Bukayo Saka trike before uffering knock a Arenal eae pat orry Sevilla

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Bukayo Saka still had plenty to do. But this was another night when you knew that he would do it. The

Arsenal winger was gliding up the right, his team 1-0 up, 64 minutes on the clock and, when he sliced inside, the shift was so explosive that his standing foot appeared to slip.

Almost in the same movement, he caught it and pulled a move on the Sevilla defender, Adrià Pedrosa, easing away from him. The shot was steered home with the minimum of fuss and Arsenal planted one foot in the last 16 of the

Champions League. With the minimum of fuss. They are practically there.Arsenal 2-0 Sevilla: Champions League – as it happened

Arsenal’s superiority over a desperately poor Sevilla was pronounced. It was clear from an early juncture why the Spanish club have won only three matches all season. Their meekness was damned by the eyes and the statistics, the worst of the latter being that they mustered only one shot all night. In the 97th minute.

The frustration for Mikel Arteta would also take in Saka; that his star man’s mini-tour of appreciation came not after the full-time whistle but when he was forced off with an ankle injury in the 85th minute.

Saka, who had laid on the opening goal for Leandro Trossard, was kicked throughout – there were four fouls on him in the opening 17 minutes. And when he took his final one, it was too much. Having tried to play on after treatment, he had to admit defeat and made his way off around the perimeter of the pitch.

Weirdly, he was waved on his way by a yellow card from the referee, Istvan Kovacs, who felt that he had dragged his heels. There was a reason for it. Up in the stands, the England manager, Gareth Southgate, wore that furrowed brow of his. He will name his squad for the upcoming international break on Thursday lunchtime. Arteta described the issue as a “knock,” adding that Saka did not “feel comfortable to continue”.

Still, it was the only blot for the Arsenal manager – apart from maybe the ongoing toils of Kai Havertz on the ball. Arsenal had entered on the back of the losses at West Ham in the Carabao Cup and Newcastle in the Premier League, together with the swirl of controversy over Arteta’s comments about refereeing standards. Things were rather smoother for him here.

With Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Jesus injured, Arteta had started with Trossard as a different kind of No 9, Havertz given the license to roam around him from the No 10 role.

Havertz ought to have scored inside the opening minute only to fluff a far post header from a corner. It set the tone for him. He would have further chances at the start of the second half but he continues to lack conviction. The talent is there; he is just second-guessing it.

Leandro Trossard celebrates after opening the scoring. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The GuardianWhat was clear from the opening exchanges was that Saka was in the mood. With his pace and trickery, he had the beating of his full-back, Kike Salas, and the same was true on the other flank for Gabriel Martinelli with Juanlu. When Martinelli flicked on the afterburners, it actually felt unkind. One moment on 43 minutes summed it up. Martinelli kept the ball in on the byline before spinning, moving it away from Juanlu with the outside of his boot and bursting past him. The move came to nothing.

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apply.after newsletter promotionArsenal’s domination was total. It was all Sevilla could do to string a few passes together. Crossing halfway felt like a pipe-dream, although Pedrosa did suddenly burst away in the 39th minute. No problem. William Saliba raced back to execute the perfect slide tackle.

Gabriel Magalhães had headed off target from an early Saka free-kick and the breakthrough goal was well trailed. It was Jorginho who released Saka inside Salas and his first-time cross was made to measure for the unmarked Trossard. The beauty lay in the ruthless simplicity.

It felt as though the home crowd were willing Havertz to do something, to break free of the shackles that have enveloped his Arsenal career so far. He unloaded a shot that Salas deflected behind after a Saka break; then he could not read a Martinelli cross to the far post on 53 minutes. There was also a vicious curler from Havertz that flashed wide.

Back to Martinelli and Saka, Sevilla’s tormentors. It was Martinelli who fired the move for the second goal, running from left to right across midfield before releasing his teammate and what a finish it was.

The substitute Oleksandr Zinchenko would sting the palms of Marko Dmitrovic with a volley and there were ironic cheers when Juanlu was finally booked for a hack at Martinelli. For the record, the Sevilla substitute Mariano Díaz had their shot. The save for David Raya was straightforward.


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