Danny Welbeck scored the only goal of the match as Arsenal recorded a 1-0 win over Sporting Lisbon in Thursday’s Europa League clash at the Estadio Jose Alvalade.
Welbeck’s 77th-minute effort has moved Arsenal onto nine points in Group E, and means that the Gunners have now won their last 11 matches in all competitions. The run is their best for 11 years, and it is also the first time that the English giants have beaten a Portuguese side away from home.
Arsenal leads Group E with nine points, three points better than Sporting Lisbon and six clear of Vorskla Poltava.
Granit Xhaka started in the unfamiliar role of left-back as Emery made six changes for the game in Portugal, with Welbeck one of those drafted in The win means a draw in the return fixture at the Emirates Stadium in a fortnight could be enough to seal Arsenal’s progression into the last-32 with two games remaining.
Stephan Lichtsteiner took a kick to the head as Bruno Fernandes attempted an acrobatic volley inside the Arsenal box but the experienced full-back showed now ill effects. Arsenal tested Renan Ribiero in the Sporting goal for the first time at the midway point of the half after Mohamed Elneny had won a free-kick on the edge of the box.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan sent the set-piece towards goal but Ribiero punched clear in a rare moment of excitement with Sporting winning, and wasting, a number of corners at the other end.
Nani, who enjoyed some fine afternoons against Arsenal when playing for Manchester United, then fizzed a long-range shot just wide of Bernd Leno’s goal. The recalled Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sent a weak shot into the arms of Ribiero as referee Damir Skomina brought an end to a forgettable opening 45 minutes.
Fredy Montero headed wide from Nani’s free-kick at the start of the second half as Sporting looked to inject some life into the contest. Aubameyang broke through the Sporting backline twice in a matter of minutes but could not beat Ribeiro on either occasion with both efforts straight at the Brazilian goalkeeper.
Welbeck thought he had put Arsenal ahead as he rose to head in but his effort was ruled out as he pushed Sporting substitute Bruno Gaspar at the start of his jump.
The England forward made it count with his next chance as he benefited from a defensive slip from Sebastian Coates to nick in and finish coolly with 12 minutes left.
Report by futaa