Report as Arsenal beat Sevilla 2-1 away from home to take control of their Champions League group; Gabriel Jesus set up Gabriel Martinelli for a superb breakaway goal on the stroke of half-time, before the Arsenal No 9 curled in an excellent second before Sevilla pulled one back
Wednesday 25 October 2023 12:01, UK
Gabriel Jesus stole the show as his superb goal and assist fired Arsenal to a 2-1 win at Sevilla to put the Gunners in control of Champions League Group B.
The Brazilian striker's stunning turn and assist sent Gabriel Martinelli on his way to a debut Champions League goal on the stroke of half-time, before Jesus bettered it himself after the break with a superb curling finish to put Arsenal 2-0 up.
Arsenal's deficit was halved when Nemanja Gudelj headed home from a corner on the hour mark and despite some heavy Sevilla pressure in an electric Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium, some impressive saves from the much-maligned David Raya - including one in the last moments of the game - maintained the Gunners' lead until full-time.
The Gunners' win plus Lens' draw with PSV Eindhoven means they are four points clear of third-place in the group and they will qualify for the knockout stages if they beat Sevilla in their next game on November 8, and Lens beat PSV on the same night.
The one blot for Arsenal on a successful night was Jesus limping off with a hamstring injury with 10 minutes to go.
Asked by Sky Sports News about his injury, Jesus himself replied: "Let's see. I was tired, to be honest. But I never want to go off. I always respect the manager's decision. It was unlucky. Let's see what it is."
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta told TNT Sports: "He felt something in his hamstring, so we will see. Straight away asked to be subbed which is not good news because Gabi is not a player who does that at all. So we have to wait and see in the next few days."
Arsenal were accused of starting slowly at Chelsea on Saturday, but the Gunners were speedy in Spain in the opening few minutes.
Takehiro Tomiyasu hit the side netting with a low drive from the edge of the box while Martinelli had his first major chance of the game when he was played through on the break, but fired straight at Orjan Nyland when he should have done better.
Sevilla gained some confidence as Lucas Ocampos fired wide at the near post from Jesus Navas' cross - with the home side's growing belief coming at Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya's expense for a few nervy first-half minutes.
The Spaniard - jeered regularly by the home crowd following his high-profile mistakes - hit two straight passes at Ocampos in quick succession - the second error nearly leading to an opening for Dodi Lukebakio, who could not control well in the box.
Sevilla: Nyland (6); Navas (6), Ramos (6), Gudelj (7), Acuna (6); Sow (6), Soumare (6), Rakitic (7); Lukebakio (6), En-Nesyri (6), Ocampos (7)
Subs:Mariano (7), Lamela (6), Sanchez (n/a)
Arsenal: Raya (7); White (6), Saliba (7), Gabriel (7), Tomiyasu (8); Jorginho (6), Rice (8), Odegaard (6); Saka (7), Jesus (9), Martinelli (8)
Subs: Havertz (6), Trossard (n/a), Nketiah (n/a)
Player of the match:Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal)
A stop-start first half - which included injury scares to Arsenal duo Martinelli and Bukayo Saka - nearly drifted towards a slack conclusion but came alive in injury time.
Youssef En-Nesyri fired wide when a slick Sevilla move opened up the Arsenal defence, but then the Gunners hit with seconds of the half remaining.
Jesus was the chief creator spinning two Sevilla defenders on the centre circle before feeding the rapid Martinelli, who burst past the retreating home players with ease. The Brazilian rounded Nyland before tapping into an empty net.
Arsenal continued their rise in the second half with Martin Odegaard blasting over from inside the box after Nyland denied Jesus from close range - but it was not long until the Gunners fired for a second time.
Declan Rice drove well through the left-hand side of the pitch and fed Jesus on the wing. The Brazilian cut inside as he entered the box before firing in between two Sevilla defenders into the top corner.
Arsenal pushed again with Saka, who put his first-half ankle injury worry behind him, seeing a shot blocked inside the box but then Sevilla struck back out of nowhere to halve their climb back. Ivan Rakitic's corner was headed in at the near post by Gudelj and the home crowd lifted their voices to maximum levels.
Sevilla thought they were level when substitute Mariano Diaz fired at goal from inside the box but Arsenal goalkeeper Raya tipped his rasping drive onto the crossbar, without knowing the referee would penalise the home forward for controlling the ball with his hand.
The pressure continued to build on Arsenal, especially as the excellent Jesus limped off on 81 minutes. But Raya saved again from Mariano, but the closest the home side came to an equaliser came in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
A cross from the right was punched backwards by Raya and thankfully for the Arsenal goalkeeper, the ball landed on top of the net.
It was enough for the Gunners to hang on for a big win in arguably their most challenging Group B test.
Arsenal manager Arteta hailed his side's resilience to put their most recent Champions League disappointment away at Lens behind them to respond in brilliant style in Seville.
"Very happy to win in here, not many teams have won here in the last 10 years in Europe. And we've done it," Arteta told TNT Sports.
"I really liked the team in the first 60 to 65 minutes because we played the game we wanted. After we went 2-0 up, we should have scored a third one and we had chances to score it.
"We didn't and then one corner, the first action where they had something, they scored from and from there they have the experience and a lot of presence, as well a lot of belief to win the game and we suffered.
"It's about experiences and learning from those experiences. When you lose, you sometimes learn much more than when you win and it was a very different team that played in Lens. There were moments when we were very dominant and then we had to suffer, and it's necessary to suffer to win a game."
The Arsenal manager also hailed Jesus for bringing the "big moments" required to win the game.
"That's what you need," he added. "You need magic moments in big games, you need the big players to step up and create those big moments. We need that: players performing at their best and he did something special."
Sky Sports' Sam Blitz:
A superb turn and a defence-splitting pass for Arsenal's first, then a brilliant curling finish for the second, Gabriel Jesus looked like someone at home in the Champions League and looking at his record, you can't be surprised.
The Brazilian made it 23 goals in 41 appearances in Europe's premier club competition - including 14 goal contributions in his last 17 Champions League starts - during Arsenal's important Champions League win in Sevilla and his vital experience was on show in Spain.
Remember, this is still a young Arsenal voyaging on unchartered waters. Even the strong-headed stars like Bukayo Saka are playing in their first Champions League campaign, Gabriel Martinelli even made his debut in the competition on Tuesday night.
But what was the perfect tonic for these young attacking stars? Jesus putting it on a plate for Martinelli late in the first half, before the Arsenal No 9 showed his fellow Brazilian how big moments are done in style at this level. And that's three goals in three Champions League group games this season.
These margins are vital, which is why Jesus' hamstring injury scare is a real "concern" for Arsenal, as Mikel Arteta put it. Jesus cannot miss another chunk of a Premier League title race, his experience is too valuable.
November 8: Sevilla (H) - kick-off 8pm
November 29: Lens (H) - kick-off 8pm
December 12: PSV (A) - kick-off 5.45pm
Arsenal are back in Premier League action on Saturday against Sheffield United at Emirates Stadium; kick-off 3pm.
For Sevilla, they travel to Cadiz in LaLiga on Saturday; kick-off 8pm.