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The Reason We Couldn’t Beat Sporting Lisbon — Mikel Arteta



The Reason We Couldn't Beat Sporting Lisbon -- Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta, the Arsenal manager, has spoken out about his team’s 2-2 draw against Sporting Lisbon in the first leg of the Europa League last-16 tie.

The Gunners took the lead in the first half through a header from William Saliba, but the hosts responded with two goals from Goncalo Inacio and Paulinho. Arsenal managed to level the game once again when Granit Xhaka’s attempted pass deflected off Hidemasa Morita into his own net.

Arteta admitted that conceding two poor goals away from home in Europe made it difficult for his team to secure a positive result. He also noted that the game had different phases and that his team gave away too many simple balls in their own half, allowing Sporting to exploit transition moments, which they are good at.

The draw means that Arsenal will need to score in the second leg at home to progress to the quarter-finals of the competition. The Gunners have struggled in the Europa League in recent seasons, with their last appearance in the final coming in 2019, where they lost to Chelsea. Arteta will hope that his team can improve their performances in the competition and mount a strong challenge for the trophy this season.

“When you concede two poor goals like we did away from home in Europe, it’s very difficult to get a positive result.

“The game had different phases because we gave too many simple balls away in our own half and gave them the capacity to (exploit) transition moments which they are good at,” Arteta said afterwards.