Arsenal completed their near-perfect Europa League group ,
Laurent Koscielny played for the first time since May as , group stage with an easy win over Qarabag.
Alexandre Lacazette scored the only goal of a tame match with a slick 16th-minute winner from Mesut Ozil’s pass.
Unai Emery’s side had already qualified for the knockout round and go through as Group E winners, with five victories and one draw from their six matches.
After the break, Eddie Nketiah had a headed goal ruled out for offside.
Koscielny, 33, ruptured his Achilles in last season’s semi-finals defeat by Atletico Madrid.
He had very little work to do against Qarabag, who only went close when Donald Guerrier headed over, before being replaced in the 72nd minute.
The first legs will be played on 14 February, with the return legs on 21 February. As a seeded team, Arsenal will play their second leg at home.
Captain Koscielny’s quiet night
Team who have now lost all six of their meetings with English sides by an aggregate score of 1-18, Koscielny made one tackle and two clearances, also finishing his match with a 100% pass success rate. The minutes he played will be of more significance, especially considering the recent injury to Rob Holding.
Ozil labours and creates, Saka shines
It was Ozil’s first appearance since 11 November, having spent five games out with a back injury. He looked uncomfortable on occasion in the first half – twice appearing to struggle back to his feet after falling in a 50-50 challenge.
One of very few points of interest was the impact of the side’s youth players, and perhaps the brightest showing came from Saka ,
Aside from Lacazette, he was the only player among both sides to have a shot on target, and it was his excellent cross that found Nketiah for the disallowed goal.