Europa League heartbreak for Standard as Arsenal top Group F

Arsenal's English striker Bukayo Saka (L) celebrates with Arsenal's French striker Alexandre Lacazette after scoring during the UEFA Europa League Group F football match between R. Standard de Liege and Arsenal FC at the Maurice Dufrasne Stadium in Sclessin on December 12, 2019. (Photo by JOHN THYS / AFP) (Photo by JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images)
Arsenal join Frankfurt into the Group of 32 stage in the Europa League. (Getty Images)

Arsenal have secured their place in the Europa League Round of 32 after playing out a 2-2 draw against Standard Liege. The home-side are knocked out of the competition after failing to hold onto their lead.

The Gunners progress into the next round after topping Group F with Eintracht Frankfurt in tow as runners-up. A win for Standard would have eliminated the German side after they fell 3-2 to Vitoria.

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An uneventful first half at the Stade Maurice Dufrasne trickled out with no goals for either side, but Standard came out of the blocks firing and scored two minutes after the restart through Samuel Bastien.

Selim Amallah doubled the lead in the 69th minute after a poor clearance from Joe Willock fell into the path of the midfielder. However, Standard’s 2-0 lead lasted less than ten minutes, with Alexandre Lacazette nodding a lovely ball in from Bukayo Saka into the back of the net.

Three minutes after creating Arsenal’s first goal, Saka got his name on the scoresheet and forced the equaliser following a wonderful strike from outside the box.

LIEGE, BELGIUM - DECEMBER 12: Arsenal fans during the UEFA Europa League group F match between Standard Liege and Arsenal FC at Stade Maurice Dufrasne on December 12, 2019 in Liege, Belgium. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Arsenal have finished top of their Europa League group. (Getty Images)

Standard’s efforts weren’t enough to see them progress into the next round, the Belgian side needed at least a 5-0 win going into the fixture at the start of the match. However, after Vitoria beat Frankfurt, a win for Standard would have seen them sneak through into the next round.

Despite pulling back two goals and holding Standard to a draw, Arsenal must improve on their leaky defence as they head further into the competition.

The Gunners have now failed register a clean sheet in 13 consecutive matches across all competitions this season, equalling their worst ever run under Arsene Wenger back in 2004.

The draw for the Europa League Round of 32 fixtures will take place on Monday at 12pm.

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