Arsenal welcome Portuguese giants, Sporting Lisbon to the Emirates Stadium on Thursday in a Europa League game that affords Gunners manager, Unai Emery the chance to rest a number of key players ahead of a hectic schedule. In the reverse fixture a fortnight ago, Arsenal won the game courtesy of a Danny Welbeck goal and will be looking to continue our impressive run of form. Arsenal know that a victory will secure their place in the knockout stages of the competition. We take a look at the probable lineup for the North Londoners in this game.
Petr Cech has failed to dislodge Bernd Leno following his return from injury and looks likely to be in goal, as Leno has impressed in the Premier League. Cech is still going strong at 36, and should have no problems having featured in grander European nights.
Stephan Lichtsteiner should get to play from right back. The veteran Swiss defender has added nous and experience to the Gunners backline since his move from Juventus in the summer while at leftback, Sead Kolasinac will be expected to retain his place from the weekend’s draw with Liverpool as he is slowly getting back to full fitness after an injury layoff. In the heart of defence, Sokratis Papastathopoulos is fit again following a spell on the sidelines and should partner Shkodran Mustafi, who is finally showing signs of his undoubted quality.
Curly-haired Frenchman, Matteo Guendouzi should come into the side after missing the Liverpool clash due to suspension following his red card in the League Cup victory over Blackpool. Pairing Guendouzi at the base of the midfield should be Granit Xhaka, who has looked a player reborn under the tutelage of Emery. The Swiss was majestic in the draw against Liverpool.
English youngster, Emile Smith-Rowe should get to feature in the game too. The talented youngster has kicked on from a spectacular pre-season and is earning rave reviews for his displays in the middle of the park, where he is showing a maturity that belies his tender years of 18.
Nigerian international, Alex Iwobi is shoe-in to start this game from the left. The dazzling winger has impressed this campaign and will be looking to stake a claim for regular football with a solid display against the Portuguese outfit. Armenian international, Henrikh Mkhitaryan should play from the right while upfront, Daniel Welbeck will be looking to score against Sporting for the second game running.
Probable lineup: Cech, Lichtsteiner, Mustafi, Papastathopoulos; Guendouzi, Torreira, Smith-Rowe; Iwobi, Mkhitaryan, Welbeck.