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My Spanish is very poor (like my Italian, German, French, and Dutch) but I could swear that drifting over from the Sevilla supporters was the refrain “Six times champions of Europe, you’ll never say that”.

Frankly if that was what they were singing it sounded as ridiculous in context as the West Ham chants from last week.

Tonight we eased them aside in the most comfortable of Champions League victories. It has been marvellous to hear the evocative Champions League anthem return and in the two games we have played this season at home we have put the opposition to the sword.

Despite leaks from the Daily Mail, the paper that provides the blueprint for my life, the team did not feature Ramsdale but Trossard featured upfront, Tomayisu started at left back, and Jorginho was in midfield. Havertz played quite far forward, alternating with Trossard in the 9 and 10 roles. His evening did not begin auspiciously with a miss with a free header from a left wing corner, but his all round game improved and he was unlucky not to score in the 55th minute with a curling left foot effort that went just wide. There is clearly a player there but equally we could have spent £65 million much more effectively in the Summer.

Tonight’s stars were our two wingers who survived, after a fashion, some brutal treatment from the Sevilla fullbacks who were completely unable to stop them legally. Artetaball is primarily about creating overloads on the wing and clever switches to Martinelli, who had chalk on his boots, were always a source of great danger for the Spaniards. Martinelli tore Jeanlu a new one but at the same time the quality of his final ball left something to be desired. Bade was moved across in the second half to try to contain him (with limited success) but the speed and strength of Martinelli, who had scored so sumptuously in Andalucia a fortnight ago, was too much for them.

Seville earned their first corner a couple of minutes from the end and tested Raya with their only shot in the last minute of injury time. It was such a relaxed evening I did not allow myself to get stressed by a referee who seemed incapable of awarding corners, throw-ins, or free-kicks to the correct side, and let players stand five yards away when free kicks were being taken, yet sought to book Saka for not going off injured at the right place. If he’d given Saka appropriate protection early on, his journey may  not have been necessary.

The game was settled by two well-worked goals. In the 25th minute Jorginho played a perceptive and beautifully weighted ball through the inside right channel to Saka who looked up and knocked in a low cross to Trossard who turned the ball in from close range.

Arsenal 1 Sevilla 0 – Trossard

It was a good example of patient probing garnished by a change-up to a much faster tempo and it tore Sevilla asunder.

Despite overwhelming superiority we didn’t work the keeper enough but our control of the game was almost total. The one moment of danger in the first half came from a swift break down their inside left channel which was extinguished by a brilliant piece of defending from the majestic Saliba, who raced back to time his tackle to perfection.

Otherwise the half progressed smoothly with Arsenal firmly in control.

Half-time  Arsenal 1 Sevilla 0

The second half saw much of the same. Saka was progressively kicked to pieces as he nearly always is and was a constant threat. Martinelli rampaged down the left, and Havertz almost opened his Arsenal goals-from-open-play account. It is becoming a little hackneyed to say it but Rice was imperious in midfield and worked well in tandem with the steady Jorginho.

The game was made safe, although in truth it was never in peril from an Arsenal point of view, in the 65th minute when Martinelli came off the left wing following a quick throw in from Zinchenko (who had replaced Tomayisu at half time). Gabigol found Saka, who duped his defender and slotted the ball into the far corner.

Arsenal 2 Sevilla 0 – Saka

The result, which had never been in doubt, really wasn’t in doubt at all now; but the evening became a little more concerning when Saka limped off near the end to be replaced by Vieira. Nelson had come on for Martinelli a few minutes before. Saka hobbled around the perimeter of the pitch presumably so he could wave to C100 in the North Bank Lower. I’m no Trev (in fact who is but Trev?) but I didn’t think his injury looked serious and I hope Tomi was replaced for tactical reasons. Zinchenko had one fine volley saved but Arsenal were content to retain possession, although a slight error from Saliba (which may have been triggered by eccentric positioning from Raya) caused slight concern. In the end this was the most comfortable of victories even though the nine points we have amassed has not yet made us certain of qualification.

Sevilla are not even certain of getting another crack at the Europa League and a titanic final clash with the champions of Europe Wet Spam.

An enjoyable evening and the rain abated for my journey home for once!

Full Time -Arsenal 2 Sevilla 0

30 Drinks to “Arsenal in cruise control as they ease past Sevilla”

  1. 1
    bt8 says:

    Cheers, TTG. Thanks for the report on a game I previewed but did not see but for the last 15 minutes when it appeared there was a cakewalk in progress. The Spanish announcers seemed to be hoping Sevilla would finally do anything good. Sounds like a deserved three points.

  2. 2
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks TTG, loved the Daily Mail line. It was nice to get a routine win though I felt the lads could have pushed harder to achieve my predicted 3-0 win. Sevilla lived up to their league placing and had nothing. More of the same against Burnley works for me.

    I was wondering about Tomi too but, according to Mikel, he felt something at half time so was subbed as a precaution. Fingers crossed for both he and Saka as we don’t really want to lose too many more just now.

  3. 3
    Countryman100 says:

    Thanks TTG for an excellent and super speedy report, written on your phone on the train home. Your diligence is an exemplar. Following two ultimately disappointing away games, this was an opportunity to get back to home comforts. One that we took with ease, through hard work and organisation.

    There were three outstanding moments in the game. Obviously the two goals. Jorghino to Saka with a defence splitting ball the great Dennis would have been proud of, Saka with a heads up first time pass to Trossard who finished crisply. Two passes, one shot, not a glove laid on anyone. Goal two, Martinelli picked up the ball in mi£field with lots of green grass in front of him. To me mate! Cries Saka. Righto mate, says Gabi. Sumptuous rounding of the one defender and the passing of the ball into the corner. The North Bank went nuts.

    But good as they were, my favourite moment. It came in the first half as Sevilla, for the only time in the match, broke through and were bearing down on our goal. But big Willy set those long legs pumping and, in the penalty area, stretched out into a slide tackle. If he missed, it was a goal. If he mistimed it is was a penalty and probably a red card. But of course he timed it perfectly, came away with the ball at his feet and calmly looked upfield for the next pass. Superlative. Cue loud singing of the Saliba! song. What a player.

    Burnley on Saturday. Will they play the expansive football which has meant they have only beaten Luton this season? Or will they revert to type with a low block? Time will tell.

  4. 4
    bathgooner says:

    A fine and swift report of a businesslike despatching of Sevilla despite the absence of both our formal ‘number 9’s’ and our playmaker. Everyone delivered what was expected of them and Arteta purred contentedly like a cat with two tails in his post-match interview.

    It’s becoming a bit of a pattern but how Gudelj got away without a single card for three assaults on Saka in the first 10-15 minutes – a reducer in three instalments that fortunately didn’t stop our lovely lad having an excellent game. Hopefully the ‘knock’ that forced him off late on isn’t serious. I hope Arteta rests him on Saturday and is even now on the blower to Southgate to tell him not to bother adding him to his squad.

    One more point to ensure qualification but let’s win the damn group.


  5. 5
    BtM says:

    A fine report on the game I saw, TTG. Arsenal controlled the game throughout and were only really in danger once (the Saliba recovery to which C100 refers – in days of Mustafi, a certain penalty).

    That wasn’t a game that will live long in my memory. While Martinelli totally dominated his full back, relatively little came from all of that superiority. I think MA8 will examine just why that was the case on the blackboard before Saturday’s game.

    I would like to have seen Saka withdrawn immediately the leather hit the netting for his goal. The game was over at that point and Nelson needs minutes if he’s ever going to develop as a starter.

    Win the next one.

  6. 6
    North Bank Ned says:

    We saw the same game, TTG. Your report was as swift as Martineiii on the wing and as measured as our control of the match. That Sevilla did not have a shot until added time indicates how thoroughly we smothered them.

    Rice’s passing stats were exceptional: 50 made out of 53 attempted. To C100’s point, both of Saliba’s tackles were top draw. However, there would have been no danger of a penalty in the days of Mustafi. The German wouldn’t have got anywhere near enough to get in a tackle.

    Despite the dominant performance, we only forced four corners and had three shots on target, which points to the persistence of the absence of chance creation seen against West Ham and the Barcodes.

  7. 7
    bt8 says:

    Overnight I got a chance to watch the entire game on recording and I thought Saka and Martinelli were superb as in top Champions League class but I must agree with Bath above about the fouling of Gudelj on Saka as well as the bloke they brought in to back Gudelj after the latter was obviously on the teetering edge of a yellow card with three fouls in the first 20 minutes. Both defenders shoulda/woulda/coulda had first half yellows. The olive pickers lookedlime they didn’t know what was hitting them. Probably thinking “How are these guys controlling the game so well without Jesus and Ødegaard. On to Burnley.

  8. 8
    Ollie says:

    Cheers TTG! Much more comfortable than most of us feared, I’ll take that.
    Now to swiftly despatch Burnley (though, to C100’s question, I suspect they will revert to type) before another interlull during which the walking woundeds can hopefully recover.

  9. 9
    Las says:

    Cheers TTG,
    it’s a superior report we saw the same game.
    God, this needed me—a straight win. There are no ifs or buts but comfortably seeing through a mediocre Sevilla team.
    I loved it.

  10. 10
    ClockEndRider says:

    That’s the game I saw, TTG, from my vantage point at little north east of C100. Not a memorable match other than the points mentioned above but it’s the result that matters. On to the next one ahead io yet another interlull. Sigh….

  11. 11
    bt8 says:

    The apparently anonymous fiveperson “Key Incidents Panel” has rendered their verdict that Gabriel was not fouled on the play that led to Newcastle’s goal but that Havertz and Guimaraes (of course) should have been sent off. To which I say the panel ought to be investigated. https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/67372283

  12. 12
    Trev says:

    Thanks TTG for an enjoyable report of a comfortable win.

    We had some excellent performances in what should have been a higher scoring victory, such was our dominance of an opponent scared to death by our wide men. Martinelli had time to enjoy a box of cigars while accelerating with apparent ease past his full back, although Saka was slightly less productive as he was repeatedly chopped down on his wing, initially by the full back and then by some obvious rotational fouling. Obvious, that is, to all but an incompetent Romanian referee who seemed out of touch with the game all night.

    I agree with BtM that Nelson could have been on earlier for a limping Saka – he could have had some fun against some leaden footed defenders.

    Saliba – wow ! Rice – imperious.

  13. 13
    North Bank Ned says:

    Bt8@11: The panel also noted Gabriel had gone to play the ball before Joelinton touched him, therefore no foul was committed.

    What does this even mean? If a player makes any move towards the ball, he can now be pushed, shoved, kicked, scythed down from behind by an opponent as it will not be a foul?

  14. 14
    bt8 says:

    Ned. They certainly don’t respect the saying “You couldn’t make this stuff up” because they do, as a matter of course.

  15. 15
    North Bank Ned says:

    bt8@14: That would be funny if it weren’t true.

  16. 16
    ClockEndRider says:

    bt8 @11 and Ned @13 – Arseblog covers this excellently this morning. https://arseblog.com/2023/11/partey-pooper-independent-panel-dont-know-the-laws-of-the-game/

  17. 17
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks for the links bt8, CER.

    I agree the reasoning is just bollocks, in my opinion anyway and as Arseblog notes the book will be thrown at Mikel now. I was wondering whether the panel is actually anonymous as Bt8 said? What is it with these people and secrecy? We really aren’t
    talking national security here. Personal safety is the fig leaf I suppose.

  18. 18
  19. 19
    OsakaMatt says:

    Great piece from Mike as usual with about 10 different things to think about!
    Thanks TTG.

    I hope Mike is wrong about Partey but I fear he isn’t. Great player but…..

  20. 20
    bathgooner says:

    bt8 @11, that is the very definition of gaslighting.

  21. 21
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Blogs is spot on about the panel.

    It’s such a shame that football has gone this way. It used to be fun, but it’s hard to celebrate goals now, as VAR so often disallows them (but not always when they should, even when these errors necessitate pitiful contortions of logic and a scant disregard for the laws of the game to justify.)

    The whole enterprise is tedious and my interest is waning. Thank God for our wonderful side and fantastic manager who are so engaging and who I am so proud of. They deserve, and will get, my full support.

    But if, in the future, we find ourselves with a less compelling manager and a team less packed with great players and top characters, then the wildly diminished inherent fun of watching football is gonna make it harder and harder to maintain the interest.

    I haven’t watched any Formula One since Masi got conned by Christian Horner and changed the rules at the end of the last race of the season to snatch Hamilton’s eighth title and gift it to Verstappen.

    Why watch a sport whose rules are arbitrary and subject to improvisation from the officials?

    That’s a question I can’t answer.

  22. 22
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I think I’m better off sticking to something a bit more comprehensible…

  23. 23
    bathgooner says:

    GSD @21, you encapsulate my views entirely with that superb observation. I’m there, mate.

    A case of your favourite tipple is sitting on the bar awaiting your return.

  24. 24
    bathgooner says:

    and NumberWang is clearly brought to us by PGMOL Productions Limited.

  25. 25
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Cheers Baff.

    If Mike Dean has to be on TV, then it should be as the new NumberWang presenter.

  26. 26
    North Bank Ned says:

    CER@16: Thanks for the link. Good stuff from Arseblog on the subject. We should perhaps remember that three of the five members of that panel are ex-pros. I also see that, now Liverpool is on the wrong end of a decision, VAR is a ‘disgrace’ according to Carragher and some of red tops.

  27. 27
    TTG says:

    Belated thanks to CER for drawing my attention to yet another excellent Arseblog piece . A nail is hit firmly on the head – the decision to endorse the goal was fundamentally wrong but it was a justification for what might have blown up into a serious row had they apologised YET again and the decision is entirely based around the post -game narrative . There were four reasons to disallow that goal and I think two were irrefutable. To have the two pundits in the WSL game against City say the following day ‘ City should have had a penalty , you just can’t put two hands on an opponent in the penalty area ‘ was irony in the extreme .
    To echo GSD there comes a point where one loses so much faith in the system to a point where following a sport is worthless. Verstappen robbed Hamilton and some decisions are robbing teams in football. I still refuse to accept that Saliba handballed against Chelsea . In a sane world that is never an offence and pundits whether they be retired , mediocre ex-referees or intellectual challenged , biased pundits only exacerbate the injustice .

  28. 28
    Ollie says:

    Ned @ 13. Yeah, that truly baffled me: WTAF?

  29. 29
    Bathgooner says:


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    […] In contrast, our home game against Sevilla was one of our ‘most comfortable Champions League victories’ and the 2-0 scoreline did not reflect our ‘overwhelming superiority’ and ‘almost total […]