Sevilla vs Arsenal: Instant Reaction
Thoughts on the final whistle
Slightly delayed instant reaction because this is on during work but let’s get into it.
Headline: Arsenal in the driver’s seat for the group
Arsenal’s win here puts them on 6 points, with Lens and PSV drawing they now lead the group, 1 point ahead of Lens.
This was a big and I think very gutsy type of performance from Arsenal.
The Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán Stadium was rocking and Sevilla were full of confidence after their deserved
win Draw against Real Madrid on the weekend. Arsenal were big favorites but this was not going to be a cakewalk.
Arsenal had a big moment in the opening 15 minutes when Gabriel Martinelli was put through one-on-one but couldn’t convert. There were some shouts that maybe he should have passed, but as the ultimate judge or ‘should he have passed’ rulings I think this was a situation where the shot was the best shot.
Saka was trying to get into position but he couldn’t close the space down quickly enough to provide the option. If he is 2-3 yards ahead here that is probably a different story. Ultimately I think this was very good goalkeeping as Martinelli didn’t have an easy option and tried to place it far post for it to be saved with the leg.
This was a warning sign for Sevilla, and they did not heed it because it happened again right before halftime, and this time Martinelli rounds the keeper and puts Arsenal a goal to the good.
Arsenal added a second not long into the second half with a brilliant bit of skill from Jesus but had a few other nearly chances. It looked like things were set for a romp.
Instead, Sevilla worked their way back into the game.
The possession had been close all game but started to shift towards the hosts, especially after they got a goal back. Arsenal struggled to get a hold of the ball consistently in the match, but that was exacerbated after the second goal.
Sevilla started to apply pressure and Arsenal struggled to play out, they had just 5 sequences with 5 or more passes and just 3 with 7 or more passes. Sevilla started pressing effectively (9.4 PPDA in the last period) and forced Arsenal into mistakes (Arsenal completed significantly fewer passes than expected in their own half).
Sevilla did make things interesting with some half chances and a near-fatal mistake from David Raya but Arsenal saw things out and got what they needed.
The win here moves Arsenal clearly into the driver’s seat for the group. The latest betting odds now have Arsenal 85% to win the group, which is up from 60% at the start. Taking care of business in the last two home matches would then guarantee things for Arsenal.
Stock Rising: Gabriel Jesus
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