Arsenal star proves Michael Owen right as Gunners draw with PSV

Arsenal star proves Michael Owen right as Gunners draw with PSV

Arsenal finished the group stages of the Champions League with a 1-1 draw against PSV in the Netherlands on Tuesday night. Eddie Nketiah opened the scoring three minutes before half-time as he unleashed an effort into the bottom corner but PSV drew level five minutes after the interval as Yorbe Vertessen curled beyond Aaron Ramsdale. Express Sport takes a look at the biggest talking points from the clash at the Philips Stadium…

Nketiah proves Michael Owen right

Ahead of the match, former Liverpool striker Michael Owen lauded Nketiah as he told TNT Sports: “He’s obviously a very good player and I think he’s one of the better finishers in the Premier League. He’s a top-class finisher.”

And Owen was proved right as Nketiah illustrated his prowess in front of goal as he bagged his sixth strike of the campaign. The 24-year-old barely had a sniff of the ball during the first half as his side struggled to carve out chances.

But when he found the smallest bit of space inside the penalty area after being teed-up by Reiss Nelson, he fired the ball out of the reach of PSV keeper Walter Benitez courtesy of the inside of the post.

More defensive frailties on the road

Arsenal won all three of their home Champions League group stage matches without conceding a single goal. But Mikel Arteta’s men didn’t keep any clean sheets from their three encounters on the road.

Those defensive frailties didn’t cost the Gunners as they still finished top of the Group B table. But they could be a concern ahead of the knockout stages as Arsenal will have to face some of the best teams in Europe if they have hopes of lifting the Champions League trophy.

Arteta forced to call on Rice

Ahead of the clash in Eindhoven, only William Saliba had played more minutes than Declan Rice. Arteta made eight changes to the side that lost to Aston Villa at the weekend, with Rice starting the match on the bench.

But the former West Ham star was unable to have the whole night off as he was brought on just over an hour in after Mohamed Elneny was forced off with an injury. Rice proceeded to fill in at centre-back and Arsenal will desperately hope Elneny is not sidelined with a long-term issue given how hectic their fixture schedule is in the next few weeks.

Arsenal lack creativity without Odegaard

Arteta handed Martin Odegaard a rest for the match as the Norway international was named on the bench. But the visitors appeared lacklustre in front of goal without their creative spark and opportunities were at a premium.

Odegaard entered the fray with just under half an hour remaining and instantly improved his team’s attacking threat. But Arteta will know he should be able to rely on other attacking players to make things happen. He’ll be hoping for more from other members of his squad in future games.

Academy players don’t get their chance

Arteta named academy youngsters Ethan Nwaneri, Lino Sousa and Reuell Walters in the matchday squad in the Netherlands. But none of them were given an opportunity to show what they could do, despite the fact the match was a dead rubber.

That will be a frustration to some Arsenal supporters who were hoping to get a glimpse of three hugely promising young talents.