Arsenal secure Europa League last-32 place with draw against Red Star Belgrade
Emirates Stadium, Europa League Group H - Arsenal 0 Red Star Belgrade 0
Arsenal booked their place in the Europa League last 32 with a 0-0 draw against Red Star Belgrade at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday evening.
Arsene Wenger's unbeaten side move on to 10 points at the top of Group H, and are assured of progress to the knock-out stage after FC Koln's 5-2 win over BATE Borisov in the night's other group match.
Red Star and BATE still have to face each other so one of them cannot reach Arsenal's total of points with two games to spare.
Wenger made ten changes from the weekend, but truth be told they could have lost this game as Red Star forward Richmond Boayake twice fluffed his lines when one-on-one with Arsenal keeper Matt Macey.
And Macey had to be alert in the first-half to tip a header from a corner onto the bar.
The Gunners complete their Europa League campaign with a trip to Koln on November 23 before hosting BATE a fortnight later in London.
Arsenal's young guns give reasons for optimism. Wenger has made it very clear how he looks upon the Europa League and he has been keen to play as many of his younger players as possible. Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock and Ainsley Maitland-Niles all impressed and the three must be pushing for more involvement with the senior team sooner rather than later. These sort of games bring back memories of Arsenal's League Cup teams when the likes of Jack Wilshere were first breaking through and hopefully some of these youngsters can put their stamp on this team.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Damien Le Tallec (Red Star) The brother of former Liverpool striker Anthony had a terrific game at the heart of the defence. He stayed strong during his battles with Giroud and he made one crucial clearance off the line when Wilshere had dinked the ball over his keeper. Red Star have conceded just twice in four games in the Europa League this sesaon and you can see why based on Le Tallec's performance. He and Vujadin Savic were very impressive.
Red Star - Borjan 6, Stojkovic 6, Le Tallec 7, Savic 7, Gobeljic 5, Krsticic 5, Donald 6, Srnic 7, Kanga 7, Radonjic 5, Boyake 5. Subs: Milic 5, Pesic 5, Racic 5.
33' - Oh what a chance that is for Red Star! Srnic sends in a beautiful ball over from the right but it narrowly evades a Red Star player and Debuchy puts it behind. Arsenal deal with the corner.
36' - SAVE! Slight break in play as Borjan is down and there's a huge roar from the Red Star fans as he gets up. Then from the corner Radonjic gets a header away and Macey adjusts brilliant to tip it onto the bar. Terrific from the Arsenal youngster.
45' - WHAT A CHANCE THAT IS! Oh Boayake that was such a good chance. He is sent away thanks to a wonderful pass but when one-on-one with Macey he skies it over.
64' - WHAT A CLEARANCE THAT IS! Le Tallec, who is the brother of former Liverpool man Anthony, makes an incredible overhead kick clearance on the line when Wilshere lifts it over the keeper and looks certain to score.
81' - WHAT A CHANCE! Red Star could have won it there. The ball is played through to Boyake again and he finds space and gets through on goal. However again he can't find the target.
This was Arsenal's first 0-0 at the Emirates in European competition since November 2011