When the Arsenal players walked out of the tunnel and on to the pitch before the game, there were gasps among those in the media area as Kieran Tierney’s face popped up.
Indeed, it was only a muscle injury for Granit Xhaka in the warm-up that saw the former Celtic defender start the match.
Tierney clearly wasn’t fit enough to start the game and he could be seen with his hands on his knees during a break in play, as he struggled throughout much of the game.
In the end Tierney’s performance was the least of Arsenal’s worries as the Gunners couldn’t score the crucial goal to go through to the Europa League final.
Bellerin’s cheerleader role
Hector Bellerin was one of many players who struggled on the night and it won’t be a surprise to see him leave the club this summer.
The Spaniard could be heard encouraging his teammates during the closing stages of the game as he shouted, ‘come on, last five, last ten, it doesn’t matter – come on!’
He continued to convey the message which evidently didn’t get through, as Nicolas Pepe stood with his hands on his hips before Bellerin was quickly substituted.
Mikel Arteta recently admitted that many of the first team squad have uncertain futures ahead of them this summer, and with Bellerin keen on seeking pastures new tonight’s game
Partey’s frustration at Pepe
It’s fair to say Thomas Partey hasn’t been able to live up to expectations at Arsenal so far.
There are a number of reasons for that with injuries being a key factors, but there are also other underlying issues which may have contributed to his struggles.
On 55 minutes the Ghana midfielder misplaced a pass in a dangerous area for the Gunners, and it prompted the former Atletico Madrid midfielder to angrily ask Nicolas Pepe why he didn’t make a forward run quick enough.
Partey’s frustration was symptomatic of Arsenal’s night as nothing seemed to come off for Arteta’s side.
Missed chances, shots inches wide and misplaced passes were all common place on a night to forget for north Londoners.
Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a tough night in front of goal and should have scored at least once on the night.
His final action of the game was to see his header hit the frame of the goal, before he was replaced by Alexandre Lacazette.
Aubameyang, who was lauded by Unai Emery for being a “killer” forward ahead of the game, slammed the seat in front of him as he took his seat after coming off.
The captain has had a difficult season for many reasons but tonight’s defeat caps off what has been a campaign to forget for all involved at the club.