It’s hard to explain just how big the Lisbon derby is, and the hype which surrounds the Portuguese battle.
Quite often, the matches are very important for the league title, and Benfica beating Sporting on Sunday saw them go to the top of Liga Portugal on goal difference.
As part of the build up to the match, many former Sporting and Benfica players send their well wishes, and it’s something which is now largely expected.
Tottenham’s Pedro Porro did so, and it’s made the newspapers in Portugal, but more so than that is his spat with a Benfica fan.
Sporting were winning when 90 minutes was up, thanks to a goal from Viktor Gyokeres – who is doing superbly since his summer move from Coventry City. Benfica then scored twice in injury time to win the match, so of course their fans were quickly gloating.
One targeted the Tottenham player, report O Jogo, with ‘provocation’ on social media. Porro simply reminded that he’d experienced similar glories himself in Lisbon… personally whilst playing for Sporting.
Porro won Liga Portugal once, and Taca da Liga twice, and is clearly still fond of his old club.
Arsenal have unexpected title advantage after double Tottenham mistake emerges
The main factor that has helped Arsenal become one of the top teams in Europe over the past 15 months has been their improved discipline record.
With only one point separating them from league leaders Manchester City heading into the international break, Arsenal has had an incredible start to the 2023–24 season. They are now ranked third in the Premier League standings. The North Londoners have been playing excellent defense, giving up the fewest goals in the division this season—ten, along with championship rivals Liverpool—which is a major factor in their stellar play.
But their anticipated goals against (xGA) figure, which is now 9.2 according to Fbref, easily the lowest in the league, is probably the most astonishing statistic that sets them apart from the other clubs in the English top division. Having started every one of the Gunners’ 12 games this season, players like Declan Rice and William Saliba have been a major factor in their dominant defensive stats.
Both Saliba and Rice have over 1000 minutes between them, but neither has received a single booking this term. Their disciplinary histories are undoubtedly worthy of note, given that they are both required to engage in risky duels and make regular challenges in critical areas of the pitch.
There is a clear difference between these players and those that are on the roster of Tottenham Hotspur, the local rivals. Yves Bissouma, the holding midfielder for Spurs, has already had five yellow and one red card in the league; therefore, in little over three months, he will have served two bans.
Cristian Romero, the central defender for Lillywhites, was suspended for three games, the first of which was served over the weekend against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Romero received a straight red card and two yellow cards during last week’s 4-1 loss to Chelsea. Substantial bans had been a problem for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal team throughout the first few seasons of his tenure, but they had subsided recently, which had made his team much more poised and dominating in their duels.