With a straightforward 2-0 victory over Sevilla on Wednesday, Arsenal got back on track and advanced further towards the Champions League knockout stages.
Arsenal’s momentum had been stopped by back-to-back losses in the League Cup and Premier League, but goals from Leandro Trossard and Bukayo Saka solidified their position as the top team in Group B.
Mikel Arteta’s team took the lead in the 29th minute thanks to a goal from Trossard, and halfway through the second half, Saka demonstrated Arsenal’s dominance with a brilliant attempt.
Champions of the Europa League Sevilla were terribly disappointed, managing just one shot on goal, which came with the final kick of the match, as their prospects of making the playoffs faded.
The only negative aspect of Arsenal’s otherwise stress-free evening was seeing Saka, who assisted Trossard’s goal, go off in the latter stages after suffering an awkward tumble.
With nine points from four games, Arsenal consolidated their lead atop Group B. Had Lens defeated PSV Eindhoven, but the French team fell 1-0, Arsenal would have qualified.
Sevilla, who are without a win, are bottom with two points, while Lens and PSV have five points.
A normal night was needed following Arsenal’s contentious Premier League loss to Newcastle United over the weekend, which led to an agitated Arteta outburst. Sevilla proved to be obedient opponents.
The season has started badly for the Andalucian club, and the hiring of former Uruguay international Diego Alonso a month ago hasn’t done much to turn things around.
They had only triumphed once in his five games since replacing Jose Luis Mendilibar, in the Copa del Rey against the lowly Quintanar, and they never seemed to have a chance to pull off an unexpected success in north London.
From the first whistle, Arsenal dominated and were efficient rather than spectacular. Within two minutes, Kai Havertz had a chance to take the lead but missed with a header.
The hosts seized the lead when Saka was released down the right by Jorginho, the night’s captain in lieu of the injured Martin Odegaard, and he slid a pass across for Trossard to score.
After the break, Havertz came within a hair’s breadth of the goal twice, his first attempt narrowly missing the far post and his second deflected away.
After a brilliant move down the right, Saka raced on to a cross from Gabriel Martinelli and cut back inside to put a left-footed shot past visiting keeper Marko Dmitrovic, giving Arsenal breathing room.
Due to his minimal involvement in the game, Arsenal’s David Raya could have easily been given the night off. Mariano Diaz only need a save from him in the sixth minute of stoppage time.