Saul Niguez has moved from Atletico Madrid on loan to Sevilla with the option of an extension after the 2024-25 campaign.

Both LaLiga clubs confirmed the transfer agreement on Monday, with each side referencing the "possibility of an extension" past the upcoming season.

The 29-year-old has started just 25 La Liga games across the last two seasons for Atletico, who are reportedly keen to reduce their expenditure on their first-team squad salary.

Reports in Spain suggest the midfielder has a three-year offer from league rivals Sevilla, though a complex transfer means the deal cannot be described as a purchase option with the possibility of a return to Atletico.

Saul made 49 appearances for Diego Simeone's men last season, though starts were limited as Atletico finished fourth in the Spanish top flight.

He has been capped 19 times by Spain and made 23 appearances for Chelsea, his last loan spell in the 2022-23 season before returning to Simeone's team.

Saul's addition marks the fourth arrival in Andalusia, with Arsenal's Albert Sambi Lokonga also loaned, along with moves for Chidera Ejuke and Peque Fernandez.

Sergio Ramos is leaving Sevilla following a one-year return to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, the club have confirmed.

Ramos came through Sevilla's youth system before joining Real Madrid for €27million as a 19-year-old in 2005, going on to win LaLiga on five occasions and the Champions League four times with Los Blancos.

Following an injury-hit stint with Paris Saint-Germain, Ramos returned to his boyhood club as a free agent last September, 18 years on from his initial departure.

Ramos played 28 times in LaLiga last term, scoring three goals and contributing to seven clean sheets as Sevilla pulled away from the relegation zone to end a turbulent season in 14th.

In a statement released on Monday, the club confirmed Ramos was to depart and said he would speak at a farewell news conference on Tuesday.

Sevilla added: "The club wishes to thank Sergio for the commitment, leadership and dedication that he has demonstrated this season, and wishes him the best for future."

The former Spain international is not thought likely to call time on his glittering career just yet, with MLS expansion team San Diego FC having been linked with a move.

Sacked Barcelona manager Xavi said he leaves the club disappointed after feeling his work was not appreciated enough as they finished the season with a 2-1 win at Sevilla on Sunday.

Xavi, 44, who joined Bara on a three-year deal when Dutchman Ronald Koeman left in 2021, led the Catalan giants to their 27th league title last season.

He compiled 90 wins, 23 draws and 29 defeats in 142 games in charge but was fired on Friday.

"I have the feeling that everything I have done in these two and a half years has caused an earthquake. I have been targeted many times in many situations," Xavi said.

"I think that the work has not been sufficiently appreciated. This year we haven't been up to the task because of details. We had four key games in which we couldn't finish the good work we had done," he added.

LaLiga runners-up Barcelona, who finished 10 poins behind Real Madrid, have endured a frustrating season, losing to Real in the Spanish Super Cup final, knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Athletic Bilbao in the quarter-finals and eliminated from the Champions League by Paris St Germain also in the last eight.

Xavi decided to step down in January but agreed to return in April after talks with president Joan Laporta, who later changed his mind and sacked him after a season without silverware.

"It is not for me to say the reasons or the motives. I think it is up to the president to say them. I had no choice but to accept it. It doesn't matter if I agree with the arguments.

"I'm not leaving with a sense of relief because we wanted to continue. These are decisions made by the club. We understood and respected that, but we thought it wasn't over," he added.

Xavi pointed out that while he did not agree with his departure, he accepted that the club was bigger, adding that the next coach's job would not be easy.

"He should know that he has a tough situation because Barca is a challenging club but on top of that it is in an adverse economic situation. It will not be an easy task," he said.

Barcelona ended the season with a 2-1 victory at Sevilla in LaLiga on Sunday, making departing coach Xavi's farewell bittersweet after a trophy-less season.

La Blaugrana came out all guns blazing from the start and took the lead in the 15th minute through Robert Lewandowski who scored from close range after latching onto Joao Cancelo's cross.

Sevilla levelled with Youssef En-Nesyri's strike in the 31st minute and went close again but failed to beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen before Barca got the winner on the hour through Fermin Lopez.

Barca were already guaranteed second place going into Xavi's final game. The Spaniard was sacked on Friday, after a disappointing campaign in which they lost the Spanish Supercopa final to Real Madrid and were knocked out of the Champions League by Paris Saint-Germain in the quarter-final.

Data Debrief: A legend departs

Xavi never lost any of his six games as a manager against Sevilla in LaLiga (W5 D1), making them just the third opponent that he faced six times without defeat (also W5 D1 against Real Mallorca and Osasuna).

Fermin got the all-important goal to ensure Xavi's tenure ended on a high note. He has scored seven goals in LaLiga in 2024, a record surpassed by only one other Spanish player in Europe's top five leagues this year: Iago Aspas (eight). 

Luka Modric rolled back the years with a stunning late winner for Real Madrid against Sevilla and spoil Sergio Ramos’ return to the Santiago Bernabeu.

The 38-year-old Modric – a 75th-minute substitute – had been on the pitch six minutes when he superbly controlled Loic Bade’s tired header and curled home from 20 yards to secure a 1-0 win.

The goal was clouded in controversy, however, as Sevilla felt Antonio Rudiger was offside in the build-up, with replacement referee Carlos Fernandez Buergo adjudging that the German defender was not interfering with play.

Modric’s former team-mate Ramos must have thought he would be part of a Sevilla clean sheet on his return to the club he represented 671 times and won 22 major honours for between 2005 and 2021.

Lucas Vazquez saw his 10th-minute effort disallowed for offside on a largely frustrating night for Real.

But Los Blancos finally found a way through to extend their LaLiga lead over Barcelona to eight points and nine to Girona, who have a game in hand against Rayo Vallecano on Monday.

England midfielder Jude Bellingham was absent for a third successive Real game because of an ankle sprain, while Dani Carvajal and Eduardo Camavinga missed out through suspension.

Sevilla should have been ahead inside eight minutes as Isaac Romero crossed and Youssef En-Nesyri smashed wide from 10 yards.

There was almost instant controversy as Nacho went in to the back of En-Nesyri but play was allowed to continue.

Vinicius Junior found Vazquez with a delightful pass and the former Spain international fired in off a post.

Sevilla players were enraged that the game was not stopped for a foul on En-Nesyri and surrounded referee Isidro Diaz de Mera.

Two minutes elapsed before Diaz de Mera went to the VAR monitor, booking an animated Real manager Carlo Ancelotti on his way, and eventually disallowed the goal.

Sevilla’s organised 5-3-2 shape – with Ramos at the heart of the defence – caused further frustration as Real struggled to make headway.

Brahim Diaz dribbled into the visitors’ penalty area for Aurelien Tchouameni to ripple the side-netting with a deflected attempt.

Fede Valverde forced Sevilla goalkeeper Orjan Nyland to tip over in spectacular fashion and then scuffed against the post just after the break.

The contest began to open up and Real goalkeeper Andriy Lunin denied Romero with an outstanding reaction stop.

Real asked most of the second-half questions and Rodrygo shot wide after a fantastic run, while Nyland’s agility kept Vinicius at bay.

There was a refereeing change as Diaz de Mera suffered a calf injury and fourth official Buergo took charge of LaLiga action for the first time.

But the biggest alteration saw Modric strike an absolute beauty off a post and keep Real in command at the top.

Carlo Ancelotti has urged Real Madrid not to “slip up” in Sunday’s LaLiga clash with Sevilla at the Bernabeu.

Victory for Ancelotti’s table-topping side will take them one step closer to reclaiming the league title.

And the manager wants them to bounce back from last week’s 1-1 draw with Rayo Vallecano.

“LaLiga is in our hands, we can’t slip up so every game is important,” Ancelotti told a press conference.

“We need the points to make the most of the advantage we’ve got.

“The team has worked well and we’ve had time to prepare for the match. I hope we can show our best tomorrow. We have built up a lead and we want to make it count.”

Madrid have lost just once in the league this season, against city rivals Atletico in September.

And Ancelotti called on his players not to let their levels drop now.

He added: “The form we have to show against Sevilla is what we’ve been doing all season long.

“We’ll have to be a solid, hungry and motivated unit. Sevilla are a team who will demand the best from us because they’re on a good run in the second half of the season.

“Two weeks ago I said we were moving towards the 80-point mark, which brings us closer to the title. However, that doesn’t mean we’ll win it because we know we need more points than that. But we’re close.”

Sergio Ramos, who spent 16 years at Madrid, will face his former club.

Ancelotti hailed Ramos’ leadership during a glowing career with the LaLiga giants which yielded 22 trophies.

He added: “Ramos comes back tomorrow and the Bernabeu will give him the warmest of welcomes. He deserves it because he’s a club legend. He’s been a wonderful captain, an example, with his immense character and personality.

“I’ve worked with captains like (Paolo) Maldini and (John) Terry too. These guys help create a fantastic atmosphere among the squad.”

Artem Dovbyk scored a seven-minute first-half hat-trick to inspire Girona to a thumping 5-1 win over Sevilla in LaLiga which took them back to the top of the table.

Girona moved a point clear of Real Madrid, who have a game in hand, with the capital club beating Almeria 3-2 earlier on Sunday.

Sevilla scored first, but Dovbyk responded with three goals inside the opening 20 minutes before Viktor Tsygankov and Cristhian Stuani sealed a dominant win.

Isaac Romero, who scored twice on his first Sevilla start last week, netted the opener after 10 minutes.

But Ukrainian striker Dovbyk equalised in the 13th minute as he got on the end of Savio’s cross to nod in.

The game two players were involved in Girona’s second two minutes later, Savio slipping in Portu, who cut the ball back for the well-positioned Dovbyk to tap home from close-range.

And Dovbyk completed his treble in the 19th minute.

The striker drove inside from the right, cutting on to his left foot before producing a wonderful driven shot into the bottom right corner.

It took the summer signing’s tally in his debut LaLiga season to 14 goals.

After the break the hosts added a fourth courtesy of Tsygankov in the 56th minute.

Savio ran down the left and his driven pass found Tsygankov in the centre, with the winger finishing first time past Marko Dmitrovic.

Stuani scored in the 89th minute to round off the emphatic win.

Mikel Arteta played down concerns over Bukayo Saka’s fitness after he was forced off during Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Sevilla in the Champions League.

Saka scored in front of England manager Gareth Southgate to help the Gunners record a third victory in Group B and move within touching distance of the last-16.

Arteta substituted goalscorer Leandro Trossard and the excellent Gabriel Martinelli in the 81st minute but left Saka on and seconds later he went down holding his ankle after landing awkwardly before he limped off.

Arsenal host Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday while Southgate names his England squad for this month’s European Championship qualifiers with North Macedonia and Malta on Thursday, but Arteta suggested his six-goal attacker would be fine despite this latest bruising encounter.

He said: “At the end he wasn’t comfortable to carry on. Hopefully it’s not too much but I’m really pleased with his performance.

“I think he’s getting used to it (being kicked). I don’t think that’s going to change, especially with the way he plays and the way he attracts players, so he better get used to it because I don’t think it’s going to change.

“It was just a kick and I was told by the physios on the radio he wasn’t happy to continue. So he will have some discomfort but hopefully I am going to assume he will be OK.”

After the controversy of last weekend’s loss at Newcastle, where Arteta labelled the decision by VAR to award Anthony Gordon’s winner as “embarrassing”, this was a much-needed routine night for his injury-hit team.

With Eddie Nketiah ruled out with an ankle knock to join Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Jesus on the sidelines, Trossard led the line and broke the deadlock when he finished off a slick move in the 29th minute.

Jorginho unlocked the Sevilla defence with a wonderful through ball to Saka, who squared for Trossard to stroke home his fifth goal of the campaign.

Saka, who was fouled four times inside the opening 17 minutes, made the points safe with a smart finish after 64 minutes.

Martinelli released the England international away on the right and Saka cut inside Adria Pedrosa before he curled into the bottom corner.

Arsenal would have qualified for the knockout stages had Lens been victorious at PSV. But with a four-point gap at the top of Group B, the north London club will almost certainly continue their Champions League adventure in 2024.

Arteta added: “I think it was more of the really good things that we did against Newcastle. We didn’t need a response because the team performed extraordinarily well against a team that are really difficult to play against.

“Today it needed other requirements, tactically we needed something else and we implemented what we wanted really, really well, so I’m really happy with the last two performances.”

On top of worries over Saka, Takehiro Tomiyasu was also taken off during the interval.

“He had some discomfort in the first half,” Arteta said of the defender.

“We didn’t want to take any risks because he’s played a lot of minutes. With Alex (Oleksandr Zinchenko) on the bench ready to come in, I think it was the right decision.”

On Odegaard (hip) and Nketiah (ankle), Arteta added: “They are racing against the clock to be fit.

“They tried their best to be here today with us, it wasn’t possible and we have another 48 hours before we play Burnley. We’ll try again and see because we need players at the moment.”

Sevilla only managed their first shot on target in the seventh minute of stoppage time and suffered a second group defeat.

Boss Diego Alonso admitted: “We weren’t able to put in the performance we wanted to.

“Our opponents were better than us and did well. Our aim was to win the ball high up the pitch, but we were very far away from their area. That is my assessment.”

Arsenal took a huge step towards qualifying for the knock-out stages of the Champions League as Bukayo Saka starred in victory over Sevilla before limping off late on.

Saka set up the opening goal for Leandro Trossard before scoring the second himself as the Gunners secured a straightforward 2-0 win at the Emirates Stadium that leaves them on the cusp of the last 16.

Mikel Arteta opted to play Trossard through the middle as his central striker with Eddie Nketiah joining Gabriel Jesus in the treatment room, with the Belgium forward the only change from Saturday’s contentious defeat at Newcastle.

There was not such drama here although four early fouls on Saka went unpunished as both Nemanja Gudelj and Kike Salas left their mark on the England international.

Kai Havertz, without a goal from open play since his £65million summer move from Chelsea, fluffed his lines with an early headed chance, but Arsenal set out their intent from the off.

Saka went down again under close contact from Salas, but this time Romanian referee Istvan Kovacs was unmoved as the hosts wanted a penalty.

Just moments later, however, and the deadlock was broken. The lively Saka unsurprisingly laying on the assist for Trossard to tap home – but Jorginho was the architect with a slide-rule pass to start the move.

It proved to be the only shot on target of a forgettable first half as Sevilla, without a LaLiga or Champions League win under head coach Diego Alonso since his appointment last month.

Havertz bent an effort inches wide as Arsenal went in search of a second after the break and Trossard should have done better soon after, but curled his strike the wrong side of the post.

It was Saka, though, who made the difference once again, beating the offside trap to race onto a Gabriel Martinelli pass before cutting inside Adria Pedrosa and tucking home with aplomb.

Gabriel Jesus had provided the goal and assist that ultimately saw off Sevilla in Spain a fortnight ago, but he was injured during the game and has not played since.

The same went for Saka here, who fell awkwardly and limped off with five minutes to go, with England manager Gareth Southgate – who announces his next squad on Thursday – watching from the stands.

Arteta had said on the eve of the game that Arsenal should “put to bed” qualification for the last 16 with two games to spare and his players did their bit.

But PSV Eindhoven’s win over Lens leaves Group B open, although a draw against the Ligue 1 side at the Emirates Stadium in three weeks time would be enough for Arteta’s side to advance.

Sergio Ramos admits the appeal of Champions League football only added to the lure of an emotional return to Sevilla as he hopes the LaLiga side can win at Arsenal in his absence on Wednesday.

The 37-year-old won the competition four times during a trophy-laden spell at Real Madrid but is now back at his boyhood club following a stint with Paris St Germain.

The former Spain centre-back has been ruled out with a calf injury and has not travelled for Sevilla’s crucial Group B clash away to Arsenal.

Defeat for the reigning Europa League champions would leave their chances of progression into the Champions League knockout stages on a knife-edge with two games remaining.

Ramos will no doubt be desperate to feature in those fixtures and help keep Sevilla’s ambitions alive after making the “passionate” decision to return after an 18-year absence.

“I had received offers of going abroad, to Saudi Arabia, for instance – but this was a debt I had to my club, to Sevilla, the first team where I triumphed,” he said.

“This is also a personal debt towards my family, my parents, my grandparents – it’s very emotional, very passionate to me. This was a very personal decision, a decision made with the heart.

“The Champions League is something that everybody knows what it means, especially personally to me, when making a decision the Champions League is an important competition.

“Sevilla were playing in the Champions League and that was a plus in making such a decision.

“Arsenal are a consolidated team with young players with a well-defined style of play. They know how they play and we know it will be a very, very difficult game.

“Winning? Well, we know that Arsenal are an amazing team. But of course, the team will go there with the intention of taking the win, the three points home.

“We know how difficult it can be but we will try to play a serious game, very concentrated to try to make sure that they don’t have a lot of opportunities and we take advantage of the ones we have.”

Asked about his fitness ahead of Saturday’s 1-1 LaLiga draw against Celta Vigo, a match the World Cup winner was not involved in, Ramos replied: “Let’s take it one day at a time. It is true it’s not a big injury, it is a minor injury.”

Arsenal sit top of the group after a 2-1 win in Spain a fortnight ago but Mikel Arteta’s side have lost two of their three domestic games since.

Speaking at the Emirates Stadium on the eve of the clash, Sevilla head coach Diego Alonso praised Arsenal as one of the elite clubs in Europe.

“The game at a strategic and football level is complex,” he said.

“We are facing the fourth or fifth best team in Europe, they showed it last season, same in this one. It puts us in difficulties, but it also put us in difficulties two weeks ago. We competed well, with an unfair result for me because we did more for the game.”

:: Watch LALIGA on Viaplay, available in the UK on Sky, Virgin TV, Amazon Prime Video and via streaming.

Mikel Arteta has stood by his VAR outburst following Arsenal’s loss at Newcastle on Saturday and insists he will continue to “talk loudly” until he believes the situation improves.

The Gunners lost 1-0 at St James’ Park on Saturday – their first Premier League defeat of the campaign – as Anthony Gordon scored a controversial winner for the hosts.

The second-half goal was checked for three separate VAR offences – the ball going out of play, a foul by Joelinton on Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhaes and a potential offside – but survived them all to ultimately earn Newcastle the three points.

Speaking after the defeat, Arteta said it was “embarrassing” and a “disgrace” that the goal stood – while Arsenal issued a statement on Sunday in support of their manager’s forthright views.

Asked on Tuesday if he would have done anything differently, the Spaniard replied: “It is my duty to stand in front of you, to stand in front of the cameras, and give a very clear and honest assessment of what happened in the game.

“And this is what I did, reflect very openly on how I felt that the team played and how the game was conditioned by this results with the decisions that were made. It is the duty.

“My duty is to be defending my players, supporting my players, supporting my club, defending my people in the best possibly way and this is what I am going to time after time.

“I do it, not the way I feel, (but) with the evidence and being as clear as possible. And I always do it, when we play real I need to say it, when we have lost, to take my responsibility, the first one is me to do it. It is the way that I am and I have to defend my club.”

Arteta suggested it is the duty of managers to discuss VAR and the issues it is currently presenting within the game.

“If you guys and everyone watching football are there, we have to give our opinion in an honest way and clear,” he added.

“Don’t talk about other things. Be very clear and respectful, but clear and honest and value what we have.

“Errors are part of evolution. The trajectory is never going to be like this (gestures straight up), there are always going to bumps in the road and these things are necessary to improve the game in the right way.

“But we have to talk loudly. If you have a problem and you put it in your draw, the problem is in the draw and it’s going to stink at some point. If you have a problem, let’s talk about it, try to improve it. That’s what we are trying to do. Nothing else.”

Arsenal’s statement claimed “yet more unacceptable refereeing and VAR errors” occurred during the loss at Newcastle as the club “wholeheartedly supports” Arteta’s comments, stating players, coaches and supporters “deserve better”.

The statement has been criticised in some quarters with Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville labelling it “dangerous”.

Arteta, though, believes it does not legitimise those who abuse referees for perceived poor decision-making against the club.

“No, the support we have given to everybody is not going to change. I will be in meetings trying to reinforce that,” he said.

“This is not the topic. Everyone wants the same thing, but we have to understand that we (managers) have to be there.

“We have a duty to express how we feel with all the evidence we have and the history of what happened.

“We have to stand for our people, our values and who we are. When the club has done it, it’s been in very specific moments for the right reasons.

“It shows the unity and understanding that is within the club to position ourselves in a really clear and honest way. That’s our duty as a club.”

Arteta was speaking ahead of Arsenal’s Champions League clash against Sevilla, where victory on Wednesday night could see his side qualify for the knockout stages with two Group B games to go.

“The moment you have a chance in football to put it to bed, do it,” he said of wrapping up qualification early.

“We have to do a lot of things right tomorrow to earn the right to win it and against a really good team with enormous experience in this competition.

“We have to prove it tomorrow in front of our people how excited we are to play that game and what it means for us.”

Sergio Ramos admits the appeal of Champions League football only added to the lure of an emotional return to Sevilla and is hoping injury will not rule him out of Wednesday’s trip to Arsenal.

The 37-year-old won the competition four times during a trophy-laden spell at Real Madrid but is now back at his boyhood club following a stint with Paris St Germain.

The former Spain centre-back is currently struggling with a calf injury and could miss Sevilla’s crucial Group B clash away to Arsenal.

Defeat for the reigning Europa League champions would leave their chances of progression into the Champions League knockout stages on a knife-edge with two games remaining.

Ramos will no doubt be desperate to feature and help keep Sevilla’s ambitions alive after making the “passionate” decision to return to Sevilla after an 18-year absence.

“I had received offers of going abroad, to Saudi Arabia, for instance – but this was a debt I had to my club, to Sevilla, the first team where I triumphed,” he said.

“This is also a personal debt towards my family, my parents, my grandparents – it’s very emotional, very passionate to me. This was a very personal decision, a decision made with the heart.

“The Champions League is something that everybody knows what it means, especially personally to me, when making a decision the Champions League is an important competition.

“Sevilla were playing in the Champions League and that was a plus in making such a decision.

“Arsenal are a consolidated team with young players with a well-defined style of play. They know what they play, and we know it will be a very very difficult game.

“Winning? Well, we know that Arsenal are an amazing team. But of course, the team will go there with the intention of taking the win, the three points home.

“We know how difficult it can be, but we will try to play a serious game, very concentrated to try to make sure that they don’t have a lot of opportunities and we take advantage of the ones we have.”

Asked about his fitness ahead of Saturday’s 1-1 LaLiga draw against Celta Vigo a match the World Cup winner was not involved in – Ramos replied: “Let’s take it one day at a time.

“It is true it’s not a big injury, it is a minor injury. I hope to be able to play the game but I don’t know whether it might come too soon.

“Let’s just take it one day at a time and let’s see how I’m able to evolve and hopefully, I would love to play.”

Arsenal sit top of the group after a 2-1 win in Spain a fortnight ago but Mikel Arteta’s side have lost two of their three domestic games since.

Despite a small blip, Ramos has been impressed with the progress made by the Gunners in recent times and is a particular fan of captain Martin Odegaard, who he spent time with as a team-mate in Madrid.

“We see what kind of style of play they have, they were almost Premier League champions last year, one of the most important competitions in the world,” he added.

“Regardless of the great group – it’s very well balanced. I would maybe refer to Martin Odegaard (as a key player) – his role, he’s very participative, very involved – even if he’s the first one to receive the ball.

“Jorginho, Gabriel Jesus too, I think that their structure is clear and they know what they play. But I would refer to those three names first – Jesus, Jorginho and Martin Odegaard.”

Gabriel Jesus believes he can finally win the Champions League and has told his Arsenal team-mates to share the faith.

The Brazil forward has a love affair with Europe’s premiere club competition and was the difference-maker as Arsenal won 2-1 at Sevilla on Tuesday night.

Jesus provided a moment of magic to lay on the opening goal for compatriot Gabriel Martinelli before curling home a fine individual effort – although his celebrations were curtailed as he limped off with 10 minutes to go.

The former Manchester City striker, who came off the bench when Pep Guardiola’s side lost the 2021 Champions League final to Chelsea, has a phenomenal strike-rate in the competition – his goal at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium was his 23rd in 41 appearances for City and Arsenal.

He still harbours ambitions of winning the trophy and feels it is something he and his colleagues can achieve this season.

“It’s a competition that I love,” he said after his man-of-the-match display.

“All the competitions I love, because I just love to play football. But I don’t know, since day one in the Champions League, my debut, I scored goals.

“I haven’t won it yet, so I am looking for this, for this beautiful trophy. Obviously it is not easy, but I think we have to believe. If we don’t believe, we cannot be here.”

While his goal was a moment to savour, Jesus’ role in Martinelli’s opening effort will live long in the memory as a deft touch took two Sevilla midfielders out of the game.

A perfectly-weighted slide-rule pass played in Martinelli who, having missed a golden chance to break the deadlock earlier in the game, obliged with a cool finish as the two Brazil internationals combined to great effect.

“I think for me as the type of player I am, I drop a lot more on the left side than the right side,” Jesus replied when asked about his relationship and understanding playing alongside Martinelli.

“Obviously I drop on the right as well to help B (Bukayo Saka) and to play with B, but I drop more on the left. It works.

“The wingers we have, not just Martinelli and B, but Reiss (Nelson), Leo (Trossard) and even Eddie (Nketiah) or Fabio (Vieira) when they play there, they are quality players.

“I just go out wide and I try to play short passes and give them the ball, and they try to find me as well. It worked with Martinelli and I am very happy.”

Mikel Arteta’s side return to domestic action when they welcome Premier League bottom club Sheffield United to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Gunners are unbeaten in their opening nine league games of the campaign and Jesus could yet be involved despite limping off late on in Spain.

“I felt something. Let’s see,” he said. “I did some tests with the physio, it looks not that big, but let’s see. I have a scan, maybe tomorrow. I’m pretty sure it will be nothing.”

Mikel Arteta has praised Gabriel Jesus for bringing “belief” and “energy” to Arsenal as the forward shone in victory at Sevilla.

Jesus continued his love affair with the Champions League with a fine goal and assist double as the Gunners won 2-1 at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.

A piece of magic set up compatriot Gabriel Martinelli to open the scoring on the stroke of half-time before Jesus doubled the lead with a fine, curling finish of his own – although he later limped off having moments earlier held his hamstring.

The Brazil forward may not boast the most prolific strike record but he has now scored an impressive 23 goals in 41 appearances in Europe’s elite club competition.

Asked if Jesus had been signed from Manchester City because of his prowess in the competition, Arteta replied: “For sure. He has been through a lot in the last few years and he’s still really young.

“He has enormous experiences – some of them not the nicest but very necessary to be the player that he is today. I’m really happy to have him in the team.

“He came here for a reason. I think he changed our world. He brought so much belief and energy to that team, he needs to step in in those moments. He’s done that. That’s when a player becomes accountable for the team.

“Big games are for big players. He needed to produce those moments to win in a stadium like this. He’s done it for us in a really big way. Then, really sad because he felt something in his hamstring and I’m worried about that.

“We need those players to win games. If you want to play Manchester City, then go to Stamford Bridge, then come here – that’s the level we’re at right now. To come here and win, big credit to the boys.”

Jesus’ night ended as he hobbled off to be replaced by Eddie Nketiah in the latter stages – with Arteta admitting he is concerned for the striker.

“(I am) really sad because he felt something in his hamstring and I’m worried about that,” he added.

“He straight away asked to be subbed which is not good news because Gabriel is not a player who does that at all. We will have to wait and see in the next few days.”

The victory saw Arsenal recover from defeat in Lens last time out and was enough to take them to the top of Group B at the halfway stage.

Arteta’s side will be in a good position to reach the knockout stages if they beat Sevilla in the return game at the Emirates Stadium in a fortnight and the Spaniard was pleased with the reaction to defeat in France.

“That result against Lens put us in a difficult position and the team had to react,” he said.

“We are coming from the back of very difficult games where the team has to step in and go against adversity as well with some of the injuries that we picked up to big players.

“The team is so willing to at least try their best even if we don’t manage to be our best all the time.”

Gabriel Jesus continued his love affair with the Champions League with a fine goal and assist as he led Arsenal to victory over Sevilla.

The Brazil forward may not boast the most prolific strike record but he has now scored an impressive 23 goals in 41 appearances in Europe’s elite club competition and he was the difference here as the Gunners won 2-1.

A piece of magic from Jesus set up compatriot Gabriel Martinelli to open the scoring on the stroke of half-time before he doubled the lead with a fine, curling finish of his own – although he later limped off having moments earlier held his hamstring.

A thunderous Nemanja Gudelj header reduced the arrears on the hour but Mikel Arteta’s side saw out the closing stages to secure victory, moving top of Group B in the process.

Martinelli should have put Arsenal ahead inside eight minutes after being played through on goal by Jesus, only to shoot straight at the advancing Orjan Nyland.

Moments later Lucas Ocampos stabbed an effort just wide at the other end as both sides looked to strike early in an atmospheric Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.

David Raya’s inclusion in the Arsenal goal at the continued expense of Aaron Ramsdale was again a talking point before the game and the Spaniard gifted possession to Sevilla at the midway point of the first half but the home side failed to take advantage.

Neither team created anything else of note until stoppage time when, firstly, Sevilla easily cut through the Arsenal defence but Youssef En-Nesyri failed to hit the target as he dragged a shot wide.

Arsenal then took the lead, having escaped another Sevilla attack they broke at pace and a fine touch and perfectly-weighted pass from Jesus set Martinelli in behind. This time the Brazilian made no mistake, calmly rounding Nyland before rolling the ball into an empty net.

The Gunners should have doubled their lead soon after the restart but captain Martin Odegaard blazed over when well-placed inside the box.

Jesus, though, was in confident mood and extended the advantage with a fine solo goal, moving in off the left to curl a finish past Nyland.

Sevilla responded well and got themselves back into the contest when Gudelj powered a header past Raya from Ivan Rakitic’s corner.

The Europa League holders came within inches of equalising soon after, as substitute Mariano Diaz’s strike was tipped onto the crossbar by Raya.

Jesus did not have chance to savour a memorable performance as he gingerly hobbled off to be replaced by Eddie Nketiah with 10 minutes left on the clock.

Arsenal, though, were able to navigate through the difficult closing stages, surviving a late onslaught to secure victory ahead of the return game at the Emirates Stadium in a fortnight’s time, where another three points will leave Arteta’s side sitting pretty.

Page 1 of 17
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.