Xhaka fires Gunners into knockout stages of Europa League

    Granit Xhaka takes the congratulations from Bukayo Saka
    Granit Xhaka takes the congratulations from Bukayo Saka after a winning goal (Picture: Getty Images)

    Arsenal 1-0 PSV Eindhoven

    Arsenal swept into the Europa League knockout stages thanks to Granit Xhaka’s goal as they finally broke PSV Eindhoven’s resistance.

    The Switzerland midfielder turned and fired home with 20 minutes left to win a tie postponed on September 15 after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, and ensure Mikel Arteta’s side qualify from Group A with two games left.

    The Gunners boss made six changes from Sunday’s 1-0 win at Leeds against the Dutch team – managed by Ruud van Nistelrooy, who had some infamous battles with Arsenal during his playing days with Manchester United.

    The hosts knew a draw would take them through but found the visiting goalkeeper Walter Benitez in fine form.

    Top scorer Gabriel Jesus twice fired wide in the first half, while Kieran Tierney shot over on his 100th appearance for the London club.

    After the break, it was Bukayo Saka’s turn to be denied by Benitez as he tried a low effort while Eddie Nketiah bent a fierce shot just wide.

    However, Benitez was beaten with 20 minutes remaining when Takehiro Tomiyasu dinked in a cross from the right and Xhaka fired home, unusually for him with his right foot.

    It kept up the Gunners’ run of scoring in all of the 14 matches they have played so far this season.

    PSV’s best opportunity saw Xavi Simons’ low drive held by Matt Turner in the Arsenal goal and Benitez saved from Saka and Gabriel Martinelli.

    For Arteta’s Premier League leaders it was job done and the Arsenal bandwagon rolls on. Next stop a trip to Southampton on Sunday.

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