SICK, embarrassed, ashamed? You need fast acting Saka for instant relief.

Mikel Arteta found an immediate cure for his Arsenal ills to lead his team to within touching distance of the Champions League’s last 16.

Leandro Trossard slots Arsenal into the lead

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Leandro Trossard slots Arsenal into the leadCredit: Reuters
The Belgian celebrates with Bukayo Saka

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The Belgian celebrates with Bukayo SakaCredit: Reuters

And after all the emotional anguish brought on by his weekend meltdown at Newcastle, this was just about as stress-free an evening as the melodramatic Spaniard could possibly have asked for.

Because if there’s one player who is not going to make a mountain out of a molehill, it’s Arsenal’s very own crisis manager Bukayo Saka.

The England international has become so accustomed to being kicked from pillar to post by outclassed opponents that he barely raises an eyebrow whenever he is clattered these days.

And last night he just picked himself up, dusted himself down and tore poor Sevilla a new one to deliver the perfect pick-me-up for his under-fire boss.

Now the Gunners just need a single point from their remaining two group games to guarantee their place in the knock-out rounds.

And even if none of their sidelined stars are back in time for their next game at home to Lille, they still have more than enough in reserve to get the job done.

Arteta had stressed the importance of scoring an early goal to allow his team to control the game and dictate the tempo.

And they should have been ahead in the very first minute when Gabriel Martinelli’s deep corner picked out the unmarked Kai Havertz at the back post.

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But with the goal at his mercy the £65million German sent a tame header into the side netting and left the entire Emirates once again wondering quite why Arteta had paid so much for him.

Sevilla had made eight changes to the team which had been beaten on their own patch by Arsenal two weeks ago.

Yet they were still more than aware of the threat posed by Saka to queue up and take turns to kick lumps out of the young England star.

One of those myriad of fouls gave Saka the opportunity to swing over a free kick which Gabriel Magalhaes glanced wide when William Saliba might have been better positioned to finish off.

With Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah both ruled out by injury, there was a fear among many Arsenal supporters that their team would struggle to fill the gaping hole at the heart of their attack.

But those concerns were put to bed when Leandro Trossard showed that he can be a more than adequate replacement to fire Arsenal into a 29th minute lead.

Stand-in skipper Jorginho won possession on the halfway line and split the Sevilla defensive line with a delicious through ball to Saka.

Finally free of his markers, Saka rolled the ball square and Trossard did the rest with an emphatic finish which gave keeper Marko Dmitrovic no chance.

Saka adds Arsenal's second goal

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Saka adds Arsenal’s second goalCredit: Getty
The England winger makes a heart gesture towards the crowd

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The England winger makes a heart gesture towards the crowdCredit: Getty

With Martinelli running riot down the left flank and Declan Rice calling all the shots in midfield, it was all the visitors could do to stay within touching distance.

Even when they were finally able to mount their first attack of the evening shortly before half-time, Adria Pedrosa was stopped dead in his tracks by Saliba’s perfectly timed challenge on the edge of his area,

And that was about as awkward as it got all night for Arsenal before Saka put poor Sevilla out of their misery with his team’s killer second goal in the 64th minute.

Martinelli took possession on the left and immediately switched play after spotting his mate’s perfectly-timed run behind the Sevilla defensive line.

Pedrosa thought he had got back to cover until he was sent for a hot-dog and a cup of tea by Saka’s sudden change of direction capped off by an unstoppable shot into the far corner.

That was his sixth goal of the season and little wonder that he limped off to a standing ovation after taking one kick too many in the closing minutes.

Gareth Southgate, watching on ahead of naming his England squad tomorrow, will be hoping it is nothing serious.

Arteta will be down on his knees praying for his well-being. Because if there is one Arsenal player who is irreplaceable, it’s Saka.



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