We didn’t expect an easy game tonight in Lisbon, which is not surprising since Sporting haven’t lost at home for over a year, and it was Atletico Madrid who knocked them (as well as us!) out of this competition last season, but they still beat them at home.
Going by our usual MO this season it is no surprise that we didn’t have the best first half, but we definitely had most of the possession and we had quite a few attempts at goal. The great stat is that we didn’t allow Sporting even one shot on target and to be honest Rob Holding is starting to look World Class to me. Nani, Acuna and Ribero gave us a few jitters but nothing serious enough to give Leno and worries.
We all thought we would start to take control in the second half but although we started brightly we didn’t really make much impression in the first 15 minutes although Aubameyang was getting a few chances come his way. Lucas Torreira came on after the hour mark for Elneny to get our midfield more balance. Then we started to take control and it was Danny Welbeck that finally put the ball in the back of the net in the 68th minute but it was disallowed for offside.
But ten minutes later Welbeck pounced on a ball after the Porto centre-back lost his footing and made short work of sticking the ball between the goalkeepers legs to give us a cheeky lead. Are we really going to get another win to add to the other ten? It certainly looks good!
Straight away Emery takes off our scorer to give him a rest and adds Lacazette to the mix to give Sporting even more problems, but we only have to hold on for ten more minutes to get our historic win, and maybe even score another one if Sporting start going for the point and leave space at the back.
But there is no big need to score and it is prudent for the Gunners to spend more time defending, and with five minutes to go Aubameyang is replaced by Iwobi. It is very interesting to see Emery making attacking changes as we all know Wenger would be adding extra defenders to keep our lead…
With 5 minutes to go, Sporting still haven’t had a shot on target so it’s looking very easy for Arsenal and for a change we are grinding out a win from a difficult match.
It may not have been spectacular – but what a win!!!!