De Jong stars as PSV beat Arsenal | Arteta: No time to feel sorry for ourselves

Luuk de Jong scored one and assisted another in a superb second-half cameo as PSV beat Arsenal 2-0, with the Gunners missing the chance to seal top spot in Europa League Group A.

Mikel Arteta highlighted the importance of topping the group ahead of the game, with the winners going straight into the round of 16 and bypassing an additional play-off tie that includes the best third-place teams from the Champions League – Barcelona and six-time Europa League winners Sevilla are already in the draw.

But PSV looked the more likely to top the group – having qualified for the knockout rounds themselves courtesy of Zurich’s late win against Bodo/Glimt – and could have been out of sight in the first half too, although their two goals were correctly ruled out for offside.

The first was a fine finish from Cody Gakpo, but the flag was up. Then, right before half-time, the lively Xavi Simons beat three Arsenal defenders before slotting home, only for former Aston Villa winger Anwar El Ghazi to be penalised by VAR for being offside in the build-up.

William Saliba chases Cody Gakpo
Cody Gakpo had two goals ruled out for offside, but did pick up an assist

Ruud van Nistelrooy introduced 32-year-old striker De Jong at the break in what proved to be an inspired decision. He set up Joey Veerman for PSV’s opener (55), holding off Rob Holding with little effort before squaring the ball for the midfielder. Veerman then slotted home as the Dutch side finally saw a goal stand.

De Jong then scored himself. Gakpo delivered a corner, with Aaron Ramsdale – making his European debut in place of the injured Matt Turner – fumbling his attempt to punch the ball away, allowing the PSV striker to head home (63).

Gakpo again had the ball in the net in the second half, but another offside flag was up, but it did not matter too much as Arsenal offered very little at the other end.

While Arteta said he was “disappointed” with the result, he also insisted Arsenal remain in a good place and do not have time to feel sorry for themselves.

“It’s really difficult to win every game in Europe,” he said. “We are in a really good position. We’re disappointed tonight but there’s no time to feel sorry for ourselves. We have to react. On Sunday, we have a really important game, and then we’ll look at Zurich.

“We have to be much better than we were today. We knew what they were trying to do and the way we executed certain actions, the way we competed, it wasn’t good enough.”

The battle between the Gunners and PSV for top spot in Group A will now go down to the final group matches next Thursday. Arsenal remain two points ahead in first, but will want an all-out win against Zurich to send them into the round of 16.

How PSV out-fought Arsenal

Veerman's superb finish put PSV in front
Joey Veerman’s superb finish put PSV in front

PSV had the better chances from the off. Inside nine minutes, Ramsdale made a superb stop to deny Simons. The 19-year-old then fed Gakpo at the top of the area, but the PSV captain slipped as he attempted to strike, seeing the ball roll into Ramsdale’s arms.

Gakpo found the net with the first of his two disallowed goals soon after. He collected a superb through-ball with William Saliba unable to stop his run, before the PSV captain lifted the ball over the oncoming Ramsdale and into an open net. However, the flag was up and the goal was ruled out.

The incident seemed to galvanise the Gunners somewhat as they began to see their own chances. Eddie Nketiah drew a fine save from Walter Benitez from close range, before Gabriel Martinelli sent an acrobatic volley well over the crossbar.

Team news

  • PSV made three changes after losing 4-2 to Groningen in the Eredivisie. Everton loanee Jarrad Branthwaite came into the XI along with Philipp Mwene and Erick Gutierrez. Jordan Teze, Armando Obispo and Guus Til dropped to the bench.
  • Arsenal made five changes from their draw with Southampton at the weekend. Ben White, Gabriel, Thomas Partey, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Jesus all dropped to the bench.
  • Kieran Tierney, William Saliba, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Fabio Vieira and Eddie Nketiah came in, with Aaron Ramsdale making his first European appearance in place of regular Europa League goalkeeper Matt Turner, who was ruled out with a minor injury

It was a dramatic end to the first half too as PSV saw another goal ruled out for offside. Another long pass was touched into Simons’ path by El Ghazi. The teenager then used some sublime footwork to dink past Kieran Tierney, Holding and Saliba before slotting home. But after a little wait, VAR ruled out the strike.

Arsenal could have dealt the ultimate blow with a late goal. However, after a neat flick from Martinelli, Martin Odegaard’s thumping effort was expertly pushed away by Benitez with the last kick of the half.

Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal takes on Jarrad Branthwaite of PSV
Arsenal will need to beat Zurich next Thursday to secure top spot in Group A

The second half began with chances at both ends – Nketiah and Tierney firing wide before an impressive double save from Ramsdale – but PSV finally took the lead with Veerman’s slotted strike, and then quickly doubling it thanks to De Jong’s header.

The Dutch side could have added another too, but the offside rule was once again their nemesis. In one of their best moves, Simons drove forward, waiting for support before picking out Ibrahim Sangare to his right. He then swept a wonderful ball into the area for Gakpo, which the forward dispatched. But the flag was correctly up once again.

De Jong, Simons and Gakpo continued to test Arsenal at the back, but the Gunners could have given themselves a late hope of salvaging a point. Nketiah fired goalwards from close range, drawing a fine save from Walter Benitez. With the striker and Gabriel Jesus lurking, Everton loanee Jarrad Branthwaite was across to put the loose ball wide, picking up a kick in his leg in the process.

But PSV were certainly worth their victory as Arsenal suffered just their second defeat of the season and the first in the Europa League.

Man of the match – Luuk de Jong

It’s a struggle to remember a player making such an impact at half-time, but it was a superb 45 minutes from the striker. It was just the performance he needed as he makes his way back from injury.

Player ratings

PSV: Benitez (6), Mwene (6), Ramalho (7), Branthwaite (6), Max (6), Veerman (7), Sangare (7), Gutierrez (7), Simons (8), El Ghazi (6), Gakpo (8).

Subs used: De Jong (8), Madueke (n/a), Til (n/a), Teze (n/a), Mauro Junior (n/a).

Arsenal: Ramsdale (6), Tomiyasu (6), Holding (5), Saliba (5), Tierney (6), Lokonga (5), Xhaka (6), Odegaard (7), Vieira (6), Nketiah (6), Martinelli (6).

Subs used: Partey (5), Saka (5), Jesus (6), White (6), Gabriel (6).

Man of the match: Luuk de Jong.

Arteta: We were nowhere near our level

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says it’s time for his team to ‘reset’ after their first defeat in ten games against PSV Eindhoven in the Europa League.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta:

“I’m very disappointed. It’s the end of a long run, where we won a lot of games and today is our first defeat [since the start of September] and we have to reset.

“Congratulations to PSV – they were the better team today. We were nowhere near our level and we know that in Europe, it’s very difficult to win [then].

“We didn’t get any control. We didn’t get the ball in the areas we wanted. We gave so many balls away, which allowed so many transitions, which was what they were looking for whenever they got in the right structure. They were on top of a lot of things that last week was different.

“We have periods where we’ve been excellent and periods where we’ve suffered. For sure, we haven’t had the consistency for 95 minutes to maintain the level we want. That’s the next challenge and the next aim for this team.

“Today I think it was very different, right from the beginning. Even though we had periods where we controlled the game, I didn’t feel that we had the threat and the aggression that we’ve been playing at.

“That was worrying. In the second half, the moment something went wrong, we just went down and we didn’t really find moments to give us some hope to react and get something out of the game.

“It’s my responsibility to adapt and to get the best out of the players. These players have been exceptionally good. They’ve been performing at a level that probably no one expected. It’s down to us and especially down to me to get the best out of them – that’s it.”

Opta stats – PSV’s attacking talent

  • Arsenal suffered just their second ever away defeat in the group stages of the UEFA Europa League (P15 W11 D2 L2) and first since November 2017 against 1. FC Köln (1-0).
  • Only Cody Gakpo (27 – 13 goals, 14 assists) and Xavi Simons (13 – 10 goals, 3 assists) have more goal involvements for PSV this season than Joey Veerman (12 – 7 goals, 5 assists).
  • Substitute Luuk de Jong scored and assisted in a single European game for a fourth time and for the first time since September 2016 against Rostov in the UFEA Champions League.

What’s next?

Arsenal are back in Premier League action on Sunday when they face bottom side Nottingham Forest at the Emirates; kick-off 2pm. Their final Europa League group stage fixture is against Zurich on Thursday November 3.

PSV face NEC Nijmegen on Sunday in the Eredivisie, before their final Europa League group-stage fixture against Bodo/Glimt on Thursday.

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