Europa League 2017: Arsenal Win Group Despite 1st Defeat, Latest Results, Tables

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistNovember 23, 2017

COLOGNE, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 23:  Jorge Mere of FC Koeln tackles Jack Wilshere of Arsenal during the UEFA Europa League group H match between 1. FC Koeln and Arsenal FC at RheinEnergieStadion on November 23, 2017 in Cologne, Germany.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Arsenal confirmed top spot in Group H despite suffering their first defeat of the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League. The Gunners, who had already qualified for the knockout phase, were beaten 1-0 by Cologne on Thursday but will be seeded for the last 32 after BATE Borisov and Red Star Belgrade could only manage a 0-0 draw.

Real Sociedad and Nice will join Arsenal in the next phase after confirming qualification with wins over Rosenborg and Zulte Waregem, respectively. Meanwhile, history was made by Swedish side Ostersund, who continued an excellent debut campaign in the Europa League by reaching the round of 32.

Viktoria Plzen and Red Bull Salzburg were among those who also made it through.

Here are all the scores from Thursday's matches, per the tournament's official Twitter account: 

Here's what those results mean for the updated group tables:

Group A

  1. Villarreal: 11 pts
  2. Slavia Prague: 8 pts
  3. Astana: 7 pts
  4. Maccabi Tel-Aviv: 1 pt

Group B

  1. Dynamo Kiev: 10 pts
  2. Partizan Belgrade: 8 pts
  3. Skenderbeu: 5pts
  4. Young Boys: 3pts

Group C

  1. Braga: 10 pts
  2. Ludogorets: 8 pts
  3. Istanbul Basaksehir: 5 pts
  4. Hoffenheim: 4 pts

Group D

  1. AC Milan: 11 pts
  2. AEK Athens: 7 pts
  3. Austria Vienna: 4 pts
  4. Rijeka: 4 pts

Group E

  1. Atalanta: 11 pts
  2. Lyon: 11 pts
  3. Apollon: 3 pts
  4. Everton: 1 pt

Group F

  1. Sheriff: 9 pts
  2. Lokomotiv Moscow: 8 pts
  3. Copenhagen: 6 pts
  4. Ziln: 2 pts

Group G

  1. Steaua Bucharest: 10 pts
  2. Viktoria Plzen: 9 pts
  3. Lugano: 6 pts
  4. Hapoel Beer-Sheva: 4pts

Group H

  1. Arsenal: 10 pts
  2. Cologne: 6 pts
  3. Red Star Belgrade: 6 pts
  4. BATE Borisov: 5 pts

Group I

  1. Salzburg: 11 pts
  2. Marseille: 7 pts
  3. Konyaspor: 5 pts
  4. Vitoria SC: 4 pts

Group J

  1. Ostersunds: 10 pts
  2. Athletic Bilbao: 8 pts
  3. Zorya Luhansk: 6 pts
  4. Hertha Berlin: 4 pts

Group K

  1. Lazio: 13 pts
  2. Nice: 9 pts
  3. Zulte Waregem: 4 pts
  4. Vitesse 2 pts

Group L

  1. Zenit Saint Petersburg: 13 pts
  2. Real Sociedad: 12 pts
  3. Rosenborg: 4 pts
  4. Vardar: 0

Full standings are available per the tournament's official website.

      

An Arsenal side featuring 11 changes was left to rue a controversial penalty scored by Sehrou Guirassy on 62 minutes in Germany. The spot-kick was awarded after an apparent tangle of legs with Gunners defender Mathieu Debuchy.

As OptaJoe noted, it has become common for Arsenal to give away penalties on their travels recently:

While there was some debate about the penalty, Arsenal ultimately struggled to muster enough creativity in the final third. Jack Wilshere couldn't exert much influence between the lines, while centre-forward Olivier Giroud was too static up front.

Even so, the Gunners have won the group with a game to spare. It might mean a slightly more favourable draw in the last 32. Based on this evidence, Arsenal will need it.

There will be some drama in Group H with all three of Cologne, BATE and Red Star still able to qualify. It means the Gunners will be expected to do their bit at home to BATE in their final group game.

Nice will also be in the last 32 after Mario Balotelli helped ensure qualification. The temperamental striker was on the scoresheet during a 3-1 win.

It means Nice have made it out of a Group K ultimately bossed by Lazio. The Serie A outfit still has a four-point lead at the top despite drawing 1-1 with Vitesse.

Balotelli was among the goals as Nice qualified.
Balotelli was among the goals as Nice qualified.Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Group L is tighter with Real Sociedad staying on the heels of Zenit Saint Petersburg. The latter holds the edge by a point after beating Vardar 2-1 thanks to goals from Dmitry Poloz and Emiliano Rogoni.

Argentinian playmaker Rogoni produced a classy all-round display for a Zenit side tough to beat at home.

By contrast, Sociedad proved a tough nut to crack on their travels by earning a creditable win in Rosenborg. A 90th-minute winner from Mikel Oyarzabal was enough for the visitors to claim all three points and officially eliminate their hosts from European competition.

Creative maestro Sergio Canales helped Sociedad control possession in what was a measured and efficient European performance.

Canales helped guide Sociedad through.
Canales helped guide Sociedad through.OLE MARTIN WOLD/Getty Images

Ostersund have provided one of the more heart-warming stories of the tournament so far. The club has risen from the fourth tier of Swedish football with the help of English manager Graham Potter.

Now Ostersund will play knockout football in Europe after brushing aside Zorya Luhansk courtesy of an own goal from Dmytro Grechyshkin. Saman Ghoddos added a spectacular second from distance 12 minutes from time to confirm his club's remarkable progress.

The other match in Group J provided a five-goal thriller between Athletic Bilbao and Hertha Berlin. Athletic shaved it thanks to a goal from Inaki Williams and a pair of penalty conversions from Aritz Aduriz.

The prolific duo has carried Athletic in the tournament so far, per OptaJose:

Things were easier for Plzen, who remain in contention to win Group G after a 2-0 win over already qualified Steaua Bucharest. Just a point separates these two at the top ahead of the final matchday.

It's a different story for Hapoel Beer-Sheva, who were eliminated after slipping to a 1-0 defeat against Lugano, who won't qualify despite the win.

Salzburg were impressive 3-0 winners in Group I, while Konyaspor were held to a 1-1 draw by Marseille. The latter still have a two-point lead in the race for second place.

Group F was enlivened by Jefferson Farfan's two-goal heroics for Lokomotiv Moscow against Copenhagen. The former PSV Eindhoven and Schalke 04 forward was in peak form as he used pace, power and perception to fire Moscow into second place, two points ahead of Copenhagen.

Sheriff still top the group by a single point after a 1-0 win at home to Ziln.

It's Villarreal who lead the way in Group A after the Yellow Submarine won 3-2 in Astana. Two goals from the prolific Cedric Bakambu sent Villarreal into the knockout phase.

Bakambu kept his nerve in front of goal for Villarreal.
Bakambu kept his nerve in front of goal for Villarreal.fotopress/Getty Images

Slavia Prague are best-placed to join them in the next stage after winning 2-0 away to Maccabi Tel-Aviv.

AC Milan flexed their attacking muscle in Group D after scoring five unanswered goals to see off Austria Vienna at the San Siro. Andre Silva scored twice, while Ricardo Rodriguez and Patrick Curtone also found the net.

AEK Athens and Rijeka could only draw 2-2, but the point is good enough to keep the Greek side second.

Everton still couldn't get a Europa League win despite a goal from Sandro Ramirez. Instead, Atalanta went through thanks to a brace from midfielder Bryan Cristante.

Robin Gosens and Andreas Cornelius added goals on another miserable night in the competition for the Toffees.

Lyon also went through after mercurial schemer Nabil Fekir inspired a 4-0 win over Apollon in France.

Silva was again the catalyst for Milan.
Silva was again the catalyst for Milan.MIGUEL MEDINA/Getty Images

Group B produced a mild shock when leaders Dinamo Kiev were beaten 3-2 by Skenderbeu. The other game saw Partizan Belgrade overcome Young Boys by a 2-1 scoreline at home.

It means Partizan have cut the gap at the top to just two points.

Ludogorets slipped to second in Group C after losing 2-1 at home to Istanbul Basaksehir. Braga's 3-1 win at home to Hoffenheim means the Primeira Liga club went top.

The tournament's big names have been making it through to the next stage. Yet some, including Arsenal and Lazio, are stumbling through the gate, while others like AC Milan and Lyon are proving their credentials as potential winners.

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