Arsenal missed out on direct qualification for the next round of the Europa League after suffering their first defeat in the competition at the hands of PSV in Holland.

Coming into the contest on the back of a win over their Dutch rivals, Mikel Arteta’s side needed just a point to be confirmed as group winners and avoid a playoff against a team dropping out of the Champions League.

However, it was the hosts who showed the initiative to secure a 2-0 win with Joey Veerman and Luuk de Jong finding the goals in the second half.

Arsenal, as has been the pattern this season, dominated the possession to start the game but the Dutch rivals were the more threatening team twice finding the back of the net in the opening 45 minutes through Cody Gakpo and Xavi Simmons only to be denied by VAR interventions.

The visitors failed to heed the warnings and Veerman scored the inevitable opener after being set up by de Jong in the 56th minute. It did not take long for De Jong to find the net himself, heading in a corner past stranded Aaron Ramsdale to double his side’s lead.

Gakpo, one of the most in-form players in football, had another effort ruled out to Arsenal’s relief but even the introductions of Gabriel Jesus and Bukayo Saka failed to change the result.

The defeat to PSV means Arsenal, who sit two points ahead of the Dutch team in the Group A table, must get a positive result when they visit Zurich in their last Europa League fixture to avoid the possibility of facing a side dropping down from Champions League in a playoff.

Arteta’s side, after being the standard for the opening stages of the season, seems to be stumbling a little at the wrong time.

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