We look to return to winning ways when Sevilla arrive in north London, knowing that three points could be enough to book our spot in the last 16 of the Champions League with two group games to spare.
Our 2-1 victory out in Spain a fortnight ago has put us in a great position, and should we complete a double over the Rojiblancos and PSV Eindhoven fail to beat Lens, then our progression to the knockout stages will be assured.
Diego Alonso’s team may have plenty of European pedigree having won seven Europa League titles in 17 years, but they do struggle on their travels, having not registered an away win in any of their last eight Champions League matches, while they have won once in 11 matches in England in all competitions.
Alonso impact yet to materialise
Having employed three managers last season, Sevilla are already on their second this term. Eight points from the opening eight league games saw Jose Luis Mendilibar replaced by former Uruguay coach Alonso, but he is still searching for his first La Liga victory of the campaign.
A promising 1-1 draw against Real Madrid came before our triumph in Sevilla, and following that they have twice recorded from being behind to salvage a point at lowly Cadiz and 10-man Celta Vigo. The only solace for Alonso was a 3-0 win against sixth-tier side CD Quintanar in the Copa del Rey - only a third victory in their 16 games so far this term.
Defeat at Emirates Stadium could mean that Sevilla are left in a real scrap to reach their beloved Europa League by virtue of finishing third in the group, with a crunch game against PSV Eindhoven at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan to follow.
How it stands
What the managers say
Arteta: “The moment you have a chance in football to [qualify], 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.”
Alonso: “We competed well [in the reverse fixture], it was an unfair result for me because we did more for the game. The game at a strategic and football level is complex.
“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.”
It remains to be seen if Martin Odegaard will be available for this game after missing the game against Newcastle United on Saturday - his first omission from one of our matchday squads since September 2022.
Gabriel Jesus, Thomas Partey and Emile Smith Rowe will all be missing for the next few weeks at least, while Jurrien Timber remains a long-term casualty.
Sergio Ramos was not included in Sevilla’s squad for the trip to London having picked up a calf issue that kept him out of the game against Celta Vigo, while goalkeeper Orjan Nyland and left-back Marcos Acuna, who both started against us, were injured in that game and remain in Spain.
Former Manchester City man Fernando missed the game with a back complaint but has been deemed fit enough for the trip. Squad players Marcao and Alfonso Pastor remain out.
Adrian Clarke, writing in the official matchday programme: Alonso likes to deploy a 4-3-3 and is not obsessed with being possession-heavy – in the Champions League they average 51 per cent - but he will encourage his players to pass out from the back and build through the thirds. However, they recently conceded twice from turnovers against Cadiz when losing the ball inside their own half, so our pressing is sure to test them.
A fortnight ago, Sevilla tested us with 15 crosses, including 11 from open play. They love to push their full-backs on to create overloads down both wings, and from those positions, Alonso’s side will send a stream of balls into the danger zone. We must try to stop these at source as they have several players who are excellent at attacking aerial balls, such as striker Youssef En-Nesyri.
They also pose a threat from set-pieces too; domestically they have created 12 more chances from set-pieces than any other side (58) scoring five times in La Liga already, while Nemanja Gudelj netted against us two weeks ago from a corner.
Sevilla are also a decent pressing outfit. Athletic Bilbao are the only other Spanish team to have fashioned more high turnovers in than our opponents (108), so care will be needed inside our own half, but the same goes for our opponents. Sevilla like to congest space inside the opponent’s half, meaning they hold a high line on occasion and a lack of pace was exploited as Gabriel Martinelli raced through the backline twice two weeks ago.
Facts and stats
Sevilla have won just one of their 11 away games against English sides in all European competition (D5 L5), beating Manchester United 2-1 in the 2017/18 Champions League round of 16.
Following our 2-1 victory at Sevilla, we are looking to win both Champions League group stage games against a fellow big five European league side for the fourth time, previously doing so in 2006/07 (against Hamburger SV), 2012/13 (against Montpellier) and 2013/14 (against Marseille).
Sevilla are looking for their first away victory in the Champions League since December 2020 (3- 1 v Rennes), having failed to win any of their last eight away trips in the competition (D6 L2).
We haven’t lost at home in the group stage of the competition since September 2015 v Olympiakos, going unbeaten in the last six (W5 D1).
We have only failed to score in one of our last 26 Champions League matches, a 2-0 home loss to Barcelona in the 2015/16 round of 16. We’ve scored in our last 20 group stage matches in the competition, and in their last 14 at the Emirates in the group stages.
Sevilla have won just two of their last 17 matches in the Champions League (D8 L7), with both of those victories coming at home.
Declan Rice has made 18 progressive carries of 10+ metres in the Champions League this season. Through the opening three rounds of the current tournament, Manchester City’s Rodri (28) is the only midfielder who made more.
Sevilla are the team with the oldest starting XI in terms of average age in the Champions League this season (30y 354d), with Juanlu Sanchez (20) being the only player aged under 23 to have appeared for them in the competition this term.
This will be the first time that Romanian official Istvan Kovacs has taken charge of us, but he does have some experience with Sevilla after he refereed them against Lille in November 2021.
He has been on the FIFA list since 2018, and has refereed the 2022 UEFA Conference League final and at Euro 2020, plus was the fourth official at the 2022 World Cup and last season's Champions League final. In 30 matches last season, he showed nine red cards, while this term he has already dished out three in 12 matches, as well as an average of six yellow cards per game.
- Referee: Istvan Kovacs (ROM)
- Assistant Referee: Vasile Florin Marinescu (ROM)
- Assistant Referee: Mihai Ovidiu Artene (ROM)
- Fourth Official: Horațiu Mircea Feșnic (ROM)
- VAR: Bastian Dankert (GER)
- Assistant VAR: Benoit Millot (FRA)
We have won just three of our 11 Champions League group stage games against Spanish sides (D2 L6). However, two of those victories have come in their three games against Sevilla.
Two weeks ago, we recorded just our fourth-ever win in Spain thanks to a fine display in Seville. Jesus set Gabriel Martinelli racing through on goal to put us in front, before firing in his third goal in successive Champions League games to make it 2-0. Nemanja Gudelj pulled one back by heading in a corner, but we saw off the final stages to claim a big win.
That was just the third-ever competitive meeting between the two clubs, after we met in the group stages of the 2007/08 Champions League. Back then, we recorded a 3-0 home victory thanks to goals from Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie and Eduardo, before slipping to a 3-1 defeat in Spain having taken an early lead.
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Nick Bright and Adrian Clarke will be at Emirates Stadium with all the key analysis, and will look back at the game in Spain to see what we learned and how we can utilise that to get a favourable result, and Invincible Kolo Toure will be on the show to give his thoughts.
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