Gabriel Jesus scored a sublime goal and created another to earn Arsenal an important 2-1 Champions League win over Sevilla on Tuesday, making up for their shock defeat at Lens earlier in October.
The Brazilian striker crafted Gabriel Martinelli’s opener with a masterful turn and pass and then doubled the Gunners’ lead with a lethal finish, as Mikel Arteta’s side moved top of Group B.
Arsenal moved up to six points, one ahead of Lens, with the French side drawing 1-1 at home against PSV Eindhoven, who are level on two points with Sevilla.
Diego Alonso’s team put up a spirited showing in the Uruguayan’s second match in charge, following their impressive and intense performance in a draw against La Liga leaders Real Madrid on Saturday.
However, Arsenal had more cutting edge in attack and Jesus’ quality made the difference in an entertaining clash in Andalusia — he has scored in each of his team’s matches in the competition.
Sevilla boasted before kick-off with banners hailing their record seven Europa League triumphs, but in the heart of their defence they also have a four-time Champions League winner in Sergio Ramos.
The 37-year-old martialled the defence well as the hosts kept Arteta’s side at bay for the majority of the first half, which was bookended by Martinelli chances.
Sevilla goalkeeper Orjan Nyland saved the first, darting off his line quickly to deflect Martinelli’s shot back off the striker and out for a goal kick.
The hosts took control in driving rain at the rowdy Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, with Lucas Ocampos flicking wide and Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya looking uncertain under pressure, giving the ball away on multiple occasions.
Arteta defended the Spain international after he made two mistakes in Saturday’s Premier League draw at Chelsea, with some fans demanding to see Aaron Ramsdale restored in goal, but the coach stuck with his compatriot.
Sevilla carved out their best chance of the first period moments before Arsenal took the lead, with Youssef En-Nesyri dragging an effort narrowly wide after breaking into the area.
After another Sevilla attack was cut short in stoppage time, Gabriel Jesus turned brilliantly in midfield to confound two Sevilla players and open up the pitch, before springing Martinelli through on goal with a quick pass.
The Brazilian showed composure to round Nyland and slot home on his Champions League debut with Ramos unable to catch him in pursuit.
Arsenal last qualified for the tournament in 2017 and Arteta’s young side’s inexperience told in their defeat by Lens after having taken the lead, however this time they quickly found a second goal.
The otherwise quiet Martin Odegaard lashed over the bar early in the second half before Jesus dribbled into the box from the left flank and brilliantly thrashed a shot into the far top corner across Nyland.
Sevilla pulled one back just before the hour mark when Nemanja Gudelj headed home from Ivan Rakitic’s corner past the motionless Raya.
The Arsenal goalkeeper produced a spectacular save to tip Mariano Diaz’s effort on to the crossbar, although it would have been ruled out for a foul had it found a way in.
Sevilla beat Manchester United and Juventus last season at home in their Europa League run and refused to give in without trying everything, with former Tottenham winger Erik Lamela booked for diving in the area.
They turned the screw in the final stages, but Arsenal clung on for victory.