Welbeck injured as Arsenal reach Europa knock-out phase

Arsenal Head Coach Unai Emery with Shkodran Mustafi during a training session at London Colney

Arsenal Head Coach Unai Emery issues instructions to Shkodran Mustafi during an Arsenal training session last week Credit Getty Images

Welbeck suffered the injury in the first half of the group stage fixture, with the score locked at 0-0.

Such was the distressing scene a number of his team-mates had to look away before the popular striker was carried off to applause from the whole of the shocked Emirates.

Danny Welbeck faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines after suffering a horrific looking ankle injury during Arsenal's Europa League game against Sporting Lisbon on Thursday night.

The 6-foot winger has been a revelation since leaving Angers for Lille in 2017, scoring 14 goals in all competitions last season before playing a starring role this term.

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Arsenal enjoyed plenty of possession from the outset although the hosts were reduced to long-range efforts from Carl Jenkinson, again starting in the unfamiliar role of left-back, and youngster Emile Smith Rowe.

Arsenal struggled to get into top gear against Sporting, but they did have decent chances to snatch a win that would have guaranteed a top spot in the group.

"This could be a break of something in the ankle", stated Emery.

Welbeck, who had netted more Europa League goals than any other Gunner over the course of the last two seasons, was dubbed the "Welbeck Express" after his clinical strike in the Portuguese capital.

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He added: "Our mind is to be first in the group". "Then the objective is to come back with us and grow with this experience".

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.

"But when he had the injury we needed to play with a right-back which was the reason we played with Ainsley [Maitland-Niles]".

"When we have the ball, we're all offensive players".

"He's a player I rate really very highly".

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