The Europa League is back Thursday after the international break when José Peseiro’s Sporting Lisbon taking on Unai Emery’s Arsenal at the Estádio José Alvalade.
Lisbon will be hoping to build on current form after winning 7 of their last 10 in all competitions. They’ve won both of their Europa League ties so far with a 2-0 home win against Group E rivals Qarabag and a 2-1 win at Vorskla.
The Gunners will also be hoping to keep their form, after winning 10 out of 10 in all competitions. Like Sporting, last years semi finalists Arsenal have also won both of their previous Europa League games, a 4-2 home win over Vorskla and a 3-0 win at Qarabag away. They now have the joint highest tally of goals in the competition alongside Bayer Leverkusen.
In terms of team news, Sporting CP have quite a few injury concerns with forward Bas Dost and winger Raphinha missing training today, and may face a tough test to prove their fitness in time for the game. However, they can take comfort in seeing experienced centre-back Jérémy Mathieu back in training, suggesting he could potentially be fit to play. Romain Salin and Bruno Cesar were unused substitutes at the weekend and could also boost the teams choices.
Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal pulled out of the Leicester game on Tuesday with a tight hamstring and looks to be unavailable for Thursday’s tie. Petr Cech and Sokratis are believed to be close to returning to first team football and could potentially feature, however Cech will have to fight for his place back from the in form Bernd Leno. Kolasinac is not yet ready to return. Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, Matteo Guendouzi and Aaron Ramsey all featured as substitutes Tuesday, meaning they could feature in the team.
Both teams are on 6 points in their group, however Arsenal have a +2 goal difference. Even though all teams are still yet to play their second ties against each other, this game could prove to be a eye-opener on who may potentially top the group.