Arsenal took a huge step towards qualifying for the knock-out stages of the Champions League as Bukayo Saka starred in victory over Sevilla before limping off late on.
Saka set up the opening goal for Leandro Trossard before scoring the second himself as the Gunners secured a straightforward 2-0 win at the Emirates Stadium that leaves them on the cusp of the last 16.
Mikel Arteta opted to play Trossard through the middle as his central striker with Eddie Nketiah joining Gabriel Jesus in the treatment room, with the Belgium forward the only change from Saturday’s contentious defeat at Newcastle.
A professional performance in north London 👊 pic.twitter.com/oRQmcikK6z
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) November 8, 2023
There was not such drama here although four early fouls on Saka went unpunished as both Nemanja Gudelj and Kike Salas left their mark on the England international.
Kai Havertz, without a goal from open play since his £65million summer move from Chelsea, fluffed his lines with an early headed chance, but Arsenal set out their intent from the off.
Saka went down again under close contact from Salas, but this time Romanian referee Istvan Kovacs was unmoved as the hosts wanted a penalty.
Just moments later, however, and the deadlock was broken. The lively Saka unsurprisingly laying on the assist for Trossard to tap home – but Jorginho was the architect with a slide-rule pass to start the move.
It proved to be the only shot on target of a forgettable first half as Sevilla, without a LaLiga or Champions League win under head coach Diego Alonso since his appointment last month.
Havertz bent an effort inches wide as Arsenal went in search of a second after the break and Trossard should have done better soon after, but curled his strike the wrong side of the post.
It was Saka, though, who made the difference once again, beating the offside trap to race onto a Gabriel Martinelli pass before cutting inside Adria Pedrosa and tucking home with aplomb.
Gabriel Jesus had provided the goal and assist that ultimately saw off Sevilla in Spain a fortnight ago, but he was injured during the game and has not played since.
The same went for Saka here, who fell awkwardly and limped off with five minutes to go, with England manager Gareth Southgate – who announces his next squad on Thursday – watching from the stands.
Arteta had said on the eve of the game that Arsenal should “put to bed” qualification for the last 16 with two games to spare and his players did their bit.
But PSV Eindhoven’s win over Lens leaves Group B open, although a draw against the Ligue 1 side at the Emirates Stadium in three weeks time would be enough for Arteta’s side to advance.