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Arsenal: Sambi Lokonga let Mikel Arteta down last night

Arsenal finished top of their Europa League group by defeating FC Zurich in what was a far more tense evening than anyone predicted beforehand.

Topping the group and skipping an entire knockout round was a welcome reward for the narrow victory, but Mikel Arteta’s men had to work for it as they came out with a 1-0 victory.

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A stunning strike from Kieran Tierney in the first half proved to be enough to secure the win, although Arteta admitted “we were a bit leggy” as a nervy final 15 minutes threatened to ruin their evening.

There were a few below-par performances on the night, with Gabriel Jesus completing just 16 passes, while Ben White lost possession 16 times during his 73-minute spell.

For Albert Sambi Lokonga, it was perhaps a night to forget. The 23-year-old was making his sixth straight appearance in the Europa League this season and was pushed into a slightly more advanced position against Zurich.

Although the stats suggest he had a solid evening, achieving a ranking of 7.2/10 via SofaScore and winning 100% of his total duels, it appeared that he struggled to impose himself last night, and that wasn’t the first time this has happened in Europe this season.

Last week, journalist Mark Mann-Bryans stated that “Lokonga nowhere near Partey levels” while Tom Marshall-Bailey claimed the player is “in need of a loan right now if he’s to fulfil his potential” suggesting that he is nowhere near the levels required to be playing at this level.

This poor form obviously carried through into this week, with journalist Buchi Laba, expressing his disappointment at Lokonga’s performance, saying: “They said Lokonga is played out of position as a DM. He’s pushed forward and he’s more confused and lost.”

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During the 90 minutes, the Belgian played just 25 passes while losing possession five times and taking just 41 touches, showing that he didn’t get on the ball as often as he should have and shirked away from any responsibility – not what you need from your central creative hub.

With Arteta rotating his squad for the European matches, it was a chance for the likes of Lokonga to impress and show the manager that he should be playing more regularly in the Premier League.

Yet, last night’s display will give the Spaniard more questions than answers.

Article title: Arsenal: Sambi Lokonga let Mikel Arteta down last night

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