So Arsenal have yet another home game to reach the amazing milestone of 15 games unbeaten under Unai Emery. Sporting Lisbon are our opponents and the lads will be feeling confident after taking all three points in Portugal just a fortnight ago. That was our third meeting ever with them and we are yet to concede a goal – so history is on our side…
Emery went with a very rotated side in the away leg and is certain to do the same tonight, but we have to admit that it was far from an easy win for the Gunners. Sporting are currently under a caretaker manager until his replacement is announced, and they have a few of their best players out injured, but Emery is aware they are no pushovers. “Firstly, respect for them.” he said. “They are a team with very good players, very good history, also in this competition. They’ve changed the coach but I think for them tomorrow is a very big match and a very good test in this competition, also for fighting for first position against us. But we want tomorrow to give a big match with our personality.
“Of course the first [target] for us is to finish first in this group. Tomorrow is a very important match because they are second in the table and if we win, we are first in the group. That’s our clear target tomorrow.”
We will still be missing Mohammed Elneny, and yet again Sokratis and Monreal are still in recovery mode so our defence could be a bit makeshift.
With Leno having been promoted for the Liverpool, I am expecting Cech to be between the sticks this evening. Lichtsteiner should start on the left with Bellerin on the right, and it looks like Mustafi and Holding again as centre-backs.
Guendouzi was suspended for Liverpool so will be keen to get on today, while both Ramsey and Mhkitaryan look like they need a confidence booster and hopefully will play better today. I’m expecting to see Maitland-Niles again and Aubameyang and Welbeck will make up our forward line.
So here is my predicted line-up….
Bellerin.. Mustafi.. Holding.. Lichtsteiner
Maitland-Niles.. Guendouzi.. Ramsey
Mhkitaryan.. Aubameyang.. Welbeck
I think that this should be more than enough to take care of a weakened Sporting side, and I’m going for a reasonably easy 2-0 win for the Gunners….