Four-goal thriller leaves it all open between Arsenal and Sporting

Arsenal have played out an exciting 2-2 draw in Portugal with Sporting CP.

It wasn’t the brightest of starts by either side, but what threatened to be a scrappy encounter turned out to be a spectacle.

William Saliba struck first as he head home from Fabio Vieira’s corner kick, and the scores were levelled a little later by an almost identical corner at the opposite end.

After the break, Sporting found an early goal after we failed to clear the ball, with Paulinho beating two defenders to a rebound at close range.

Gabriel Martinelli almost hit right back after doing his best Forest Gump impression, running through their entire backline only to take one heavy touch after rounding the keeper and losing it.

We weren’t trailing for long regardless thanks to their defender diverting a cross into his own net, leaving 20 minutes on the clock for both to try and find the winner.

It wasn’t to be however, as we leave it all to play for back at the Emirates in the second leg.


Tags Sporting


  1. At least we managed to score two goals. Hopefully Nketiah is fit when Sporting come to the Emirates

    1. Unfair QD; he made some good saves and shouldn’tbe blamed for poor defending by others.

      1. I know you are trying to be positive about him @Ozziegunner but do you really want him in goal again for the second leg? No please we will be throwing away that trophy if Turner plays again.

        1. He played away from home and we didn’t lose then you think he can’t play at the Emirates, and what did you expect from him judging from his playing time, if anything happens to Ramsdel isn’t he his replacement?
          The more he plays the more sharper and better he gets, Ramsdel enjoys playing with the strongest 11 he doesn’t

  2. Satisfactory result (considering we were missing our 3 central strikers), mediocre performance with a few question marks:
    1 Kivior was really sluggish and always on his heels. Why did he DUCK for their first goal? 2 GM is not ready to be a central striker yet 3 Vieira is as annoyingly erratic as ever 4 Turner will never be a number 1.
    On the positive side, Saliba was superb and Tomi returned to form.

    1. @Guy, have you been watching Arsenal’s match? Nketiah could never do what Martineli does for the team, how can you say Martineli isn’t ready, hope you noticed Saka didn’t give his all yesterday, Nelson wasn’t that sharp too, I guess because he just returned, Fabio isn’t ready, Turner panicked alot ,hence the reason for punching the ball,
      The team was kinda sluggish yesterday, I believe we’ll have one 1st team players next week,

      1. longbenark – yes I watched the full game. Can GM play CF in future? Yes. Is GM both better now and a better prospect than Nketiah? Yes. Should GM always start? Yes. But he’s not a CF yet – excellent positioning but with his back to goal he is poor, as is his hold-up play. I hope that clarifies.

  3. Turner hasn’t played since January and you could see it, a lot of misplaced passes, wasn’t very fluent, did miss Odegaard, and the number of times Nelson made a good run only to be ignored. Zinchenko I thought was going to be sent off as he kept on winding up the Sporting players. They will have three players missing through suspension in the return leg, they have only won twice out of nineteen times in visits to England. I am confident we will bet them. I would have rested Saka as he was limping a couple of times in the second half. Martinelli was unlucky with that great run, reminded me of when he did the same thing against Chelsea. That is the problem with playing the same players for so long, drop three or four and it shows. If we make the QFs I would start to play our strongest side, the double could be on for us. Fulham next

  4. Martinelli was incorrectly given a yellow card for Xhaka’s foul. The referee was poor throughout TBH.

  5. Martinelli had 2 or May be 3 decent chances..
    He could finish this tie by his own..
    He should have at least scored 2 goals..
    Poor evening overall…
    Below average and low in intensity..
    But we will go through at Emirates..

  6. Imo Gorginho is not a Partey replacement. He lacks the physicality, the speed, the combativeness of Partey, thus allowing Sporting to slice through our midfield at will for almost 70mins.
    As much as I want a rotation of squad for UEL, it doesn’t make sense jeopardizing our chance in this competition for the sake of it.

    1. Agree, Arsenal needs its strongest midfield for the return match. Odegaard and Partey were missed.

    2. But it’s worth jeopardizing everything by using the same 11 all games till they weary out and we loose everything.
      Every successful team masters the art of rotation to keep your first 11 fresh and ensure your squad players are match sharp when needed. That some players are not sharp isn’t there fault when they haven’t played for months

      1. @tomi, did you watch Man united yesterday, there 1st 11 played and they’ll go again by weekend.

        When liverpol6won the ucl, they mostly played there best 11 in almost all the games.

  7. Bad game over all. We should stop under rating teams. This nonchalant approach to games should stop forthwith. None gets above 5 including the coach.

  8. We MUST play our full First team for the second leg. For the PL match we can rest some 1st team players. Not all obviously but rest Saka, Martinelli Saliva , White. For the EPL match plat Nelson Nketiah ,etc

    1. Stephanie, Glad you don’t pick out Prem team or we would be mid table.

      How on Earth you can rest SAKA MARTINELLI, SALIBA WHITE, when we have no other fit forwards at all, is bonkers. You obviously don’t keep up with injuries we have!!

    2. Why should we. The whole point of playing Europa is to get into UCL. We are guaranteed of this and have an excellent chance of winning. I hope they continue playing the B team until semis

  9. Don’t know why ESR couldn’t start the game. Even on paper the midfield of Xhaka, Viera and Jorginho looked second rate and not befitting of a team challenging for a title. I’d say the likes of Brighton, Villa and Fulham would have come up with more energetic, aggressive midfield combinations.

    1. Defence is really starting to become a problem, another game with 2 goals conceded. Is tierney a better defender? And do we need more time in the set piece classroom?

    2. Because ESR is being eased back after his operation, so that he doesn’t end up suffering a reaction.

  10. I have seen enough of Viera now to know he is far too physically frail to succeed in the Prem. He has ability, but you vitally need some toughness and not to be muscled off the ball, time and again.

    I will be surprised if he stays long at Arsenal . An unsuitable, rather than a bad buy.

    1. jon, at his age snd stage of physical development, Viera needs to spend some serious time in the gym to build up his physicality to play in Arsenal’s midfield. Agree, not strong enough at present.

      1. Viera definitely needs to have loads of protein shakes, and get some weights done. He is so pale and frail looking.

  11. Turners shakiness changed the game. He is a good shot stopper, but poor at commanding the penalty area.
    Nelson doesn’t defend much so Zinchenko was isolated.

  12. Not a bad result considering the players that disappointed. Martinelli, Viera, Jorghino, Nelson, Zinchenko, Kivior, White and Turner had nights that wont live long in the memory. We do look clumsy at the back when attacked but we should win the second leg, i thought Sporting were very ordinary.

  13. It’s not easy to perform Arteta style every game especially with make shift players in Portugal. I’m happy with 2-2. At least, we are playing in London on Sunday before meeting them again at The Emirates. Setup just nicely. The boys gotta concentrate on Sunday now. Fulham is very good. We gotta show we are better.

  14. Signs of problems:
    1. Slow in possession and look predictable
    2. Defensive errors are piling up set pieces/poor clearances/poor marking
    3. slowing down offensively too much/allow team to

    We need Jesus and Trossard the get healthy and need everyone else to stay healthy. Our schedule is tight and have more difficult fixtures for the run
    in. Fulham and CP will be absolutely tough but MUST win games and hope to rest the group at the break for the sprint to the finish line

  15. One thing above all this comment. Sporting Goalkeeper did his homework. He learned where our each player will shoot the ball for goal.

    1. He was also a cheat! Twice he feigned serious injury when he wasn’t even touched, really bad when he went down clutching his face when he got a slap in the chest. Ref was a joke too especially on these incidents and then for booking Martinelli when it was clearly Xhaka.

  16. I mean, we have to improve our defending. We cant continue conceding goals like this and expect everytime to bounce back. We have to tighten up.

  17. The team still tried! One basic problem is in the defence, conceded a goal again through a set piece. Our defenders needs to buckle up. The rotation is still okay. We can’t play the strongest team throughout

  18. Injuries are a big worry. Saka is looking tired. We are missing 3 key players in the front. Need at least 2 of them. Arsenal not able to sign a good MF to cover for Partey may become a decisive factor between a trophy or not.

  19. Pretty concerning result and performance IMHO. Zinchenko has undoubtedly had the biggest influence this season but for all his fantastic play and leadership he makes sooo many mistakes. We were caught on the ball so many times I lost count. Some good but not amazing pressing completely undid us at the back and we we’re fortunate not to concede more. We need to sort this out because so far we have been getting away with it but that won’t last forever. And if we do it against Liverpool they could run the score into double figures. And no I’m not exaggerating.

  20. At least arteta is grasping the nettle that scuppered wenger and Emery, and finally (thirteen years late) admitted what we’ve known all that time – the defence switches off too often, and our defensive shape (inc the defensive midfield) isn’t good enough. Hopefully the team will respond to his comments and the current slide back into old habits will end. If it doesn’t, well…

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