Arsenal ended their UEFA Champions League group stage campaign with a 1-1 draw against PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday having already secured their place as Group B winners.
Mikel Arteta made eight changes to the team that lost at Aston Villa at the weekend knowing the result will not in any way affect the standing.
It was far from a perfect night, and there were a few struggles here against a rotated PSV side that haven't lost a competitive match at the Philips Stadion in over a year.
Here are the positives and negatives from Arsenal's draw in Eindhoven.
3 positives & negatives from Arsenal's 1-1 draw at PSV
Positive #1: Nketiah's reliability
Eddie Nketiah was called upon to deputise for Gabriel Jesus against PSV and he did exactly that. He is not the same player as the Brazilian, but it is fair to say the Hale End graduate is a better goalscorer than his team mate.
His goal was well-timed as he received the ball from Reiss Nelson on the edge of the area before turning swiftly and firing home off the post with his weaker left foot. That was his first-ever Champions League goal on his first start in the competition. Nketiah now has the same number of goals (six) as Jesus this term.
The England international may not be the type of striker Arsenal needs, but he continues to prove that he is a very reliable and able deputy to Jesus.
Negative #1: Second string lacks control
The theme of Arsenal’s season so far has been about ‘control.’ How the team controls every aspect of the game from start to finish whereby being able to deny opposition any kind of space to exploit. Last season was wonderfully entertaining, but the team has evolved into a more mature squad, capable of determining their fate in matches.
Arsenal’s 6-0 thumping of RC Lens two weeks ago was characterised by how the team stifled the visitors, reducing them to mere crumbs. The fixture before that saw the Gunners give away only one shot all game which came in the 97th minute. But against PSV, albeit nothing was at stake, the hosts outshot Arsenal and enjoyed plenty of attacking territory, causing all sorts of problems for the defence. Aaron Ramsdale had to make good saves to keep them at bay.
The second string lacked the kind of control we have become accustomed to this season. The athleticism which is provided by Declan Rice was lacking, the control of Martin Odegaard could not be replicated and the understanding was not at par with the guys who play regularly. It's understandable but it is also a scenario we would like to see again in the future, unless the title has already been won sometime in March (haha).
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