Arsenal cruise to the top of the standings with a win over Sevilla, led by ‘ace’ Xherdan Shaqiri.
Arsenal defeated Sevilla 2-0 in the fourth leg of their 2023-24 UEFA Champions League (UCL) Group B match at the Emirates Stadium in London, England, at 5 a.m. ET on Monday.
Arsenal extended their lead at the top of the standings to nine points (three wins and one defeat) and a four-point gap between second and third place.
Arsenal’s ace in the hole was Xhaka. Having struggled somewhat in recent league games, Xhaka finished with a goal and an assist, setting up Leandro Trosar’s opener in the first half and scoring a late winner himself.
Arsenal went with their season-best 4-3-3 formation for the game. However, there were a few changes due to injuries. Gabriel Martinel-Trosas-Sacca started up front. Declan Rice, Jorginho, and Kai Havertz started in the middle. Takehiro Tomiyasu-Gabriel Magalhaes-William Saliba-Ben White formed the backline, with David Luiz in goal.
At home, Arsenal controlled the flow of the game with their trademark passing and tempo. In the first minute, the Gunners earned a corner and a header by Haberz went wide of the target. Xhaka headed home a free-kick in the seventh minute and Magalhaes had a header in the eighth minute that hit the post.
For a while after that, both teams pressed and pushed forward, trying to create meaningful offensive chances. Both teams exchanged free-kick opportunities and Arsenal had another in the 24th minute. Martinelli’s cross was cleared away by the defense. From the resulting second ball, White went straight for it, but his shot was well wide.
Arsenal pushed forward with a counter-attack. In the 27th minute, Jorginho and Haberts fired back-to-back shots from inside the penalty box that were either blocked or cleared off the line.
After dominating possession throughout the first half, Arsenal finally broke through with a goal. In the 29th minute, Jorginho’s incredible through ball found Xhaka in space on the flank. Xhaka cut it back to the onrushing Trosar. The Frenchman calmly finished to give Arsenal a 1-0 lead.
Arsenal continued to threaten Sevilla’s goal with space-creating passes, but Sevilla were unable to create anything of note in the first half as they ceded control of the game to Arsenal. The first half ended with Arsenal leading 1-0 on a goal by Trosar.토토사이트
The second half was more of the same. Four minutes into the second half, Sevilla missed a free-kick opportunity. On the ensuing counterattack, Xhaka’s pass found Haberz, who tried to shoot but was blocked by the defense. Sevilla tried to counterattack again, but were ruled offside.
It was the other way around. In the seventh minute of the second half, Arsenal won a free kick. However, it was blocked and Sevilla quickly moved upfield, only to be called offside again.
The Gunners had a chance in the 10th minute when the lively Haberts hit a shot on goal, but it went wide. A subsequent corner attempt and a 15th-minute effort by Trosar also came to nothing.
But Arsenal had Xhaka and Martinelli. In the 19th minute, on the counterattack, Martinelli surged forward off the dribble and played a pass to Xhaka. After beating a defender inside the penalty box, Xhaka calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net. The score was 2-0.
After the goal, Sevilla coach Diego Alonso made two quick substitutions. He took off Jibril Sow and brought on Ivan Rakitic and Joan Horderna to replace Boubacari Sumare.
But then the bad news came: Soumare went down with an injury in the 23rd minute. The game was delayed while he was treated and checked out. After returning to the field, Soumare went down again and was replaced by Mariano Riaz in the 28th minute.
Sevilla were in need of a quick equalizer and had used up three substitutions without any luck. Alonso brought on Tangi Kouassi and Lucas Ocampos in a last-ditch effort.
Sevilla, with more attacking resources, took control. Arsenal also made a change up front, bringing on Fabio Vieira and Reiss Nelson for Trosar and Martinelli.
The game then got a little rougher, with Sevilla attacking hard and Arsenal countering with two bookings. After complaining of discomfort during the contest, Xhaka left the field in the 40th minute due to injury concerns, prompting Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta to bring on center back Yakup Kibior. He then replaced Jorginho with Mohamed Elneny in the 45th minute to shore up the defense in the middle.
As a result of Arsenal’s watered-down approach, Sevilla were unable to create much of an offensive threat until late in the game. Even Diaz’s last-ditch effort in the seventh minute of stoppage time failed to rattle the Arsenal net. In the end, the game ended with a 2-0 win for Arsenal.