By 90Min
October 24, 2018

Arsenal are seeking to make it 11 consecutive victories in all competitions as they face Portuguese outfit Sporting CP in the UEFA Europa League at the Estádio José Alvalade on Thursday.

Unai Emery's men have currently won their last ten matches and sit fourth in the Premier League, are hoping to maintain their perfect record in the Europa League this campaign with a victory over the Lisbon side.

Meanwhile, Sporting sit fifth in the Portuguese Primeira Liga, four points behind leaders and cross-city rivals Benfica, and are also in search of a another Europa League victory that could make it three wins from three in the competition.

They have lost two of their last five games overall, but are perfect at home, where they are unbeaten in six matches against English opponents (winning five), their last of which was a win over Manchester City in the 2011/12 campaign.

Where?  Estádio José Alvalade
When? Thursday 25th October @ 5:55pm (BST)
How Can I Watch? BT Sport 2

Key Battles

Nani vs. Nacho Monreal/ Stephan Lichtsteiner

Nani was involved in seven goals against Arsenal while at Manchester United, and his pace and trickery caused the Gunners several problems in contests in the past. He will be key for the Portuguese side against the likes of experienced full-backs in either Nacho Monreal or Stephan Lichtsteiner, who are no slouches themselves.

Arsenal's full-backs are a feature of their play and should they over-commit going forward, it would allow Nani to exploit the space on the counter-attack.
Manchester United's Portuguese midfielde

Bruno Fernandes vs. Lucas Torreira 

Fernandes is one of Portugal's emerging talents. He has been involved in 24 goals in 40 appearances in the league for Sporting, and his vision could pose a threat for the north London side. 

He also possesses a great strike and could try his luck from range on occasion, meaning that Arsenal will have to be at their best to prevent any space from opening up for the Portuguese international.

UC Sampdoria v Pescara Calcio - Serie A

Looking to do just that is Lucas Torreira. The Uruguayan is a very dynamic player that tends to get very tight to his opponents and close them down. He is very combative and his two assists this season, shows that like Fernandes, he can find a pass. The two players played alongside each other for Sampdoria and will undoubtedly like to get stuck into each other.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang vs. Sebastián Coates 

Aubameyang already has eight goals in ten appearances in all competitions. He netted twice for the Gunners against Leicester City on Monday and will be beaming full of confidence for their encounter against the Leões.

Sporting Clube de Portugal v Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Champions League

His pace and finishing makes him one of Europe's most prolific strikers in recent years and will cause Coates, who isn't the quickest players, a lot of problems. 


Coates has Premier League experience with Liverpool, and that will help him against the Gunners. He may not be the most agile players, but he reads the game well and knows how to time his challenges, which may be crucial for a last ditch recovery tackle against the pace of the Arsenal front line.


Team News

Jérémy Mathieu may return to the squad after a spell on the side-lines. The Frenchman hadn't featured since Sporting's victory over Qarabag as a result of a muscular injury, but participated in training on Monday. 

Bas Dost could also be involved against Arsenal, the striker had missed the last two months due to a thigh injury. However, winger Raphinha is a doubt, the Brazilian missed the Leões' previous match in the Cup against Loures and is expected to miss out against the Gunners.

Nacho Monreal is a slight doubt for the Gunners. He has a minor hamstring injury and will be assessed ahead of the fixture. Sead Kolašinac also has a minor hamstring injury and will be assessed beforehand. The duo missed the Gunners' victory against Leicester on Monday.


Potential Lineups


Sporting (4-2-3-1): Salin; Ristovski, Coates, Mathieu, Acuña; Battaglia, Fernandes; Nani, Montero, Cabral; Dost.


Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Leno; Bellerín, Mustafi, Holding, Monreal; Torreira, Xhaka; Mkhitaryan, Özil, Aubameyang; Lacazette.


Prediction

Arsenal are in a good run of form and should have the confidence from that ten game winning streak to get a result against Sporting.

Meanwhile, the Lisbon outfit are unbeaten at home and have won five or their last six meetings against English opposition at the Alvalade. A victory depends on whether they have their star striker Dost starting.


Predicted Scoreline: Sporting 1-1 Arsenal

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