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Arsenal v Sporting CP Live Commentary, 08/11/2018

FT
0 - 0
ARS
SCP
Emirates Stadium

Commentary

Up next for Arsenal is a trip to Ukraine to take on Vorskla, while Sporting visit Qarabag. That's all for our live coverage, thanks for following along. Goodbye!
A Jeremy Mathieu red card made for a tense finish at the Emirates, but Arsenal fail to take advantage as they are held to a draw and just two shots on target despite dominating with over 70 per cent possession. The point is enough for the Gunners to secure their place in the knockout stage, courtesy of Qarabag's victory in Ukraine, but an early injury to Danny Welbeck will cloud their celebrations.
90' + 5' FULL-TIME: ARSENAL 0-0 SPORTING CP.
90' + 3' Boos ring out around the Emirates as Arsenal concede possession and are forced to retreat. The Gunners haven't played bad by any stretch tonight, but their finishing has left plenty to be desired and that's what has these fans unsatisfied.
90' + 1' The fourth official indicates there will be a minimum of five minutes added on at the end of this match - can Arsenal make the most of their extra man?
89' Dreadful effort! Plenty of anticipation builds in advance of that free-kick, but the end result is a massive let-off as Aubameyang gets under it and lifts an effort high and wide of the far corner! That was the chance for Arsenal!
J. Mathieu
Red Card
Sporting CP
87' SPORTING DOWN TO 10 MEN! A dreadful back-pass from Fernandes is pounced upon by Aubameyang, who is through on goal before being taken down from behind by Mathieu! The referee comes across and doesn't hesitate in showing a straight red to the defender, while awarding a free-kick to Arsenal on the very edge of the penalty area!
R. Petrović
Miguel Luís
Sporting CP
85' More time runs off the clock as Sporting make their final change. Petrovic enters the fray at the expense of Luis, who is in no rush to get off.
Jovane Cabral
A. Diaby
Sporting CP
83' A second Sporting change sees Cabral replace Diaby in attack.
82' WHAT A CHANCE! Another one goes begging for Arsenal, as Sporting's defensive wall holds firm! Kolasinac is sent through down the left and he picks out the perfect pull-back for Aubameyang, but the striker's first-time effort is blocked!
80' Mkhitaryan ends a long drought for Arsenal as he manages their first shot on target of the second half. Iwobi did everything right in the build-up, but Mkhitaryan just fails to generate the necessary power behind his shot as a tame effort from in close is easily saved by Ribeiro.
78' The wealth of stoppages have really taken the tempo out of the match. It's been a welcome period of respite for Sporting in defence, as they gear up for an expected final push from Arsenal over the last 10 minutes.
76' Sporting have managed just four wins from their last 27 away games in major European competition (D4 L19).
A. Maitland-Niles
S. Lichtsteiner
Arsenal
74' The stoppage allows Arsenal to make the change, as Maitland-Niles is brought on to replace Lichtsteiner.
Miguel Luís
Yellow Card
Sporting CP
74' Luis is all over Sokratis, who showed impressive skill on the ball as he attempted to break forward, before being dragged down at the halfway line. Luis is shown a yellow card for the foul.
72' Lichtsteiner requires treatment after going down under no contact, appearing to tweak a hamstring. He's able to walk off under his own power eventually, which is hopefully a good sign regarding the severity of the injury.
M. Guendouzi
Yellow Card
Arsenal
71' Guendouzi becomes the second Arsenal player booked, both for fouls on Nani. The Gunners take exception as Nani continued on playing despite Lichtsteiner going down after appearing to pull a muscle.
B. Dost
F. Montero
Sporting CP
69' On comes Dost for Sporting, with Montero giving way. It's a straight swap up top, but that gives the visitors more of a target man atop the line-up - someone who can help hold the ball up and allow guys to get forward on the break.
M. Acuña
Yellow Card
Sporting CP
67' Acuna puts in a strong challenge on Lichtsteiner to halt his run down the right, but the referee awards Arsenal a corner. The Sporting full-back is far from happy with the decision, and he lets the referee know it, which sees him into the book for dissent.
66' Arsenal are enjoying another period of sustained pressure, but this really has been the case for the entirety of the match. They are camped out, desperately searching for a way to break down this Sporting defence.
64' Montero goes down in need of treatment, with the boos raining down from the Arsenal supporters who feel this is a time-wasting tactic. After a bit of treatment, Montero pops back up to his feet and looks fine to continue.
62' Sporting have lost each of their last four meetings with English opposition since beating Manchester City at home in the Europa League last-16 in 2011-12.
S. Kolašinac
C. Jenkinson
Arsenal
60' Jenkinson's second Arsenal appearance of the season is cut short, as he's replaced by Kolasinac for the final 30 minutes.
58' CLOSE! That's the sort of movement Arsenal need off the ball! A lovely run from Iwobi from left to right really opens up the Sporting defence. He's picked out in the area before laying it off for Aubameyang, but the striker lashes his effort into the side netting!
56' A bit of frustration is setting in for the Gunners, as they resort to some rather ambitious balls over the top in an attempt to play Aubameyang through. Sporting have come under consistent pressure today, but they have defended admirably.
54' Arsenal remain on the front foot, with Sporting struggling to string more than a few passes together when they win back possession. This match really needs a goal to help open things up.
52' Qarabag are leading in the other Group E match, meaning unless Vorskla come from behind to win, Arsenal would secure top spot in their group with a victory today. That would be a massive luxury for Unai Emery's side to clinch first with two matches still to play.
50' This is the 11th time this season that Arsenal have gone in level at half-time (17 games). They have gone on to win the game on eight of the previous 10 occasions.
48' Arsenal have made a fast start to this second half, really pushing the pace as they search for a breakthrough. Sporting are looking quite stretched at the moment, yet to settle back into their shape since the restart.
46' Just 30 seconds into the second half and Arsenal nearly snatch the lead! Ramsey's ball over the top picks out Mkhitaryan, who serves up a cross for Aubameyang, but the striker's volley clips the side-netting, missing by mere inches!
46' The second half is underway!
Unai Emery could opt to bring on Lucas Torreira for the second half, which would allow Aaron Ramsey to move into a more advanced role. On the other touchline, Bas Dost figures to feature off the bench for the visitors, who could also turn to Carlos Mane off the bench as they look for a spark in attack.
Danny Welbeck's injury is the main talking point from an otherwise quiet first half at the Emirates, with the striker forced off with what looked a painful and rather serious leg injury. Arsenal have little to show for their dominance through 45 minutes, managing just one shot on target despite nearly 70 per cent possession.
45' + 4' HALF-TIME: ARSENAL 0 SPORTING CP 0.
45' + 2' Into the second minute of stoppage-time at the end of this first half, with four minutes added on due to the Welbeck injury. The tempo has just dropped off a bit with Sporting packing everyone behind the ball to ensure they see this into the break without conceding.
45' Mkhitaryan has roamed freely about in attack in this first half as he continues to cause problems for this Sporting defence. A determined bit of play down the right sees him win a free-kick after a pair of fouls, but his subsequent delivery from the set-piece is poor as it sails harmlessly behind.
43' Aubameyang has scored four goals in three substitute appearances in all competitions for Arsenal this season.
Bruno Gaspar
Yellow Card
Sporting CP
41' Gaspar clips Iwobi, all while tugging him down from behind, as the cynical foul does stop an Arsenal break, but it also sees the full-back into the book.
40' Some much-needed respite for Sporting as they get the ball forward on the break and win a throw high up the pitch. A long throw is sent into the area for Montero, but his cross is cut out smartly by Holding who did well to read the threat and intervene.
38' Pressure continues to build with Arsenal camped out in the final third. Lichtsteiner is slipped through into space on the end of a nice run down the right, and he has options in the centre, but his cross can only find a Sporting head.
36' Iwobi and Ramsey do well down the left flank to carve through a stubborn Sporting defence, but Coates does really well to stay alert, closing down Ramsey's angle and forcing him out wide before snuffing out the move. The final ball has eluded Arsenal in this first half.
34' The injury to Welbeck has sucked some of the life out of the stadium, and taken the wind out of Arsenal's sails. Easier said than done, but the Gunners need to put it behind them for the time being and focus on the task at hand.
32' Welbeck has scored more goals in the Europa League than any other Arsenal player since the start of last season (five).
P. Aubameyang
D. Welbeck
Arsenal
30' Aubameyang comes on to replace Welbeck in a like-for-like swap up top.
29' This is terrible to see as Welbeck remains down receiving treatment from the training staff. They have put his right leg in an air cast. He's in a lot of agony as well which, at the risk of speculating, suggests this is a serious injury.
27' Welbeck looks to be in a lot of pain, rolling around in agony on the ground as the medical staff comes out to attend to him. This looks a real concern for Arsenal, and it's a terrible blow for Welbeck who has really rounded into form for the Gunners after a couple different spells out injured. His night is surely over.
25' Straight at Ribeiro! Lichtsteiner finds himself in plenty of space on the right to pick out a cross, which he does expertly, guiding a delivery onto the head of Welbeck, but the striker can't really test the goalkeeper as he heads straight at him.
23' Through 23 minutes, Sporting striker Montero is still yet to a complete a pass.
S. Lichtsteiner
Yellow Card
Arsenal
21' Nani has proved a handful on the break in this first half, and he wins a free-kick here as his pace causes Lichtsteiner problems, as the full-back is issued a yellow card.
17' CLEARED OFF THE LINE! Arsenal switch things up as Guendouzi attacks down the right flank this time and space is equally easy to come by. He drills a low cross in towards the near post where Welbeck meets it with a back-heel, but Mathieu gets a slight block on it before Coates manages to clear it off the line!
15' Arsenal are insistent on attacking down the left flank, and why not. They're finding plenty of space out wide, with Iwobi and Ramsey putting all sorts of pressure on Gaspar. Everything the Gunners do is coming down that left flank.
13' Vital touch! Lovely link-up play between Mkhitaryan and Welbeck sees the later slipped through down the left channel. He tries to roll a delivery back across into the danger area, but Coates intervenes with a crucial defensive touch, lifting it onto the roof of the net.
11' Arsenal's adventurous approach, combined with Sporting's eagerness to push forward on the counter, has made for a very entertaining start to this match. It's been fairly open - hopefully this tempo keeps up.
9' Good, direct play from Arsenal as they're looking to attack with every opportunity. Welbeck makes strides down the left and has support, but just can't pull it back for Mkhitaryan in the centre as Gaspar smartly blocks behind for a corner.
7' Arsenal have won each of their last three games in major European competition – they haven’t won four such games in a row since a run of six between March – November 2005.
5' Sporting's turn to be a bit careless at the back, as Ribeiro underestimates the pace of Welbeck and is nearly punished. The keeper just manages to clear the ball ahead of the striker's arrival. Both sides are lacking some sharpness early on.
3' A bit of a sloppy start from Arsenal as Guendouzi gives the ball away carelessly on the edge of his own penalty area, putting his side under unnecessary pressure. Nani picks it up and tries to pick out the far corner from 20 yards, but his strike is blocked and the pressure relieved.
1' AND THEY'RE OFF! Sporting get the match underway in their grey away strip with neon green numbers, while Arsenal are in their classic red tops with white trim.
SUBS: Romain Salin, Jefferson, Carlos Mane, Andre Pinto, Jovane Cabral, Radosav Petrovic, Bas Dost.
SPORTING CP (4-4-2): Renan Ribeiro; Bruno Gaspar, Sebastian Coates, Jeremy Mathieu, Marcos Acuna; Nani, Miguel Luis, Nemanja Gudelj, Bruno Fernandes; Fredy Montero, Abdoulaye Diaby.
SUBS: Shkodran Mustafi, Eddie Nketiah, Lucas Torreira, Emiliano Martinez, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Sead Kolasinac.
ARSENAL (4-2-3-1): Petr Cech; Carl Jenkinson, Rob Holding, Sokratis, Stephan Lichtsteiner; Matteo Guendouzi, Aaron Ramsey; Emile Smith-Rowe, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Alex Iwobi; Danny Welbeck.
Four changes have been made to the Sporting CP side from the reverse fixture in Lisbon. Bruno Gaspar and Abdoulaye Diaby, each of whom featured as substitutes in the 1-0 defeat to the Gunners, start from the off. Diaby is selected to partner Fredy Montero up top, with Bas Dost surprisingly on the bench. Jeremy Mathieu and Miguel Luis are also called into the starting line-up.
Danny Welbeck leads the line and Emile Smith-Rowe, who marked his senior debut with a goal in the group stage match over Vorskla Poltava, is restored in the starting XI. Carl Jenkinson makes just his second appearance of the season, and his first in the competition, as he starts at right-back, while Petr Cech replaces Bernd Leno in goal, making his first appearance in the group stage.
CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS:
Arsenal will be aiming to extend their unbeaten run across all competitions to 15 matches tonight as they look to head into the international break on a high, with home matches against Sporting and Wolves seeing them into the break.
Sporting cannot secure a place in the knockout stage with a victory alone, though it would be a massive step in the right direction for Jose Peseiro’s side ahead of a long trip to Azerbaijan for their penultimate group match at the end of November.
Because of that result, the permutations are simple for Arsenal tonight – win and you’re in. Victory for the Gunners would secure their place in the knockout stage, while a win coupled with a draw or Qarabag victory in the other Group E match would see Arsenal clinch top spot.
Danny Welbeck scored the lone goal late on in Lisbon as Arsenal secured a 1-0 victory in the reverse fixture to maintain their 100 per cent record in the group stage, while handing Sporting CP their first defeat.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of this Europa League match as Arsenal welcome Sporting CP to the Emirates!