Arsenal v Sporting Lisbon: Europa League last 16, second leg – live | Europa League

Key events

Rúben Amorim is on BT and has this to say:

Arsenal play with a high intensity. They know already that we are strong defending and with the ball.

We can score. It is going to be a tough game but in one game anything is possible.

[The suspended] Sebastian Coates is a senior player. We will put a very good player in his position. Everybody is ready.

I saw [Arsenal] play against Man City. it will be a very good team of Arsenal. We are ready to do a great job.

I think the Europa League is harder [than the Champions League] [for real?]

Tom Hopkins has the first contribution to the annoying name mix-up theme I proposed earlier.

“Evening Daniel. I guess the whole Inter Milan situation is the most direct equivalent? Although I understand that Notts Forest fans get annoyed about being referred to as Notts Forest for some reason?”

Great shout. I’ve definitely been guilty of calling Inter ‘Milan’.

There’s a bit of history between these two. They first clashed in the 1969/70 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. Back then they drew the first game in Lisbon before Arsenal thumped Sporting 3-0 at Highbury to advance. The Gunners would go on lift the title, their first European honour.

If that’s not a sign I don’t know what is.

Fabio Viera has just been described on BT as a player with a “wand of a left foot”. So, if you haven’t seen it already, please watch this immediately.

An angry Tweeter has pointed out that Arsenal are playing Sporting Club de Portugal and not Sporting Lisbon as myself and others have said.

“Are they playing Arsenal London?” our grumpy correspondent asks. Fair enough, mate. Will be conscious of that moving forward.

Any other fans of any other sports team get annoyed by something similar. As a fan of the Lions rugby team in Johannesburg, it irked me when the British & Irish Lions toured. Not sure if that counts but it’s the angriest I’ve ever been as a result of sporting nomenclature.

A fan of Sporting awaits kick-off.
A fan of Sporting awaits kick-off. He’ll be hoping the visitors won’t be toothless upfront tonight. Photograph: James Williamson/AMA/Getty Images

Rest assured, Arsenal fans, Mikel Arteta wants this. He wants it bad. It’s European football at the Emirates and he’s eager to prove that his boys belong at the main table.

7.5/10. They’d have received a higher grade if they tied a scarf around a a King’s Guard bearskin and draped another over a tray of Greggs sausage rolls.

While you get ready for this one, let’s cast our minds back a bit to this lovely piece from Nick Ames where he heaps praise on Gabriel Jesus, a man adored by the Gunners supporters. They’ll love him a whole lot more if he bags the winner tonight:

Jesus returns

Making his long awaited second coming after a lengthy injury, Jesus starts for Arsenal for the first time since November.

Arsenal: Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Jorginho, Xhaka, Viera, Nelson, Martinelli, Jesus

Subs: Turner, Hillson, Tierney, Holding, Kiwior, White, Partey, Smith Rowe, Odegaard, Saka, Trossard.


🧱 Tomiyasu at the back
©️ Xhaka skippers the side
❤️ Gabby leading the line
Let’s do this – together!

— Arsenal (@Arsenal) March 16, 2023

Sporting team news

The visitors have released their team ahead of their hosts.

Sporting: Adan (c), Esgaio, Inacio, Diomande, St Juste, Reis, Ugarte, Concalves, Trincao, Edwards, Paulinho

Subs: Israel, Sotiris, Santos, Neto, Rochinha, Fatawu, Tanlongo, Arthur, Jovane, Chermiti, Mateaus, Essugo.


Daniel Gallan

Daniel Gallan

It’s shaping up to be one of those seasons, isn’t it? The sort of season that you tell your grandkids about. The kind that worms its way in your memory and gets plastered on the walls of pubs where only the faithful wet their whistles before kick-off. If they still sold DVDs the “Gunners’ Super Great 2022-23” [working title] would already be taking pre-orders.

Of course the Premier League is the real big fish and the image of Mikel Arteta lifting the trophy is slowly starting to materialise like a mirage in the distant heat of a desert. But let’s not discount the Europa League. It’s a continental trophy and Arsenal haven’t claimed one of those since 1994 when they clinched the European Cup Winners’ Cup.

They start this second leg of their round of 16 tie with Sporting Lisbon all square at 2-2 after last week’s draw in Portugal.

It ain’t the Champions League, but don’t let that blur your vision. Nothing but a win will suffice tonight.

My name is Daniel, or Dan if you’d prefer. Feel free to get in touch. Should be a goon ‘un.

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