The Gunners teenager scored one and set up the other as Freddie Ljungberg’s side fought back to ensure they would be seeded in the last-32 draw

Bukayo Saka was the star of the show when Arsenal kicked off their Europa League campaign two months ago, and on Thursday the prodigious young talent was on hand again to ensure the Gunners scraped through as group winners.

Saka scored one and set up the other to rescue a 2-2 draw at Standard Liege, a result that was enough to see Arsenal top Group F and one that means they will avoid playing one of the stronger teams who have dropped into the competition from the Champions League, such as Inter or Ajax, when the last-32 draw is made on Monday.

Ultimately it was the result they wanted, but this was the not the performance Freddie Ljungberg would have been hoping for following on from the confidence boosting win at West Ham earlier in the week.


For 70 minutes in Belgium, Arsenal were woeful. They trailed 2-0 – with the hosts scoring through Samuel Bastien and Selim Amallah – and there were even concerns they might crash out of the competition altogether.

Eintracht Frankfurt were beating Vitoria 2-1 in the other game in the group, with Liege knowing that three more goals would see them leap above Arsenal into the runners-up spot.

But Saka, just as he did against Frankfurt in the opening round of fixtures, suddenly sprung into life and made the difference.

First, the 18-year-old swung in a wonderful cross which was headed home by Alexandre Lacazette to reduce the deficit before he combined expertly with Gabriel Martinelli on the edge of the box to find space and curl in the equaliser himself.

It was a three-minute cameo which turned the game on its head, and thanks to a remarkable late turnaround in Germany, which saw Vitoria strike twice late on to beat Frankfurt 3-2, it was enough to send Arsenal through as group winners.


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