Arsenal came away with a vital three points from the Estadio Roman Sanchez Pizjuan. Goals from Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli proved the difference on the night as the Gunners were forced to hold on from a late onslaught of Spanish pressure that proved unable to break the stubborn backline....CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>
Mikel Arteta will be delighted to return to the top of their group knowing what games remain for the Londoners. There is now a few days to recover and prepare for the return of Premier League action against Sheffield United on Saturday.
However, before then, there are plenty of chances to reflect upon what the Gunners achieved in Spain. football.london runs through their winners and losers from the victory against Diego Alonso’s new side.
First, the twist and turn before poking the ball through to Gabriel Martinelli. His compatriot ran through before rounding the Sevilla goalkeeper to knock the ball in calmly.
The second Arsenal goal came through a brilliant strike from Jesus which again highlighted just what he is capable of. A smashing effort on his right foot again showcased the clinical ability that he holds within and the question will be now whether added consistency can spawn from this game – although a worrying hamstring issue arose toward the end of the game that will hopefully be purely precautionary as to why he was taken off.
I spoke to Takehiro Tomiyasu after the smashing result against PSV. I asked him how it was featuring in place of his left-back competition and having to adapt to the demands of what Mikel Arteta has asked for from the role.
He replied honestly: “I am not Zinchenko.” He isn’t, but against Sevilla, he didn’t need to be and plenty of supporters will be thankful for that considering the defensive question marks that have hung over the Ukrainian.
Tomiyasu’s positioning was everywhere as he supported attacks and got back to defend excellently. There is now a strong case for him not to be dropped for the forthcoming fixtures and Zinchenko has a real fight on his hands now.
Ease of pressure
The results in Spain and in France mean that Arsenal return to the top of the group and are now four points clear of third spot. RC Lens drew 1-1 with PSV, bettering the Gunners result there a number of weeks ago.
This of course takes some of the pressure off with anything other than a win leaving Arsenal in a far more precarious position. Arsenal of course have two home games in their final three group stage games and will be hopeful of cruising into the knockouts.
With the schedule so hectic leading into the Christmas period, knowing that the Gunners would have to win all three remaining games would have been only a drawback to potential momentum. That now can be managed much more easily.
After the errors of David Raya, there had been persistent and vocal calls for Aaron Ramsdale to return to the starting goalkeeper position. Yet, once again, the Spaniard continued and his English counterpart remained on the bench.
Raya misplaced two key passes opening up opportunities for Sevilla which, thankfully, they wasted. However, at the end, he had fans’ hearts in mouths as he punched a cross but instead of it flying away from the goal it began to loop toward it and it dropped mercifully just over the bar.
Ramsdale has a strong argument that he deserves an opportunity to return to the fold. However, against Sheffield United, it would be shocking to see the Spaniard dropped and with the Carabao Cup game with West Ham the following week it’s almost a formality that the former number one will step in.
Another disappointing performance from Martin Odegaard as the Norwegian failed to make a meaningful impact in the game. He looks lacking in confidence and manager Mikel Arteta took him off for Kai Havertz in the second half as the skipper was forced to hand over the armband.
Many have theorised that it is due to Norway’s poor international showing and the likelihood of missing another major tournament. However, there were issues prior to the last break.
Perhaps Odegaard needs some time on the sidelines to refocus, with Arteta bringing on the German which could be a sign of things to come. Who will start Saturday therefore is perhaps less certain than usual.
In his three competitive appearances against Arsenal, Sergio Ramos is still without a win. His last time against the Gunners was back in 2006 when Thierry Henry scored the only goal of a two-legged affair and skipped away from the Spaniard to score in the Bernabeu.
On Tuesday night Ramos couldn’t stop Gabriel Martinelli from rounding his goalkeeper and scoring. Neither could he prevent Gabriel Jesus’ brilliant strike.
Although the Sevilla goal came from a corner, Ramos remained relatively quiet. A highlight was when he tried to clear the ball off Martinelli for a throw-in, the ball ricocheted back into his face before going out for an Arsenal throw instead – a night to forget..…CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>