Arsenal supporters turning up for Thursday night Europa League football were hoping for some excitement to warm them up and also for outright group victory with a win and three points. Things didn’t really turn out like that.
The best chance I can remember was when Douzi played a sweet one-two down the right and Welbz just failed to make decent contact at the near post with the Frenchman’s fizzing cross.
After half an hour Danny seemed to catch his foot in the turf trying to make good contact with a header. You could tell he was hurt by his reaction and by the reaction of those around him. So sad. He was having a fine season getting both game time and goals. Get well soon, Danny.
The Arsenal players were obviously deeply affected by their very popular and likeable teammate having such bad luck. Auba had a few chances he might have gobbled up on a different day. Micki got into a great position and then couldn’t quite divert Wobbly’s driven cross beyond the Sporting keeper.
Lichtsteiner pinged a hammy by the look of it so efforts to preserve the fitness of the Wardrobe had to be foregone after the hour mark, but he seemed to come through unscathed. Hopefully Nacho will be match fit soon as well.
We had 14 efforts on goal, 5 on target, Sporting had five shots, none on target. A point was good enough for them and that’s what they came for.
This clip sums up Arsenal’s night in front of goal…….
The game was overshadowed by Danny’s injury.
The foul count was Arsenal 7 Sporting 13. Lisbon’s 13 should have been a whole lot more. Acuna, playing on the left with no neck and the gait of a simian should have been sent of several times before Mathieu’s professional foul finally saw one of them leave the pitch. Unfortunately it came too late to have any effect on the result.
I realise that the ‘Sporting’ in the Portuguese club’s name doesn’t mean the same as it did for the Sporting Corinthians but they employed every destructive and negative ploy they could to disrupt the football match, including studs down the back of calf muscles, a wide variety of trips and the use of an arm. Nani should be sent off every time he steps on to the pitch just for his loathsome ‘5 year old having a tantrum’ face.
Our unbeaten run extends to 15 games, so let’s make it 16 by beating Wolves on Sunday for Dat Guy.
Cech – nothing to do…6
Lichtsteiner – Booked fairly early after some Nani play-acting, then succumbed to his ageing muscalature in the second half…6
Big Sok – Looked very solid and he is…7
Holding – Growing in confidence in his own abilities with each game…7
Jenks – Did ok down the left without too much to trouble him…6
Guendouzi – what a great player he is at 19 years old. Just imagine what he could be like in his prime…7
Ramsey – Rambo couldn’t quite lift the game as you’d hope a player of his class might…6
Mkhitaryan – Likewise for Micki…6
Smith Rowe – Plenty of decent touches all over the pitch apart from in the final third where he sometimes lacks composure, which is only to be expected…6
Wobbly – got into some great positions but couldn’t quite seal his good work with an assist…6
Welbeck – Let’s pray his injury isn’t as bad as is feared. I was sure he was going to score last night…7
Auba – not his usual clinical self…6
Wardrobe – As with the rest of the team, he couldn’t find that killer cross after getting into some great positions…6
Maitland-Niles – looks fine as a back-up right back which may come in useful…6