Sporting will host England’s table-toppers Arsenal on Thursday at the Estadio Jose Alvalade for the first leg of the round-of-16 tie first leg with kickoff slated for 17:45 GMT.
Arsenal will be looking to take a commanding step in pursuing the Europa League title alongside their chase for the Premier League. While Arteta might rotate the squad, he will still put out a strong team to get the job done.
Sporting will look to make home advantage count in this first-leg clash and take the lead to the Emirates Stadium next week for the second leg of this tie.
Sporting CP Current Form
Sporting have won their last three matches in Primeira Liga, where they sit fourth, some 15 points behind league leaders Benfica.
Rúben Amorim will be looking to extend this good run for his side when they host Arsenal on Thursday for the first leg of this round-of-16 tie.
Sporting will know the form and danger posed by Arsenal, the league leaders in the English Premier League. But Amorim and his charges will be confident of causing an upset in the home fixture of this tie.
This is especially because Sporting CP have progressed from all the six previous fixtures against sides from England in the knockout stages of the Europa League or UEFA Cup; all these six matches came against different teams.
Arsenal’s Superiority against Portuguese Opposition
This will be the fifth time that Arsenal have met Sporting CP in European competitions; the Londoners have not lost or conceded a goal in the previous four clashes between these two sides.
In their last six outings against Portuguese opponents in the Europa League, the Gunners have won three times and had three draws.
In this season’s Europa League campaign, Arsenal have kept clean sheets in four of their last five matches in the competition.
These statistics establish Arsenal as the firm favorites ahead of their Thursday trip to Sporting for the first leg.
Sporting will be without long-term absentee Daniel Braganca; the 23-year-old central midfielder has been sidelined with a cruciate ligament rupture since July 7. 2022. Braganca has missed the whole of this season, and he is unlikely to be available on Thursday for the clash with the Gunners.
Otherwise, Amorim will have the rest of the squad available for selection; this will be a boost for the gaffer as he bids to get a good start in the home leg of this clash.
Mikel Arteta will be without Gabriel Jesus; the Brazilian 25-year-old has been sidelined since December 2, 2022, with a knee injury. Having missed 14 matches for the Gunners, the club has set no return date for Jesus.
Arsenal will also be without Mohamed Elneny; the 30-year-old defensive midfielder has been sidelined with a knee injury since January 14, 2023.
A. Adan; G. Inacio, S. Coates, O. Diomande; N. Santos, H. Morita, M. Ugarte, R. Esgaio; P. Gonacalves, M. Edwards; Y. Chermiti
A. Ramsdale; T. Tomiyasu, W. Saliba, Gabriel, O. Zinchenko; M. Odegaard, Thomas, F. Vieira; B. Saka, L. Trossard, G. Martinelli
Sporting CP will seek to keep the ball, dominate possession, and play out from the back; they will look to use their dynamic passing the create chances.
Arsenal will also press hard, squeeze the pitch with a high line, and look to win the ball back through counter-pressing. They will use their speed down the wings to create situations in the box.
Arsenal’s superiority will come to the fore, win this match, and take a giant step toward the quarter-finals.
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