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Sporting 0-1 Arsenal: 3 Things To Be Addressed As The Gunners Return Victorious From Lisbon

Sporting, Vorskla

Arsenal continued their impressive win streak to make it 11 wins in a row as they beat a Sporting Lisbon side 0-1, who were unbeaten at home the entire year of 2018 and had won their last three European home games without conceding a goal.

The Gunners are now just 3 wins shy of equaling their all-time best run of wins and would certainly have a boost of confidence after recording their first ever win on Portuguese soil.

Unai Emery’s men started the game in a lumbering manner with clumsy passes and substandard coordination. Eventually, they took the best chance they got to change the scoreline in their favour as Danny Welbeck took advantage of a slip by the Sporting  defender to return to London with 3 points.

The three crucial aspects to be addressed in this game were:

Danny Welbeck being a reliable option this season

While the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil and Alex Iwobi currently being Emery’s preferred attacking options, and the fact that the England international’s abilities are inadequate for a team like Arsenal, it was widely speculated at the start of the season that it’s time up for Welbeck at The Emirates.

However, Thursday night proved to be a reminder of the 27-year-old’s workrate and resilience  this season as his goal, which resulted after clinically pouncing on a defensive error, was the fifth he has been directly involved in (4 goals and an assist) in his last five starts.

Despite given limited time, the former Manchester United striker has managed to score 5 goals this season. Proving to be a reliable backup for the team, his red-hot form may enable Emery to rotate the squad with more freedom.

Matteo Guendouzi yet again proving his brilliance 

The 19-year-old orchestrated the play from midfield while constantly demanding the ball and getting the best out of himself as well as his teammates. In the first half alone, Guendouzi had 47 touches and made 40 passes – more than any other player on the pitch, and maintained a passing accuracy rate of 87.5%, the third best on the pitch after Aaron Ramsey and Mohamed Elneny.

The French midfielder continued his fine start as an Arsenal player on Thursday night as he broke the mid-press of Sporting on several occasions and continuously pushed the play forward. Guendouzi definitely gives fans a reason to feel secure about the club’s future.

Another unconvincing first-half performance

Throughout the season, the English giants have looked weak in the first half with slow movement, disjointed passes and no determination. Just like the last Premier League game against Leicester City, the Gunners were ineffective in the opening 45 minutes but improved drastically in the 2nd half. The fact that Arsenal have scored 33 goals in all competitions this season, and 70 per cent of those have come after half-time is sufficient to prove that this is a major area for the gaffer to focus on.

The manager addressed this issue in the post match press conference. He said:

“We need to continue finding the solution for the first half to be better. The match, for the 90 minutes, there were different things happening tactically and individually. The first half is not clear for us, there was not a lot of chances. The second half step by step we imposed our job, our play to win this match.”

I believe despite the issues, it’s a great feeling to be an Arsenal fan right now. A winning streak of 11 games and the positive vibe of the club is an indication of early success of the Emery era. Arsenal are looking to add another victory to their winning-run as they face Crystal Palace this Sunday after the victory against Sporting.

Revant Maheshwari
Ardent Arsenal lover. Represented school in Gothia Cup, Sweden as a defensive midfielder. CA aspirant. Student of Narsee Monjee College in Mumbai. Keen to share thoughts and opinions with other fans of the beautiful game.

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