Sporting Lisbon 0 Arsenal 1
Welbeck 77

Danny Welbeck struck his fifth goal of the season which enabled Arsenal to beat Sporting Lisbon in Thursday’s Europa League Group E game in Lisbon. It was the first time Arsenal had won in the Portugal, and the victory was all the sweeter given that it was the Gunners 11th consecutive win in all competitions.

Welbeck has almost become the forgotten man in this Arsenal team where Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette appear to be Unai Emery’s first choice strike pair. Not being selected as much as he would like to however hasn’t phased the England man who was lively throughout.

Prior to scoring the only goal of the game, Welbeck was unfortunate to see a powerful header ruled out for an adjudged push oh his marker from Stephan Lichsteiner’s corner  Replays suggested that Sporting had got away with that one. Welbeck also had a goal bound effort deflected for a corner, but on 77 minutes, he had his reward.

A dangerous through ball looked to have been under the control of former Liverpool man Sebastian Coates. The Uruguayan slipped however and in pounced Welbeck to drill low and hard to beat Renan Ribeiro.

The Lisbon keeper had kept out an earlier chipped effort from Aubameyang , while the hosts saw a Nani effort fly wide of Bernd Leno’s upright.

Arsenal’s continuing to play from the back has improved in recent matches, however when a team like Lisbon can continually press you high up the pitch, mistakes can happen. Rob Holding and the returning Sokratis can attest to that. But practice will deliver perfection, and a clean sheet is never a bad thing to have claimed in any victory.

Arsenal are now top their Europa League group with three wins in succession, and will now return to Premier League action with the trip to south London for their cross capital encounter with Crystal Palace.

Emery reflected on his side’s latest win.

“The balance for the two teams, I think there are a lot of chances to score. And in the second half, I think, step-by-step, we imposed our jobs and we imposed our good play in the second half.

“For us it’s very important, because we want to finish first in this group and at the moment, the other team who is with us is Sporting Clube de Portugal and we are happy.

“But also, for continuing our process with the players, different players and also with the rhythm with every player in all the matches we are playing, I think there are positive things today here in this work.”

Win number 12 will be high on Emery’s agenda as Arsenal aim to remain in the Premier League’s top four.