Arsenal booked their place in the last-32 of the Europa League following an uninspiring 0-0 draw at home to Red Star Belgrade.
The Gunners enjoyed the majority of possession before the break, but it was the visitors who enjoyed the best chances, with goalkeeper Matt Macey tipping a Vujan Savic shot over the bar before Richmond Boakye’s shot wide when through on goal.
Giroud went close for the hosts, but Milan Borjan rushed out and was able to snuff out the danger.
Arsene Wenger’s men pressed in the second half, but again failed to carve out any decent chances. Red Star had another clear chance to score with ten minutes remaining, but Boakye again shot wide.
But with Cologne winning against Bate Borisov, the point was enough for Arsenal to seal their place in the knockout stage.
Our man Steve Stammers was at the Emirates and here are his five talking points…
1. Wilshere – due a call-up by England?
Wilshere started at the Emirates
Maybe Gareth Southgate has a point. At the peak of fitness, there are few more accomplished English midfield players than Wilshere. One problem. He is still short. But come the end of the season, with maybe 20 or so games under his belt, don’t rule out a visa for Russia for Wilshere.
2. Macey – the heir-apparent to Petr Cech?
Macey pulled off this stunning save in the first half
Too true. First his sense of anticipation is spot on – witness the early use of his radar and his head to clear the danger. His athleticism was evident with a superb save from Slavoljub Smic. Then he needed all of of his six feet seven inch fame to tip a header fromVujadin Savic on to the bar.
3. Is Wenger right to play shadow team in Europa League?
Reiss Nelson got the nod from the start
Back in the day, there was a league called the Football Combination. It was for hopefuls and for first team players who needed match sharpness. Welcome to Arsenal in the Europa League under Arsene Wenger. It will be a major shock if any of the starting line up against Red Star is in the first eleven at the Etihad on Sunday.
4. A big season for Walcott – is he making the most of what chances he gets ?
Walcott failed to impress
Still lack that killer instinct. A decent touch and fearsome pace but the end product still lacking. If he could find it then, who knows, he may be sitting next to Wilshere on the charter to Moscow.
5. Giroud – can he push for a Premier League call-up?
Giroud went close in the first half
The competition from Alexandre Lacazette has left Giroud fighting for the first team place he assumed was his property. There is certainly more of an edge to Giroud’s game when he does get a run-out. Certainly an option for Wenger and he was a problem for the Red Star defence.