Arsenal suffered their first defeat of the season away at Sevilla. The team Wenger put out had 4 under-21s in it. A changed defence and midfield with Rosicky and Sagna on the bench was likely to face a tough test.
Arsenal started the half brightly. Bendtner kept the ball in play and crossed for Eduardo to score. Arsenal were cruising. But it could have been described as complacent. The match wore on and Sevilla were more into it. Luis Fabiano and Freddie Kanoute were becoming serious threats.
In the 24th minute, Sevilla equalised through bad defending by Senderos. Keita unleashed a rocket past Almunia into the top corner. One-all. Arsenal conceded their first goal in Europe this season. Sevilla smelt blood. An untypical misplaced pass by Gilberto allowed Fabiano to run in on goal. Toure was on hand to dispossess him.
And on the 34th minute, Sevilla had a freekick which was harsh on Traore. Dani Alves swept the ball in and Fabiano found the bottom far corner perfectly.
Sevilla pounced forward and Kanoute should have scored when Almunia palmed the ball into his path. Halftime couldn’t come sooner for Arsenal.
After halftime, Eboue burst forward and with quick feet, fell to the ground. Replays showed he was fouled. The referee didn’t give it. Maybe Eboue’s reputation had caused the referee not to award it.
Minutes later, Arsenal fans stared in disbelief as Fabregas was brought off for Rosicky. Midway through the half, Sevilla thought they had a penalty when Senderos chested the ball down from a cross. However, Arsenal were thrown a lifeline as the referee changed his mind.
In the dying minutes, where Arsenal were famous for scoring goals, Sevilla had a penalty. Arsenal were caught out on the break and Navas’ cross was going towards Kanoute but he and Toure and Sagna fell into a heap. A soft penalty to be awarded as there wasn’t much contact. Kanoute stepped up and duly converted.
Arsenal’s unbeaten run came to an end but there were no serious implications. This will be a test of character, and Arsenal can put it right at the weekend away to Aston Villa.
Goals Analysis :
Eduardo’s goal :
Hoyte and Eboue exchanged passes down the right flank. Eboue backheeled the ball just inside the touchline. Bendtner got on the end of it and with only Eduardo in the box, swept in a beautiful cross.
Eduardo controlled the ball and both keeper and defender tried to close him down. Eduardo showed strength and managed to slot the ball into the empty net.
Keita’s goal :
A bad clearance by Senderos left Arsenal exposed. The ball was passed in from the right with Keita unleashing a first time shot with the outside of his left boot. It rocketed into the top corner.
Fabiano’s goal :
A soft freekick was awarded when Jesus Navas looked like he tripped over his own legs. Dani Alves swept the ball into the near post and Luis Fabiano after losing his marker, directed his header into the far corner with Almunia stretching.
Kanoute’s goal :
A quick break saw Navas cross the ball low in the area. Kanoute was underpressure from Toure and Sagna and all 3 players landed in a heap. A penalty was awarded. Kanoute stepped up and passed the ball into the net.
Player Analysis :
At times very shaky. Wasn’t at fault for either of the three goals but he looked uncomfortable when Sevilla bombarded the Arsenal goal.
Looked off the pace and had quite a few misplaced passes. Did not contribute going forward.
Was the only defender Arsenal could rely on all night. Conceded the penalty which was abit harsh. Launched too many long balls forward when instead he could have played it on the ground.
Poor match. He was drafted in to counter the high balls but lost almost all the headers. His mistake led to the first goal and he was lucky not to concede a penalty. Looked nervous and undependable.
Defended reasonably well and got forward too with his runs. However, his runs almost always ended with a goalkick to Sevilla.
Was bullied around all night and didn’t get any protection from the referee. Should have been awarded a penalty after he was fouled. Difficult night.
Failed to show up and was below par. His passing was misplaced but still made runs forward.
Tried to be like Fabregas when he isn’t. Made too many back passes and also misplaced passes. Didn’t contribute much going forward.
Looks rusty and could be at fault for the first goal when he should have cleared it. Almost caused a second goal when his mishit pass when straight to Fabiano. Was off the pace and looked like he had a tough night.
Besides his well taken goal, he didn’t do much. His linkup with his other teammates was poor. He gave the ball away when in good positions.
The only player to come out of the match with any credit. Worked hard all night and had a good assist. Did all the work Adebayor normally does and his touch was better and dribbling was convincing too. Lacked support throughout.
Didn’t get much of the ball. Could not impose himself on the game.
Maybe at fault for the penalty conceded. He also had a few misplaced passes.
Lacked time to impress but showed signs of brilliance.
Other comments :
The referee had a very poor match. He at times couldn’t control the match and his comical decision making over the penalty that he awarded and then took it back showed he was a mess. He sent Wenger to the stands but did not give any reasons.
He let the Sevilla players off on many occasions when they tried to use physical tactics to bully the Arsenal players. He also failed to give a penalty when Eboue went down.
Wenger also got his tactics wrong. Eduardo wasn’t sure whether to stay up top or on the left. At times Arsenal were left exposed on the left flank with only Traore defending. Playing Denilson and Fabregas together limited the space either could work into.
Fabregas came off as he was injured as Wenger revealed in his post-match interview.