Zurich 1 Arsenal 2: Gunners pay emotional tribute to The Queen with minute’s silence at half-time of Europa League win
ARSENAL and Zurich held a minute’s silence to mark the passing of her majesty The Queen.
The players from both teams gathered around the centre circle before the second half of their Europa League tie kicked off after the sad news broke while the match was already underway.
The official announcement totally overshadowed the game, which saw Arsenal’s return to European action after failing to qualify for the first time in 25 years last season.
Brazilian teenager Marquinhos marked his Arsenal debut with a goal and an assist to secure the victory that boss Mikel Arteta had been hoping for.
Marquinhos, 19, only cost £3million when he arrived from Sao Paulo in the summer and already looks like a bargain.
Arsenal were considering sending him out on loan to gain more first-team experience but decided to keep him once they had agreed to let record signing Nicolas Pepe spend the season at Nice.
And the powerfully-built winger made an instant impact when he picked out Gabriel Martinelli for a free header which his Brazilian compatriot headed wastefully wide.
Another promising chance came and went when Marquinhos fired over from Granit Xhaka’s cross as the visitors looked to turn the screw on the struggling Swiss champions.
But none of that mattered when Fabio Vieira sent Eddie Nketiah galloping away on the counter attack before squaring into the path of Marquinhos arriving like an express train.
And the impressive debutant made no mistake this time, belting his 16th-minute shot into the top corner to momentarily hush the raucous Zurich fans.
Nobody was getting it in the neck from the crowd more than Xhaka, wearing the Arsenal armband for the first time since his infamous Emirates meltdown almost three years ago.
It is fully ten years since Xhaka last played for Zurich’s big rivals Basel, but their supporters are still not ready to forgive or forget.
Not that Xhaka was worried. After all, he’s used to getting abuse and he very nearly had the last laugh with a ferocious long-range effort which demanded a sprawling 25th-minute save from keeper Yanick Brecher.
But just when it was beginning to look as though Arsenal were in cruise control they were again forced to pay the price for a loss of defensive discipline.
Nketiah’s 43rd-minute challenge on Fidan Aliti was both risky and unnecessary and Mirlind Kryeziu was nerveless as he sent Matt Turner the wrong way from the spot.
Arsenal, though, have been making a habit of recovering from adversity this season and regained the lead their efforts deserved in the 61st minute when Marquinhos’ deep cross was headed in at the back post by Nketiah.