Post-Match Report

Arsenal 1-0 Qarabag: How it happened

Laurent Koscielny

Qarabag FK -

Emirates Stadium
Europa League
Europa League
  Arsenal
      
                  Lacazette (16)
            
   crest
Arsenal
Lacazette (16)
1 0
  Qarabag FK
   crest
Qarabag FK

WHAT HAPPENED

 
Alex Lacazette scored the only goal as we rounded off the Europa League group stage with a win.
 
The France striker showed neat footwork and an unerring eye for goal after latching on to Mesut Ozil’s through ball in the first half - and the result was never in doubt after that.
 
Lacazette got the goal but the big story was the return of his compatriot, Laurent Koscielny.
 
The captain received a rousing reception from the home fans, 225 days after he ruptured his Achilles tendon in the semi-final of this competition against Atletico Madrid.

Laca opens the scoring

Laca opens the scoring

 
It’s been a long - at times lonely - road back for Koscielny and, although this was a dead rubber in front of a relatively sparse crowd, it was a hugely proud moment for him.
 
Koscielny almost got a dream goal when he met an Ozil corner with a header, and some of his teammates went even closer.
 
Carl Jenkinson had a shot blocked and Bukayo Saka, making his home debut, curled a fine effort from the edge of the box only to see Vagner claw the ball away.
 
Saka went close twice in the second half too - poking one effort wide from close range - and then crossed for Eddie Nketiah to head in what appeared to be our second.
 
The offside flag went up, but in the end one goal was plenty. And the unbeaten run stretches to 22.

HOW IT HAPPENED

 See how our latest win unfolded with our play-by-play commentary

THREE THINGS WE NOTICED

Koscielny back where he belongs, Ozil returns in style and slick Saka steps up

WHAT IT MEANS

 
We’d already clinched top spot in Group E so this win merely confirmed our superiority in this stage of the competition.
 
It gets tougher now but we go into Monday’s draw for the last 32 knowing that we will not face another group winner - and our second leg will be at home.
 

TEAM NEWS

 
Some thought Unai Emery would rest all of his star names for this one but, although there were nine changes, Ozil was named in the starting line-up after missing five games with a back problem.
 
Lacazette was also involved, picked to lead the line with youngsters Nketiah and Saka either side of him.
 
Saka made his home debut, Emi Martinez made his first appearance of the season in goal and Sokratis - suspended for our next domestic game - started at the back.
 
Then, of course, there was Koscielny. The captain returned for his first senior appearance in 225 days after recovering from a ruptured Achilles.

WHAT’S NEXT

We’re back in Premier League action on Sunday with a trip to the south coast to face Southampton.
 
Then it’s the second north London derby of the month - Tottenham are back at the Emirates for a Carabao Cup quarter-final.

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