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HomeWorldArsenal v Sporting Lisbon: Europa League last 16, second leg – live

Arsenal v Sporting Lisbon: Europa League last 16, second leg – live

Key events

Yellow Card! Arsenal (Xhaka, 45+3)

Trincao breaks through the middle and he scampers away from the Arsenal midfield. But Xhaka, that old fox, brings him down with a tug of the shirt. Can’t do that so he’s in the book.

45+2 min: White plays a long ball over the top for Jesus. That’s the third time by my count that he’s looked to find the Arsenal front man that way down the right flank. Something to keep an eye on.

45+1 min: Four minutes of added time. That corner is too deep and there’s no one on the back post for Sporting. Ooo, was Jorginho holding on to a Sporting player? He was. But not firm enough to go to VAR.

45 min: ~Sporting have a corner after Edwards’ shot from the right of the Arsenal box is deflected. Good work in the build up.

43 min: Sporting fighting back now. But they’re picked off in midfield again. Martinelli has it wide left before Sporting win it back. Edwards down the right but there’s no space to Paulinho and the attack dissipates.

42 min: A poor ball offers a reprieve for Arsenal. Sporting have a three on three break and Edwards has Paulinho to his left. A decent pass would have him through on goal but he over hits it and it dribbles out for a goal kick. A real let off there.

40 min: Ramsdale has to play sweeper as a long ball needs seeing to. Paulinho collects the ball on the halfway line and drives, and drives and drives until he’s on the edge of the box and shoots. But it’s miles wide. Still, shows how small the margins are.

39 min: Jorginho gets a talking to for a late challenge in midfield. Sporting just can’t get the ball. Arsenal swarm them at every turn. White plays it long but it’s no good. Doesn’t matter. Viera wins it high up the field.

Sporting slowing things down. They need to get a handle on it or else they’ll get blown away.

38 min: Oh, someone shoot! A little too cute from Arsenal. Not that it would have counted as they’re pulled up for off-side. Martinelli this time. He’s causing all sorts of problems down the left.

As Matthew Carpenter-Arevalo points out, the referee has a name. It’s Antonio Mateu Lopez, “of Argentina-Netherlands fame’”. Thanks Matt.

Antonio Mateu Lahoz shows a red card to Netherlands' defender Denzel Dumfries during the Qatar 2022 World Cup quarter-final
Oh, that guy! Photograph: Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images

35 min: Martinelli has to retrieve a ball in the left corner and does so with the utmost composure. He had no business making it look that easy. He even works the space to play a ball for Jesus who has his dancing shoes on but he can’t orchestrate a shooting opportunity from the inside right of the box. Arsenal think they should have had a corner after a neat one-two between Jesus and Nelson.

34 min: Zinchenko works his way out of a tight spot and Xhaka launches another attack. It’s worked down the left and recycled for Gabriel. He has nowhere to go so feeds White. The crowd groan. Something was on there but Arsenal are patient. They’re building again with Xhaka and Jorginho biding their time.

32 min: Arsenal are in the zone here. They’re so sharp. Even when playing short passes at the back they look like a team on a mission. Xhaka dictating the tempo in the quarterback role. Viera running about like. White clips a ball for Martinelli but he’s offside. Credit to the high line from Sporting.

30 min: Brilliant from Jesus. He gets the ball under pressure outside the box. He drops his shoulder, beats one, then another, worms his way into the box and shoots. He tries to sneak it into the inside post and it’s well saved. Just wonderful footwork.

Gabriel Jesus goes close for Arsenal.
Gabriel Jesus goes close for Arsenal. Photograph: James Williamson/AMA/Getty Images

28 min: The referee gets in the way of Zinchenko at the top of the box but Arsenal recycle it. Martinelli has a shooting chance and he obliges but Adan saves. Sporting counter and Edwards has a shot inside the Arsenal box after bringing a bouncing ball down. Zinchenko, galloping across the length of the field, blocks the shot.

27 min: Jesus picks up a loose ball and drives down the middle. He plays it short to the left and Zinchenko puts Martinelli into space on the overlap. The cross os blocked. Corner.

26 min: Arsenal counter with Viera and he feeds Martinelli down the right. Jesus has it on the left and dinks one for Martinelli in the box. But it’s too long.

Yellow card! Arsenal (Viera, 24)

The Portuguese with a wand of a left foot uses it to commit a foul and his name is the first in the book.

22 min: Arsenal are thrumming now. Jesis wriggles down the right and wins a throw-in after some neat work. He’s put in space again and drives to the box. He’s fouled! Is that a penalty? No! He was offside when he received the ball. Lucky for Sporting.

21 min: Another forced change as Saliba makes way for Holding. That’s two of the starting back four now on the bench.

William Saliba goes off after picking up an injury.
William Saliba goes off after picking up an injury. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

GOAL! Arsenal 1-0 Sporting (Xhaka 19)

The captain sweeps home the opener! It’s a great run from Martinelli down the left and a perfect ball to pick him out. He charges towards goal and slips as he shoots. He still gets it on target and Adan’s save is pushed right in the path of Xhaka who strikes it cleanly and confidently towards the far corner. Ruthless from the Gunners.

Granit Xhaka scores for Arsenal!
Granit Xhaka scores for Arsenal! Photograph: James Williamson/AMA/Getty Images

18 min: A penalty shout ius waved away by the referee. Jorginho’s delicious chip into the box found a Viera on the overlap and he’s brought down. But the Sproting defender definitely won the ball.

17 min: A great ball from Nelson on the right bisects the defenders and the ‘keeper and Jesus gets something on it. Not enough and Adan can adjust and save (though I think that was missing anyway). First bit of real quality from the home side. Jesus is fouled on the left so a chance to put on in the mixer.

16 min: Zinchenko plays a swift ball from left to right to Viera. Jorginho clips one over the top but it’s asking too much of Jesus and Adan collects. But that was the start of something for Arsenal.

14 min: Sporting now attacking down both flanks after starting quite narrow. Bossing it right now. Arsenal can’t lay a glove on them. Trincao is everywhere. Xhaka puts a boot in and gets the ball back.

Francisco Trincao shoots from distance. Sporting have started strongly.
Francisco Trincao shoots from distance. Sporting have started strongly. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

11 min: Sporting looking good. Diomande at the back is confidence personified as he steps forward. Arsenal aren’t getting near them with the press.A great ball down the right finds Trincao who has switched flanks. He cuts back inside and shoots to the far corner. It’s always missing but it’s not too far away. Good football.

9 min: Sporting have settled and win the ball back as Zinchenko runs into a crowded area down the left. Sporting press again and force a change of possession in midfield. Goncalves puts in a cross to the back post but Gabriel does enough to block off the run and it goes out for a goal kick.

8 min: Tomiyasu is off and White is on. That was not part of the plan.

Off comes Takehiro Tomiyasu.
Off comes Takehiro Tomiyasu. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/UEFA/Getty Images

7 min: Sporting choose to play the free kick short down the left. They get in the box but the danger is snuffed out. They have the ball back but Arsenal retain their shape and eventually force a hopeful ball that bobbles to Ramsdale. Tomiyasu is down. He might have tweaked his groin or knee after being flummoxed by that Trincao turn. A real ankle snapper that one. Ben White is gearing up.

Tomiyasu receives treatment.
Tomiyasu receives treatment after slipping on the turf. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

6 min: That high press is working a charm and Jesus almost latches on to a loose pass at the back from Sporting’s Inacio. Sporting have a free kick after a beautiful turn from Trincoa bamboozles Tomiyasu. It’s wide enough to whip to the far post. A chance here.

4 min: Swift pressing from Arsenal. Sporting are narrow in midfield so Arsenal are looking to squeeze the space. They do so and win the ball back. Viera with some good harrying.

2 min: Arsenal with the ball for the opening few minutes. Martinelli down the left tonight can’t get to the ball in behind the defence.

Right then. Arsenal in their red strip with Sporting in their famous green and white hoops. I’m not a supporter of either team but this is a clash of two clubs with a history of gorgeous kits. I’m a big, BIG fan of this Sporting number.

Anyway, here we go!

“Is it surprising that Arsenal’s fabulous season and smart investments haven’t resulted in an outpouring of love and support for one Enos Stanley Kroenke? What does the guy have to do? Personally, I think the David Crosby moustache is holding him back.”

I think a few people aren’t ready just yet to eat humble pie, Gordan Burns.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke (centre) during his time with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Photograph: Robert Altman/Getty Images

“Living abroad in the 90s, it was quite common to see London clubs reffered to with ’London’ added on in the local press.

“To their eternal embarrassment though, only West Ham actually use the city’s name. It’s even on their crest.”

Love this, Julian Menz, cheers. My British partner is always amused by the “LONDON” on the sign of any Ted Baker store in my native South Africa.

“No Hector BellerIn in lineup or on bench in either leg? Is he injured or far down the pecking order? Was looking forward to his reunion with arsenal. Cheers!”

So was I, Brett Henrikson, but seems as if the Spaniard hasn’t recovered from a knee injury he picked up in training. A pity.

“Hi Dan,” hi Simon Thomas. Excited for this?

“Glasgow Rangers and Glasgow Celtic is a bit annoying too. As is ‘AC’. Milan’s name is already anglicised to our benefit, so to then bastardise it is appalling.

And don’t get me started on AFCs Bournemouth and Wimbledon. I even saw an alphabetical Premier League table this season that had Bournemouth top after 0 games.”

It’s a minefield!

““A wand of a left foot” – I blame Harry Potter and the rise of magical thinking and all kinds of regrettable irrationality. Whatever happened to the good old-fashioned, educated left foot? Also Tolkein, but that’s probably another story.”

I’ll accept blaming the Harry Potter, but I’ll hear no bad words said about Tolkein, Charles Antaki.

Rúben Amorim is on BT and has this to say:

Arsenal play with a high intensity. They know already that we are strong defending and with the ball.

We can score. It is going to be a tough game but in one game anything is possible.

[The suspended] Sebastian Coates is a senior player. We will put a very good player in his position. Everybody is ready.

I saw [Arsenal] play against Man City. it will be a very good team of Arsenal. We are ready to do a great job.

I think the Europa League is harder [than the Champions League] [for real?]

Tom Hopkins has the first contribution to the annoying name mix-up theme I proposed earlier.

“Evening Daniel. I guess the whole Inter Milan situation is the most direct equivalent? Although I understand that Notts Forest fans get annoyed about being referred to as Notts Forest for some reason?”

Great shout. I’ve definitely been guilty of calling Inter ‘Milan’.

There’s a bit of history between these two. They first clashed in the 1969/70 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. Back then they drew the first game in Lisbon before Arsenal thumped Sporting 3-0 at Highbury to advance. The Gunners would go on lift the title, their first European honour.

If that’s not a sign I don’t know what is.

Fabio Viera has just been described on BT as a player with a “wand of a left foot”. So, if you haven’t seen it already, please watch this immediately.

An angry Tweeter has pointed out that Arsenal are playing Sporting Club de Portugal and not Sporting Lisbon as myself and others have said.

“Are they playing Arsenal London?” our grumpy correspondent asks. Fair enough, mate. Will be conscious of that moving forward.

Any other fans of any other sports team get annoyed by something similar. As a fan of the Lions rugby team in Johannesburg, it irked me when the British & Irish Lions toured. Not sure if that counts but it’s the angriest I’ve ever been as a result of sporting nomenclature.

A fan of Sporting awaits kick-off.
A fan of Sporting awaits kick-off. He’ll be hoping the visitors won’t be toothless upfront tonight. Photograph: James Williamson/AMA/Getty Images

Rest assured, Arsenal fans, Mikel Arteta wants this. He wants it bad. It’s European football at the Emirates and he’s eager to prove that his boys belong at the main table.

7.5/10. They’d have received a higher grade if they tied a scarf around a a King’s Guard bearskin and draped another over a tray of Greggs sausage rolls.

While you get ready for this one, let’s cast our minds back a bit to this lovely piece from Nick Ames where he heaps praise on Gabriel Jesus, a man adored by the Gunners supporters. They’ll love him a whole lot more if he bags the winner tonight:

Jesus returns

Making his long awaited second coming after a lengthy injury, Jesus starts for Arsenal for the first time since November.

Arsenal: Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Jorginho, Xhaka, Viera, Nelson, Martinelli, Jesus

Subs: Turner, Hillson, Tierney, Holding, Kiwior, White, Partey, Smith Rowe, Odegaard, Saka, Trossard.


🧱 Tomiyasu at the back
©️ Xhaka skippers the side
❤️ Gabby leading the line
Let’s do this – together!

— Arsenal (@Arsenal) March 16, 2023

Sporting team news

The visitors have released their team ahead of their hosts.

Sporting: Adan (c), Esgaio, Inacio, Diomande, St Juste, Reis, Ugarte, Concalves, Trincao, Edwards, Paulinho

Subs: Israel, Sotiris, Santos, Neto, Rochinha, Fatawu, Tanlongo, Arthur, Jovane, Chermiti, Mateaus, Essugo.


Daniel Gallan

Daniel Gallan

It’s shaping up to be one of those seasons, isn’t it? The sort of season that you tell your grandkids about. The kind that worms its way in your memory and gets plastered on the walls of pubs where only the faithful wet their whistles before kick-off. If they still sold DVDs the “Gunners’ Super Great 2022-23” [working title] would already be taking pre-orders.

Of course the Premier League is the real big fish and the image of Mikel Arteta lifting the trophy is slowly starting to materialise like a mirage in the distant heat of a desert. But let’s not discount the Europa League. It’s a continental trophy and Arsenal haven’t claimed one of those since 1994 when they clinched the European Cup Winners’ Cup.

They start this second leg of their round of 16 tie with Sporting Lisbon all square at 2-2 after last week’s draw in Portugal.

It ain’t the Champions League, but don’t let that blur your vision. Nothing but a win will suffice tonight.

My name is Daniel, or Dan if you’d prefer. Feel free to get in touch. Should be a goon ‘un.

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