After a scintillating first leg between Sporting and Arsenal, which ended in a 2-2 draw, the second installment of this tie will be staged on Thursday at the Emirates stadium from 20:00 GMT.
Arsenal will hope the home advantage fueled by the partisan Emirates Stadium crowd will be enough to carry them into the quarter-finals at the expense of Sporting.
Sporting will hope to be just as good against Arsenal at the Emirates as they were in the first leg. They will hope to go toe-to-toe against the Premier League leaders on Thursday.
The Gunners have responded well to losing to Man City a few weeks back. Their response has been four straight wins in the league to open up a five-point lead ahead of the nearest rivals Manchester City.
Arteta’s men will look to transfer this form into their Europa League campaign as they chase silverware on two fronts.
Arteta and his men will likely see the additional matches in the Europa League as a sign of their success this season. They will embrace the challenge, and the manager will rotate a few players to ensure the team is fresh for the clash with Sporting on Thursday.
Sporting’s Winning Run
Sporting have won their last three matches in the Primeira Liga. Over their last five, they have won four times and lost just once. They will back themselves to cause an upset against Arsenal when they visit the Emirates Stadium for Thursday’s second leg of this round-of-16 tie.
Sporting have lacked the consistency in the Portuguese League to keep up with the pacesetters at the top. Rúben Amorim and his men currently lie 4th on the table, 15 points behind league leaders Benfica.
Amorim will be hoping that his charges can leverage their recent form, including their 2-2 result against Arsenal in the first leg, to drive them when they step onto the Emirates turf on Thursday, and bolster them to a famous win.
Only two players are missing from the Arsenal squad, from which Mikel Arteta will select the team to face Sporting on Thursday. Brazilian international Gabriel Jesus is still recovering from a knee injury.
The 25-year-old striker has been sidelined since December 2, 2022, and will be unavailable for the clash with Sporting on Thursday.
Arteta will also miss the services of Mohamed Elneny from the match-day squad for the Thursday clash. The defensive midfielder has been recovering from a knee problem since January 14, 2023.
The 30-year-old has missed 12 matches for the Gunners and is unlikely to return in time to face Sporting.
Amorim will be without central midfielder Daniel Braganca. The 23-year-old is nursing a cruciate ligament rupture since July 7, 2022. The long-term absentee is unlikely to be available for selection ahead of the trip to the Emirates.
Sporting will also miss the services of right-back Hector Bellerin; the 27-year-old has been suffering from an unknown injury and will be unavailable for Thursday’s match-up.
Amorim will also likely miss goalkeeper Antonio Adan with the 35-year-old sidelined with an unknown injury.
M. Turner; O. ZInchenko, J. Kiwior, W. Saliba, B. White; G. Xhaka, Jorginho, F. Vieira; R. Nelson, G. Martinelli, B. Saka
A. Ada; J. St. Juste, S. Coates, G. Inacio; R. Esgaio, H. Morita, P. Goncalves, M. Reis; M. Edwards, F. Trincao
Arsenal will dominate the ball and territory in front of the passionate Emirates stadium crowd. They will press Sporting and force them back for large swathes of the match.
Sporting will counter back by pressing, playing out from the back, and maintaining verticality in their passing.
Arsenal will win the match and make it into the next round.
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