Wel­beck in­jury takes gloss off Arse­nal’s progress

The Nation - - SPORT -

ARSE­NAL BOOKED a place in the last-32 stage of the Europa League knock­out stage and ex­tended their un­beaten run to 15 matches de­spite a 0-0 draw with Sport­ing Lis­bon on Thurs­day, while Olivier Giroud’s first goal of the sea­son sent Chelsea through.

But Arse­nal striker Danny Wel­beck, given a rare start just hours af­ter be­ing named in Gareth South­gate’s Eng­land squad, had to be stretchered down the tun­nel with what looked a nasty an­kle in­jury in the first half.

Arse­nal mid­field­ers Mat­teo Guen­douzi and Aaron Ram­sey were both vis­i­bly upset af­ter Wel­beck, who is out of con­tract at the end of the cam­paign, went down af­ter jump­ing to win a header.

“It is men­tally chal­leng­ing [play­ing af­ter a team­mate is in­jured] but some­times it comes with the game, and Danny has had a lot of in­juries,” winger Alex Iwobi told BT Sport.

“We wish him the best and will keep on en­cour­ag­ing and mo­ti­vat­ing him to get back.”

Unai Emery’s Gun­ners were the bet­ter side for long pe­ri­ods at the Emi­rates against a team who have al­ready had three dif­fer­ent man­agers this term, but were forced to set­tle for a point de­spite Sport­ing be­ing re­duced to 10 men late on when for­mer Barcelona cen­tre-back Jeremy Mathieu was sent off.

But Arse­nal did se­cure a last-32 spot re­gard­less, as Vorskla Poltava lost 1-0 at home to Az­eri out­fit Qarabag in the other Group E game.

Giroud ends drought

Chelsea made it four wins from four matches in Group L by edg­ing out a spir­ited BATE Borisov 1-0 in Be­larus.

Giroud ended his 11-game goal drought this sea­son by giv­ing Chelsea a 53rd-minute lead, and the Pre­mier League gi­ants held on de­spite BATE strik­ing the wood­work three times in the match.

The Lon­don­ers moved six points clear of Hun­gar­i­ans Vidi at the top of the group and have not tasted de­feat in 17 matches since los­ing the Com­mu­nity Shield to Manch­ester City in Au­gust.

While the two Lon­don gi­ants are through to the knock­outs, qual­i­fi­ca­tion is very much in doubt for the two Scot­tish teams.

Steven Ger­rard’s Rangers saw their 11-game un­beaten Europa League run come to a dra­matic end as they threw away the lead three times in a 4-3 de­feat at Spar­tak Moscow.

Rangers are now level on points with Spar­tak in an in­cred­i­bly tight Group G, one point be­hind lead­ers Vil­lar­real af­ter the Spaniards’ goal­less draw with Rapid Vi­enna in Aus­tria.

Reign­ing Scot­tish cham­pi­ons Celtic gave them­selves a life­line in Group B, as Od­sonne Edouard’s 79th-minute strike saw them beat

Danny Wel­beck writhes in pain af­ter suf­fer­ing a bad an­kle in­jury on Thurs­day.

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