By 90Min
November 02, 2017

Arsenal secured their qualification from Group H in the Europa League with two games to spare, despite a drab goalless draw against Red Star Belgrade at the Emirates.

An underwhelming and fairly uneventful first-half ended with the visitors on top, and they twice came close to taking the lead before the break.

The Gunners' best chances fell to Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere, but there was no way through against the resolute Serbian side.

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After a fairly laboured start to the game, it was Arsenal's Giroud who had the first notable opportunity, bringing a save from Milan Borjan with an effort from close range having been played in by Ainsley Maitland-Niles.


There was a lack of urgency in the hosts' attacking play, though, perhaps understandable given their comfortable position at the top of the group.

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The lethargy on the pitch in an uninspiring, disorderly first-half translated to the stands; there was a feeling that the game was a formality, and there had been very little to enthuse the home supporters.


Red Star, meanwhile, had been relatively innocuous in attack, seemingly content to leave with a point, although they came close ten minutes before the break when Matt Macey was required to tip a Vujadin Savić header onto the bar.

And moments before half-time - sensing an opportunity to take advantage of an insipid Arsenal display - they were nearly ahead again, Richmond Boakye racing clean through only to skew his finish wide.


There was more impetus from the home side after the break, but there remained an absence of cutting edge and creativity.


Wilshere came close to giving Arsenal the lead just after the hour mark, however, lifting his finish cutely over the goalkeeper only to be denied by a superbly acrobatic clearance off the line from Damien le Tallec.

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Arsene Wenger's side had upped the tempo, but as the half progressed a winning goal seemed increasingly unlikely, particularly after Theo Walcott squandered two openings.


Red Star had been quiet in the second-half, retreating further into their shape, though Boakye was again handed a chance and again snatched at his effort, driving a left-footed shot wide.


That proved to be the final chance of the game, both sides settling for a welcome point each.

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