Arsenal secured qualification into the knockout rounds of the Europa League with a goalless draw against 10-man Sporting, though the game was overshadowed by a worrying injury for Danny Welbeck.
In a game that failed to spark into life, the injury to Welbeck will perhaps be the biggest concern on Unai Emery’s mind as they head back to training on Friday. The England international fell awkwardly mid-way through the first half and appeared to be in agonising pain whilst holding his ankle.
In what was a distressing scene, both Arsenal and Sporting players were visibly concerned over the striker’s injury and the life of the game seemed to be sucked out of it with Welbeck’s departure.
Despite Sporting defender Jeremy Mathieu being sent off late on for a professional foul on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Gunners could not capitalise on the man advantage and were held to a draw.
However, with FC Vorskla losing to Qarabag, Arsenal’s qualification into the knockout rounds was secured, with Emery now potentially having the option of resting players during their remaining two Europa League fixtures.
However, injuries to both Welbeck and Stephan Lichtsteiner who seemingly suffered a hamstring injury in the second half brought some worrying news for the Gunners. With a busy festive period coming up, Emery will need his full squad ready and available, and significant lay-offs for both would be a damaging blow.