UEL matchday 3: Sporting 0-1 Arsenal

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Post-Match Report

Sporting CP 0-1 Arsenal: How it happened

Danny Welbeck

Sporting CP -

Jose Alvalade Stadium
Europa League
Europa League
  Sporting CP
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Sporting CP
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  Arsenal
      
                  Welbeck (78)
            
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Arsenal
Welbeck (78)

WHAT HAPPENED

Danny Welbeck scored the only goal as we extended our winning run to 11 games in all competitions and took command of Group E in the process.
 
We came into this match knowing that a win would put us in pole position to seal top spot early, and Unai Emery named a strong side here in Lisbon.
 
But perhaps owing to the early kick-off time, the atmosphere inside the ground at the start of this game was somewhat muted – and that translated to the action on the pitch.
 
Neither side were able to take control during a low-key first half, with Nani going closest for the hosts with a curling strike from the edge of the area, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Granit Xhaka had our most notable efforts at goal.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

The game needed to come to life after the interval, and within three minutes Aubameyang had stung Renan Ribeiro’s hands with a firm effort from inside the area.
 
Moments later who was put through up the left channel by Matteo Guendouzi, but Ribeiro was off his line to close the angle and block his shot.
 
This was more like it, and in the 53rd minute we came close to breaking the deadlock as Guendouzi rode a challenge in the area and picked out Danny Welbeck, whose shot was deflected just wide.
 
Welbeck had a goal disallowed for a push as we continued to push for the opening goal, while Lucas Torreira tested Ribeiro with a firm free kick.
 
Finally, with 13 minutes remaining Welbeck pounced on a slip by Sebastian Coates and raced through on goal, making no mistake with a fierce drive into the bottom corner.
 
It was no more than our second-half showing deserved, and in truth Sporting never truly threatened again as we eased to yet another win, one which sees us take a big step towards the knockout stages.

Danny Welbeck

HOW IT HAPPENED

For a play-by-play account of the game, including graphics, GIFs and more, click here.

WHAT IT MEANS

Europa League table

WHAT’S NEXT

We head across London to face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, looking to pick up our eight Premier League win on the bounce in the Premier League.
 
We have a fine record against the Eagles, having won nine of our past 11 matches against them, while we have only lost once in nine league trips to Selhurst Park.

Press conference

Emery - What we spoke about at half-time

Emery and Aubameyang

There was a notable shift in our performances before and after the half-time whistle during our Europa League clash with Sporting CP.

Having struggled to impose ourselves in the first 45 minutes, we attacked with much more intent after the break to extend our winning run to 11 games in a row.

So what did Unai Emery say to his side at half-time?

“The match is 90 minutes and different things happened tactically and individually in the game,” our head coach said. “In the game, the team deserved to win this match. But the first half is not clear for us. 

“The balance for the two teams, I think there are a lot of chances to score. And in the second half, I think, step-by-step, we imposed our jobs and we imposed our good play in the second half.

“For us it's very important, because we want to finish first in this group and at the moment, the other team who is with us is Sporting Clube de Portugal and we are happy. But also, for continuing our process with the players, different players and also with the rhythm with every player in all the matches we are playing, I think there are positive things today here in this work.

“Each match is a very big opportunity to improve things and one thing is this. We spoke in the dressing room before the start of the match today about our objectives. And one objective is this. But the most important thing is that when we were in the dressing room at half-time, we spoke. 

“We cannot impose our ideas in the first 45 minutes but in the second half we have the chance and the opportunity to change the result and continue in our way, thinking only to win this match and to improve things in the second half. I think we did that in the 45 minutes of the second half. But we need to continue finding the solution for us to be better in the first halves.”

Press conference

‘It’s important our fans are with us and enjoy it’

Emery

Unai Emery may not have been aware of it prior to kick-off on Thursday, but his team are well on the way to creating Arsenal history.

Our head coach has guided us to 11 consecutive wins since August, just three shy of our club record of 14 between September and November 1987.

“Three matches… that’s a lot of matches,” Emery said. “We are only thinking of the next match against Crystal Palace. We are also enjoying each moment with our supporters.

“Today we were with them and they were with us, supporters who had come from Arsenal, from London or from here. For us, it’s very important that supporters are with us and enjoy it. I’m enjoying continuing the work, our process. 

“They have a high demand for us because every match is not easy for us. Historically, this has been very difficult for us and I know this. We are thinking about three points at Crystal Palace but we know that it’s very difficult to win there. For us, continuing to win is what we want but we know it’s not easy and we can lose.

“We’re only thinking about the best performance for us. We want to continue winning and we also want to continue to improve things. Each match is a big opportunity for every player to show us they can take big responsibility with this personality to play like we want. We need every player.”