Arsenal 2-0 Sevilla: Leandro Trossard and Bukayo Saka leave the Gunners on the brink of the last-16 after bouncing back from successive defeats… before England star is injured late on
- Re-live the action from the Emirates as Arsenal welcomed Sevilla to London
- CHRIS SUTTON: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is a clown – It’s All Kicking Off
There was little for Mikel Arteta to complain about here at the Emirates.
The remnants of his blistering attack on the standard of officiating during Arsenal’s first Premier League defeat of the season at Newcastle on Saturday will linger.
Speaking of blistering attacks; it was Arsenal’s that did the damage here.
In the end it was two; it should have been more. But after the week Arsenal have endured, they’ll take this win and move swiftly on.
Barring a complete capitulation, Arsenal should now qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Leandro Trossard scored in the 30th minute after a dominant opening half hour from Arsenal
Bukayo Saka made it two in the second half after a brilliant solo effort to double the ascendancy
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Following their seven year hiatus, that achievement shouldn’t be underestimated.
Arsenal (4-3-3-): Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tomiyasu (Zinchenko 45′); Havertz, Jorginho (Elneny 90′), Rice; Saka (Kiwior 85′), Trossard (Vieira 80′), Martinelli (Nelson 80′)
Subs: Ramsdale, Cédric, Hein, Cozier-Duberry, Sagoe
Goal: Trossard 30′, Saka 64′
Booked: Zinchenko, Rice
Manager: Mikel Arteta
Sevilla (4-2-3-1): Dmitrovic; Sánchez, Badé, Gudelj, Salas (Ocampos 76′); Jordán (Soumare 65′, Mariano 73′), Reges; Lamela, Sow (Rakitic 65′), Pedrosa (Nianzou 76′); En-Nesyri
Subs: Gattoni, Suso, Mir, Lukebakio, Navas, Torres, Flores
Booked: Soumare, Juanlu, Ocampos
Manager: Diego Alonso
Referee: Istvan Kovacs
And after days of hyperbole which have thrown into question Arsenal’s integrity, the most pleasing aspect of this victory for Arteta will be that he can draw a line under the ugly episode knowing his side let their football do the talking.
Arsenal swarmed Sevilla in a fashion as ferocious as their manager’s tirade on Saturday during the opening exchanges here last night.
Kai Havertz should have opened the scoring inside a minute, but horribly mistimed a free header at the back post from Gabriel Martinelli’s corner before Gabriel Magalhaes nodded his own effort off target soon after.
Martinelli, in particular, was enjoying a dynamite opening – his direct competitor Juanlu defeated time and again by the Brazil attacker’s unstoppable combination of close control and pace.
On the opposite flank, Kike Salas was having similar trouble with Bukayo Saka. Arsenal were purring, blistering down both wings – industrious and inventive through the centre of the park.
Sevilla could barely catch their breath.
Ben White, Jorginho, and Saka all peppered the opposition goal with shots in the opening 25 minutes as the La Liga club as Arsenal pressed for the opener their start warranted.
The inevitable breakthrough arrived in the 29th minute; Trossard routinely finishing beyond Marko Dmitrovic following Saka’s square pass.
The goal owed plenty to the power of Declan Rice, who stole possession off opposing captain Fernando, and Jorginho, whose pass into Saka’s path compounded what had already been a miserable night for Sevilla left-back Salas.
After a week where the talk has overshadowed Arsenal’s football, this goal arrived as a welcome return to normality.
And that should be the real regret for Arteta after what has been a tumultuous few days. Where was this Arsenal at St James’ Park? If this Arsenal had showed up, then perhaps we could have avoided this hoo-ha. That wouldn’t have been lost on the Gunners boss.
If there was one regret for Arteta at half-time then it would have been the threat of letting Sevilla off the hook.
His team’s dominance had bared fruit, but not enough to put Sevilla out of reach.
Like the opening 45 minutes it was Havertz who squandered the first chance after the restart, his shot charged down by Juanlu after another one of Saka’s dynamic surges forward before the German flashed a vicious shot narrowly wide in the 55th minute.
Martinelli, assisted down the left by Oleksandr Zinchenko in the second half following Takehiro Tomiyasu’s substitution at half-time, continued to treat Juanlu like a training ground mannequin; while Saka was – well – being Saka.
Gareth Southgate, who names his England squad on Thursday afternoon, was in attendance here.
Having lost Saka for last month’s international fixtures, Southgate would have enjoyed his visit to north London. Not that he needed any reminding of Saka’s brilliance.
Trossard bent a shot narrowly wide in the 60th minute, following decisive combination play from Rice and Martinelli.
Much like the first-half this encounter was only going one way. Arsenal’s second duly arrived in the 63rd minute.
Unsurprisingly, Martinelli and Saka were at the heart of it; the former feeding the latter with a perfectly timed pass to set the England international free.
This time around it was Adria Pedrosa’s turn to look silly; Saka turning inside him before unleashing an unstoppable low strike past Dmitrovic.
With that unmistakable smile; Saka wheeled away to receive the adulation from his team-mates.
If there was any doubt over how Arsenal would react to their perceived injustice on Tyneside, then there really shouldn’t have been.
This was a resounding riposte. Of course, Sevilla weren’t providing much of a challenge, although Arteta will argue his team didn’t give them the opportunity.
And he’d be right; his team were excellent. This was as comfortable a night as you would expect at this level.
Zinchenko stung the palms of Dmitrovic in the 67th minute with an expertly executed volley as Arsenal sought to put a more accurate reflection on the scoreboard.
But ultimately this game petered out harmlessly, though Saka was substituted late-on after taking a whack to his ankle in news that will concern Arteta and Southgate.
In fairness to Sevilla, though, it was the only way they could stop him.
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