“We had to be smart” says Xhaka, and Arsenal’s draw in Lisbon “is OK for both sides”

We all knew that Mikel Arteta would make lots of changes to Arsenal’s starting line-up in last night’s Europa League game in Lisbon, but I personally thought we had put out a pretty good side regardless of the six changes he made.

Although I was aware that Sporting were a very good side in Portugal and had not been beaten in their last eight matches, but it quickly became obvious that it was going to be an uncomfortable night for our defeanders.

Luckily William Saliba popped up in the Sporting 8 yard box to head us into the lead half-way through the first half, but Sporting were clearly not in the mood to just surrender to the League leaders, so it was little surprise when Inacio equalized 10 minutes later.

It was a fast moving encounter and the Portugese side were a lot quicker than I expected, and caused big problems from over the head balls that aught out the defenders.

The second half gave us more of the same and it was little surprise that Sportiing took the lead 10 minutes after the restart, but then Xhaka got an incredibly lucky deflection from outside the box to get us back to level pegging. Xhaka told Arsenal.com after the game: ““We spoke before the game that we have to be smart,”

“We knew that we had two games and at this level, in this competition, we have to be smart, because if you come open straight away you can lose 3-1 or 4-1 here and it’s much more difficult to overturn.

“I think that we can win and lose this game today as well, so I think the draw is OK for both sides, now let’s see what happens in the second game.”

Hopefully we will be a different kettle of fish at home, but there is always a risk if Arteta continues to make lots of changes in the line-up. I’m hoping to see a much more settled line-up at the Emirates, and with our intimidating home crowd, we should pull through…

Tags Sporting CP


  1. Yes, Arsenal can do well at the Emirates in the second tie against Sporting Lisbon. But the main concern is the back door that is left unclosed. The defence needs to be precise and exact in dealing with threatening attacks. In that way, we are cruising.

  2. The fact that Turner and Kiwior did not have the best of nights is hardly surprising given their lack of game time.Our defence seems vulnerable, particularly on the left side, but I thought Tomi did well when he came on.Being eliminated from the League Cup and FA Cup has limited the opportunity to rotate but unless we shore up the defense, by recalling Tierney perhaps, we are unlikely to win the Premier League.

    1. The second-best defence in the PL, a few blips and you think that’s the time to worry, not me, one game at a time, six away and six at home. Tierney is ill at the moment and has struggled with injuries this season, so I would suggest he is not ready to be a first starter

      1. With respect, Tierney has not struggled with injuries.He has simply not been selected.During the last month our defence has been decidedly weak and if you cannot accept this you are deluding yourself.

        1. Quite right Grandad – Tierney has been on the bench nearly all season and it’s just the last two games that he has been unwell.
          I suggest, foreverinourshadows, you watch the Bournemouth game at home once again and ask how our defence let in two goals, that could have been four.

  3. School children in a Ukraine bunker knows we are more solid at the back with Scottish in the team and his chances will come.

    We just cannot risk Turner and the big Polish on the second leg they are too ring rusty at the moment, the quality are there but this is too important.

    Said it on another thread we need to get Tierney back up sharp for the Anfield trip cant allow any form of rust to take him, Anfield will be buzzing and history can be cruel to us there.

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