Arsenal Slump To Defeat In Cologne
UEFA Europa League
Result: FC Köln 1-0 Arsenal
Date: 23 November 2017
Arsenal went down 1-0 to FC Köln in Thursday night’s Europa League clash at the RheinEnergieStadion, but are now assured of top spot in Group H nevertheless.
Both sides created early chances, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Jhon Córdoba forcing saves from Timo Horn and David Ospina respectively within the first six minutes. Francis Coquelin then fired just wide of the target with a long-range strike in the 14th.
Jack Wilshere should have done better with his 21st minute header, but tamely nodded the ball straight at Timo Horn after meeting Maitland-Niles’ cross.
In the 30th minute, Coquelin went close again. Olivier Giroud picked him out with a ball into the area from the left and he took a touch before rattling the near post with a fierce strike.
Just three minutes later, Danny Welbeck’s effort narrowly missed the far post. By this stage, it seemed only a matter of time until the Gunners broke the deadlock. However, they were unable to capitalise on their spell of dominance.
Arsenal were ultimately punished for their wastefulness as Sehrou Guirassy went down in the penalty area under the challenge of Mathieu Debuchy and referee Vladislav Bezborodov pointed to the spot. Guirassy stepped up and slotted home the opener in the 62nd minute.
The goal spurred the North London giants into action as Per Mertesacker and Wilshere both drew saves from Horn immediately afterwards. The latter then went for goal from a close-range header, but directed it off target.
As the clock ticked down into the final 15 minutes plus stoppage time, Wilshere played Giroud through on goal with a pinpoint aerial ball. However, the French striker was dispossessed before he could properly test Timo Horn.
Arsenal persisted in their attacking endeavours. Horn saved Reiss Nelson’s shot just before stoppage time after a fine run from the youngster before keeping out Wilshere’s effort two minutes before the full-time whistle.
However, the Gunners were unable to equalise and slumped to their first Europa League defeat this season. Nevertheless, BATE Borisov’s draw with FK Crvena zvezda gave them an unassailable four-point lead at the top of their group.