Three Things We Learned from Arsenal vs Sporting Lisbon

Alan Alger's must-read piece on Three Things We Learned after Arsenal's Europa League exit at the hands of Sporting Lisbon

Three Things We Learned from Arsenal vs Sporting Lisbon

Worst version of the script played out...

Any Gooner asked to write up the worst scenario before this game would certainly have had key injuries, 120 minutes of sapping football in the rain and a penalty shoot-out exit in their script.

Mikel Arteta's bad luck returned to hit him where it hurts, although he may acknowledge that the tie was possibly lost with a sloppy display in Portugal. That 2-2 1st leg result meant we didn't have a buffer when it came on top during difficult passages of play last night.

Despite the noises coming from Manchester, we have had quite a bit of bad luck with injuries and that didn't relent in this Europa League tie.

Jesus and our key players look fired up...

Hopefully Gabriel Jesus will start against Palace on Sunday, his appearance last night was apparently cut down to 45mins from a scheduled hour because of the sub windows we had to use for two first half injuries.

That might play to our advantage on Sunday keeping him fresh. Witnessing how captain Martin Odegaard was fired up when he came on as sub gives me every confidence that key personnel will drag us to victory in another London derby by the time the weekend is over.

This squad and the manager have been great at responding to disappointment this season and never giving up!

Don't let Sky and nouveau fans change what it's all about...

One of the brilliant Arsenal nostalgia Twitter accounts reminded me on Wednesday that this week, 29 years ago, we beat Torino 1-0 at Highbury in the Cup Winners' Cup.

I was 17 at the time and remember being so full of joy that I did something I'd never done before (or done since)... I ran on to the pitch at the end of the game and danced around with our players, before making my way back to the Family Enclosure seats in the lower West Stand. Thankfully without having my collar felt.

The sheer joy at going through to the Semi-Finals of (what was then) the second-tier European tournament was unbridled and lasted for days, even when the MD of the company I'd just started as an Office Junior for said he'd seen me from his seat in the Upper Tier.

Therefore it pains me to see some Gooners saying that it's a blessing to be knocked out of the Europa League and some going as far as saying they didn't want to be in it anyway. This attitude seems to only exist in the English game and seems to have grown since Sky Sports lost rights to European matches.

Their attitude that the PL is ALL, coming through in every programme and commentary. Some upper mid-table Premier League teams have even been locked in an endless loop of sacking off the minor European competitions to help their league form and qualify for the same European competition for the following season.

Look elsewhere like Italy, where Roma winning the Europa Conference League last season was lauded and a serial winner like Jose Mourinho was delighted.

Same for the attitude in Spain when our old boss Unai used to scoop a regular Europa trophy.

UEFA take a fair deal of the blame for doing away with three perfect tournaments they used to have (then realising they needed three cups again), but the prestige of a continental trophy is not to be sniffed at, and long overdue for the club.

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