Arsenal: Turner, Tomiyasu, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Sambi, Xhaka, Vieira, Saka, Jesus, Nketiah
Subs: Ramsdale, Hein, White, Partey, Odegaard, Martinelli, Saliba, Cedric, Nelson, Marquinhos, Cirjan, Edwards
Arsenal secured Europa League knockout football after a 1-0 win over PSV at the Emirates this evening.
Mikel Arteta picked a relatively strong team, starting the likes of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Jesus and Granit Xhaka alongside some of the Europa regulars.
The Gunners started with plenty of possession, the visitors seemingly happy to sit in their own half when we had the ball, but attempts on goal were in short supply until the 11th minute.
Kieran Tierney skied one which fell nicely on his left foot, and good work from Jesus presented Xhaka with an opportunity which he didn’t make the most of considering how well he can strike a ball. Jesus dragged one wide from the edge of the box in the 20th minute, and in general it was a cagey affair.
Simons shot over for PSV after we lost the ball in midfield, Vieira almost found Jesus with an excellent pass from deep into their box, and it was another almost moment for the striker when Xhaka’s dummy rolled his way but he was caught slightly on his heels at the decisive moment.
Gabriel almost got on the end of corners from Saka and Vieira, before brilliant work from Saka saw Eddie’s cross for Jesus cut out by some last ditch defending. A foul on Xhaka presented Arsenal with a free kick from outside the box which Vieira curled into the side-netting, and late in the half Xhaka picked up the first booking for a late challenge on Simons.
Neither manager made a change at the break, and Arsenal had the first sight of goal. Jesus and Saka combined, but the striker couldn’t get any power in his close range shot. The roles were reversed when Jesus put Saka through but his poked effort was saved, and the Brazilian powered towards goal before being fouled by Gutierrez who picked up a yellow card in the process.
A fantastic run from Jesus saw him take a shot on goal which the keeper was equal to., a Saka shot was headed out for a corner from which Jesus headed over. PSV made two changes, bringing on two lads for two other lads. Arteta responded by replacing Sambi and Vieira with Martin Odegaard and Thomas Partey.
Simons forced a save from Turner, Jesus didn’t make good contact when the ball fell to him in the box, but in the 71st minute the deadlock was finally broken. Arsenal worked it down the right, Odegaard played it perfectly down the line to Tomiyasu. His clipped ball back into the box fell for Xhaka who swivelled and fired home with his right foot. 1-0.
Saka then had a chance to make it 2-0, forcing a good save from the keeper, before Arteta brought on Ben White and Gabriel Martinelli for Tomiyasu and Jesus. Intricate play around the PSV box provided a chance for Martinelli which the keeper was equal to, and Benitez also saved from Saka who should probably have played in Martinelli at the back post.
Arsenal made a final change, Reiss Nelson replacing Saka in the 85th minute. Odegaard and Tierney picked up yellow cards in the same move as they prevented a PSV break, Eddie had a shot blocked after good work from Martinelli, and in the end the Gunners were decent value for the win.