Three Things We Learned from Arsenal vs Sporting Lisbon
The worst version of the script was played …
Any Gooner asked to write down their worst-case scenario before this game would surely have had key injuries, 120 minutes of football in the rain and a penalty shoot-out in their script.
Mikel Arteta’s bad luck returned and hit him where it hurts, although he may acknowledge that the tie may have been lost to a sloppy performance in Portugal. The 2-2 result in the first leg meant that we had no buffer in difficult passages last night.
Despite the noise from Manchester, we were pretty unlucky with injuries and that didn’t lessen in this Europa League game either.
Jesus and our protagonists look on fire…
Hopefully Gabriel Jesus will start against Palace on Sunday, his appearance last night was apparently cut from a scheduled hour to 45 minutes because we had to use a sub-window with two injuries in the first half.
That could work to our advantage on Sunday to keep him fresh. Seeing how excited captain Martin Odegaard was when he came on gives me every confidence that key figures will lead us to victory in another London derby by the end of the weekend.
This team and coach have been great this season at reacting to disappointment and never giving up!
Don’t let Sky and Nouveau fans change what it’s all about…
One of the brilliant Arsenal nostalgia Twitter accounts reminded me on Wednesday that 29 years ago this week we beat Torino 1-0 in the Cup Winners’ Cup at Highbury.
I was 17 at the time and I remember being so elated that I did something I had never done before (or since)…I ran onto the pitch at the end of the game and danced around with our players, before making my way back to the Family Enclosure seats in the Lower West Stand. Thank god without my collar being felt.
The joy of reaching the semi-finals of the (then) second tier European tournament was undiminished and lasted for days, even when the CEO of the company I had just started as an office junior said: d saw me from his seat in the upper tier .
So it pains me to see some Gooners say being eliminated from the Europa League is a blessing, and some even going so far as to say they didn’t want to be there anyway. This attitude seems to only exist in the English game and seems to have grown since Sky Sports lost the rights to European games.
Their attitude that the PL is EVERYTHING comes through in every program and commentary. Some teams from the upper midfield of the Premier League were even caught in an endless loop where they had to dismiss the smaller European competitions in order to improve their league form and qualify for the same European competition for the following season.
Look elsewhere like Italy, where Roma’s win in the Europa Conference League last season was celebrated and a series winner like Jose Mourinho delighted.
The same goes for hiring in Spain when our old boss Unai regularly won a European Cup.
UEFA takes a lot of the blame for scrapping three perfect tournaments they used to have (and then realizing they needed three trophies again), but the prestige of a continental trophy is not to be underestimated and for the Association long overdue.