Kieran Tierney scores stunner to secure top Europa League spot for Arsenal
Arsenal looked far from their best as they took to the Emirates pitch to face FC Zurich on Thursday in the final round of the Europa League group stage. Nonetheless, they dominated the opponents from Switzerland statistically, with 56% possession and a total of 17 shots, compared to the seven taken overall by the visitors, and ended up with an important 1-0 victory to clinch the top spot in Group A.
The only goal of the game came in the 17th minute, a beautifully struck volley from just outside the box by Kieran Tierney.
“It’s been coming,” the Scotland international said in his post-match interview. “I’ve not scored for a while. I’ve been coming close in the last few games and I’d just like to tell the boys it’s about time I scored.”
With PSV beating Bodo/Glimt in Norway on the same evening, it was was obviously crucial for the Gunners and their rotated team to get this win to ensure remaining at the top and getting, at least in theory, a favourable draw for the next round of the competition.
Mikel Arteta obviously had the upcoming Sunday trip across London to Stamford Bridge in mind when choosing his starting XI for the Zurich clash. He named Mohamed Elneny, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Fabio Vieira in the middle of the park instead of Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka and Martin Odegaard. Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah started in the place of recently injured Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli on the attacking flanks, and Rob Holding ahead of William Saliba in the heart of the back line. Aaron Ramsdale, Gabriel Magalhaes, Ben White, and Gabriel Jesus kept their places in the lineup.
The boss was also forced to take off Tahekiro Tomiyasu two minutes before the end, despite sending him into the fray as a second-half substitute to replace White, due to a knock taken by the versatile Japanese defender.