Arsenal drew 0-0 in a very frustrating Thursday night clash with Sporting CP, which nonetheless left the Gunners in an extremely strong position to top the group.
A win would’ve wrapped Arsenal’s group up early, but a draw leaves Unai Emery’s side needing one win from the final two games to ensure finishing top. Perhaps not even that, if results go their way in the other games.
As a result, a draw wasn’t a particularly good result for Sporting either, if they had any ambition to top the group. It seems they’re happy to meander to second place though, as they didn’t even make any real attempts to score a goal.
It was up to Arsenal to take the game to their opponents, but the Gunners keenly felt the absence of their first-choice full-backs and the creativity in midfield provided by Mesut Özil, Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira. Those filling in on Thursday failed to make much happen.
Let’s have a look at our individual ratings for the match.
1Goalkeeper and Defence
Petr Cech 7
Cech didn’t have a single save to make, nor a single high claim. At one point he had to come off his line and sweep up a through ball, which he did pretty well. His passing was also very solid.
Stephan Lichtsteiner 5.5
Lichtsteiner offers disappointingly little going forward in these sorts of games. When opponents sit back, a key part of Arsenal’s attack is getting the full-backs up and putting in crosses and cutbacks, but Lichtsteiner didn’t create a single chance before his eventual forced substitution through injury. Hopefully, that injury is nothing too serious.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos 7
Like Cech, Sokratis just had so little to do that it’s hard to give him a proper rating. He did make a couple of nice tackles, and his passing was very accurate. So it should’ve been, considering no Sporting player ever really made an attempt to close Arsenal down.
Rob Holding 7
Pretty much the same story as Sokratis, except Holding didn’t have to make any tackles at all, and he did have to win a few more aerial duels. Excluding Ramsey, Holding and Sokratis spent more time on the ball than any other player on the pitch, which sums up the game quite nicely.
Carl Jenkinson 6
Jenkinson’s mishit shot and one particularly poor cross in the first half will get picked on endlessly by those on social media, but overall he didn’t have a terrible game.
He dealt well with any counter-attacking threat, but overall he looked like exactly what he was: A fringe player on the wrong side of the pitch trying his best to hold things together. He did create one chance, which is more than you can say for most of the team.