Are you enjoying reading the back pages in the newspapers this morning? All is not well at the neighbours that’s for sure and it makes for amusing headlines.
At Arsenal though, Gabriel Jesus is back and wasn’t ready for a return to first team action, I very much doubt Thomas Partey would be getting stuck into him as the photo above shows. I watched the training video too and our Brazilian striker is holding nothing back. What a huge boost it is for Mikel Arteta and the team/squad to have such a quality player return to the mix but I can’t see him starting tonight.
No sign of Eddie Nketiah or Leandro Trossard in the training photos but both Jorginho and Emile Smith Rowe, who were substituted at the weekend, were fully involved.
I know absolutely nothing about Sporting CP other than they’re a Portuguese club in the country’s top League. Thankfully though, Arsenal’s Jonathan Rogers does so I’ve pinched some info from his article on the official club website.
Over the past 12 months, a transfer raid on Sporting has seen a number of star names depart. In the summer, Matheus Nunes headed to Wolves, Nuno Mendes to PSG and Joao Palhinha switched to Fulham for a combined £83 million, while Ruben Vinagre and Pedro Porro left in January on loan moves to Everton and Tottenham respectively – both having spent a matter of months in Lisbon.
That instability has affected Sporting. A poor start saw them win just once in their first four league games, leaving them playing catch-up since September. They currently sit in fourth place behind runaway leaders and city rivals Benfica, as well as Porto and Braga. They have won six of their last seven league games to build up some momentum, however their last defeat saw them denied a third-straight League Cup after losing 2-0 in the final to Porto at the end of January.
Their European form has been more promising. They won their opening two Champions League group games against Tottenham and Eintracht Frankfurt but would eventually finish behind the pair to enter the Europa League, but only due to a stoppage-time Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg goal that saw Spurs beat Marseille and demoted the French side to the bottom of the group. After that reprieve, Sporting knocked out FC Midtjylland 5-1 on aggregate after an impressive 4-0 second-leg win in Denmark.
Arsenal signed Fabio Vieira from Porto so has his knowledge of Sporting CP been useful?
For sure, that was the first thing that we did because it’s great to have the knowledge and the understanding of someone from the country, who knows the manager and has [international] teammates. It’s always very useful and he talked really highly.
The last time Arsenal played Sporting was back in 2018 in this competition but at the group stage. We won in Portugal but drew at The Emirates. Much has changed since then though for both clubs. Both have different managers for a start as well as different players. Pedro Goncalves is their goal machine with 16 scored so far this season. Hector Bellerin is on loan at Sporting from Barcelona.
Only later today will we find out how much or how little Mikel Arteta is going to change his team but as he said yesterday, both the Premier League and Europa Cup are his priority rather than just one or the other. Even so, logic suggests we’ll see a few changes to the starting eleven which faced Bournemouth. Ironically, it was the changes Mikel Arteta made at the weekend which made the difference in the end.
I’m sure it’ll be a tough challenge for whichever players go up against Sporting because Portuguese clubs are always tough to play against but over two legs, there’s no reason we can’t come out on top.
Catch up in the comments.
It will be a difficult and very disputed tie.
Good morning Rico, good morning JM.
Confidence should be high, Riess Nelson is a nailed on certainty to start, probably on the left with Martinelli playing the false nine. Will Jesus make his second coming? Perhaps a late 60th minute substitute.
No fun and games at the new swamp and too much exposure by a renowned right back in a Cheshire pub. 😉
Its been snowing here since before dawn but the snow is interspersed with rain so there is no settling. Temperature with wind chill taken into account is -3c.
The forecast for this evening in Lisbon is temperature 18c overcast with rain expected at match time.
I’ll be happy to watch the game from the sofa beside the fireplace. 😉
I don’t think Nelson will start.
Jm, how do Sporting play in Europe?
I was wrong. 😆
Nelson, Turner and Kiwior start…
Turner, White, Saliba, Kiwior, Zinchenko, Jorginho, Xhaka, Vieira, Nelson, Saka, Martinelli
Ramsdale, Hillson, Partey, Gabriel, Smith Rowe, Holding, Tomiyasu, Bandeira, Sagoe Jr, Smith, Walters
Jesus not in the squad,
Nope, no surprise really
…and no Odegaard either.
He needs a rest…
Odegaard is unwell, Tierney too.
Curious performance. Turner looks awful and our shape is shabby. Lots of mistakes too. Unsporting are trying to get someone (anyone) sent off.
On chances created 1 – 1 is a fair summation of the game so far.
The goalkeeper should have been booked for waving an imaginary yellow card. If anyone should have been booked for the incident it ought to have been Xhaka. Poor refereeing and equally poor VAR.
We need to up the pace in the second half, Sporting are open to fast breaks.
Really sloppy goal to concede.
Not the best performance but more worrying is both White and Saka looked absolutely knackered
We are better than them fully equipped but as always drop a couple and things get a little tenuous. Vieira is no Odegaard and Martinelli is not a centre forward. Bringing Gabriel on for Kiwior shored things up and Turner who looked like a bag of nerves got better protection.
Next Thursday with a first team out we should have enough to progress but there’s a trip to Craven Cottage first .
Saka needs a rest White too, if Jesus is back at the weekend Nelson can play on the right and Tomiyasu can take over at right back.
2 – 2 is a fair result, but it is advantage Arsenal with the home tie to be played.
Shame that away goals don’t count anymore
Just watched highlights of last night game, did I see it wrong or did we score at 42 minutes in it looked like the ball line and the ref said no goal
How did Kiwior go, did he look a bit rusty from lack of game time.
I said a while that Saka needs dropping, if he keeps playing, he will be burned out before the end of the season.
The ‘keeper stopped it on the goal line Geoff. The whole of the ball must be over the line to count.
Close but no cigar. 😉
Kiwior didn’t have the best of debuts and could possibly be at fault for both of their goals and in the case of the first one he seemed to duck away from physical contact as they scored from a header that he didn’t jump for.
It seemed that there was no understanding between him and Turner which is not really surprising , maybe changing the keeper and a centre half was too risky and created confusion.
He will be a long time project but needs more experience as not.everyone comes in and gets up and running immediately and I would like to see more of him before making a permanent opinion but I am not sure that we can afford the risk in the rest of this season where things are going to toughen up as we go to the run in.
Ditto re Kiwior, too early to judge him but I was really disappointed with Turner, he hardly commanded his box in a way Ramsdale does. There appeared to be no communication between him and his defenders. Turner really should have taken that corner which ended up in the back of the net. I think Kiwior expected him to as well.
Morning Rico. I agree about Turner. Even when he might catch, he chooses to punch and seems to be relying on luck with the ball at his feet.
Kiwior was neat on the ball but far too passive for me. Understandable though.
It’s that stage of the season when I can feel doubts creeping in. Our defence, that seemed fairly solid now feels disjointed and unstructured although I thought Saliba was massive last night. I’m thinking it might be something to do with Zinchenko’s wandering brief and Xhaka pushing forward, but I’m seeing a lot of holes and misplaced passes putting us in jeopardy.
Morning Adam. I like Zinchenko but I think you’re right, he wanders a bit too much sometimes and can get caught out. It’s strange how we were once so good at defending set pieces, yet now look a bit shaky.
Our passing was definitely off, but the ball travelled as if it had an e-pedal setting on it because it slowed up so quickly.
I thought the whole ball went over the line, I must of missed it a bit still in play
I wonder if Jesus was controlling our back line as it’s been slowly going downhill since he got injured, the sooner he is back the better.
The reason why Ramsdale makes some stupid mistakes is because he knows Turner is no fret to him, my gut feeling is Arteta didn’t want Turner, but Kroenke forced Arteta into signing him.
I doubt that was the case re Turner Geoff. He’s been very good at times, just not last night. Don’t forget he’s not played for ages and Kiwior was playing for the first time.
Good old Barca. Charged with corruption now. 😀
And Match Of The Day need a new presenter. 😂
Match of the day tomorrow will be without presenters or pundits after Wright and Shearer pulled out following the BBC’s decision to suspend Lineker.
It would not be a bad idea to scrap MotD altogether it has become stale and is clearly biased. It would also save a lot of licence fee money. I, for one, wouldn’t miss it.
I hope Kiwior gets more game time, or he could wind up like Lokonga, both have a lot of potential.
MOTD is only biased imo because of Gary Lineker. New presenter/pundits might change that.
BBC have finally joined the club of the most of us that watch with the sound muted.
For a some time now the BBC has been trying to appeal to a younger audience, not just in terms of football, but right across their output. Should MotD continue, they will certainly employ presenters with “yoof appeal” so we can look forward to Peppa Pig in Lineker’s chair alongside a couple of rappers or grime stars. 😕
My money is on Jenas taking the seat. From one Totts fan to another..
New post up now