Despite losing 1-0 against struggling Bundesliga side FC Köln, Arsenal topped group H and secured their place in the next round of the competition.
It was a disappointing performance for the Gunners, in a match of few chances for both sides. The match was decided by a controversial penalty decision in the second half.
The first half never really got going for either side, with both teams careless in possession and lacking any real creative flair. With that being said, Arsenal did look the most likely to score, and they came close early on.
In the 13th minute the ball broke on the edge of the Cologne box to the onrushing Francis Coquelin. The Frenchman hit the ball on the volley, and it narrowly flew passed the post. Later on in the half, the Gunners had their best chance of what was a lacklustre first period. It was Coquelin again with the chance, as he struck the post with a close range volley, after good work from Oliver Giroud.
Apart from these two chances the game really did lack in quality. The home side created nothing of note in the first half, and were an accurate representation of a team bottom of the Bundesliga.
The second half started just like the first half ended, but in the 60th minute the game sparked into life. Köln forward Sehrou Guirassy played an excellent one-two and was then fouled in the box by Gunners defender Mathieu Debuchy, and a penalty was awarded. The striker took the penalty and slotted the ball home from twelve yards to give the home side an undeserved lead.
The goal reinvigorated the home side and they grew in confidence as the game progressed. However, Arsenal pushed for an equaliser and could have scored when Giroud sprung the offside trap and found himself one on one with Timo Horn. Unfortunately for the Frenchman, he failed to control the ball properly and the ball went out for a corner kick.
Arsene Wenger brought on his youngsters in the hope of bringing his side level, and they nearly did in the final minutes of the game. Nelson bet three players and found himself one on one with Horn but the goalkeeper saved his shot.
The game ended in defeat for Arsenal, but due to results elsewhere they finish top of the group with a game to spare.
FC Köln: Horn; Sorensen, Maroh, Mere; Klunter, Ozcan, Jojic, J.Horn; Cordoba, Osako, Guirassy. Subs: Kessler, Olkowski, Risa, Lehmann, Rausch, Nartey, Bissek.
Arsenal: Ospina; Debuchy, Mertesacker, Holding; Chambers, Elneny, Coquelin, Maitland-Niles; Wilshere, Welbeck, Giroud. Subs: Macey, Sheaf, Willock, Nelson, Iwobi, Nketiah, Akpom.