Arse­nal, Chelsea power on in Europa League

Observer on Saturday - - Sport -

- Lon­don­ers Chelsea and Arse­nal both en­joyed high-scor­ing Europa League wins on Thurs­day, as Glasgow giants Celtic and Rangers were left with work to do on the fi­nal match­day to qual­ify for the next stage.

Unai Emery se­lected a youth­ful Arse­nal to play in the Ukraine and they romped past Vorskla Poltava 30, guar­an­tee­ing top spot in Group E in a match switched to freez­ing Kiev af­ter se­cu­rity con­cerns in the east of the coun­try.

Teenagers Emile Smith Rowe and Joe Wil­lock scored ei­ther side of an Aaron Ram­sey penalty as the Gun­ners went in 3-0 at half-time.

Arse­nal will now avoid any of the Champions League drop outs in the draw for the next round as they have a bet­ter head-to-head record with sec­ond-placed Sport­ing Lis­bon.

Mau­r­izio Sarri had de­manded a re­ac­tion from his Chelsea side af­ter they lost at Tot­ten­ham in the Premier League and the Blues an­swered his call, beat­ing PAOK Salonika 4-0 to win their group with a brace from French tar­get man Olivier Giroud.

"The main tar­get was to win, we needed a strong team re­ac­tion and we did it well tonight," said the World Cup win­ner, Giroud.


"I am re­ally happy with the team spirit and we can move for­ward now and start some new mo­men­tum. "I've scored goals in the past but it's true that I was wait­ing for more chances," said Giroud, who broke a long streak with­out a goal in the last round.

"You need a bit of luck in front of goal. I had a good as­sist from my team-mates, I love this kind of ball be­hind the de­fence.


"Four goals plus a clean sheet, a good night for us. When the man­ager starts me, I try to give my best, do my part."

Celtic still need a fi­nal day draw to go through af­ter beat­ing point­less Rosen­borg away for the sec­ond year in a row thanks to Scott Sin­clair's em­phatic header just be­fore the break.

The Scots can thank Aus­trian out­fit RB Salzburg, who won Group B outright with a vic­tory over their Ger­man sis­ter club RB Leipzig 1-0. The Ger­mans now have to win in Glasgow to qual­ify ahead of Celtic.

Rangers drew 0-0 at home with Spain's Vil­lar­real, keep­ing their hopes of last day qual­i­fi­ca­tion from Group G alive a point be­hind with be­hind the Spaniards and Rapid Vi­enna who both have seven.

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