68 min: Both sides look in the mood now as they search for a winner. A nice, open feel to a game that means the square root of bugger all.
PSV Eindhoven v Arsenal: Champions League – live | Champions League
66 min: Saibari tussles with Rice on the edge of the Arsenal box. He spins his man easily then shoots. The ball deflects off Rice, then off the base of the left-hand post. Arsenal clear, and breathe again.
65 min: Nketiah is fine to continue. Then there’s more panto fun as Nelson skitters in from the right and ripples the side netting. Arsenal’s supporters incorrectly cheer again; they’re jeered by the delighted PSV fans when the truth reveals itself.
GOAL! Lens 1-0 Sevilla (Frankowski 63 pen). Przemyslaw Frankowski has given Lens the lead from the spot, and the French side are within touching distance of the Europa League now. Sergio Ramos will have the face on now all right.
64 min: Arsenal are in the wars all of a sudden. Havertz clatters into his own man Nketiah, and the latter is down requiring treatment.
62 min: Elneny can’t continue. His number goes up, and Ødegaard comes on in his place. Saliba and Cedric are also replaced, by White and Rice.
61 min: Elneny is down. Cramp? A hamstring issue? Either way, it doesn’t look as though he’s going to be able to continue.
59 min: Havertz crosses from the right. Nketiah rises highest at the far stick and ripples the side netting with a wayward header. The Arsenal fans, up the other end, their view obscured, momentarily cheer for a goal. The rest of the stadium soon responds in mockery. Well, it is pantomime season, after all.
58 min: Mauro Júnior crosses aimlessly from the left. Trossard, under no pressure at all, heads it behind needlessly. Arsenal nearly pay from the corner, Van Aanholt’s low drive nearly bagatelling its way through a crowded box. But the deflections are kind to the visitors, who clear their lines.
56 min: Arsenal string some passes together in the sterile style.
54 min: Nelson embarks on a full-blooded diagonal dribble in from the right flank. It looks as though he’s got time and space to shoot from the edge of the D, but he opts to keep on going instead, hoping to release Trossard down the left channel with a killer pass. The move fizzles out. For a second, though, that looked extremely promising.
52 min: That was a gorgeous finish. Ramsdale had no chance. “It’s a good thing someone likes Arsenal’s third strip because adidas are putting an awful lot of eggs in that basket,” writes Harriet Osborn. Those trainers would pair nicely with Spurs gear.
Scrub that quiet restart! The PSV Stadion erupts in noise as Pepi takes up Tillman’s pass down the inside-left channel and feeds Vertessen on the overlap. Vertessen opens his body and curls an unstoppable shot across Ramsdale, off the right-hand upright, and in!
49 min: Otherwise, it’s been a quiet start to the second half. A lack of jeopardy will do this kind of thing.
47 min: Tillman barrels down the left and nearly loses control, only for Van Aanholt to take the ball off his toe and continue the attack. It’s worked to Bakayoko, on the other flank. He tees up Vertessen, who drags a low drive wide left from the edge of the D.
PSV get the second half underway. No changes.
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Elsewhere in Group B … HALF TIME: Lens 0-0 Sevilla. Sevilla need to win tonight if they’re to snatch third place from Lens and give themselves a chance of defending the Europa League trophy they won for the seventh time last season. Kári Tulinius is all over that one: “I’ve been watching the meaningful match in this group at the glorious Stade Bollaert-Delelis and Sergio Ramos has a funk on, for no discernible reason. You’d think someone as fabulously rich and wildly successful would be more easy going but he seems to have the sort of unhinged competitiveness that leads people to treat a game of badminton on the beach like a life and death struggle.”
Here’s how the group stands at the moment.
… and so Arsenal’s second string are on course to make it 15 points from the 18 available in Group B.
45 min +2: Bakayoko dribbles hard, in from the right. He’s afforded way too much space and time, and fires a shot towards the bottom right. Ramsdale extends fully to tip around the post and nothing comes of the resulting corner.
45 min +1: The first of three additional first-half minutes, and there’s a quick VAR check for a potential penalty. Did an Arsenal hand stop the in-flight Vertessen? No, is the answer that comes back pleasingly quickly.
45 min: Vertessen dribbles in from the left but can’t work enough space in the Arsenal box for a shot.
43 min: Bakayoko has been PSV’s best threat, and he whizzes down the right, crossing for Pepi, who heads high and wide from ten yards. Nearly a perfect response to going behind from PSV.
Eddie Nketiah scores his first Champions League goal! And it’s very nicely taken. Nelson and Cedric combine crisply down the right. The former steps infield and finds Nketiah on the edge of the D. He takes a touch to make himself some room before lasering a shot towards the bottom right, past Benitez, off the base of the post, and in. One-nil to the Arsenal!
40 min: Havertz busies himself down the left and cuts back infield for Trossard, but the winger is swarmed quickly and PSV clear their lines.
38 min: The home fans continue to give it plenty, regardless.
36 min: Speaking of energy, it drops.
34 min: … nowt. Here’s Charles Antaki: “Well, clearly there’s football match going on here – people are running about and passing to each other, and occasionally tackling or having a sighter at goal – but it’s about as memorable as this Arsenal green and blue away strip. Not very.” I quite like it. Some good Tony Woodcock/Kenny Sansom retro energy.
33 min: Ramalho creams a lovely pass down the left flank for Pepi, who has a dig from distance. Saliba manages to get across to block and deflect out for a corner. From which …
31 min: Mauro Júnior crosses from the left. Tillman hares in from the right, hoping to connect with a dropping ball on the volley, but Kiwior eyebrows clear just in time. Fine play all round.
29 min: Elneny drops a shoulder to squeak out of a tight spot and make some space for himself down the middle. It’s a lovely free-flowing dribble, and he advances towards the box before unleashing a low drive towards the bottom left that beats Benitez but swerves at the last before pinging off the base of the post. That would have been a superb goal.
27 min: Mauro Júnior with more of the dribbling out from the back. This time he’s stripped by Nelson, but is fortunate the subsequent attempt to find Nketiah is overhit. Goal kick.
26 min: Trossard swings an outside-of-boot cross in from the left, but the ball goes nowhere near Havertz in the middle. Even so, Trossard looks Arsenal’s most likely creator so far.
24 min: Elneny flicks a ball infield from the right. Nketiah heads it into space down the channel, but Benitez rushes to the edge of his box to claim well before Nelson can get there. Arsenal haven’t done very much in attack.
22 min: PSV, and Bakayoko in particular, are getting plenty of joy down the right flank. A decent dribble and a cutback that doesn’t quite find Tillman; then a rasping, rising drive that only just sails wide of the top-left corner. Ramsdale might have had that one covered, though it’d have been a close-run thing.
21 min: Mauro Júnior dribbles across the front of his own box, left to right, with his keeper Benitez on walkabout. He’s taking a hell of a risk, because if the nearby Havertz manages to get a toe in, he’ll surely be slotting into an unguarded net. But Júnior’s footwork is fine, and he sashays away from danger.
19 min: …. Vertessen steering a fine header towards the bottom right. Ramsdale is beaten, but the ball clips off the outside of the post. Goal kick. PSV could very easily be a couple of goals up already. The small margins.
18 min: Trossard swings a magnificent ball in from the left. Havartz springs clear of the PSV line to meet it first, but mistimes his header, the ball clapping off the top of his head and harmlessly out wide left. He wants a corner for a deflection, but he’s not getting one. PSV immediately counter, Obispo crossing from the right and …
17 min: Trossard dribbles in from the left and is cynically tugged back by Teze. No booking, but it is a foul and a chance for Arsenal to line up on the edge of the PSV box and wait for Trossard’s set-piece delivery.
15 min: Replays show Van Aanholt accidentally landing on Ramsdale’s ankle when he tried to slot that big chance. No malice, but Ramsdale’s leg bent horribly under the weight, and that would have certainly smarted. Happily, the keeper’s able to continue. No serious damage, it would seem. He plays on.
13 min: Ramsdale is down holding his right ankle. The physio comes on. Ramsdale will be desperate for this shop window to stay open.
12 min: … so everyone slows it down again. Hey, it’s the wise, professional thing to do.
10 min: Trossard’s corner fails to beat the first man and PSV counter. Saibari hopes to release Vertessen but the pass doesn’t come off. After an incredibly undistinguished first few minutes, this has turned into decent end-to-end entertainment. Here’s to everyone keeping this up.
9 min: That was a magnificent last-ditch spread by Ramsdale, who is making his Champions League debut tonight and will almost certainly be in Point To Prove mode. Arsenal counter through Nelson and Nketiah, who combine down the right to win the away team’s first corner of the evening.
7 min: From the resulting corner, Obispo heads harmlessly over the bar.
6 min: … then all of a sudden, the game sparks into life. Tillman slips a pass down the right for Bakayoko, who immediately looks for Van Aanholt in the middle. Van Aanholt can’t connect, six yards out, thanks to face-on pressure from Ramsdale and Gabriel and a slide by Saliba from behind. Then Pepi tries to slam the loose ball home, but that’s deflected over the bar for a corner. How on earth are PSV not leading?!
4 min: On TNT Sports, Lucy Ward uses the phrases “low-key start” and “dead rubber”. So yes, that. Lucy knows.
2 min: Both teams take turns to have a wee look and feel of the ball. A decent enough atmosphere at the PSV Stadion, even if the state of Group B ensures it’s not exactly a cauldron of anticipation.
Arsenal get the ball rolling. A quiet, contemplative start.
The teams are out! PSV, the 1988 winners, in their red shirts; Arsenal, the 2006 runners-up, in mid-80s Umbro-JVC-throwback green. Or maybe it’s blue now I come to look at it again. I need an eye test. We’ll be off in a couple of minutes.
Mikel Arteta speaks to TNT Sports. “We’ve got a really heavy schedule and we have to manage the loads of certain players and as well we have to reward certain players that give me headaches every single day because they want to be selected and play more minutes! It’s a really good opportunity to finish the first change in style. We need to defend really well and win the game. We need to continue generating what we generate, continue with the same attitudes and behaviours. We are going to face a really good side today so we have to be at our best. There is never a free hit in football. This is the Champions League and the opponents are so good. We need to be really good tonight to win the game.”
September on-song. Here’s what happened when the teams met at the Emirates in the reverse fixture, as the autumn weather turned leaves to flame.
Arsenal have made eight changes to the team that started the 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa on Saturday night. William Saliba, Gabriel and Kai Havertz are the only players who remain. Aaron Ramsdale gets a run-out in goal, making his Champions League debut, allowing new number-one David Raya to put his feet up for the evening. Alongside Raya on the bench: Emile Smith Rowe, who returns from injury and could feature for the first time since October, and academy prospects Ethan Nwaneri, Reuell Walters and Lino Sousa. The attacking midfielder Nwaneri has one appearance under his belt already, coming off the bench against Brentford in September 2022 to become the club’s youngest-ever player at the age of 15 years and 181 days. Sousa and Walters, left and right-backs respectively, would make their senior debuts if they come on at any point tonight.
PSV: Benitez, Teze, Ramalho, Obispo, van Aanholt, Tillman, Junior, Saibari, Bakayoko, Pepi, Vertessen.
Subs: Sambo, Dest, de Jong, Drommel, Boscagli, Til, Waterman, Babadi, Oppegard.
Arsenal: Ramsdale, Cedric, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior, Elneny, Jorginho, Trossard, Havertz, Nketiah, Nelson.
Subs: White, Saka, Odegaard, Gabriel Jesus, Smith Rowe, Raya, Hein, Zinchenko, Rice, Nwaneri, Sousa, Walters.
Referee: Tobias Stieler (Germany).
A reminder of what’s at stake tonight. Nothing.
Arsenal are guaranteed to finish Group B as winners, while PSV have already secured second spot. This game has no real consequence whatsoever, so let’s not oversell it and simply enjoy it for what it is.
Kick off is at 5.45pm GMT. It’s on.