Arsenal battled out a hard-fought 2-1 win away to Sevilla in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
Still smarting from their surprise loss to Lens last time out under the European lights, Gabriel Jesus’ silky contribution on either side of half-time inspired Arsenal to the club’s first Champions League away win since 2015.
Nemanja Gudelj ensured that it was a nervy conclusion for the visitors with a commanding header. Despite some scares, Arsenal clung on to all three points which sent them to the summit of Group B.
How the game unfolded
The game kicked off to a deafening cacophony – the famous Champions League music was no match for the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan’s rendition of Sevilla’s club anthem. Arsenal dulled the roar from the stands with early possession that lacked punch.
The hosts grew in confidence as the first half wore on but by creeping forward left themselves open in transition. Jesus plucked a clearance out of the sticky night sky and span past the stranded Gudelj. For the second time in the first half, Jesus set Gabriel Martinelli clear of Sevilla’s backline. Outwitted earlier in the match, Martinelli took Orjan Nyland out of the equation on this occasion, skipping around the goalkeeper before prodding Arsenal into the lead with the last kick of the opening 45 minutes.
Jesus maintained his stellar scoring record in the Champions League after the break. For the third European game on the spin, Jesus found the back of the net, notching his most spectacular contribution of his campaign by cutting onto his right foot and stuffing the ball into the top corner from the inner edge of the box.
Just as Sevilla seemed to be wobbling, Gudelj thundered the hosts back into the contest with a commanding header from a corner – his side’s first shot on target of the match in the 58th minute.
The pressure that Arsenal came under in the final half-hour was evident from Mikel Arteta’s decision to replace Martinelli with centre-back Jakub Kiwior. Behind the Pole, David Raya almost punched one of Sevilla’s volley of crosses into his own net at the death, watching on in relief as the ball span fortuitously over his own crossbar.
Arsenal player ratings (4-3-3)
GK: David Raya – 4/10 – Errant passes in his own defensive third are rapidly becoming an unwanted trademark. Desperately lucky to avoid a calamitous conclusion.
RB: Ben White – 6/10 – Reluctant to offer Bukayo Saka any option on the overlap.
CB: William Saliba – 7/10 – Solid if unspectacular.
CB: Gabriel – 7/10 – Snuffed out any flicker of threat created in his vicinity.
LB: Takehiro Tomiyasu – 7/10 – An almost omnipresent performance, popping up everywhere he was needed in the defensive third and plenty of places he wasn’t at the sharp end of the pitch.
CM: Martin Odegaard – 3/10 – Not for the first time in recent weeks, let the game pass him by.
CM: Jorginho – 6/10 – Characteristically calm in possession, even when receiving the ball with a Sevilla player’s breath on his neck.
CM: Declan Rice – 8/10 – An all-action display, building up from the back and breaking into the opposition box, at times in the same move.
RW: Bukayo Saka – 5/10 – Unlike Martinelli, Saka was expected to track back and duly fulfilled his defensive duties.
ST: Gabriel Jesus – 8/10 – Played the role of facilitator and finisher in a superb display.
LW: Gabriel Martinelli – 7/10 – Looked entirely at home on his Champions League debut.
SUB: Kai Havertz (73′ for Odegaard) – 5/10
SUB: Eddie Nketiah (81′ for Jesus) – N/A
SUB: Leandro Trossard (81′ for Saka) – N/A
Subs not used: Hein (GK), Ramsdale (GK), Zinchenko, Kiwior, Cedric, Elneny, Vieira, Smith Rowe, Nelson
Mikel Arteta – 7/10 – Managed to stem the flow of Sevilla’s fightback with some well-timed changes.