Gabriel Jesus marked his first Arsenal home game with a hat-trick as the Gunners ended pre-season with a 6-0 thrashing of Sevilla to lift the Emirates Cup.
Four quickfire goals put the Gunners in cruise control within the first 19 minutes of the game, with Bukayo Saka and Jesus grabbing two each.
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The £45m signing had to wait until 12 minutes from time to complete his hat-trick, flicking home a loose ball as Sevilla tried to defend a corner. A late sixth came when Gabriel Martinelli teed up Eddie Nketiah for a tap-in following a quick counter-attack.
The result means Mikel Arteta’s side have maintained their 100 per cent record in friendlies played in front of crowds this pre-season, ahead of their Premier League opener against Crystal Palace next week.
Arsenal paid tribute to former Gunners and Sevilla forward Jose Antonio Reyes – who passed away three years ago – in this final friendly and it was during their ninth-minute applause for the Spaniard that they got the opener.
Martin Odegaard clipped in Saka to the right of the penalty area and the England international was felled by Karim Rekik for a clear penalty. Saka converted the spot-kick, suggesting his role as Arsenal’s first-choice penalty taker after Alexandre Lacazette’s departure is now cemented.
Three minutes later, it was two. Ben White’s crossfield pass found Jesus on the left touchline. The £45m signing fed Granit Xhaka in the area before racing onto the midfielder’s cleared cross to tap home for his first Emirates Stadium goal.
Xhaka had another role in Jesus’ second goal, playing a quick free-kick to Gabriel Martinelli down the left. The winger found his first-name namesake in the box to tap home another finish on the stretch, with the Brazilian completely unmarked.
And worse Sevilla defending brought about Arsenal’s fourth. Goalkeeper Bono panicked under pressure from Arsenal’s front three and played the ball straight to Saka who tucked in a finish with his weaker right foot.
The Gunners could have made it more before half-time, with Martinelli, Xhaka and Thomas Partey spurning clear-cut chances. At the other end, defenders William Saliba and Oleksandr Zinchenko – making their home debuts for Arsenal – were relatively untroubled.
After the break, Odegaard went close a couple of times – while Xhaka hit the roof of the net. But the celebrations belonged to Jesus as he rounded off the victory by finishing first-time from close range as the Spanish side couldn’t clear their lines from a set piece.
With Sevilla trying to claim a consolation strike, Arsenal hit their opponents for a sixth. Xhaka released Martinelli on the counterattack, with the Brazilian unselfishly teeing up Nketiah for the simplest of finishes.
Jesus’ all-round impact
While Jesus will be hailed for his three goals and general pre-season form, Arteta chose to highlight Jesus’ off-the-ball work and his ability to force Sevilla into mistakes.
“Everybody knows Gabby and everyone sees he wants to play with that intensity to win the ball, provoke mistakes and play in the opposition half as much as possible,” Arteta said in his post-match press conference.
“You cannot do that if players at the front are not working or not tracking or they don’t have that instinct or intensity to provoke things that we want. Gabby is phenomenal at that.
“You are hoping that [scoring goals so quickly] is going to happen. A player has to adapt to a new city, club, and team-mates, and he’s done it in a really fast and natural way.
“You can see the way they [his team-mates] look for him on and off the ball and you can see what he can transmit on the pitch. I’m really happy with him.”
Arteta also hailed the link between Jesus and new Arsenal captain Odegaard – who was given the armband on a full-time basis before the game.
“He makes Gabby better and he needs a threat in front of him,” Arteta said of Odegaard. “He can find the last pass at any moment either in close or open spaces. We need someone to make him look better and the connection is already there.”