Arsenal crash out on penalties after hard-fought battle with Sporting

Arsenal have been eliminated from the Europa League by Sporting CP after a two-legged battle that had to be settled on penalties.

The Gunners should have expected a tough battle after the 90 minutes of excitement last week, and the night didn’t disappoint.

We tried our best to settle things in the opening 45 minutes, with both of Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus causing a right nuisance to our rivals, but it was Granit Xhaka who made the difference going into the break.

The Brazilian winger broke down the left before getting played in behind the defence, with his strike being parried into the path of our stand-in captain to place us into the lead.

Things seemed to turn after the break however, with us struggling to break into the final third, and we paid the price when Pedro shocked Aaron Ramsdale with a long-range strike which left him scrambling back to his goal.

The boss attempted to throw his big guns into play off the bench to try and make sure the result went our way, but Sporting refused to lie down, and I admit that I was a little relieved to make it to extra time.

Both sides had efforts going wide of the post, while the most exciting incident of extra time came when Bukayo Saka was taken out, prompting the red card for Sporting’s Ugarte.

Naturally, this frustrating yet exciting fixture was to be settled by the penalty shootout, and we started on the Backfoot after losing the toss, and we were forced to shoot second.

After seven successfull pemalties, with Ramsdale coming close twice, it was Habriel Martinelli who faltered first.

Sporting delivered their fifth from five to reach the next stage of the competition, and we can all pretend that we only care dabout the Premier League from this poknt onwards.


Tags Sporting


  1. Ramsdale isn’t good in penalty shootout. Adan was my MOTM and we’re still not good enough in major European competition

    I think we’ll finish second in EPL

    1. No, I still believe we will win the league. Stop throwing toys out of pram. Everyone could see when our almost first team was on the pitch we made sporting look really ordinary and almost scored from various chances.

      1. U are pretty right,sportkicks can go either way,and from my little experience,the best team will often loose on penalties.

      1. @Reggie
        RealTalk It was only a matter of time someone did. Dude is not a proper defender…Jus sayin

        1. But that’s the sacrifice you have to make. He does win us more points then loose. I think without Saliba and Gabi together at back zini is more exposed defensively. If we don’t control the ball possession and don’t have athletic players like Partey, gabi n saliba playing zini becomes a liability.

          1. So it is a flimsy system, or at least the way we play it. If one player is missing, it seems to put pressure on it.

          2. Can’t argue with that. He does win us more points than losing. And that is all needed doesn’t matter how great of a defender he really is.

      2. But they scored one single goal in open play, and it was a freak goal from the middle.
        Nothing to do with Zinchenko.

        1. Zinchenko was caught out all game and that caused us to play like we did. It broke down and put us under pressure. We never until the last 15 mins got a foothold in the game. They out played us.

          1. We had to do two substitutions in the first 20 minutes, do you believe that was beneficial for our game plan?

            1. In the great scheme, no i didn’t. White is a better option than Tomi and Holding did great. No it had no bearing on what went on.

    2. How many penalty shootouts have you seen him in and how many are you likely to see him in when playing for The Arsenal?

      1. I mean he isn’t good in penalties. I have seen him lose too many penalties, as compared to Martinez

    3. It’s just shameful that league leaders of the greatest league in the world bow such easily to a non top 5 league team, and that’s in their own home ground. So premier league is just overrated league and we are all in delusion that we are watching exciting competitive match in EPL. I just waited and waited all along the match when Arsenal will have decent run of play and pressure opponent but that time never came and it was Sporting who were more electric through out the game. It’s just feel shame to call ourselves league leader of greatest league.

      1. Premier league is not overrated and never has been. It being the great league in the world has no relationship whatsoever with how English teams performs in Eureopean competitions.

        Good riddance this EL. We have bigger trophy to fry.

        1. Being the greatest top flight in a period of terminal decline in competitiveness across Europe is not exactly something to write home about. The champions league has created a ‘super league’ in outline whether we want to admit it or not. Excessive amounts of cash, and thus a dwindling number of really top class players goes to just a small number of already wealthy teams. Never before has so much been won, year on year, by so few. The fact that a modest arsenal side is currently leading the title race, despite going off the boil against Everton, and not really 100% recovering their early season form, is case in point. Only city of the top seven look even remotely top class, yet utd could walk off with three trophies. As for us, let’s hope we can turn exit from a dreaded Thursday night fixture into a positive against palace. This being arsenal though, anything is possible!

          1. I think you have made some really sound points. The concentration of talent at only a few elite clubs has led to some really unbalanced leagues.
            Some things are quite debatable though. Do Arsenal deserve to be considered merely a “modest” side? What criteria determine what is a “top class” side?

      2. Yes, Prem is overrated.
        Halaand is proving the Prem is also a farmers league tbh. City being best team in prem for years and can’t with CL.

        Farmer league, but still enjoyable because any farmer team can upset another farmer team.

  2. rough showing. Ramsdale responsible for this one. There’s a reason why we were doing the Turner/Ramsdale rotation and why you stick with your cup keeper, even if Turner didnt have the best game last week. Nobody can tell me he would’ve been off his line like that, or would have been so abysmal with the pens. Bit of a shame that during our Europa League phase of the past few seasons we couldn’t win this trophy. Ah well. Overall it wasn’t our day and there were good opportunities to win it. Time to refocus for Palace. That game will be tough.

  3. First 90 minutes an absolute shambles. WHY do we play this snowflake Viera, he is a total liability, what DOES Arteta see in him. Sporting had the better of us and deserved to go through. Big players let us down tonight, Xhaka, Zinchenko and Martinelli did not step up. And as for Jorghino. Viera though for me was the catylist, i have said it before, we play with ten men when he is in the team.

    1. Yea need more from Vieira. He cannot replace Odegaard if he were to get injured. I dont wanna go back into the market already its still Vieira’s first season, but he needs to pick it up and we need to keep our standards high if we want to go far in the future. Can’t all be on Odegaard all the time. Was also hoping other players would step up today but all around nobody really had a good game besides our CB’s.

        1. Im not ready to count him out yet. Odegaard himself was underwhelming on his initial loan here but everything worked out. Sometimes players need a season and I’m fine waiting to see what he can do once he acclimates more.

      1. Viera offers nothing going forward or backwards. He’s bang average. Have to say though, we looked out of sorts all over the place in every department. A bit of a shambles for sure. MA needs to realise that without both Partey and Odegaard we just don’t have a squad capable of competing. It’s touch change.

    2. Couldn’t agree more Reggie – we would have been better with 10 men as he gave the ball away again…and again…and again – the guy is a huge liability. Overall we were very poor – most atrocious passing display this season. Two injuries, 120 mins with a game in under 72 hours, and a morale blow.

      1. Guy, the system Arteta plays is complexed and just one cog not working messes all up. I am still to be convinced, even under full strength that it works under pressure. The minute we come under pressure and it all becomes tough, it invariably breaks down. Arteta will earn his money sorting the way we play, when we are in pressure time, that is what we are coming into. It failed badly last season, it cant this. We have one target now, that has to be an advantage for the league.

        1. 27 games finished and still leading convincingly and after all those games we haven’t been under pressure?

          Maybe think of it this way, this season we are the one putting others under pressure which is a quality of Champions.

          We are the one who knock!

          1. No HH, pressure is when you NEED to win because it means more than 3 points. Thats when the pressure is on, NOW!!!!!!

    3. Vieira needs either a loan or sold. He’s not up to the standard for midfield; too lightweight, lacks any physicality, and struggles to impact the game aside for a pass or two.

      Looks like wasted money so far, he has had chances and doesn’t deserve to be on the bench even.

    4. Except for the high profile players like Jesus, zinchenko, odegard, partey most of our scouting buys since the Arteta reign have been quite average like viera, lokonga, taraves, tomiyashu. So it’s evident that we rather go for proven EPL player than getting players with potential and lot of hype as we are not good at that.

  4. Sporting deserved that win

    We were far too sloppy in possession.
    Fabio Viera far too weak.
    Big game on Sunday.

  5. In the 90 minutes we did not deserve to win. Sporting were the better team. In extra time we were good.
    I hope we can get a win against CP on Sunday but it is going to be a mental test for these players.

    Most substitutions were OK but keeping Vieira on for so long was a really poor decision by MA. Would have kept Nelson and brought off Vieira.

    1. Yea i didnt think Saka needed to play at all this game, thought Nelson was doing fine. Darn shame we still dont have any real depth to rest our important players. We had to use Saka, Partey, Odegaard when it was clear Mikel wanted them not to play.

  6. My only worry is we lost and made our players play so long so resting them in start backfired badly for us. Hopefully we can turn up with energy in next epl game then players can rest for international break. Our players need to pull out of the international.

    1. Sporting deserved to win, no question. Viera is bad, needs to be loaned or sold, what did we pay 35M for?

  7. Let’s just hope being out of the competition provides us with the energy needed to maintain our push for the EPL. That’s our ultimate prize. City going deep In the CL hopefully does us some favours.

  8. Well deserved Sporting

    No excuse to not win the EPL now, played less games than our rivals.

    Slowest midfield in topflight Europe set the tone for the game. Partey makes Xhaka look phenomenal but when he’s not on we see what happens.

    Holding very rusty, a risk that’s been highlighted many times with lack of rotation. With 5 subs and us cruising in many games,he could’ve gotten more minutes.

    Let me guess…UCL spot is our goal and nothing else?

      1. Isn’t it funny or sad that for many of the eternal sunshiners Holding is often the bogey man held responsible for a loss. No mention of the players who failed to create chances or maybe even score. Durrr???

  9. If anything we’re learning and it keeps getting proven that Viera is no where near good enough. His impact is near ZERO in games. Needs to go out on loan and be no where near the first team. Similar to Sambi. In the summer if we get Rice and a proven CAM to backfill Odegaard, I think we’ll have the depth needed to compete in all competitions.

    1. Chris D, not a matter of ” not good enough” with Viera; issue is not physically strong enough.

      1. Disagree OG – his decision making is poor, his mental reactions are really slow and too often he refuses to get involved – the way he sometimes stands and watches as if it’s not his job annoys the hell out of me! I wish it was just his lack of physicality.

        1. Guy and Reggie, I suppose I probably make too much allowance for his age, compared to your assessments.

  10. Not happy with this
    But I can’t blame anybody, not Arteta – not Ramsdale, not Viera, not Martinelli

    This cup was there for the taking
    I thought this cup would be easier to win than the league

  11. Sporting showed enormous resilience last week and again tonight. As much as I am a supporter of Arteta I think he got it wrong tonight by not starting his first 11. It was like chalk and cheese

    1. Spot on, SueP!

      We should have started with the best eleven to quash any chance of Lisbon getting a hold on the game. Our squad was too weak and they bossed us. We could have made the rotations later on.

  12. Hope Arteta has learnt a lesson here.
    At this stage you can’t take any team for granted. With Sporting’s first leg display, you know you need your best legs to finish the job at the Emirates.
    You must start your strongest team and make subs later when things are pretty much comfortable.
    Part of the learning process for Arteta, this one.

      1. A bit harsh there Ken. Learning process should never stop.
        Even though last night was a disappointment, we are having a better season and hopefully we learn and do better next year in Europe.

        1. Not harsh at all – just asking after three years, when the learning curve ends.
          I believe MA has passed with flying colours this season and shouldn’t beach used as an excuse anymore… nearly £10,000,00 moreover I hasten to add! //

  13. The team selection tonight tells me we are focusing on the Premier League, and it’s understandable.

      1. Lol exactly what I saw Sue – not only did we lose the game by trying to rest our two key midfielders but we also ultimately managed two injuries and a knackered first team! Well I suppose if you’re going to cock it up do it properly!

        1. From what I can see Arteta is in a no-win situation unless we can somehow win every game.
          The fact is that we do not have a squad as strong as the likes of MC or MU. There is significant drop off in quality when some players are rotated out of the team. Yet some people keep criticising the use of the same players in the PL.
          It is unrealistic to expect Arteta to use all first team players for every game. Given the situation in the PL evidently that has to be prioritised.
          IMO it is unfair to insist that he should have used all the players in this way/when we have another crucial game in a few days time.

  14. Well it shows we have depth to win us matches from bench but not good enough to play complete game on their own. I just don’t know what’s happening with ESR? Well atleast no more Thursday nights to effect our weekend performances. What this does tell us we do need some more good players in summer and get rid of some of these fringe players.

    1. The issue is Arteta needs to rotate more

      Tomiyasu is amongst the best ball-markers I know
      ESR was actually ahead of Martinelli at some point last season
      Tierney is not a fringe player
      There are matches in EPL we can win even with Nelson starting

      Arteta needs to learn that
      This is something Guardiola is great at so I wonder why he seemingly didn’t pick that from him

      1. Baba – now is not the time for rotation in the EPL, where incidentally there are fewer easy games than in the Europa. And you conveniently forget that until recently Nelson and ESR along with Jesus were injured, and we didn’t have Trossard or Jorginho. And we didn’t lose because of not rotating our fullbacks!

    2. Yes, the project isn’t finished and we will recruit more players in the summer window. Perhaps two or three quality players.

        1. It’s an organic process that never stops. I’m very satisfied our development and didn’t expect us to fight for the title this season.

          1. So it’s not really a project is it?
            I’m also very satisfied with our progress this season, but that’s not a project any more is it?

              1. I’m just trying to work out when the learning curve ends, along with the project. To my mind they have both finished as this season progressed, but to try and use them to explain this defeat is just ridiculous.
                Every manager makes mistakes and MA did tonight with his team selection and substitutions – no need to try and cover it up by talking about learning cuves and projects.

                1. Ken some people will find every excuse possible to try and explain why we lose. We lost tonight because Sporting was better than us. Their manager had a plan and it worked. They are no power house team and they shouldn’t be on the same level as us but they were over both legs and better. Tonight i thought they were just better.

  15. I just hate to say this, but this Arsenal team always exhibit complacency when it really matters most. Why not feed the pitch with players to get this job done earlier & not this unnecessary struggles. Same mistake as last season. We should as well kiss the epl bye, not been pessimistic but facing reality

    1. It’s the complacency that kills me with this team. The unnecessary flicks, too many passes urgh sometimes simple football gets the job done.

  16. Most of you didn’t fault him for not starting the first 11, now postMatch you’ll blaming him

    Most of us here said that line-up was strong enough – so why u now complaining about the selection

  17. We lost this match in Portugal last week when we had chances to wrap up the game and we chose to play as if nothing was at stake. Again, for crying out loud, I don’t really know Why Viera was left on the pitch for that long. I don’t really know his performances at the training that made Arteta to have such confidence in him. Odegaard should have come on much earlier. Well, now our focus is on the EPL. Arteta please, No more experimenting.

    1. I agree. The team didn’t have the urgency or will that Sporting had. It’s obvious which team wanted this more. Even at the end, Sportings celebrations were a lot. Much more than our players would’ve done if we won. The team that played better and wanted it more won. That’s not surprising

  18. Well coach ateta must take all the blem and some of the players are not good enough to play, for Arsenal , He needs to find a better goal keeper . Secondly , the bench ,players are not good enough ,

    1. What did ramsdale do wrong? Some times you just have to take your hat off for the finish. Arteta should have learnt from going out from other cups that making so many changes does not work specially when other players have played so much less game time. These large changes rotation works when you keep rotating squad regular so ppl are in sync and have enough play time under their belt. Arsenal are on top of the list of least rotating team. I think we sit on about 18 times we have rotated the team that’s the least rotation of any other English team.

    1. No it didnt, Sporting have not spent anywhere near what we have and have knowhere near the resources. Stop that red herring.

      1. I disagree. My comment is related to the overall strength of the Arsenal squad and the options available given the different competitions we have been involved in.
        How much Sporting have spent has very little relevance.

        1. David, thats strange, it seems to have relevance to sime when we get beat by a so called bigger team. It has massive relevance, Sporting do not have the clout in the transfer market like us.

  19. I am glad Arteta doesn’t take his cues from a forum he got us top of the table so I back him in any decisions he makes and he will make mistakes but I am not calling tonight a mistake he has us top of the league with a chance of a title when no one saw it coming long may it continue. No wonder Madrid are being linked with him.

  20. I don’t get why when we go ahead, we then sit back, loose the lead, and then go all out. We just don’t seem to learn that scoring 1 goal doesn’t win the game. Not until you score 3 goals can you relax

  21. What a pivotal week this is turning out to be!!!
    City winning 8-1
    United winning 6-1 and
    The Arsenal out of Europe on penalties, with two big injury scares to worry about and only three days to get Saliba match fit!!!

    It is what it is and we’re out and can now focus on the one great prize, the PL.

    No fixture congestion, no overplayed individuals, no cancelled games due to other commitments and, after the Palace game, a proper rest before our assault on the title.

    All in all, apart from losing of course , not a bad outcome, especially as our two main rivals for the PL do not have the luxury that we find ourselves in.

    Just make sure we collect the three points on Sunday, move eight points ahead of city and then relax.
    This result will soon be forgotten and, let’s be honest, if we had to choose between the PL and the europa league, the former is the one we ALL want, isn’t it?

    Yep, it certainly is turning out to be a pivotal week!!

    1. KEN Do you get paid each time you mention “pivotal”!
      As all Prem games carry only three points, all Prem games are equally “pivotal”.

      Though, I prefer the more commonly understood word, CRUCIAL!
      I do agree with you that having no Europa from now on will aid our Prem challenge. To that end, I HOPE THAT CITY GO ALL THE WAY TO THE FINAL AND ALSO TO THE FA CUP FINAL. It all helps us!

      1. Jon, the word pivotal is certainly the right one for this moment in time, as I pointed out above.

        I hope city and united carry on to their individual finals and then, of course, lose them.

        Sunday’s game against Palace is very CRITICAL for us and, depending on the result, it could be PIVOTAL to our end of season outcome.

        1. I don’t expect us to win the league, but a few more wins could see us third at worst. It means that we have become relevant again and have a good football team, which creates enthusiasm and hope for a bright future for Arsenal FC.

          1. Shame on you Didrik – third indeed! When you play a lot of important games in succession it’s impossible without a big squad to motivate yourself for every one. It was obvious tonight that regardless of selections and even Arteta peptalks our players simply weren’t “up” enough to win against a good strong team who were playing for their season whereas our minds were on the EPL. No alarm bells needed (as long as Vieira doesnt start again!).

            1. Agree Guy, 5 points clear, going into the sharp end of the season, only one competition to go for. It should be now or never. City have far more games to cram in and we can concentrate on the league. A massive advantage. Didrik, your thoughts are baffling and sad.

            2. We played them one week ago and got problems, and we played them tonight and got problems again.

              It was a calculated risk, we could have played or best men an got a win, and would probably have done that if it was important enough. We are going for the league title and it’s all or nothing, it’s a risk but probably worth it.

              It’s 19 years since last time we won the league in all those years we never come close. Now we are in a strong position and should go for it. I’m backing that derision regardless of the outcome 🔴⚪️

            1. Ken1945 – are you a nitpicker?
              Last time we finished in top four was in 2016. It’s 19 years since we won the league. I have very much respect for our history, but it belongs to the past. I am most concerned about the future, where we have the opportunity to influence.

              1. Not nick picking Didrik, just trying to understand your opinions. Wht does finishing third make us more relevant than finishing fourth?

                1. Sorry, but when did we finishing fourth?

                  We have had a nice progress and have become a top four team again, and I believe we will be a regular top four team.
                  For me first, second and third is better than fourth, perhaps you have a different understanding, but that’s fine with me 😉

                  1. No and I find coming 2nd more relevant than coming third – but you said that, because you believe we will finish third, we have become relevant once again…if we finish fourth, by your definition, we will STILL be irrelevant… is that correct??

                    1. That’s your opinion not mine, I believe we will finish top three, most likely first or second. Just keep on nitpicking Ken👌

  22. I thought playing Viera instead of Odegaard, until too late, was a major blunder and was the main reason we could not dominate play.

    Once Odegaard came on we were miles better. But it was too late. Managers mistake, IMO!
    Viera is simply not physical enough for us, esp in Prem games. Still early days but so far he has been well below expectations, IMO!

    1. We had made 5 substitutions already:
      Holding – Saliba
      Ben White – Tomiyasu
      Jesus – Trossard
      Partey – Jorginho
      Saka – Nelson

      I think our substitute for FT (90 mins) was complete already

      I think one can only make 1 more substitution during extra-time – that’s when Odegaard could come in

      1. True, but my point was that Odegaard OUGHT to have come on well inside normal time.

    2. yes Jon my thoughts exactly. Please keep him away from the first team for the rest of the season as he is shocking against any team with fight in them. Annoying that he struts around like he is a star already.

      1. Thank you. He just walks around doesn’t even track back, losses the ball , trips over himself , I mean I could go on forever. I don’t like slating players but this guy should not be near the first team at the moment.

    3. True Jon. Just as I observed earlier, I don’t really know what Arteta saw in Viera’s game that made him to stay that long. He is too light wait to my liking. Personally, I thought Jesus would have started from the bench. Arteta’s fault. Since we are now focused on EPL, let not gamble again in our midfield, please.

  23. Emotions running amok!!😄

    I get that.. cos I’m so gutted right now…😢
    However u have to give a big hand to the Sporting GK. He kept them in this game. We had the better chances, hit the bar , had a goal cleared off the line. And they scored an improbable goal!!that kinda goal goes in once in 100 attempts!!

    C’mon our guys gave a lot . But in football as in life u can never win them all.

    Now every game in the EPL is a freaking final!!! The players have to leave their blood on the pitch!!! They have to push for a win regardless of the team in front of us. I don’t want to know whether it’s a Madrid and Man city hybrid team!!

    The EPL can not!!! Not!! Slip from our grasp!!!

    We will use this experience and the disappointment of last season as catalyst.

    The EPL shall have the name Arsenal on it in May!!!


    1. I hope so, these kind of defeat can be demoralizing for a team and that demoralization can spread into the dressing room infecting every single player thankfully there is am international break coming. Hope we beat crystal palace it’s looking a bit harder now.

  24. The 2 injuries are the main concern especially Saliba will be a huge loss hopefully we can recover and focus on palace need to win that badly after this result will show the character of the team to bounce straight back!

  25. The BS “logic” of…”we focusing on the EPL” is so delusional it’s a bit funny.

    People acting like if we stayed in EL that we would have an unmanageable amount of games lol

    Take a guess how many more games we’d have if we’d gone through?

    1. It does make a difference when you are playing on Thursdays but I do think we had good enough squad to compete on two fronts atleast. As I said above you can not be the least rotating team, play players in such an important game who are not in sync and don’t have enough game time. It would have been better to go in with your first eleven then when you are couple of goals up then rest players by substitution. In my opinion Arteta should have kept a cup team and kept on playing them in very cup we would have seen a better performance from second string of players.

    2. It’s not the amount of games, it’s about managing the players and unforseen injuries, like the two we have seen tonight.
      The law of averages mean that we will have a better chance of managing the two elements above, than city or united who could play six more high intensity games than us perhaps even more
      That’s not delusional, it’s just plain common sense.

      1. It has nothing at all to do with the amount of games but the mental fatigue and physical fatigue of travelling midweek. Plus its asking a lot of Arteta to manage both Europe and the league, when he has not before.

        1. But Reggie, one has to travel to games and, by their name, European games involve travelling times.
          So four more European games for city and united will do just that and will give us an advantage.
          I would think that MA has travelled around europe and been involved with the PL during his time at city and during his career at The Arsenal, so hardly a new experience albeit under a different title.

          1. He hasn’t had to deal with top European games and trying to win the league. Doing both would have been far more of a challenge. The only time he has managed in Europe and had to deal with premier league was when he got given a lesson by the person he replaced. At least now he can concentrate on keeping up what we have been doing in the league. Albeit at a more pressurising time.

            1. We are top of the league a fantastic progression, and I believe we will get even better next season 🫶

                    1. Well, as long as we are winning we are controlling the situation, but we all know what Man.City is capable of, and
                      I’m realistic enough not to take anything for granted.

  26. One would have thought that needing to win at home, Mikel Arteta would have selected his strongest starting eleven, with the opportunity to rotate out players after a substantial lead was established. 1-0 is always a worry until the final whistle.
    Sporting Lisbon currently sit fifth in Portugal, so are no mugs.

    1. Agree completely. You already did same in first leg why do it again in second leg. We should play atleast one leg with first 11, win comfortably then bring on subs to rest some of first 11.

  27. We were distracted by the MASSIVE DERBY, it’s as simple that.

    Saka, Tossard, Partey , Odegaard on the bench, surely we knew where the priorities were.

  28. First of all I would like to say Mikel Arteta is a solid coach and I’m proud and happy that he is our manager. With that said I think he got it absolutely wrong today . Sporting CP were better than us in the first 20 min of the first half, and the entire 45 min of second half, it was not until Party and saka came on before our midfield stabilized and the introduction of odegard ( very late and I wonder why) that we started to doninate them.
    Why on earth didn’t he start that trio?
    It was clear to eveeyone that xhaka, jurginho and Vieira were very poor and were conatantly giving away possession, giving wrong to wayward passes and turning over the balls the entire second half. We were really poor today .
    There are no positives to take from this match only lessons to be learned-
    1. Saka , odegaard and Partey are the core of the team and are the reason for our current position in the league PERIOD.
    2. Martinelli cannot be relied on ( he is not good enough ) to carry the team.
    3. Ramsdale is good but needs serious improvement and training.
    4 . Arteta should ALWAYS play his strongest hand from here on in.

    I’m gutted and disappointed, This is a team we should have blown away in the first half after we scored.

  29. Poor, wasn’t it? And a timely wake up call. The team leading the Premier League by five points has been knocked out by a team five points behind third place in the Portuguese League.

  30. I was Viera’s number one criticizer

    Now that I am coming to like the efforts he’s putting that’s when others are jumping against him

    Viera zest has increased but his lack of physicality will be a big issue, asides that, he seems to want to play football without any contact – he’s ready to fall before even being touched – ready to leave the ball at any sign of a tackle

    Those are what I don’t like about him now

    But he’s started to put in some passion & zest

    1. I think the detractors are exaggerating how he played yesterday – he wasn’t that bad, but he wasn’t good either. I think he can be good for us in the future but not in odegaard’s position currently. I agree with those saying he’s not suited to the centre of midfielder, for now at least.
      I don’t believe Vieira would have started if arteta didn’t believe he was good enough, so I won’t write him off yet. I think he has real talent that he hasn’t been able to show with any consistency so far.
      I also thought Nelson looked really good in the first half, but sporting came out really strong in the second and we couldn’t deal with their pressing until partey came on. We took control of the game but their defence held. The threat they had on the counter attack was fantastic, and I thought they had a few really good players who I wouldn’t mind seeing at arsenal in the future.

      1. I disagree Davi. Viera was bad and weak. He is a fair weather player. He is not needed in such high intensity match. Whatever zeal and passion he’s got should be for future and when we are comfortably winning our games. The problem still lies on the manager who would always want to play him no matter what.

  31. I think this is a very bad gamble on MA part.
    You play a weakened team and you end up in a 130 min marathon. Why not play your strongest group go up a couple and then sub off and rest your players?
    The Viera debate is over. If anyone thinks this kid can play is delusional. I stopped counting the times he gave up and ball. Did he win 1 tackle? he is like tits on a bull=USELLESS.
    MA waiteed too long for Odegaard to make the difference hence we paid for it.
    Hopefully this time it benefits us by making the schedue better to the finish line.
    Wait and see and pray Saliba is a minor knock.

  32. Taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture:

    Im seriously wondering what is the plan for our preparation for UCL next year? If we can’t even make the quarters of EL I’m not sure how we will fair in UCL. Keeping in mind we had 6/7 of our EPL starters on the field when the game started so the team we fielded certainly wasted a full 2nd string team.

    Most agree our squad is relatively strong and we only need 1-3 players more in the transfer window, is that the case or do we need quite a big shuffle of 4-5 players?

    1. UCL is completely different fish to fry. We won’t be doing this silly stuff of mixing and matching. We will play our best 11 as we do in epl. If we would have done the same I am pretty sure we would have gone to final atleast but then probably manager made the decision to prioritise the league over anything else. Let’s hope his gamble pays off and we win the league. Arteta is human and some times you make mistakes , even the best do like pep over thinking in UCL.

      1. Why Im asking is because if we need to rest players when we are already out of 2 comps, I’m not sure what we’ll do next year when in EPL, UCL, FA Cup and League Cup even if we do add 3-4 players to the squad and maybe sell 1-2

        1. This season has been completely different to others, simply because of the world cup.
          It’s been a “catching up” scenario and the teams still involved in cup competitions will have been playing two games a week on average.

          As for next season, Edu tells us that the plans are already in place, so let’s just get over the line this season!!

      2. But then Logic, if you believe that is what MA has done, wasn’t that exactly what Unai Emery was castigated for, prioritising one competitions outcome for another?
        UE ended up losing out on the CL, I don’t believe MA will do the same though.

        1. As a fan I think we have good enough squad to challenge on two fronts, any two that is. In my opinion MA got it wrong. The way I see it we should have gone with either of these three options. 1) rotate the squad enough so the bench players have enough game time under their belt and are in sync with team that they can be starters for a game. Or 2) play your first eleven win that game comfortably to rest players in same game by substitution or 3) atleast play your first eleven in atleast one of the legs, win it then play second string in other leg over the tie. We did none of the above.

    2. Maybe I’m playing Devil’s advocate here PJSA but take into consideration:
      1 We were 2/3 first teamers down and we can expect 2/3 upgrades next season
      2 Sporting played well and we were all awful, which I can’t fully blame on not having those 2/3. An off night. It happens.
      3 we are hugely invested in the EPL – we cant expect the same level for Europa. Next season we will I imagine be more “up” for the CL and less obsessed with the next EPL game
      4 We are still a young team. We will improve next season
      5 We are spoiled. Nobody wins every game
      6 Hopefully no Vieira next season!

        1. You are right Reggie. We didn’t show up. Sporting were the better team. Playing at home and never in control of the game ! No excuses

    3. We only need two top class players but not Elneny or reject shop Ribot type el cheapo productions, but players we who can influence the course of a game either through individual brilliance or doggerel. This loss is not the end of the world but a learning curve where Arteta perhaps ponders on why Zhivchenko has now become our main play maker, when to give up on Viera as a bad investment and how soon to start considering Xhaka’s used by date.

  33. Not a surprise at all, and in fact, it’s not even a big news story given our woeful record in Europe.

    Arsenal have a terrible history in European competition – we are not, and never have been a powerhouse in Europe.

    Huge upside is that we can now fully focus on the league.

    1. Jen, apart from the 1930’s when Arsenal was the best club side in Europe (refer “the Battle of Highbury”). In addirion Arsenal arguably missed opportunities in the Champions League/European Cup, when as First Division Champions, English Clubs were banned from European competitions, because of the misbehaviour of Liverpool supporters.

  34. PJ-SA but unlike other seasons there is no mention of a world cup mid season a first in history because of oil money which by the way is the reason Newcastle will join City in terms of unlimited resources to buy the best players. Saka has barely had a rest and his off to play internationals after this season. As a club Arsenal is ahead of schedule but there is still some work to be done to compete with the oilers on multiple fronts. We have bought quite a few players under 40 million and doubled their values but as you can see with Lukonga, Vieira, Tavares we have to gamble more and sometimes those do not work out. At this point in time we are more Leicester than City or Chelsea so we it takes time to build the quality of the squad and have to focus on just the league which is by far the hardest to win out of all the leagues.

    1. I’m sorry? Which players have we doubled in value that were bought for under 40 mil?

      Thee world cup affected everyone, so no it’s not an excuse…in fact most players got a mid season break because of it. How many Arsenal players were in the semis and final?

  35. I meant Saka is off after to play internationals after this weekend. By the way you say how will we handle the champions league but how well have City handled the champions league, they still havent won it after all that financial doping. I am not going to expect too much from champions league but the money and status will continue to Mikel and Edu’s project to get better players and for the great ones we have to get better as many are still so young.

  36. This lost is like, we just open the door for others to run on us again. They will see us as a weak team. Now, battle for EPL title will be even tough.

  37. At this point, and with the break, I’m more concerned about our players feeling unconfident because of this loss.

    I hope MA has a plan because every time we come back from a break we play so poorly. We are 11 games away fro the title!

  38. lol so when Everton beat us and they are so low in the league why did other teams not say ahh this Arsenal is so weak lets run over them. Nope that doesnt make sense cup competitions have always been different in that way.

  39. I warned about that fool Jorginho, but obviously they can’t hear me. It’s their cup of tea. How can you start all your bottom players in a defining game. It was only a matter of time b4 he showed his true colors.

  40. There wasn’t a team in this competition that should have been able to stop us winning it but if i had a choice, then i would rather be out, if it means we have a better tilt at the league.

    1. But sue winning the Europa could have been the nice topping to the jelly. It’s now win or bust

  41. What has Kieran Tierney got to do to impress Mikel Arteta enough to get a start in this game. Kinchenko is good going forward, but weaker defensively. He was badly beaten a number of times, putting pressure on Arsenal’s CB’s.
    Sporting Lisbon has a strong physical midfield, yet Mikel Arteta plays Viera in midfield for 100 minutes. If Partey was not to play, then why not Tierney at LB and Ukrainean International midfielder Zinchenko to strengthen midfield?

    1. Tierney should have played 100% both these games and not Zinchenko. But Tierney doesn’t play the inverted left back. My problem with Arteta he seems to want like for like replacements to cover, not different abilities and a more solid player.

  42. eL, what a complete waste of time, gas the players, injuries, and maybe nothing left for Sunday.

    Why try to win both with a young team and maybe lose everything worthwhile in the “process!”

  43. Anyway…..

    Next 5 fixtures are:

    Crystal Palace
    Liverpool (A)
    West Ham (A)

    I would say if we don’t get 4 wins minimum(and prob a draw in the 5th game) from those 5 games we may struggle.

    After those 5 is:

    Man City (A)
    Newcastle (A)

  44. PJ_SA hmmm you say what players values have doubled, I would say Ode has more than doubled, Rams may not be the best but most would agree he is a top three goalkeeper in the Prem and being English he was bought for around 30 so easily over 50. Martinelli was not an Arteta buy but he has improved and was bought for 6 so would go for many times more now having broken into the Brazil squad. Saliba under 30 mill over 70 easily in this market, how about Gabriel next to him the two of them you cannot argue are now maybe the best defensive pairing.

    1. The reality is that you are just presuming numbers. Look at Arsenal’s historic sales, do we sell well? Absolutely not!

      The fact that some of our biggest sales to this day date back to 1999/2000 should tell you all you need to know if you think of inflation alone.

    2. Makayah – a player’s true value is only what other teams will pay for him.
      1 The bottom has dropped out of the market in Europe. Italy and France are broke, Barca will be embargoed. That leaves RM and PSG as the only two Euro clubs who can pay big money and they will only want the best of the best.
      2 Its not considered great business to sell to other EPL clubs – we can only imagine how City feel now over Jesus and Zinny.
      3 Having said that, current values on “transfermarkt” are (Euros) Saka E110, Ode E80, Jesus E75, Martinelli E70, Saliba E55, Big Gabi E50, White E50, Zinny E40, Ramsdale E38 so the really big guns have increased a lot but NOT the second tier.

  45. In terms of the Europa League alone, you can say Arteta’s starting 11 was too optimistic, now that we have lost. But that is hindsight and not looking at the bigger picture.
    We have done relatively well with some rotation lately, and that would suggest, we could do it in a game like this.
    Rotation is, what everybody have been screaming for in order to see, if we somehow can manage to keep our incredible and unexpected level in the PL.
    But our youth and limited depth didn’t quite hold up last night.
    In terms of the whole picture, I think the selection makes sense as a calculated risk, and unfortunately it didn’t pay off.
    Before the season the Europa League was mainly seen as an extra chance to get CL football next season. As this more or less can be seen as secured already, the loss does not have any major consequense.

    1. The wait for European glory continues Anders. That’s the consequence plus 2 injuries to deal with

      1. At least I’m old enough to have been at Highbury to experience European glory when we won the equivalent of this trophy, but that was a bloody long time ago!

    2. AndersS – nice saying. One bad game influenced by two early substitutions and the negativity starts to pure out 😁

  46. Arteta has got to start looking at his Cup game record now. We just keep getting knocked out all the time in these cup games.
    It’s a bit worrying to be honest..

  47. Poor night all round really, players didn’t really look up for it. Hopefully their goal will teach Ramsdale not to venture so far off his line in future. We need a statement win against Palace on Sunday. COYG.

  48. We crashed out of Euros round 16 not because we never had a good team from Arteta but because of display of exuberances. We seemed to underated our equally young and more challenging opponents. We did bring the sledge-harmer for an ant. More so, the equaliser was a sorry sight from Ramsdale out of his line. That was not why he became Arsenal no. 1 goalkeeper. He should learn to o better and keep the post and not combine his role with no. 9. It has become a valuable lesson for us in the PL title chase. Let our boys regain composure. Brighter days ahead.

  49. Yes, Prem is overrated.
    Halaand is proving the Prem is also a farmers league tbh. City being best team in prem for years and can’t with CL.

    Farmer league, but still enjoyable because any farmer team can upset another farmer team.

  50. Ramsdale proving he is overhyped and not yet a top class player.

    Top talent but not the finished article yet.

    Ge kind of reminds me of Scheza under Wenger

  51. People called for turner to be dropped and this is the result, maybe all this praise going to Ramsdales head. He ain’t Neuer

  52. Ramsdale is good at all on PK. he should practice more. If it were fanbiaski or martinez they would have saved one or two.

  53. First of all, credit to Sporting for a hugely industrious performance particularly from their midfielders who highlighted the lack of pace and drive in Xhaka, Jorginho and Vieira.Before the match a few of us on JA expressed concern regarding the midfield three ,and unfortunately our doubts proved to be well founded.The recruitment of two athletic, ball winning midfielders would be my priority in the next transfer window and yesterday’s match showed just how dependent we are on TP and Odegaard.The injury to Tomi looks bad but hopefully Saliba will be ok.Despite the disappointing result, I remain optimistic of giving Man City a run for their money and to that end After a will now be able to focus entirely on League matches.Finally, I wonder how KT is feeling this morning in the knowledge that our Manager does not believe he has much to offer in terms of changing the game?Very sad state of affairs, and one which will undoubtedly hasten his departure at the end of the season.

  54. I am not criticizing Martineli for the loss but he has the tendency of not looking up when striking the ball. He just sometimes rely strictly on strength and willpower. If you look closer at the penalty he took, he was just looking at the ball all the way not the post or the keeper. He’s an instinctive player but this should be coached out of him in other for him to get better.

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