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Arteta’s concerning Europa League record emerges ahead of Arsenal vs Sporting CP return leg

Arteta’s concerning Europa League record emerges ahead of Arsenal vs Sporting CP return leg

In the past, a 2-2 draw in an away game of a European knockout match would have been considered an excellent outcome. However, since UEFA eliminated the away goals rule last season, Arsenal now has a challenging task ahead when they play Sporting CP at Emirates Stadium in the next round. 

A goalless draw or even a 1-1 draw will not be sufficient to advance to the Europa League quarter-final.

The match in Lisbon was quite entertaining, particularly for neutral fans. Although Arsenal took the lead with William Saliba’s commanding header, they had to rely on an own goal from Hidemasa Morita in the second half to avoid defeat after Goncalo Inacio and Paulinho scored for the hosts on either side of half-time.


Arsenal’s performance in the first leg was decent, and with three home victories in the group stage, they will likely be considered favorites when they play Sporting CP at home next Thursday. However, as Mikel Arteta noted, they will need to improve their defense when they play in north London.

“When you concede two poor goals like we did away from home in Europe, it’s very difficult to get a positive result,” the Spaniard said in the post-match press conference. “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.

“In other moments we had total control of the game and we lost a little bit of threat today, especially with the four players we are missing in our frontline. Some positives because we showed a lot of resilience to get back in the game but we need to defend our box much better and be better on Sunday.”

Mikel Arteta’s personal record in knockout ties as Arsenal manager could be another concern ahead of the second leg. After the draw against Sporting CP, his record stands at P: 11, W: 4, D: 4, L: 3. 

The fact that three of the four victories came in away games against Olympiacos in consecutive Europa League campaigns and the quarter-final second leg tie against Slavia Prague in the 2020/21 season may be the most worrying sign.

Interestingly, Mikel Arteta has yet to achieve a knockout round victory in the Europa League at the Emirates Stadium. 

Although Arsenal was technically listed as the ‘home’ team for the round of 32 second leg meeting with Benfica in February 2021, the game had to be played at the Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus, Greece, due to Covid-19 restrictions. Therefore, none of Arteta’s knockout round victories in the competition have been achieved at their home ground.

Nevertheless, Arsenal’s one and only ‘home’ win in the Europa League knockout phase came against a team from Portugal, which could be seen as a good omen for their upcoming match against Sporting CP.

 However, arsenalbrief.football has examined all possible outcomes for Arsenal in the round of 16 second leg tie against Sporting CP, taking into account Arteta’s record in knockout rounds.


In short, a victory for Arsenal over Sporting CP in the upcoming match will secure their qualification for the quarter-final. However, given Mikel Arteta’s record in knockout rounds, the game may not be as easy as some fans are anticipating. 

If Arsenal fails to win another knockout round tie at the Emirates Stadium, their chances of advancing to the next round could be in jeopardy.


“Ties in which the two teams score the same number of goals over the two legs are no longer decided on the number of goals scored away,” a statement via UEFA.com reads. “Instead, two 15-minute periods of extra-time are played at the end of the second leg. If the teams score the same number of goals or no goals during this extra time, a penalty shoot-out determines the team that qualifies for the next stage of the competition.”

A draw between Arsenal and Sporting CP in the second leg would force extra-time and possibly penalties. 

In the Europa League knockout stages under Mikel Arteta, the Gunners have been held to draws by Slavia Prague and Villarreal at the Emirates Stadium. 

However, it’s worth noting that Arsenal has a perfect record in shootouts under Arteta’s management, albeit in the Carabao Cup and Community Shield competitions.


Should Sporting CP become the second team, after Olympiacos, to secure a Europa League knockout round victory at the Emirates Stadium during Mikel Arteta’s tenure as manager, Arsenal will be eliminated from the competition. In that case, the team would be left to concentrate on the Premier League title race.

Arteta’s concerning Europa League record emerges ahead of Arsenal vs Sporting CP return leg

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