Belgrade draw 'frustrating' but a valuable lesson for young players: Wenger

Mathieu Debuchy

The Gunners boss will have one eye on Sunday's showdown (2.15pm) with Premier League leaders Manchester City at the Etihad.

Winning this game would put Arsenal through to the knockout stages of the Europa League, and would nearly definitely clinch top of the group, depending on how the other group result ends up.

The cagey nature of the first half has similarities to the reverse fixture in the Serbian capital two weeks ago. Macey had previously made a great pinpoint save, pushing a header onto the bar to keep the scoreline at 0-0.

This is another chance to showcase Arsenal's youth and reserves, who have acquitted themselves very well in this tournament so far.

Red Star continued to create chances of their own, though, and Boakye spurned another glorious opening with 10 minutes remaining when he powered an uncultured finish wide of the near post having been played through after Mathieu Debuchy had gone down off the ball.

The match was also another chance for Jack Wilshere to get minutes under his belt, with the injury-ravaged midfielder overlooked by Gareth Southgate for the latest England squad. Wilshere's shot was cleared off the line.

The Gunners were chasing their fourth Europa League win on the trot but were unable to break down a spirited Red Star side at the Emirates Stadium. Sunday's game against the league leaders may be pivotal for Arsenal's season going into the worldwide break, and having rested the most important players Arsenal should be fresh for the fixture.

IT WAS a mixed night for English teams in the Europa League with Everton bundled out and Arsenal sealing a place in the last-32 knockout stages.