Arsenal were held to a 2-2 draw by Sporting Lisbon in the first leg of their Europa League round of 16 tie.

After the dramatic scenes against Bournemouth last weekend, Arsenal served up yet more entertainment here in Lisbon. This was not, however, a game Mikel Arteta will remember that fondly as the Gunners battled to a 2-2 draw against Sporting in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie.

This was a bizarre game and one where Arsenal were lacking their usual fluency in possession. The fact Arteta made six changes probably didn’t help that, but this was still a strong side and more than good enough to beat Sporting. In the end, the Gunners needed a fortuitous own-goal by Hidemasa Morita to take a draw back to London for next week’s second leg.

Arteta will have breathed a sigh of relief at that because at times it looked like Arsenal could easily return home empty handed. Matt Turner looked shaky in goal and debutant Jakub Kiwior also looked rusty in the heart of defence. Ahead of them, the midfield was devoid of its usual cohesion.

The Gunners went in front early on through William Saliba’s header before Goncalo Inacio equalised in almost identical fashion.

After the break, Paulinho gave the hosts the lead but Mikel Arteta’s side were handed a gift as Hidemasa Morita put the ball into his own net.

The tie is now wide open for the second leg at the Emirates next week but it will be Arsenal who are the most confident of securing a place in the quarter-finals.


See also  Is Arsenal top four chase at risk by losing Aubameyang and not replacing him?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *