Arsenal’s brilliant 2022-23 campaign continues to roll on all fronts as Mikel Arteta’s young Gunners ran out 1-0 winners against Ruud Van Nistelrooij’s Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven at the Emirates Stadium.
Now all but guaranteed to finish top of Group A, Arsenal can coast for the remainder of the Europa League group stage before likely re-entering the competition in the round of 16 in what will offer a much-needed reduction of matches in the aftermath of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The Gunners were dominant in the opening 45-minutes against what is a high-scoring PSV outfit on the domestic front in the Eredivisie, but Van Nistelrooij’s men offered little in the way of opposition as Arteta’s troops settled into a siege mentality in the first half while registering 9 shots and 66.6% of the ball, with the Dutch outfit managing just one effort and an xG of 0.04 in the process.
Arsenal star man Bukayo Saka was the main catalyst throughout, with Gabriel Jesus and Granit Xhaka the near-beneficiaries of some decent attacking moves that were just lacking the final few accent markers as both clubs went into the dressing room, with no Arsenal player still able to score a home goal against PSV in their head-to-head history in Europe.
Saka was once again at the center of attention in the 54th minute when the England international found himself through on goal but could only put his effort right down Walter Benítez’s throat. That sequence came in the wake of PSV crafting their best attacking move of the match just two minutes later after combination play through Joey Veerman and Érick Gutiérrez found Phillipp Mwene free down the right wing, but his cross into the area was blazed high and wide by Xavi Simons.
Six minutes later it would be Gabriel Jesus’ turn to send alarm bells sounding in the PSV camp after the Brazilian international’s touch turned two defenders before he found enough space in the box to put an effort on goal that was smartly turned away by Benítez before Eddie Nketiah shanked his first-time-struck effort off the rebound over the bar.
Mikel Arteta smelled blood as Arsenal continued to dominate the run of play and craft another chance through Nketiah, with the Spanish tactician calling upon Thomas Partey and Martin Ødegaard for cameos off the bench to try to push the Gunners across the finish line at the Emirates.
And they would deliver soon after through a well-strick half-volley by Xhaka into the bottom corner of Benítez’s far post after Takehiro Tomiyasu’s cross found him free in the area, with Saka coming close once again immediately after when he danced through the center channel but his effort was tame enough for Benítez to claim.
Arsenal kept their foot on the gas in north London but was unable to find a second goal, with the final 1-0 scoreline flattering PSV in a big way as the Dutch outfit was played off the park and will head back to the Lowlands with an away day at FC Groningen next on the docket.
Up next for the Gunners? A trip to the south coast and a clash with Ralph Hasenhüttl’s struggling Southampton side in a fixture that Arsenal should push to comfortably secure three points away from the capital.
Arsenal Player Ratings
GK: Matt Turner (7) - Turner was good in goal again tonight as he has nailed-down the evidence regarding why Arsenal allowed Bernd Leno to switch to Fulham this summer. The US international has become self-assured.
RB: Takehiro Tomiyasu (7.5) - An assist for the Japanese international tonight in a strong overall performance before being removed 15-minutes from time, which suggests he could be starting at the weekend.
CB: Rob Holding (7) - Holding continues to supply the goods in central defense for Arsenal during their European campaign while remaining ready to be called upon should the Gunners face an injury crisis.
CB: Gabriel Magalhães (7) - Gabriel was good on the night and rarely came up against any testing opposition despite PSV’s vaunted attacking record back in the Netherlands. Stout throughout.
LB: Kieran Tierney (6.5) - Decent from the Scottish international and did get forward to supply a few decent bits of service but he still remains a bit away when in comparison to Oleksandr Zinchenko.
DM: Sambi Lokonga (6.5) - Another decent outing from the young Belgian international on a European night but he still has hit a wall in terms of what he has been able to bring to the table, for now. Plenty of potential in the tank still.
CM: Fábio Vieira (6) - It is clear the type of profile that the Portuguese youth international will bring but he has struggled when being deployed in the center of the park as an 8. Still plenty to offer but he’s not there yet.
CM: Granit Xhaka (8) - The veteran Swiss international continues to shine in a reprisal of his role with former club Borussia Mönchengladbach and keeps standing out for Arteta this season.
RW: Bukayo Saka (8) - A man-of-the-match performance from Saka who received a standing ovation when he came off before full-time. The main catalyst on the night and though he should have had a brace, his influence on Arsenal is beyond dispute.
LW: Gabriel Jesus (7.5) - Incredibly effective performance once again from the star Arsenal striker who will no doubt feel frustrated at his inability to find the back of the net after a handful of chances you would think he should be tucking away.
CF: Eddie Nketiah (6) - A relatively quiet night from Nketiah who so often enjoys the Europa League in an Arsenal shirt. Had one or two decent chances on the evening but was not up to scratch, without complaint.
Sub: Thomas Partey (6) - Coasted after coming on and got some minutes into his legs before the club clashes with Southampton at the weekend.
Sub: Martin Ødegaard (6) - Minutes into his legs before Sunday’s trip to the south coast and the required rest for him in midweek looks set to continue after this result.
Sub: Gabriel Martinelli (6.5) - The 15-minutes he did receive from Arteta tonight were decent. Though little was needed from him, he did test Benítez with a hard-hit effort in the later stages of the second half.
Sub: Ben White (6) - Came on for Tomiyasu with just 15-minutes remaining. Had little to do, and it remains unclear whether or not he, Tomiyasu, or both, will start against Saints on Sunday.
Sub: Reiss Nelson (N/A) - Small cameos will do little for Reiss Nelson to work himself into Arteta’s thinking on any credible level. Likely to have no future at the club barring a massive change in fortune.
PSV Eindhoven Player Ratings
GK: Walter Benítez (8)
RB: Phillipp Mwene (6.5)
CB: André Ramalho (7)
CB: Armando Obispo (6.5)
LB: Philipp Max (6.5)
CM: Ibrahim Sangaré (6.5)
CM: Érick Gutiérrez (6.5)
CAM: Joey Veerman (6)
RW: Xavi Simons (6)
LW: Cody Gakpo (6)
CF: Guus Til (6)
Sub: Noni Madueke (6)
Sub: Jordan Teze (6)
Sub: Luuk de Jong (6)
Sub: Richard Ledezma (N/A)