Arsenal are within touching distance of qualifying for the Champions League knockout stages after Leandro Trossard and Bukayo Saka clinched a 2-0 win against Sevilla on Wednesday.
Mikel Arteta’s side got back on track after successive domestic defeats thanks to Trossard’s first half opener and Saka’s strike after the break at the Emirates Stadium.
With three wins from four Group B games, Arsenal sit in first place, four points ahead of second-placed PSV Eindhoven.
The north Londoners will be certain to reach the last 16 if they take one point from their remaining matches at home to Lens and at PSV.
The only concern for Arteta was the sight of Saka limping off with an injury after appearing to twist his ankle in the closing stages.
Brushing aside Sevilla was the perfect way to erase the bitter taste of a difficult spell that included a League Cup defeat against West Ham and the end of their unbeaten start to the Premier League at Newcastle.
That loss against Newcastle, whose winning goal by Anthony Gordon was controversially awarded by VAR, sent Arteta into a sustained fury that had hardly subsided in the days since.
Arteta labelled the decision “embarrassing” and a “disgrace”, while Arsenal backed him in a statement that said the defeat involved “yet more unacceptable refereeing and VAR errors”.
There were no more VAR dramas to provoke Arteta into another red mist as Arsenal made light work of lacklustre Sevilla, who languish at the bottom of Group B without a win.
Arteta said his side have to be “absolutely ruthless” and make opponents “suffer” if they want a long run in the Champions League this season.
The Gunners followed his message to the letter as they out-classed Sevilla from start to finish.
Arsenal beat Sevilla 2-1 in Spain a fortnight ago and the serial Europa League winners once again had no answer for the Gunners’ relentless tempo.
Kai Havertz should have put Arsenal ahead in the first minute but, in keeping with his lacklustre form since arriving from Chelsea, the unmarked German headed tamely wide from close-range.
Despite that miss, Arsenal were well on top and Gabriel headed over from Saka’s free-kick, while Ben White and Jorginho both went close from the edge of the area.
Driven on by Saka and Gabriel Martinelli’s incisive raids, Arsenal kept probing away and finally made the breakthrough with a sublime move in the 29th minute.
Jorginho unlocked the Sevilla defence with a superb pass that picked out Saka’s run down the right flank and the winger’s low cross was perfectly placed for Trossard to slot home from close-range.
The 28-year-old Belgian’s fourth goal this season rewarded Arteta’s faith after he selected him as his central striker in the absence of injured duo Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Jesus.
Sevilla were impotent for long spells and even when Adria Pedrosa threatened to burst into the Arsenal area, William Saliba’s brilliant sliding tackle snuffed out the danger.
Havertz, who has just one goal this term, went close with a long-range curler early in the second half but yet again he was largely anonymous for long periods.
Luckily for Arsenal, they don’t need to rely on Havertz as a regular source of goals at present.
It was Saka and Martinelli who combined to secure the killer second goal in the 64th minute.
Martinelli’s pin-point pass sent Saka racing into the area and he cleverly cut back inside Pedrosa before guiding a composed finish past Marko Dmitrovic from 10 yards.