7th of November 2018 Author: Johnny Karp
Arsenal are looking to secure their qualification to the next round of the UEFA Europa League with two games to spare, all they need is to beat Sporting at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday evening. The Gunners won the reverse fixture in Lisbon 1-0 thanks to a goal from Danny Welbeck, and that result kept them at the top of the table in Group E. That was the first direct meeting between these two teams. So far, Arsenal have won 5 of their 11 matches against Portuguese clubs in European competitions, while Sporting have won 9 of their 22 matches against English teams.
Arsenal are now unbeaten in their last fourteen matches in all competitions and they have won twelve of them, but they have only tasted victory in one of their last three matches. In fact, after the match at Sporting, the Gunners were unable to win any of their two Premier League matches and only managed to win 2-1 against Blackpool in the League Cup. Last weekend the Gunners grabbed a 1-1 draw at home against Liverpool thanks to a late goal from Alexandre Lacazette. Mohamed Elneny, Carl Jenkinson and Konstantinos Mavropanos are all out injured, while Sokratis Papasthatopoulos and Nacho Monreal are injury doubts.
Sporting had problems with cup competitions lately, after they lost 1-0 to Arsenal they crashed out of the Portuguese League Cup due to a 2-1 defeat at home against Estoril. However, they did win their last two league matches, 3-0 at home against Boavista and 2-1 at Santa Clara. Avoiding defeat at the Emirates Stadium would keep Sporting in second place in Group E, even if Vorksla Poltava win against Qarabag in the other match. Stefan Ristovski, Stefano Sturaro and Raphinha are all injured, while Abdoulaye Diaby and Rodrigo Battaglia are fitness doubts.
Arsenal: Cech - Lichtsteiner, Sokratis, Holding, Kolasinac - Xhaka, Guendouzi - Iwobi, Ramsey, Welbeck - Aubameyang
Sporting: Ribeiro - Gaspar, Coates, Mathieu, Acuna - Gudelj, Petrovic - Nani, Fernandes, Cabral - Dost
My prediction: Arsenal to win 1-0, the Gunners have been solid lately and they should be able to edge past Sporting even while rotating the squad.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Arsenal win - 1.33
Draw - 5.50
Sporting win - 11.00
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Even the draw must be considered as a good result for Arsenal as they topping the group right now and will probably win it comfortably in the end.
But obviously the form of Gunners have been on a down lately after they not managed to beat Wolves at home in the PL and in fact probably even should of loss that one.
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