Four things Mikel Arteta got right as Arsenal top Europa League group

Arsenal clinched top spot in their Europa League group with a nervy 1-0 victory over FC Zurich at the Emirates on Thursday night.

Mikel Arteta's side dominated the ball in the first-half and were rewarded with a sublime Kieran Tierney volley into the bottom corner in the 17th minute. They missed several chances to bury the game and were let off when a second-half goal from the away side was ruled out for offside.  

Crucially though, the Gunners cemented their place in the last-16, finishing above PSV and avoiding a gruelling qualifying round against one of the fallen Champions League clubs. Below are the things Arteta got spot on as the north Londoners continued their dazzling run.

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Squad rotation

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Arteta shrewdly blended first-team stars and fringe players in Thursday's match-up to great effect. He opted to start regulars such as Gabriel Jesus, Ben White and Aaron Ramsdale alongside squad players Mohamed Elneny, Rob Holding and Eddie Nketiah.

It paid off as he got the balance right, ensuring his side maintained control in a crucial tie. Meanwhile, those not involved were awarded a much-needed break at a hectic point in the season.

Sensational Tierney

The left-back was utilised to great effect and was rewarded with a thunderous goal. Arteta deployed him high up the pitch despite him being positioned as a left-back on the teamsheet.

Often the Scot took up the positions enjoyed by Granit Xhaka this season on the edge of the box, which he capitalised on for his goal. Despite the knock back of having to be third-choice left-back this season, Tierney posed a huge threat in Zurich's box time and again.

English Cafu

Ben White has been a revelation down the right flank all season for Arsenal. And Arteta's decision to stick with him at right-back ahead of Takehiro Tomiyasu paid dividends once more against Zurich.

The Englishman went on one of his typically marauding runs before cutting it back for Fabio Vieira in the build-up for Tierney's opener, showcasing once more that he is deserving of a place on the plane to Qatar.


With the match still in the balance at 1-0 midway through the second-half, Arteta decided to bring on Thomas Partey and Bukayo Saka to ensure a victory.

The pair made an instant impact by bringing an extra level of quality in possession. Partey in particular was able to pull the strings in midfield in a way unseen by Arsenal's other midfielders.


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