London ball

Courageous PSV lose to Arsenal in London

PSV failed to grab a vital point in London on Thursday in the Europa League against Arsenal. A late goal from Granit Xhaka gave the Londoners victory.

PSV came up against an Arsenal side who have lost just one Premier League game this season and are top of the English Premier League. PSV have been boosted by the return of Luuk de Jong and Noni Madueke, who returned to the bench after their injury dismissals.

Ruud van Nistelrooij will have entered the half-time break the happiest of the two managers, as his game plan of sitting back and keeping the Gunners at bay worked. Apart from half-decent chances for Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Jesus, Eindhovenaren managed to frustrate Mikel Arteta’s side.

Jesus broke through the PSV defense just after half-time, but the forward lost his balance before his shot, making it an easy save for Walter Benitez.

The Brazilian continued to be a thorn in the PSV side, his through ball finding Bukayo Saka moments later. Benitez was able to save Saka’s kick.

Arsenal were starting to break down PSV’s resistance more consistently in the second half, with Jesus again finding space in the box but unable to put the ball in the net.

A long-awaited moment for PSV as Noni Madueke returned to the team after 64 minutes. The England winger is widely regarded as one of PSV’s best players but has been injured since last season. Madueke showed no signs of rust, with his trademark dribbling on display against a formidable opponent.

Arsenal took the lead after 70 minutes. Former Vitesse midfielder Martin Odegaard played the ball past Japanese right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu whose cross was stolen into the net by Xhaka with his weaker foot.

PSV tried to get back into the game, but a second goal for Arsenal seemed more likely than an equalizer for Eindhovenaren. Benitez capped off a terrific performance by preventing Saka from scoring once more after Armando Obispo messed up his sliding tackle.

The 2,500 away PSV supporters cheered the players after the match as Ruud van Nistelrooij’s side gave their all in the game. It was clear that the English opponents were rising in quality, especially physically.

All in all, despite the defeat, PSV will take many positives from the evening. Arsenal have now booked their place in the next round with this win. PSV will face the London club again next week in Eindhoven.