Arsenal were held to a goalless draw by Serbian side Crvena Zvezda (Red Star Belgrade) on Thursday night in the Europa League.
The Gunners did not take long to threaten the visitor’s goal, as within the first minute Theo Walcott found himself in on goal, only for goalkeeper Borjan to come out and pick up the ball.
The home side had the next best chance. Joe Willock’s cross towards Olivier Giroud cleared away to Walcott, whose effort on goal deflected behind for a corner kick.
Giroud appeared to be holding his hamstring. However, that did not stop the French striker having the next shot on goal, firing straight at Borjan from Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ cross.
It took until the 27th minute for the Serbian side to threaten the Gunners goal. Srnic got away from Maitland-Niles and Rob Holding. However, the winger’s cross was cleared, only for Boakye to put the rebound over Matt Macey’s bar.
Giroud was in the action again on 34 minutes, but this time Borjan was off his line to smother the ball at the striker’s feet. A minute late Red Star came close to taking the lead.
Srnic hit an effort from distance that Macey saved in fine fashion. The Gunners ‘keeper had to pull off a save just a minute later. Savic’s header looked to be looping in, but Macey managed to superb tip the effort over the bar.
On the stroke of half-time, the visitors should have taken the lead. Boakye found himself on goal with only Macey to beat. The forward advanced on goal but fired his effort wide of goal.
The Gunners had the first effort of the second half, as Giroud fired a long-range effort well over the bar. Red Star threatened next, as Macey comfortably saved a Srnic effort from a tight angle.
The visitors threatened again on 56 minutes. The dangerous Srnic whipped a cross across the face of the goal, which Boakye came within inches of connecting with Macey getting a slight touch of the ball.
On the hour mark, Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere saw a penalty appeal turned down after Savic looked to have brought the England international down in the Red Star area.
In fact, the Gunners had another penalty appeal turned down soon afterwards, as Wilshere’s cross appeared to have hit Savic on the arm. The home side continued to press for a goal and Le Tallec brilliantly cleared a goal-bound effort from Wilshere off the line.
Arsenal dominated possession but failed to create any clear-cut chances until the 79th minute, as Walcott did well and found Eddie Nketiah, who saw an effort saved by Borjan. However, the referee’s assistant flagged for offside.
The visitors had a fantastic chance to go ahead with ten minutes remaining. Boakye once again found himself in on goal but sliced an effort wide from the near post.
The home side continued to retain possession. However, they struggled to break the visitor’s defence down. With a minute on the clock, Holding headed off target.
Francis Coquelin also sliced an effort wide of goal from Giroud’s knockdown in stoppage-time. The Gunners failed to break down the Red Star’s defence and will have to wait for the next round of games to confirm their place in the Europa League knockout stages.
Did Arsenal deserve to win on Thursday night?