ORat least as far as paper is concerned, this was another step forward for Unai Emery's Arsenal, which achieved its primary goal of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Europa League. The reality, however, is that every feeling of triumph has been wiped out by a traumatic and serious wound to Danny Welbeck, a striker of inexorably bad luck.
Welbeck's latest injury, a suspected broken ankle, saw him rush to the hospital while his teammates were still playing and still trying to come to terms with the sight of their striker writhing in agony in the area of rigor.
Some of the Arsenal players were visibly affected by the accident, which was as harmless as these things. Welbeck challenged for a header and simply landed awkwardly. In the beginning, it was not clear what had happened. In a few moments, he had an oxygen mask tied to his face.
"This is the worst news tonight," said Emery, who added that the "mentality" of his players was influenced by Welbeck's departure. In fact, it can not be denied that the mood has changed in the Emirates and the tone of the performance against one side of the Sporting CP that celebrated a point as if it were a historic victory.
"When a player suffers an injury like that, players on the court, look at this injury," Emery said. "First in your mind is thinking for the player, but then the players were focused for the game."