Arsenal must beat Sporting to sew up Europa League Group win – But who should play?

There is no doubt that Unai Emery will be rotating his players again when Sporting Club de Portugal come to the Emirates on Thursday, but he just seems to know exactly which team to play to continue our unbeaten run. A victory for Arsenal means they will have an unassailable lead at the top of the Group and are guaranteed to go through as Group Winners.

As Bernd Leno said: “On Thursday we have to win, then the group is finished for us. Maybe we can change a lot of players then as we have a lot of games in November and December.

“We want to win this game because Sporting is the biggest team with us in this group. The first round of the Europa League is then over and we will be first.”

Leno played in our earlier Group games, but after playing against Liverpool at the Weekend, Petr Cech is more likely to start on Thursday and Leno reckons that the competition for places is making everyone work harder. “First of all, it gives me confidence to play in big games like this. But I think he pushes us because nobody is safe to play.

“Both of us will play many games this season and so the performances have to be good. We push each other every day in training and in the games.

“I am proud and happy the coach decided on me and I will give my best performances so that won’t change.”

So it looks like Emery is giving everyone a chance to make the first team, but which team will he play on Thursday bearing in mind we want all three points and also that we need to be fit to face Wolves on Sunday?



  1. Sean says:

    I’d go with the inform team to,as you stated, sew the group up. Then we can change it about for the last 2games of the group knowing we have already progressed as winners of the group.

    Hector Holding Mustafi Kolasnic
    Torreira Xhaka
    Iwobi Ozil Auba

    If we are to make changes it could possibly be Smith in for Ozil, Welbz for Auba, Geundouzi for Xhaka, Cech for Leno & Leichsteiner for Bellerin.
    Competition for places is great for Arsenal.

    Let’s wrap up this group then we can give more youngsters/Fringe players time on the pitch for last 2games. Wolves after that all being well the unbeaten run continues.

    (Ps. What an atmosphere at the Emirates on Saturday, great to finally hear that in the ground)

  2. gotanidea says:

    Because Arsenal will meet Wolves two days later, most of them should be the squad rotation players:

    Lichtsteiner . Mustafi . Sokratis . Kolasinac
    …………..Guendouzi ……. Elneny
    Ramsey …………….Ozil …………….Welbeck

    1. Sue says:

      Elneny’s injured

      1. Phil says:

        @gotanidea-When did Ozil become a squad rotation player?He has started every Premiere League game that he was fit for (injured for Fulham Away) but you feel he now gets demoted behind Iwobi?

        1. l says:

          gotanidea comments for the sole purpose of being among the first people to comment on articles. He is hardly bothered if his comments make sense or not.

          1. Phil says:

            I-I know but there are some comments that deserve to be pointed out.This is one.

          2. gotanidea says:

            It’s true that I always want to be the first poster, but I do think quickly before I post

        2. gotanidea says:

          I said “most of them”

          Ozil needs more game time to boost his confidence

          1. Sue says:

            Boost his confidence???!!!!! I’ve heard it all now

          2. jon fox says:

            Yes, I suppose winning the world cup would shatter your confidence. It must be right as I am so confident but have never won it. So you are clearly a genius and so correct!

      2. gotanidea says:

        Ramsey as a CM and Mkhitaryan as an RW then

  3. Peter Emmanuel says:

    Yeah, with the new mentality, I think we do not so much have a (b) team, every player is up and running now. I’ll like to see the likes of Peter Cech, Lichteiner, Holding, Sokratis, Kolasinac Guendozi , Elneny, Ramsey Iwobi, Welbeck and Auba as starters
    This selection will surely grind out a win for us. I just bought an Arsenal Bed Sheet so I can have a sound sleep after every win.

  4. Break-on-through says:

    I’d rather we saved some of the better performers or at least have them on the bench. Leno makes a good point, but we’ve drawn the last two league games so we need to beat Wolves more so than we need to beat Sporting. We should try to do both of course but we have to keep on eye on the Wolves game. Lacazette, Aubameyang, Iwobi, Bellerin, Torriera, Xhaka, I’d want to save them, also I wouldn’t play Kolasinac so soon as he’s only back and the Liv game was a frantic pace. Ozil, Mkhitaryan, could play some part esp Mkhit he needs to get some confidence up. CB’s I don’t think need rest, not physically. I think Emery will go with a strong team though, stronger than I would choose.

    1. jon fox says:

      Definitely a difficult balancing act between the need to finish at least in top four versus the clear chance we have to win the Europa and thus qual for CL next year. I am content we have the right man to make that hard decision though.

  5. Aubamezzette says:

    I believe in Emery ,whatever team he puts out.
    But my preference is

    1. Mkhitaryan back on the wing again??? Haven’t we seen enough of him there??? He’s as useful as a folk next to a bowl of soup!

    2. Takyi ABIG says:

      Let’s not forget that sporting are not mere push overs but I believe with this line up we can win : p cech leic, socratis holding kolas,miltland Niles Mateo G ,mikhi iwobi Ramsey welbeck,

  6. Goonerboy says:

    Winning Sporting at home is a done deal for me, there is no doubt about that and we can achieve that with this line up…

    Lich…………Sokratis…..Pleguezuelo …..Kolasinac………


    Mkhi……………Ramsey………………Smith Rowe


  7. Goonerboy says:


    Henry losing streak continues at home against even a lowly team…smh, is he gonna turn things around? I hope so…

    Liverpool losing to an Europa league opponent, i really want them to win cos i’d rather play Napoli or even PSG in the Europa league, but i would also like to see the media reaction if they lose as they have become a media darling whose failings are swept under the carpet

    1. Sue says:

      ? no doubt they’ll say how unlucky they were

      1. stubill says:

        All we need now is for PSV to pump Shpursh, as Motty would say.

          1. Sue says:

            Get in there PSV!!! FOYS

    2. John Ibrahim says:

      Henry would be available in the market soon….

      all those talk given on air….

      he proves that hes a quality manager even on the job

  8. Bur says:

    Simple…….. play the full team. Win the game then make changes. I know from experience that when you are winning for a long period of time you dont feel as tired as you would if you were loosing games. I am sure all the lads want to play.

    By the way Arsene Who?

    1. ken1945 says:

      Bur, the man who won three doubles, seven fa cups, twenty top four PL positions, Twenty years CL participation, the Invincibles……starting to remember now or have you just started following our great club?
      If you say you have experience from winning for a long period, your five worded last comment must mean you are starting to have memory loss.

      1. sauce NY says:

        well said Ken! ungrateful punks…

    2. John Ibrahim says:

      early stages….play full strength and risk getting key players injured….

      good strategy….

      this is why fans should become managers and run the club

  9. Ethio gooner says:

    Hello my fellow gooners! I’m fncking buzzing man, not just with what’s going on around our club lately (I’m loving it man) but also this is my first time commenting on this panel after 8 years (yes really… 8 years!!!) Of passionately reading all those articles and comments and since the days when AKB’s and WOB’s where at each others throat everyday (admin was mad busy back in those days) and the days of Hafiz rahman (smh) I wonder what that guy must be feeling now.( he infuriated me ) but anyways it’s been an emotional rollercoaster ride for me during my experience coming to this site. But I absolutely f*cking love it…8 years later and I still can’t get enough of it. I’m a MAD GOONER all the way from ETHIOPIA!!! Much love! Ps: my favorite player right now is rob holding, there’s definitely something special about that guy I hope he keeps up the good work! Cheers.

    1. Sue says:

      8 years! Wow!! Gooners are everywhere ?

      1. ken1945 says:

        Welcome to the gooner family Ethio gooner.
        Let’s hear more from you and how you see our club and it’s fans.
        Eight years and youv’e kept quite…let’s not wait another five years!!!!

  10. John Ibrahim says:

    liverfool is indeed a quality team and title winning material

    they spend big and hammer Red Star

Comments are closed