Top Winners and Losers After Europa League 2019 Matchday 6 Results

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIDecember 12, 2019

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 12: Mason Greenwood of Manchester United celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA Europa League group L match between Manchester United and AZ Alkmaar at Old Trafford on December 12, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Arsenal and Manchester United progressed to the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League as group winners after Thursday's final round of fixtures. 

The Gunners came from behind to draw 2-2 against Standard Liege and top Group F ahead of Eintracht Frankfurt, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side beat AZ Alkmaar 4-0 and take first place in Group L.

Fellow Premier League club Wolverhampton Wanderers are also through after a 4-0 win over Besiktas that sees them progress as runners-up behind Sporting Braga.

Here is a look at Thursday's results and the qualified teams:

UEFA Europa League @EuropaLeague

⏰ RESULTS ⏰ ⭐️ Performance of the night was from __________ Through to the round of 32: Malmö, Copenhagen, Getafe, CFR Cluj, Arsenal, Frankfurt, Rangers, Porto, Ludogorets, İstanbul Başakşehir & Roma ✅ #UEL https://t.co/gbIRlht9KC

UEFA Europa League @EuropaLeague

Round of 32 is set ✅ 🏆 2020 #UEL winner will be __________ https://t.co/8CCYLHuGF6


Winner: Bukayo Saka and Mason Greenwood

Arsenal and Manchester United both went through as group winners thanks to some important contributions from their starlets.

Bukayo Saka made his fourth Europa League start of the season for Arsenal and emerged as the Gunners' saviour in their 2-2 draw against Standard Liege.

Two deflected goals had put the Gunners on the brink of defeat and on course for second spot in the group until Saka popped up with an assist and a goal to rescue a draw.

The 18-year-old provided a pinpoint cross from the left for Alexandre Lacazette to head home to make it 2-1 with his sixth assist of the season:

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

6 - Bukayo Saka has assisted six goals for Arsenal in all competitions this season, two more than any other Gunners player. Creator. https://t.co/tAaTqFODoZ

Saka then went one better with a superb goal to make it 2-2. The teenager swapped passes with substitute Gabriel Martinelli on the edge of the penalty area and whipped a shot past goalkeeper Arnaud Bodart.

Meanwhile, Mason Greenwood won a penalty and scored twice to help the Red Devils cruise past AZ at Old Trafford.

The 18-year-old struck a low left-footed shot into the corner to make it 2-0 and was then bundled over by Jordy Clasie in the penalty area, allowing Juan Mata to put the Red Devils 3-0 up from the penalty spot.

Greenwood added United's fourth with another well-taken goal to take his tally to the season to six:

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

6 - Only Marcus Rashford (13) has scored more goals than Mason Greenwood (6) in all competitions for Manchester United this season. Lethal. https://t.co/9dkN0iBo0T

It was a good night for both youngsters who have shown exactly what they have to offer and will be hoping for more first-team opportunities as the season progresses.


Losers: Arsenal defence

Arsenal did not have it all their own way on Thursday, and two deflected strikes threatened to hand the visitors a second Europa League defeat of the season until Saka intervened.

Samuel Bastien and Selim Amallah both scored to give Standard Liege a 2-0 lead and ensure Arsenal have now gone 13 games without a clean sheet in all competitions:

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

13 - Arsenal have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 13 matches in all competitions, equalling their worst ever run under Arsene Wenger (13 between October and December 2004). Leaky.

Konstantinos Mavropanos was handed his first start of the season but produced a clumsy, error-strewn performance in a back three alongside Sokratis and David Luiz.

Arsenal writer Dan Critchlow was critical of the formation:

Dan Critchlow @afcDW

We look like we do every time we use three at the back. I hate it for our players. Our centre-backs are the worst members of our squad, why would we want another one?

Meanwhile, Emiliano Martinez came in for Bernd Leno in goal but looked nervy throughout on a tricky pitch and hardly transmitted confidence to his shaky backline.

Arsenal managed to rescue the draw thanks to their quality in attack, but their Europa League campaign will not end in success unless they can tighten up at the back.


Winner: Diogo Jota

Wolves forward Diogo Jota started Thursday's match against Besiktas on the bench but arrived after 56 minutes as a substitute for Ruben Neves and took little time stealing the headlines.

The 23-year-old headed home his first within moments of coming on, tapped home his second from close range minutes later and then completed his hat-trick with a powerful header.

Opta noted how it's the fastest hat-trick in the Europa League since 2014:

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

11:00 - Diogo Jota's hat-trick in exactly 11 minutes is the fastest scored in the Europa League since September 2014, when Claudiu Keseru scored a hat-trick in 10 minutes and 56 seconds for FCSB vs Aalborg. Rapid. https://t.co/rfOZTvKQKo

Jota's three goals helped Wolves to an impressive 4-0 win that confirms their place in the knockout stages, although it was not quite good enough for top spot.

Sporting Braga's 4-2 win over Slovan Bratislava in the group's other game sees the Portuguese side finish a point ahead of the Premier League side and should earn them a more favourable draw.


Loser: Anthony Martial

Anthony Martial was named in a strong Manchester United starting XI but was completely outshone by 18-year-old Greenwood in the Red Devils' attack.

The French forward ought to have got his name on the scoresheet when the teenager set him up with a golden opportunity in front of goal, but Martial somehow managed to blaze over the ball from close range.

Squawka's Muhammed Butt was not impressed with the 24-year-old's display:

Muhammad Butt @muhammadbutt

also... Martial's been kinda poor today, right? like how was he not on the spot to tap that cross home?

In contrast, Greenwood enjoyed a superb game and enhanced his growing reputation with a performance full of energy, movement and some clinical finishing.

Greenwood's goals mean he has now scored as many as Martial this season:

Simon Stone @sistoney67

Greenwood joins Martial on six for the season. Only Rashford got more for Man Utd.

The teenager has impressed when he has been handed minutes this season and is increasing the competition for places in the United attack alongside top scorer Marcus Rashford.