Mikel Arteta admitted Arsenal’s 1-0 win over FC Zurich wasn’t pretty but he didn’t seem to care too much as the three points ensured his side finished top of Europa League Group A.
Kieran Tierney grabbed the only goal of the game in the first half with a well-taken strike from just outside the box on a night when the Swiss visitors threatened an equaliser with a spirited showing after the break.
Facing the BT Sport cameras, Arteta said: “Job done. It is never easy to win games in Europe. It wasn’t the prettiest game we’ve played but we managed to win.
“We had the chances – especially early on and at the end of the first half – to get the game in a much more comfortable position. We gave them hope and were a bit leggy at the end but we kept the clean sheet.”
Arteta also had warm words for matchwinner Tierney who has been frustrated by a lack of minutes in the Premier League. Selected at left-back, the Scot produced a man of the match performance, and may well be in line for a start against Chelsea with substitute Takehiro Tomiyasu, who has rivalled him at left-back, picking up a late injury.
“He was really good,” Arteta said of Tierney. “Kieran is showing a lot of maturity. He has respected certain decisions we have taken.
“He has played a lot of minutes and today he scored a great goal. That’s what we demand of the players: to be ready to make a difference.
“Everybody has to be ready and is important because we don’t have the biggest squad. They have been important in the league and the Europa League.”
The Tomiyasu situation will certainly be a concern for player, club and country. Japan today confirmed the defender had been selected for their World Cup squad but appears to have picked up an untimely muscle issue.
“We don’t know,” said the manager when asked how serious it is.
“He had some muscular issue and we didn’t want to take any risk. We’ll assess him in the next 48 hours.”