Europa League

‘Boring’ Arsenal Through To Europa League Knockout Stages

Arsenal qualified for the Europa League knockout stages despite failing to impress in a dour 0-0 draw against Red Star Belgrade at Emirates Stadium on Thursday.

A point proved enough to send Arsene Wenger’s side through as BATE Borisov were beaten 5-2 away to Cologne, who remain bottom of Group H but still have a chance of advancing following their victory.

There were 11 changes to the Gunners side that beat Swansea City 2-1 in the Premier League on Saturday, goalkeeper Matt Macey making his European debut in an inexperienced line-up.

Striker Olivier Giroud, who scored a late winner in the reverse fixture, was guilty of missing a number of chances, twice being thwarted by Red Star goalkeeper Milan Borjan and shooting wide from inside the area.

The game’s best chance fell to midfielder Jack Wilshere, but his shot from close range was cleared off the line.

Serbian side Red Star had opportunities themselves, but striker Richmond Boakye could not hit the target with efforts in each half.

The Premier League side top Group H with 10 points from four games and Cologne’s 5-2 win over BATE Borisov in the group’s other game means they progress.

Wenger will be confident of reaching the latter stages of the Europa League but will be hoping to avoid the likes of AC Milan, Lazio and Zenit St Petersburg who have all looked good so far.

Arsenal’s progression in the competition comes in the same week as north London rivals Tottenham’s impressive victory over Champions League holders Real Madrid and a result that sent Mauricio Pochettino’s side through to the last 16.

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