Standard 2-2 Arsenal: Gunners rally to win group

Arsenal head into the last 32 as group winners thanks to late goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Bukayo Saka.

Highlights: Standard Liège 2-2 Arsenal

The Gunners came from two down to grab a draw and that was enough to top Group F thanks to Eintracht Frankfurt's home defeat against Vitória SC.

After Mehdi Carcela spurned an early chance for Standard, Arsenal dominated the first half with Emile Smith Rowe brilliantly denied by the boot of Arnaud Bodart and Bukayo Saka going close on a couple of occasions.

Standard made the breakthrough early in the second half, though, when a speculative strike from 20 metres from Samuel Bastien deflected off the arm of Sokratis Papastathopoulos to wrong-foot goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez.

Highlights: Arsenal 4-0 Standard Liège
Highlights: Arsenal 4-0 Standard Liège

They doubled their lead when Joe Willock failed to clear a cross and Selim Amallah turned the Arsenal defence before finding the far corner via a deflection off Konstantinos Mavropanos.

But any hopes of qualification, which depended on a win, were dashed when Alexandre Lacazette headed in and Saka curled home the equaliser in a three-minute spell.

Reporter comment

What a strange night for Arsenal, who underwhelmed for much of the game but end up topping the group after Guimarães' late goals in Germany. Saka had a largely quiet second half after shining in the first, then burst into life to see his team safely home. It's job done, albeit via an unusual and arduous route.
Andy Brassell

State of Play

  • Standard Liège finish third and are eliminated.
  • Arsenal are through as group winners.

Reaction

Paul José Mpoku, Standard midfielder: "It's hard to end this campaign with a draw. Certainly when you know that Guimarães won in Frankfurt. We just wanted to win our game and look at the score in Frankfurt afterwards, but unfortunately we could not hold that 2-0 lead."

Michel Preud’homme, Standard coach: "I think we almost played the perfect game. We really wanted to win, but also knew that we had to make three goals. Unfortunately, we only made two. I can say that I am proud of this team because of the way we played during this campaign and against Arsenal. Maybe we did not get that sixth consecutive home win, but we stay unbeaten."

Bukayo Saka, Arsenal midfielder: "I am very proud the way we reacted. We knew what the score was in Frankfurt which meant that we had to score twice to get the top spot in our group. Luckily we did it. It feels great to be so decisive for my team with a goal and an assist. Lacazette and I have a good connection on the pitch and we showed it again today."

Highlights: Standard Liège 2-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Highlights: Standard Liège 2-1 Eintracht Frankfurt

Key Stats

  • Arsenal have been losing at half-time in only two of their last 21 Europa League games
  • Twelve of Standard's last 15 goals at home have been scored in the second half
  • Arsenal have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 13 matches
  • Standard have scored in each of their last 28 home matches
  • Standard have scored the first goal in each of their last six competitive matches
  • Arsenal have conceded the first goal of the game in six of their last seven competitive matches

Line-ups

Standard: Bodart; Fai, Vanheusden, Laifis, Gavory; Cimirot, Bastien, Amallah (Lestienne 85), Carcela, Mpoku; Emond (Avenatti 46)

Arsenal: Martínez; Sokratis (Martinelli 69), David Luiz, Mavropanos; Maitland-Niles (Chambers 78), Willock, Guendouzi, Saka; Nelson, Lacazette, Smith Rowe (Aubameyang 85)

Top