Granit Xhaka books Arsenal’s place in Europa League knockout stages with winner against PSV Eindhoven as brilliant stat sums up amazing season

    Granit Xhaka’s brilliant season in an Arsenal shirt continued as he netted the winner in a 1-0 Europa League victory over PSV Eindhoven.

    The Swiss midfielder is firmly a fan favourite and justified that status with a wonderful half volley goal in the second half.

    Xhaka saluted the Arsenal fans after netting his winner

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    Xhaka saluted the Arsenal fans after netting his winner

    Xhaka scored his third goal of the season for Arsenal, more than the last three seasons combined

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    Xhaka scored his third goal of the season for Arsenal, more than the last three seasons combined

    The goal guaranteed the Gunners a place in the Europa League knockout stages, and on the brink of finishing top.

    Finishing first is key as it means they would go straight to the last-16, rather than having to face an extra round of fixtures for those finishing second.

    Mikel Arteta made six changes to the side that beat Leeds 1-0, with only Xhaka, Gabriel Jesus and Bukayo Saka remaining.

    The hosts dominated the first half but could not test Walter Benitez in the PSV goal, with the sides locked at 0-0 at the interval.

    Jesus and Eddie Nketiah both had chances, but struggled to test the goalkeeper.

    Much of the talk before the game was about PSV winger Cody Gakpo, who is a target of Manchester United and Leeds, but Takehiro Tomiyasu expertly handled him.

    Jesus had a frustrating evening where he failed to find the net

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    Jesus had a frustrating evening where he failed to find the net

    Saka sparked injury fears when he went down clutching his ankle, but seemed to be fine

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    Saka sparked injury fears when he went down clutching his ankle, but seemed to be fine

    Arsenal eventually broke the deadlock with 20 minutes to go, Xhaka finishing with aplomb from just inside the PSV box.

    It was the Swiss midfielder’s third goal of the season, as manager as he has managed in the previous three seasons combined.

    It continues his remarkable turnaround from just three years ago when his relationship with the fans appeared fractured beyond repair.

    Now he is a firm favourite at the Emirates.

    Source

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