A win tonight and we could be through to the knockout stage if PSV lose their fixture against Lens. Great if it happens but there’s still plenty to play for as finishing top of the group should in theory, se3 us drawn against a less strong club in the next round. I say that but I don’t think any knockout fixture will be easy, it just means we’d avoid the likes of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Barcelona who currently sit top of their own respective group. Borussia Dortmund, PSG, AC Milan and Newcastle, all in Group F, remain in with a chance of progressing but out of the four, Dortmund and PSG seem the most likely. Regardless, I’d say there’s not a so called weaker club in that group. (Not including Newcastle as we can’t face a fellow English club) Galatasaray, Inter, Napoli, Lazio, Feyenoord, RP Leipzig, Porto or Shakhtar Donetsk look like the other potential opponents IF we top our group. The good thing though is it’s in our own hands and two of the remaining three fixtures are at The Emirates Stadium.
Still, we can’t count our chickens just yet as Lens are hot on our heels.
The moment you have a chance in football to put it to bed, do it. We have to do a lot of things right tomorrow to earn the right to win it against a really good team with enormous experience in this competition. We have to prove tomorrow in front of our people how excited we are to play that game and what it means for us. – Mikel Arteta.
We’ve already beaten tonight’s opposition of course thanks to a piece of magic from Gabriel Jesus before he played a lovely ball for Gabriel Martinelli to run on and score our opening goal and then later, Jesus himself got on the scoreboard with a lovely finish of his own. Within five minutes, Sevilla had pulled a goal back from a set-piece. We held on for three huge points.
Tonight we’ll be without Gabriel Jesus and Martin Odegaard is a doubt too. No Thomas Partey or Emile Smith Rowe of course but as for the rest, Mikel Arteta gave little away in his pre match press conference. Unsurprisingly really as most of the questions put to him were about the Newcastle game and what# happened since.
Sevilla are missing a few players too. Sergio Ramos, Orjan Nyland, Marcos Acuna Marcao and Alfonso Pastor are ruled out but Fernando, who missed the first match, returns.
The last week ha# been pretty tough for Mikel Arteta and his players. The shambles of a performance against West Ham which saw us knocked out of the League Cup and then the fiasco at St James Park which saw us lose our unbeaten run when quite frankly, we shouldn’t have.. To a much lesser degree of course but it was a bit like our 50th game, we were robbed up north.
No English officials tonight thank goodness but that’s not to say they’ll be any better mind you but I very much doubt they will be. VAR in Europe seems to be far more reliable, in fact it seems reliable everywhere other than in England.
Let’s hope it’s Arsenal we’re talking about after the game, a strong performance and three more big points in the bag.
Catch up in the comments.