Europa League - Group F
Standard Liege2Arsenal2

Standard Liege 2-2 Arsenal: Gunners fight back secures top spot

Alexandre Lacazette
Lacazette's goal was his sixth of the season

Arsenal came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Standard Liege and progress to the last 32 of the Europa League as group winners.

The Gunners were all but through before kick-off, with the hosts needing to win 5-0 to prevent the visitors from going through to the knockout rounds - a result that looked even more unlikely after a first half Arsenal edged.

However, Samuel Bastien put the hosts ahead just after the restart when his shot deflected off Sokratis and beyond the wrong-footed Emiliano Martinez.

The goal boosted the hosts but visibly knocked the fragile confidence of the Arsenal players, who became even more nervy when Standard Liege got a second as Selim Amallah's strike from inside the area flew into the far corner via a slight deflection off Konstantinos Mavropanos.

It set things up for a tense final 20 minutes as the hosts pursued an unlikely result but Alexandre Lacazette settled the Gunners' nerves when he converted a bullet of a header.

Bukayo Saka then equalised with 10 minutes to go, curling a neat finish into the corner to secure the draw Arsenal needed to top Group F.

Gunners fight back but still work to do

Arsenal
Arsenal have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 13 matches in all competitions, equalling their worst ever run under Arsene Wenger

It was perhaps a bit too much to expect Monday's morale-boosting win at West Ham to mark an immediate upturn in Arsenal's performances, particularly after a torrid run of nine games without victory.

As was the case in London, the Gunners were below par for over an hour of this encounter and paid the price for poor defending - an area of concern for much of this season - when no players took responsibility to close down Standard Liege's players, allowing the goalscorers to get off shots that were easily preventable.

But it took going behind to spark Arsenal into life and, after weathering pressure from the hosts, a devastating three-minute spell killed off Standard Liege's hopes of an upset.

There were glimpses of what Arsenal are capable of but the fact it took falling behind for that show is something Freddie Ljungberg or a new manager will need to address quickly to prompt a more consistent run of form.

Saka shines again

One of the few bright spots in a miserable season for Arsenal has been the emergence of Saka.

The 18-year-old has looked lively and showed plenty of endeavour in his 13 appearances so far for the Gunners but this was arguably his best performance to date.

He finished the game with an assist and goal and could have had more but was denied by two excellent saves by Arnaud Bodart in the first half.

Saka has now assisted six goals for Arsenal in all competitions this season - two more than any other player - underlining his growing importance to the Gunners.

Man of the match - Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)

Bukayo Saka
Bukayo Saka has now been involved in six goals in Europe this season and was one of the few players to put in a strong performance for Arsenal on Thursday

'A tremendous talent' - what they said

Arsenal interim boss Freddie Ljungberg: "He [Saka] was amazing. I think he was a bit upset with me before the game that he had to play wing-back and then full-back. Because he doesn't like it so much.

"But no, he's a tremendous talent and you could see it here again. His final ball and the last bit is always effective and there's always an end product to his work.

"I felt sorry sometimes for our young players because a lot of them have not been on loan. So they haven't got that exposure to play 90 minutes of men's football for a longer period of time.

"So I felt in this game that I wanted to get them on the pitch to get that experience, because I know how good they are but they just don't have experience and some of them, yes, they made some mistakes today. But I think from those mistakes they won't redo them and that's invaluable for them and we won the group. So no, Bukayo did tremendous to go back to that [playing wing-back] today."

Lacazette's long run continues - the stats

  • Arsenal avoided defeat in an away match having been two goals behind for the first time since April 2018, away at CSKA Moscow in the Europa League.
  • Standard Liege remain winless in all six matches against Arsenal (D1 L5), going two goals ahead in each of their last two home games against them and winning neither.
  • Arsenal have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 13 games in all competitions, equalling their worst run under Arsene Wenger (also 13 in a row between October and December 2004).
  • Alexandre Lacazette has scored 15 goals in his last 20 Europa League starts, a run stretching back to February 2017 when he played for Lyon.

What next?

Arsenal return to Premier League action this weekend as they host Manchester City on Sunday, 15 December (16:30 GMT).

Line-ups

Standard Liege

  • 16Bodart
  • 21Fai
  • 3Vanheusden
  • 34Laifis
  • 24Gavory
  • 10Carcela-González
  • 28Bastien
  • 40M'Poku
  • 8Cimirot
  • 19AmallahSubstituted forLestienneat 85'minutes
  • 9EmondSubstituted forAvenatti Dovillabichusat 45'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Gillet
  • 4Lavalée
  • 7Cop
  • 18Boljevic
  • 22Lestienne
  • 25Avenatti Dovillabichus
  • 27Vojvoda

Arsenal

  • 26Martínez
  • 27Mavropanos
  • 23David Luiz
  • 5PapastathopoulosSubstituted forMartinelliat 69'minutes
  • 15Maitland-NilesSubstituted forChambersat 78'minutes
  • 29Guendouzi
  • 28Willock
  • 77Saka
  • 32Smith RoweSubstituted forAubameyangat 85'minutes
  • 9Lacazette
  • 24Nelson

Substitutes

  • 1Leno
  • 14Aubameyang
  • 21Chambers
  • 35Martinelli
  • 45John-Jules
  • 49Medley
  • 52Olayinka
Referee:
Andreas Ekberg
Attendance:
21,797

Match Stats

Home TeamStandard LiegeAway TeamArsenal
Possession
Home42%
Away58%
Shots
Home11
Away15
Shots on Target
Home4
Away6
Corners
Home5
Away5
Fouls
Home17
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, Standard Liège 2, Arsenal 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Standard Liège 2, Arsenal 2.

Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Konstantinos Laifis (Standard Liège).

Attempt blocked. Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Reiss Nelson.

Corner, Standard Liège. Conceded by Calum Chambers.

Joseph Willock (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Collins Fai (Standard Liège).

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Collins Fai.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang replaces Emile Smith Rowe.

Substitution

Substitution, Standard Liège. Maxime Lestienne replaces Selim Amallah.

Joseph Willock (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Selim Amallah (Standard Liège).

Offside, Standard Liège. Paul-José M'Poku tries a through ball, but Felipe Nicolas Avenatti Dovillabichus is caught offside.

Foul by Joseph Willock (Arsenal).

Mehdi Carcela-González (Standard Liège) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Goal!

Goal! Standard Liège 2, Arsenal 2. Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Gabriel Martinelli.

Goal!

Goal! Standard Liège 2, Arsenal 1. Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal) header from very close range to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Bukayo Saka with a cross.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Calum Chambers replaces Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

Attempt missed. Collins Fai (Standard Liège) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Nicolas Gavory with a cross.

Attempt missed. David Luiz (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Paul-José M'Poku (Standard Liège).

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Gabriel Martinelli replaces Sokratis.

Goal!

Goal! Standard Liège 2, Arsenal 0. Selim Amallah (Standard Liège) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner.

Matteo Guendouzi (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Selim Amallah (Standard Liège).

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Paul-José M'Poku.

Attempt saved. Konstantinos Laifis (Standard Liège) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Nicolas Gavory with a cross.

Corner, Standard Liège. Conceded by Sokratis.

Corner, Standard Liège. Conceded by Reiss Nelson.

Corner, Standard Liège. Conceded by Matteo Guendouzi.

Attempt blocked. Selim Amallah (Standard Liège) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Matteo Guendouzi (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Felipe Nicolas Avenatti Dovillabichus (Standard Liège).

Joseph Willock (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Mehdi Carcela-González (Standard Liège).

Offside, Standard Liège. Paul-José M'Poku tries a through ball, but Mehdi Carcela-González is caught offside.

Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Selim Amallah (Standard Liège).

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Thursday 12th December 2019

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Sevilla65011431115
2Apoel Nicosia6312108210
3FK Qarabag6123811-35
4F91 Dudelange6114818-104

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Malmö FF632186211
2FC Copenhagen62315419
3Dynamo Kyiv61417707
4Lugano603325-33

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1FC Basel6411124813
2Getafe640284412
3FK Krasnodar6303711-49
4Trabzonspor6015311-81

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1LASK6411114713
2Sporting6402117412
3PSV Eindhoven6222912-38
4Rosenborg6015311-81

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic6411106413
2CFR Cluj640264212
3Lazio620469-36
4Rennes611458-34

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Arsenal6321147711
2Frankfurt6303810-29
3Standard Liege6222810-28
4Vitória Guimarães6123710-35

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1FC Porto631289-110
2Rangers62318629
3Young Boys62228718
4Feyenoord612379-25

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Espanyol6321124811
2Ludogorets6222101008
3Ferencvárosi TC614157-27
4CSKA Moscow612339-65

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1KAA Gent6330117412
2Wolfsburg632197211
3Saint-Étienne604268-24
4Oleksandria6033610-43

J

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Istanbul Basaksehir631279-210
2Roma623112669
3B Mgladbach622269-38
4RZ Pellets WAC612378-15

K

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Sporting Braga6420159614
2Wolves6411115613
3Slovan Bratislava61141013-34
4Besiktas6105615-93

L

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man Utd6411102813
2AZ Alkmaar623115879
3Partizan Belgrade6222101008
4FC Astana6105419-153
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