Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Arsenal held at home by Sporting

Unai Emery Arsenal have won 12 and drew two of their past 14 matches in all competitions
Frederick Owens | 09 November, 2018, 18:30

The second half continued in the same vein as the home side attempted to make inroads into the Lisbon backline but Arsenal simply couldn't break down their resolute visitors who had Mathieu sent off late on for cynically hacking down Aubameyang.

Aubameyang was named among the substitutes at the Emirates Stadium but was introduced after just 30 minutes following a serious injury suffered by Danny Welbeck .

The 27-year-old has overcome serious issues in the past, missing large chunks of his career with knee problems.

"I feel very sorry for Welbeck, he is a great person".

Mathieu nearly gifted Arsenal the lead as he diverted Matteo Guendouzi's low cross towards his own goal before the ball was swept away.

The forward landed badly after challenging for a header and needed to be stretched off the pitch after some lengthy treatment, which included him requiring oxygen.

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"For me, football is about levels and, if you don´t defend properly and you don´t do the basics well enough, high-level players and high-level teams normally punish you and that was the case tonight", Gerrard told the Rangers website.

"Because he's a special talent, scores lots of goals and it's just a hunger".

Iwobi was also quick to praise Sporting Lisbon for their efforts in the game.

Emery readied young striker Eddie Nketiah for his first appearance of the season but was forced to instead bring on Ainsley Maitland-Niles as Stephan Lichtsteiner pulled up injured and had to be replaced.

"Both sets of teams were mentally challenged and we were able to continue with the game, but like I said, we wish him all the best and we will keep on encouraging and motiving him to get back".

The potential absence of Welbeck leaves Arsenal short of options in the attacking third of the pitch as Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remain the only genuine forwards in the squad, although it remains to be seen whether the Gunners hierarchy hand manager Unai Emery funds to sign new players during the January transfer window.

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