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PSV deny Arsenal top spot with first Europa League loss

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Luke de Jong celebrates a goal in the match against Arsenal. | PHOTO: Courtesy |
  • Arsenal visited PSV in the UEFA Europa League Group A on Thursday night
  • Arsenal needed a win or a draw to seal the Top spot in the Group ahead of the knockout stages
  • The Gunners were however handed a shock as PSV eased past them to deny them surety of top spot 

Arsenal failed to seal the top spot in Group A of the UEFA Europa League after PSV handed them first loss in the competition this season with a 2-0 loss to the Dutch side.

Impressive duo Cody Gakpo and Xavi Simons both had first-half goals disallowed as Arsenal struggled, but PSV finally broke the dreadlock when Veerman picked out the top-right corner after the break.

De Jong was also impressive following his half-time introduction, and he got himself on the scoresheet by beating Aaron Ramsdale to a corner delivery as Arsenal crumbled.

The result saw PSV join Arsenal in sealing their own place in the knockout stage, also keeping alive their chances of surpassing Arsenal for the top spot.

Arsenal were warned of PSV’s intentions when Gakpo lifted a cool finish over Ramsdale 18 minutes in, only to be denied by the offside flag.

The uninspired Gunners required another reprieve as half-time approached.

Simons somehow squirmed through several challenges before prodding past Ramsdale, but a VAR review spotted an offside in the build-up to halt the hosts’ celebrations.

However, Arsenal’s survival finally ran out nine minutes after the restart, when Veerman took advantage of De Jong’s excellent hold-up play to fire home left-footed.

PSV 2-0 Arsenal: Veerman

PSV Eindhoven midfielder Joey Veerman celebrates after scoring the opener against Arsenal in the UEFA Europa League clash. | PHOTO: Courtesy |

The North London side struggled to cope with De Jong throughout the second half, and he made sure of the points when he beat Ramsdale to Gakpo’s corner with a firm header shortly after the hour mark.

Gakpo saw another goal chalked off for offside and De Jong went close with two more headers, but PSV still cruised to victory.

Arsenal’s scintillating start to the season has led to suggestions Arteta’s men could launch a genuine Premier League title bid, while they also entered Thursday’s match looking to defend a perfect record in Europe this term.

Arteta has repeatedly spoken of the importance of topping Group A in order to avoid extra knockout fixtures in the new year, but the Gunners’ hopes of doing so were dealt a serious blow by a brilliant PSV display.

Ruud van Nistelrooy’s team managed just four shots against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium last week – their lowest tally in all competitions since November 2016, but they looked a side transformed on home soil as they dealt the Gunners a deserved defeat.

PSV did see two goals ruled out before the break, but the sum of their lively performance amounted to just two shots, and one on target, prior to De Jong’s introduction as a half-time substitute.

The former Barcelona striker was in inspired form after entering the fray, however, teeing up the opener before netting a trademark header.

The striker’s goal was his 23rd in European competition while playing for an Eredivisie team, a tally only bettered by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (24) in the 21st century.

PSV Eindhoven 2-0 Arsenal: De Jong

PSV Eindhoven forward Luke de Jong celebrates after scoring the second against Arsenal in the UEFA Europa League clash. | PHOTO: Courtesy |

Gakpo has reportedly emerged as a transfer target for the likes of Manchester United following his fine performances in recent months, and the 23-year-old’s pace and trickery was on full display here.

As well as registering his second assist in the Europa League this season, Gakpo created a team-high three chances during an electrifying display.

Arsenal host Nottingham Forest in the Premier League on Sunday before taking on Zurich in their final Europa League group game next Thursday. The Gunners will need to win that match to be sure of top spot, with PSV bidding to overtake them when they visit Bodo/Glimt.

Nathan Sialah is a journalist by profession with interest in politics, sports, cryptocurrency and human interests with 5 years experience in Radio and Digital Journalism. This has helped Sialah develop a responsible approach to any task he undertakes or any situation that he is presented with.

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