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Preview: Sporting Lisbon vs. Arsenal – Prediction, Team News, Form and Lineups



Arsenal resume their quest for an elusive continental title, traveling to the Estadio Jose Alvalade XXI on Thursday evening for the Europa League round of 16 first leg against Sporting Lisbon.

The Gunners progressed as Group A winners and drew with former Champions League contender Ruben Amorim, who beat FC Midtjylland 5-1 in the play-offs.

Match preview 
Already familiar with north London after battling Tottenham Hotspur during the Champions League group stage, Sporting’s attempts to push Spurs and Eintracht Frankfurt into the top two proved futile as they settled for third place and consequence of the second level European tournament.
Dreams of a domestic and continental double are certainly groundless for Amorim’s men, however, as Sporting occupy fourth place in the Primeira Liga table and are a full 15 points behind leaders Benfica, despite winning their last three Serie A matches. vertex. A 77th-minute Paulinho goal was enough to propel Sporting to a 1-0 win at Portimonense on Saturday – their fourth consecutive win in all competitions and third consecutive clean sheet – but just two of their last four home games in total tournaments ended in a win.

Still waiting for Europe’s only 1963-64 Cup Winners’ Cup win, Sporting’s only Europa League-16 final outing in its current form came against eventual winners Atletico Madrid in 2009-10 – does well hope for Arsenal losing twice Lightning can strike Portugal.

Bypassing two more games in the round of 16 play-offs was a necessity for Arsenal during their remarkable fight for the Premier League title, and a modest 2-0 defeat to PSV Eindhoven proved unimportant as the Gunners won the Europa League Group A at the top with 15 points from 18 points.

Since Mikel Arteta last took to action in the Continental League, Mikel Arteta’s young guns have held off Manchester City in England’s top flight and maintained a five-point lead at the top with 12 games to play, even though the their unassailable lead would have been diminished without one of the most dramatic last-minute goals the Emirates will ever see.

After falling behind the efforts of Philip Billing and Marcos Senesi against Bournemouth, Arsenal fought back through Thomas Partey and Ben White before academy product Reiss Nelson sent the home crowd into a frenzy in the seventh minute of stoppage time for sealing a barely credible 3-2 win. another true test of the Gunners’ title credentials.

While Premier League glory is by no means a guarantee, Arsenal would need a catastrophic slump to drop out of the top four – making Europa League success less of a priority than in previous years – but they have never been knocked out in the last 16 seconds of Europe’s top-flight tournament and are set to become restless for a slice of continental glory. En route to the final in the 2018-19 season, Arsenal beat Sporting 1-0 in the group stage courtesy of Danny Welbeck’s winning goal in Portugal. The Portuguese giants against their London counterparts.

Team News
Sporting’s thrashing of Midtjylland in the play-offs was not perfect for Amorim, as midfielder Manuel Ugarte received his third European yellow card of the season and will miss Thursday’s game through suspension.
With Daniel Braganca still recovering from a torn cruciate ligament, 19-year-old Argentinian Mateo Tanlongo is expected to line up alongside Hidemasa Morita, but Amorim has no further injury or suspension concerns.

Amorim would not hesitate to make some defensive changes, starting with Matheus Reis and Jeremiah St. Juste, but Hector Bellerin is likely to start on the bench against his old club.

As for Arsenal, Arteta is likely to run out of his three recognized central attacking options after Leandro Trossard suffered a groin strain in the first half of the win against Bournemouth. Early assessments have ruled out a serious injury but the Belgian is likely to be out here with Gabriel Jesus and Mohamed Elneny, while Eddie Nketiah’s ankle issues won’t heal in time for the first leg either.

Gabriel Martinelli should therefore take on the ninth-place goal burden and allow Emile Smith Rowe – who came off the bench against Bournemouth before being replaced by Nelson – to make his first start of the season on the left flank.

Arteta will be tempted to mix up the field even further with Matt Turner and Jorginho pushing for recalls, but Kieran Tierney is unlikely to be involved due to illness.

Possible starting line-up of Sporting Lisbon:
Adam; Inacio, Coates, St. Just; Esgaio, Tanlongo, Morita, Rice; Edwards, Paulinho, Goncalves

Possible starting line-up for Arsenal:
round; Weiss, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Xhaka, Jorginho; Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe; Martinelli