort past the dive of Benitez from just inner the area, ensuring Arsenal’s progress.
What does it mean? – Perfect Gunners progress
Arsenal started out their Europa League campaign with three successive victories for the fifth time in as many seasons competing in the competition. In only one of these previous instances, however, had the Gunners long gone on to win their fourth team game (in 2020-21).
Arteta validated his want to seal a top-two spot with time to spare via choosing a sturdy team, and Arsenal dominated throughout as they managed 25 tries to PSV’s four, the Gunners’ chances worth 2.6 predicted goals (xG).
Xhaka’s goal was the least the Gunners deserved after last patient at the Emirates, and Arsenal will now be supremely assured of securing first place in Group A.
Xhaka continues redemption arc
Few players have loved a turnaround as amazing as that of Xhaka; once deemed surplus to necessities and maligned by his personal supporters, the tenacious midfielder has emerged as a leader in Arteta’s bright young team.
Xhaka has now scored as many desires this campaign (three) as in his previous three seasons combined, whilst Thursday’s intention represented his first for Arsenal to not be scored with his left foot.
Ruud welcome for Van Nistelrooy
PSV teach Ruud van Nistelrooy did not precisely enjoy facing Arsenal as a player. The former striker solely scored twice in 12 conferences with the Gunners as a Manchester United player, his worst goals-per-game fee against any aspect he faced greater than 5 times with the Red Devils (0.2).
Unfortunately for the Dutchman, his team did not fare much higher in the front of goal on Thursday, recording simply one shot on goal and failing to seriously test Matt Turner in the Arsenal goal.