Arsenal survived a late Sevilla onslaught in Spain to win its second Champions League game of the campaign 2-1, with the result putting the Gunners top of Group B.
A tepid first half saw very little action until deep into added time. Gabriel Jesus turned beautifully to evade two markers and set Gabriel Martinelli through on goal. The winger rounded Orjan Nyland in the Sevilla goal and passed the ball in an empty net to give Arsenal a much-needed boost before the break.
Gabriel Jesus added another goal to his impressive Champions League tally with a trademark curler from an angle into the top corner.
It looked like Mikel Arteta’s men were cruising until a goal from a Sevilla corner brought them back into the game. Arsenal survived a few nervy moments, including a dodgy David Raya punch and a few close calls, but ultimately, the boys hung on and claimed a crucial victory in this year’s Champions League campaign.
It wasn’t a performance that was littered with standouts, but there were some pleasing performances.
Declan Rice was as consistent and impressive as ever, and he looked really good at times when other Arsenal players were being a bit sloppy. This wasn’t enough of a standout performance for him to be included, though; there are extremely high expectations of him now.
On the other hand, Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard were poor again. Saka didn’t make the right choices when he had the ball, and Martin Odegaard was barely visible again in what is becoming a concerning trend.
That being said, let’s get into the standouts.
3 standout players from Arsenal’s vital Champions League win
It took Saka eight minutes to score on his Champions League debut. His Brazilian counterpart, Gabriel Martinelli, took an embarrassingly long 48 minutes.
Jokes aside, it was brilliant to see Martinelli open his account so quickly with a well-taken goal. In truth, he should have scored earlier with a similar chance but was denied by Nyland from close range.
Sometimes, he runs so fast that I feel it can make his finishing more difficult, but he dribbled past the keeper elegantly to ensure the goal.
He was solid all game, not losing the ball too much and chipping in with a defensive contribution when needed. At times when the Arsenal attack looks sluggish and out of ideas, Martinelli’s pace can be a free ticket to a goal, and his presence is invaluable on the pitch. Good to have him back.
Continued on next slide…