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Arsenal and Chelsea both top Europa League groups

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Arsenal's Joe Willock, right, celebrates with his teammates after scoring his side's third goal during the Europa League group E soccer match between Vorskla Poltava and Arsenal at the Olympiyskiy stadium, in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Arsenal got the job done (Picture: AP)

Arsenal and Chelsea both secured top spot in their respective Europa League groups on Thursday evening – and Chelsea didn’t even need to kick a ball!

A 2-0 win for BATE Borisov over MOL Vidi ensured that Maurizio Sarri’s men had clinched top of Group L despite having two matches left to play, including their tie against PAOK Salonika later on Thursday night.

Unai Emery’s much-changed side, meanwhile, thumped Vorskla Poltova 3-0, with goals from Emile Smith-Rowe, Aaron Ramsey and Joe Willock ensuring Sporting Lisbon won’t be able to rise above them on the final matchday due to their superior head-to-head record.

There had been some speculation over whether the match would take place at all after it had been moved at the last minute from Poltava to Kiev, but Arsenal were unfazed by the late change to the schedule and got off to a bright start.

Sarri’s men didn’t need to kick a ball to clinch top spot (Picture: AFP/Getty)
epa07197831 Emile Smith Rowe (L) of Arsenal celebrates his goal together with teammates during the UEFA Europa League Group E soccer match between FC Vorskla Poltava and Arsenal FC in Kiev, Ukraine, 29 November 2018. EPA/SERGEY DOLZHENKO
Smith-Rowe opened the scoring (Picture: EPA)

Eddie Nketiah was heavily involved in Smith Rowe’s 11th-minute opener. The 19-year-old played a neat one-two to burst in behind the Vorskla Poltova defence, and although he was tackled at the death, the ball rolled into Smith-Rowe’s path and he made no mistake in giving the Gunners the lead.

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Ramsey was fouled in the box and duly converted the penalty to make it two, before a neat finish from Willock from just outside the area put the Gunners 3-0 up by the break.

Smith-Rowe appeared to have scored his second of the night just after the hour mark but it was ruled out – perhps harshly – for his team-mate Nketiah being offside.

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