Good evening POSITIVE Arsenal fans,
A very pleasant early evening selection served up by our lads. By no means a faultless performance but a comfortable win, the six changes led to no serious loss of performance, and not too physically taxing. Forget the arithmetic, we have successfully negotiated the Europa League group stage and we are in the next round. And it is still not the end of October. The draw is on the 17th December. Tune in.
Of the detail a patchy first half from us. On a couple of occasions, the home side threatened Bernd’s goal without ever forcing a proper save out of him. They had a run of corners that needed our full concentration. We had the majority of possession but did not open up Sporting and their keeper had just two serious stops to make.
As happens so often this season after half time we came out like a team with half a yard more pace and duly cut our hosts open, twice from Auba and once Danny rampant in three minutes, only or Ribeiro (good keeper) to thwart is twice and the heel of a defender to foil the Welbeast. The momentum of the game had been seized by us however and we dominated the whole of the second half. Leno had almost nothing to do. In contrast to our busy first half Holding and Sokratis had no work in the second 45. The Lisbon side barely crossed he half way line. I have no idea what the possession statistics said but it much have been 70/30.
I could tell Sporting were in trouble then first their keeper then Acuna ( another decent player I thought) collapsed to the turf for 2-3 minute injury breaks following the most innocuous of touches. Come on lads, it is 0-0 – you are at home, give it a bit of a go ffs.
The goal, when it finally arrived, was the result of an error by Coates but he had been under pressure all night and eventually he snapped. A professional finish from Danny. Mild irritation on my part, perfectionist that I am, that we did not add another just to make it 100% but hey ho, game won, qualification assured.
Man of the Match ?? Oooohh – ummm – sucks teeth —- oh give it to Lichsteiner. I enjoy his combination of footballing talent and roguish cynicism.
Lively atmosphere in the stadium – a bit difficult to believe these are the same fans who stormed the training ground and threatened the players over the Summer. As for the statistic that Sporting had not lost at home since September 2017 and in 36 games ? Now that is a surprise.
On we go to the round dozen – Enjoy Thursday, Friday and Saturday.