Arsenal travel away to Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuánas as they take on Spanish giants Sevilla in the third matchday of the UEFA Champions League.
The Gunners made a triumphant return to Champions League action by scoring four goals against PSV Eindhoven in the first matchday. In that game, four different players found the back of the net for Arsenal. However, their unbeaten start to the season came crashing down when they travelled away to FC Lens last time out. Despite taking the lead through Gabriel Jesus, the French side came back to defeat Arsenal in a shocking result for the Gunners.
Simultaneously, Sevilla started their Champions League campaign with back-to-back draws against Lens and PSV. Their record against English sides is impressive as they’ve lost just 3 of their 10 home matches against them in European competition (W5 D2). The most recent game in this run being a 3-0 victory against Manchester United in last season’s Europa League quarter-final second leg.
In fact, Arsenal have won just 3 of their 17 away games against Spanish sides in all competitions (D3 L11) with the latest of them being a 4-2 win against Valencia in May 2019.
Sevilla have won their only previous home game to Arsenal, beating them 3-1 in the 2007/08 Champions League group stages. The most recent Arsenal vs Sevilla match was in the Emirates Cup in 2022 as Arsenal annihilated Sevilla 6-0.
Regardless of all that being said, we’re going to be witnessing an exciting match full of surprises in Group B of the UEFA Champions League.
WHEN AND WHERE?
Date: 25th October 2023, Wednesday
Time: 00:30 HRS IST
Venue: Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, Sevilla.
Jurien Timber is Arsenal’s only long-term absentee from the squad as he continues to recover from his surgery. With all Bukayo Saka, Saliba and Trossard featuring in the Premier League fixture against Chelsea; Arsenal will have a boost in their squad options against Sevilla.
Thomas Partey made the bench and is expected to start vs Sevilla.
Sevilla will be without the services of Mariano Diaz and yet again for the fixture against Arsenal.
Erik Lamela and Dmitrovic were deemed fit after they made the bench against Real Madrid in their recent draw in La Liga.
PRE-GAME TACTICAL ANALYSIS
A poor start to the season cost Mendilibar his job who found his team rock bottom after 3 straight defeats in the league. However, under Diego Alonso, they’ve slowly picked up form and climbed up the table and are positioned at 13th with 9 points in 9 games.
Sevilla are expected to start the match in a 4-2-3-1 setup with En-Nesyri leading the line and Suso right behind him as the No 10.
With Thomas Partey back in the squad and expected to start this time around, it’ll be interesting to see how they line up. It’s expected to see a double pivot of Partey and Rice which would allow Rice the freedom to move up the pitch.
Just for the second time this season, Martinelli, Jesus and Saka are expected to start together. Jesus would have to function as the No 9 between Gudelj and Ramos in what will be an exciting battle. Saka would have to face the advisory of World Cup winner Acuna on the right wing which will be a formidable match-up too.
For Sevilla, exploiting the space left by Zinchenko on the left could be a way forward certainly if Lukebakio is deployed there.
Rice has been one of the signings of the season. The way he’s adjusted and adapted to this team feels like Arsenal’s most expensive signing is a bargain! Arsenal have certainly ticked some of the boxes they lacked from last season with Rice’s inclusion. He could partner up along with Partey, which will give him more room to run up the pitch. Together both of them are just going to get better and better.
The Englishman has been Arsenal’s main man this season. With a total of 5 goals and 5 assists in all competitions this season, he leads the attacking stats for Arsenal this season. Even though he’s coming back from an injury, his presence in Arsenal’s team is not a question to be asked and neither is his threat. His ability to take players on 1v1 and glide across with his skills and pace is going to create pressure on the defensive line for Sevilla. They can’t afford to give him the time and room to have the ball on his feet for long.
The Moroccan striker has by far been Sevilla’s player of the season. It very often happens that they’ve to be dependent on his goals to carry his team. Netting 4 goals on an average of 191 minutes in all competitions this season, he’s leading the way for most goals scored at his team. En-Nesyri will provide a constant threat to Saliba and Gabriel with his aerial prowess.
Sevilla predicted lineup vs Arsenal: Nyland; Navas, Gudelj, Ramos, Acuna; Rakitic, Sow; Ocampos, Suso, Lukebakio; En-Nesyri.
Arsenal predicted lineup vs Sevilla: Raya, Zinchenko, Gabriel, Saliba, White, Rice, Partey, Odegaard, Martinelli, Jesus, Saka.