Arsenal punched their ticket to the knockout round of the Europa League which is good. Failing to get a win and guaranteeing finishing top is not quite as good, but all that leaves is that Arsenal need one more win from the final two matches to complete finishing in the top spot.
The horrific injury to Danny Welbeck, is very sad and makes almost everything else about this match feel very unimportant. It appears to be a very serious injury but not much in the way of updates yet. I hope that it will not effect Danny’s career going forward and that he can make a full recovery.
Arsenal 0-0 Sporting: By the graphs
Shot Placement xG Map
Match Simulation from shots created
Arsenal 0-0 Sporting: By the numbers
19 – Total shots in this match
2 – Total shots on target
1 – Big Chance
7 – Total dribbles completed
3 – Times I found myself distracted by something else while watching this match
This wasn’t the most exciting match of the season. It really seemed to be played at a speed well below what we saw against Liverpool on Saturday. In this match Sporting were content to sit very deep, defend and hope to survive the match with a draw. Sporting were successful but it made for one of the more boring matches Arsenal have played this season.
Mkhitaryan plays well
2 – Chances created
1 – Big Chance created
0.78 – Offense value added, led all players
26 – Final third passes completed, second on Arsenal (and just 3 less than Sporting completed all match)
3 – Passes completed in the box, tied for most
3 – Interceptions, tied for most on Arsenal
2 – Tackles, tied for most on Arsenal
Mkhitaryan has been a frustrating player this season. He alternates between really good and incomprehensibly bad for a top level player, often within the span of a few minutes of match time. In this match, he was able to cut out a lot of the bad play and was probably Arsenal’s best player on the night.
Smith-Rowe makes the case for more minutes
2 – Successful dribbles and was fouled once as well
5 – Times lost the ball, 1 time dispossessed and 4 unsuccessful touches
86 – Pass completion percentage
22 – Total passes attempted, 2nd fewest behind only Petr Cech on Arsenal for players who played more than 35 minutes.
Emile Smith-Rowe showed flashes of what has made him an interesting prospect in this match but also that he has a way to go before he earns a first team place. The attacking midfield trio in this match was refreshingly direct in the way that they attacked Sporting but against the deep block it was unable to turn into good chances
Smith-Rowe led Arsenal in completed dribbles but also led Arsenal in the times that he gave the ball away with the ball at his feet. He passed the ball at a high rate, but found himself with trouble getting on the ball in a match that Arsenal had 70% of the ball.
With Arsenal assured that they will be moving into the knockout round, using the final two Europa League matches to get more minutes for Smith-Rowe will be very important in his development.
Sources: Opta via Whoscored, Staszone and my own database