As Danny Welbeck lay stricken on the Emirates stadium turf, you feared the signs were not good.
No player deserves such misfortune, least of all someone who has had such rotten luck with injuries in recent seasons.
And for Welbeck the timing could perhaps not be worse, as the injury may have signalled the end of his Arsenal career.
The England striker is out of contract in the summer, and early signals suggest he faces a lengthy layoff before then.
Welbeck had been Arsenal’s primary goal threat during the opening stages of the Europa League clash with their Portuguese counterparts.
He almost broke the deadlock but for the intervention of the Sporting to defence to clear his effort off the line.
Moments later, the 27-year-old was on the floor, as medical staff administered him with oxygen.
He landed heavily after jumping for a header, leaving teammate Matteo Guendouzi watching on in shock.
Welbeck was taken immediately to hospital for x-rays with fears of a serious ankle injury.
It comes as a blow to both Welbeck and Arsenal, as he had finally found a purple patch of form following his struggles with injuries since he moved to the club from Manchester United back in 2014.
He missed around eight months of action and Euro 2016 after picking up a knee injury at the end of the 2015-16 season.
But Welbeck has regained his fitness in the past 12 months and earned a place in the England squad for the World Cup.
He was included in Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad for the upcoming friendlies with USA and Croatia, but will now almost certainly be ruled out.
And with his contract up for renewal in the summer it remains to be seen whether Welbeck has played his last game for Arsenal.
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