Arsenal’s dramatic loss to Sporting comes at a cost with Europa League dream now over

The Gunners also had to pay the price, going all the way to penalties before losing 5-4. Gabriel Martinelli missed his and Sporting slammed the five at home.

Before that, as in the first leg, the two teams were inseparable and they were tied 1-1 at the end of regulation time.

Granit Xhaka had given his side the lead in the first half with their first goal since October, but Sporting equalized after the break thanks to a superb strike from Pedro Goncalves.

They were two real quality moments in an otherwise frenetic game, and Arteta will be disappointed with this display.

Arsenal were knocked out of the Europa League in the Round of 16 and Arteta will wonder at what cost. Its workforce was to play 120 minutes and it must recover quickly to host Crystal Palace on Sunday.

To make matters worse, Takehiro Tomiyasu and William Saliba were both forced out with injuries in the opening 22 minutes here. Arteta had spoken before the game about how he now calls substitutes “impactors”, but he reportedly didn’t want to start Ben White and Rob Holding so soon.

The possible loss of Saliba will be Arsenal’s biggest concern. They are five points clear at the top of the Premier League and can extend that lead to eight if they beat Palace on Sunday.

Arteta was adamant that Arsenal wanted to compete to win both the Europa League and the Premier League this season – and his squad selection for this second leg underscored that.

Only Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard, Thomas Partey and White were absent from the ‘first XI’ as the home side looked to improve on last week’s performance in Lisbon, which ended 2-2.

It was a chaotic game and there were nuances of that here too, with Sporting having joy from the start. Indeed, after 15 minutes, they held more than 60% of the possession.

Arsenal have slowly grown in the game, with Gabriel Jesus showing some fine flashes on his first start since November.

There were clearly signs of rust from the Brazilian, who had been out for three months after knee surgery in December, but there were also bright sparks.

Blowdown: William Saliba has been sent off for Arsenal

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It was another Gabriel, however, who ultimately helped Arsenal take the lead. Martinelli was chosen by Jorginho’s through ball and when his shot was saved, Xhaka was there to smash the ball home.

The goal was the Swiss’ first since October and came at the right time as it gave Arsenal a 3-2 lead in the draw.

You suspected Arsenal would kick off from there, but it was Sporting who fought back in the game. Especially in the second half, Ruben Amorim’s team disrupted the rhythm of the game and destabilized Arsenal.

They also got the equalizer they deserved and in a weird way. Jorginho caused trouble for Xhaka at the halfway line and the ball passed to Goncalves.

The midfielder looked up and saw Aaron Ramsdale off his line, beating him just inside the Arsenal half.

That goal gave you the feeling that maybe it wasn’t Arsenal’s night and the extra time only underlined that feeling.

Leandro Trossard hit the post. Gabriel made a great save from Adan and then had another header cleared from the line.

Sporting then put in a flawless performance in the shootout, with Ramsdale twice missing good chances to make saves.

He and Arsenal were punished as Martinelli failed to get Sporting through. Joy for Lisbon, but despair for London.

standard Sport

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