Leandro Trossard and Bukayo Saka were on target for Arsenal as they took a firm step towards Champions League qualification in a comfortable 2-0 victory over Sevilla.
After a week of unflattering headlines both on and off the pitch, the Gunners were in need of some light relief. Luckily their opposition offered exactly that.
Sitting in 15th in La Liga, it has been an poor start to the season for Sevilla. Manager Jose Luis Mendilibar was sacked last month, despite winning the Europa League the previous season. His replacement, Diego Alonso, appears to be doing little better with the club bottom of Group B on two points.
Sitting deep to face down Arsenal’s constant attacking threat proved futile early on. The Gunners dominated the early stages, Kai Havertz missing a key header before Leandro Trossard opened the scoring in the 29th minute with a fine team goal.
Jorginho’s defense-splitting pass setting Bukayo Saka through on the right-hand side of the box to cut it across for a Trossard tap in.
The game was then put to bed just after the hour mark as Saka went from provider to finisher. Fed by Gabriel Martinelli, Saka cut inside, beat his full-back, and slotted the ball past goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic with relative ease.
“The more you have the chance in football to put it to bed, do it.” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta had said in his pre-match press conference.
His side look to have certainly done that. Their 2-0 victory setting them four points clear at the top with only a point needed from their remaining two fixtures to reach the last 16.
“I’m really happy with the performance from the team,” Arteta told TNT Sports after the game.
“Even when we lost the ball we were incredibly good to get it back. It’s hard in Europe to control it how we did.”
A control that rarely seemed like breaking, Sevilla’s singular shot in the whole game demonstrating how little David Raya was tested in the Arsenal goal.
Arsenal’s week of controversy
It was a welcome relief after what has been an eventful week for the North London outfit. First, knocked out of the Carabao Cup by West Ham and then suffering their first Premier league defeat of the season in a controversial 1-0 loss to Newcastle on Saturday, the club have been all over the papers.
Arteta’s post-match outburst at the Premier League’s refereeing standards on Saturday created several headlines as he labelled the officiating a “disgrace”.
His ire targeted at VAR’s decision to uphold Antony Gordon’s now infamous winner for Newcastle after finding no conclusive evidence to disallow it.
It was the club’s decision to release a statement of support on Sunday for Arteta’s comments that has drawn most criticism.
Gary Neville labeling the statement as “really poor” before his Sky colleague Jamie Carragher stated, “I’m still scratching my head to think what are Mikel Arteta and Arsenal actually unhappy about. What part of it?”
A mess of their own making, this victory comes at a time when many Arsenal fans will be looking to put the weeks controversies behind them.
Get the focus back on track in pursuit of their main target for the season: winning the Premier League title.