PSV best a weary looking Arsenal

By Samindra Kunti in Eindhoven

October 28 – Arsenal endured a torrid night to slump to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of their hosts PSV Eindhoven. The London club will now need a result in their final Europa League group game to avoid two extra fixtures in winter. 

It was by far Arsenal’s worst performance of the season and the result emphasised the increasing tiredness among the players as well as the limits of the club’s squad.

Mikel Arteta kept Buyako Saka and Gabriel Jesus, so key to the team’s tempo, on the bench while PSV shored up their defense in a 4-5-1 formation. Arsenal required just a point to ensure first place in the group, but the hosts bested the visitors for much of the match.

“It’s the end of a long run and now it’s time to reset and analyse what happened,” said Arteta. “PSV deserved to win, no question, we were nowhere near our level today. We didn’t have the threat and aggression we’ve been playing at and that is worrying.”

Youngster Xavi Simons tested Aaron Ramsdale with a low drive and in the 18th minute Cody Gakpo, PSV’s captain, had the ball in the back of the net after a lovely chip, but the flag went up. When Arsenal did have a proper sight of goal, Gabriel Martinelli’s volley lacked any direction.

Just before the interval, PSV had an even more spectacular goal chalked off when Simon wriggled his way past four, five opponents with the ball at his feet and beat Ramsdale from close range. The VAR, however, decided that Anwar El Ghazi had been in an offside position in the build-up.

But Arsenal’s evening disintegrated in the 55th minute when substitute Luuk de Jong set up Joey Veerman to fire the hosts into the lead.

It was no more than PSV deserved. Arsenal were defensively all over the place with De Jong proving very influential after coming on at half-time. He got PSV’s second courtesy of a Ramsdale blunder. The Arsenal goalkeeper completely misjudged a corner to allow the striker to head home.

With all the blundering, the momentum had decisively swung PSV’s way. De Jong kept tormenting the Arsenal rearguard with dangerous headers and in midfield Simons confirmed he has a very bright future ahead of him.

PSV had a third goal ruled out and even with all of Gabriel Jesus, Saka, Ben White and Gabriel on the pitch Arsenal showed little direction to rescue something from the game. It was a night that once again showed that the depth of Arsenal’s squad is limited.

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