So, we’ve qualified for the Europa League round of 32. It might not have been pretty last night as we were halted by a very disciplined Red Star Belgrade side but we’ve done the job we were supposed to do. Despite last night’s game disappointing though, there were a few players who stood out amongst the rest.
First off, a player who is settling back into first-team football quite nicely after a couple of years out, Mathieu Debuchy. A few months ago, I doubt anybody would have thought that Debuchy would make a first-team start for Arsenal again let alone be one of the better players on the pitch, especially after that Bordeaux loan debacle.
However, last night saw the Frenchman continue to string together a run of consistently good performances at right centre back. Playing there he’s not able to bomb down the right as he used to for us and Newcastle, however, he has showcased his defensive skills which have been second to none for the most part when he’s played.
For a relatively short defender, he’s able to win a lot of headers during games as well as timing his challenges well which helped us to secure a point last night.
Next is someone who hasn’t been shy to a man of the match shortlist recently in Jack Wilshere. After a slow first half, Jack looked to be our only source of energy going forward in a spell which he made his own.
Moving a bit deeper to collect the ball, this saw him able to accelerate past defender more easily as well as link play better to create chances. He also showed how good he can be in tight situations by dancing past a defender on the byline before finding the ball again and dinking it past their keeper, only for it to be smashed away off the line.
Unfortunately though, with Jack’s impact not resulting in a goal there’s only one other man that can win the man of the match and that is Matt Macey.
Making just his second first-team appearance, Macey backed his performance from last week with a much deserved clean sheet. Last week his performance may have been damped by Norwich’s opener, however, this week the focus can be on him.
Belgrade didn’t have too many chances in the game so it was important for Macey to stay concentrated, which he did. Some of their shots went well wide but Macey dealt with the ones that were on target well.
He also saved us our qualifying point as the one Belgrade effort that looked certain to beat him, he managed to tip onto the bar and away. A top display from last night’s goalkeeper.