Arsenal inched closer to the Champions League knockout phase thanks to Bukayo Saka’s goal and assist propelling them to a dominant 2-0 victory over Sevilla in Group B.
Four days on from the controversial loss to Newcastle at St James’ Park, victory never looked in doubt from the moment Leandro Trossard swept home Saka’s low cross in the first half.
Saka added the second with a composed finish after latching onto a pass from the superb Gabriel Martinelli after the restart,
The victory takes Arsenal to nine points from four matches, and a win in their next game at home against Lens will secure a place in the knockout stage as group winners.
3 positives & negatives as Arsenal cruise past Sevilla in UCL win
Let’s take a look at the positives and negatives from the match.
Positive #1: Defensive Solidity
After conceding four goals in the last two matches, although one was controversially awarded, Arsenal showed their defensive strength and dominated the entire 90 minutes to move inches closer to sealing qualification into the round of 16.
Mikel Arteta did not pull any punches in his defensive setup, maintaining the back four we’ve all become accustomed to, except, Takehiro Tomiyasu starting again at left-back ahead of Oleksandr Zinchenko, as he has done in the last few weeks. William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes were comfortable all game and Ben White went about his business without a fuss. David Raya was a spectator throughout the game, with Sevilla recording their first shot in the 97th minute.
It is also worthy to mention the contributions of Jorginho and Declan Rice, both provided coverage in midfield, and dominated possession which made it easier for the defenders to deal with anything that would have come their way with ease, except, nothing came their way.
Negative #1: Lack of cutting edge
Arsenal dominated the game, gaining over 60% possession, with Sevilla reduced to pedestrian passing in their own half. But all that possession only counted for two goals. Sevilla goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic made only one save from the three shots on target, the other two being the goals from Trossard and Saka. Arsenal had 11 shots throughout the game.
Martinelli was a thorn in the flesh of Juanlu Sanchez and constantly got the better of the Sevilla fullback. His cutbacks into the box could not find his teammates, and on some occasions, his crosses were not attacked at the near post which left him frustrated.
Overall, while it was a decent outing against a team setup not to attack, Arsenal should have scored more and the lack of cutting-edge should be a worry for Arteta.
Continued on the next slide…