Arsenal 0-0 Sporting: Sporting hold Arsenal to earn crucial point
Sporting held Arsenal to a rare 0-0 draw as they consolidated their position in second place in their Europa League group.
Sporting did not create a huge amount by way of attacking opportunities themselves, and had just a 30% share of the possession in London, but were good value for their point having displayed good defensive resilience to get them over the line.
Arsenal were largely frustrated in the game, Sporting playing a very compact formation, and were unable to create too many clear-cut chances themselves. They did, however, see one effort cleared off the line midway through the first half, Danny Welbeck’s goal-bound shot cleared away by Sebastian Coates.
Arsenal came close a few more times throughout the day, Aubameyang hitting the side netting and shaving the crossbar, but Sporting, with a bit of luck, remained level.
It looked as if all their hard work had been undone with just two minutes left on the clock though, after Bruno Fernandes’ loose pass back to Coates inadvertently played Aubameyang through on goal, but Mathieu brought him down with a cynical challenge just outside the box, earning a sending off but saving Sporting from conceding what appeared to be a certain goal.
Sporting held firm, only the second team after Manchester City to prevent Arsenal from scoring since Unai Emery joined the club and, ultimately, earned a potentially vital point in their bid to make the next round of the Europa League.
They are now four points above both Qarabag and Vorskla, and know that just one more victory will guarantee safe passage to the round of 32.