Arsenal concluded their UEFA Champions League group stage campaign with a 1-1 draw against PSV Eindhoven at the Philips Stadion.

The match, while not crucial for Arsenal who had already secured the top spot in their group, was an opportunity for Mikel Arteta‘s side to maintain their positive form heading into the knockout stages.

If you could get odds on expected excitement (xE) for an upcoming match from sports betting sites, this dead rubber would have offered poor returns and the game itself lived up to that expectation.

The Gunners opened the scoring just before the interval through Eddie Nketiah, who delivered a low guided finish from inside the area. This goal came against a PSV side with an impressive 100% record in the Dutch league after 15 games.

However, PSV responded swiftly after the break, striking back to level the score.

The first half began at a sedate pace, reflecting the secure positions of both teams in the Round of 16. Arsenal’s defensive resilience was evident early on, with Gabriel making a crucial block to deny Ricardo Pepi a goal.

Gabriel was one of only three players retained from the side that faced Aston Villa in the Premier League, alongside William Saliba and Kai Havertz.

PSV’s Yorbe Vertessen was a constant threat, coming close with a header that hit the post. Johan Bakayoko also exerted influence for PSV, narrowly missing a long-range effort. Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny, in his first start in 11 months, tried his luck from distance, his effort just missing the target.

Following Nketiah’s opener, PSV equalised early in the second half through Vertessen’s right-footed shot.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta reacted by introducing Declan Rice, Ben White, and Martin Odegaard. The substitutions brought a renewed energy to Arsenal’s play, with Reiss Nelson attempting to take charge with a driving run that ended with a shot into the side netting.

The match continued to open up, with PSV’s Pepi hitting the post after a quick turn in the box. Arsenal thought they had regained the lead when Jakub Kiwior found the net, but his goal was disallowed for Gabriel’s offside. The game’s intensity persisted until the final moments, with Leandro Trossard nearly securing a win for Arsenal, only for his shot to be saved by PSV goalkeeper Walter Benitez.

The draw, while not affecting Arsenal’s position in the Champions League, was a reflection of the team’s depth and Arteta’s ability to manage his squad effectively in European competition.

The performance of players like Nketiah and the resilience shown by the team in a challenging away fixture provide positive signs as Arsenal prepare for the upcoming challenges in both domestic and European tournaments.