Okay so here is Arsenal’s biggest test in their winning streak as we are hoping that a rotated team can beat the Portugese giants of Lisbon who haven’t lost a home game in any competition for over a year, and that was when Barcelona came to visit and even they only won 1-0! One other stat to consider is that Arsenal have never beaten a Portuguese side away from home (D3, L3), losing each of their last three. That is very worrying!
But the Primeira Liga can hardly compare to the Premier League so perhaps we can surprise them this evening. Lisbon are along side us at the top of the Group (thanks to scoring twice in stoppage time against Vorskla) but Unai Emery knows it won’t be easy now they are back at home. “Sporting changed players and also the coach this year but for us in this moment we are two teams both in the first position and our mind is to arrive first in this group and to continue in our way, thinking how we can improve.
“This is a very, very big match and important for our confidence and to try to continue working tactically on the things with the players with a lot of respect for them. We want to win against Sporting.”
It’s a very very big match indeed, and here is a quick look at Sporting’s home record since this season started…..
So we all must be aware that they are no pushovers and are extremely confident, especially at home, but Arsenal are also in imperious form having won ten games in a row against perhaps similar quality opposition so we must believe we are in with a shout.
For the team news, I was hoping that defenders Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac would be available but my hopes were to be shattered as they haven’t travelled with the squad. Also Petr Cech and Ainsley Maitland-Niles have returned to full training but are also absent, and although Sokratis has travelled he remains doubtful, which will give Emery some headaches in choosing tonight’s defence.
Sporting have Nani, who was once ‘the next Ronaldo’ at Man United, but that didn’t quite work out. He could still give us headaches today as he has already scored 3 times this season and so has his fellow striker Fredy Montero. Another one to look out for is Bruno Fernandes who has scored twice from midfield.
So how will Emery line-up with Crystal Palace coming up on Sunday?
I am thinking along these lines……
Elneny … Guendouzi … Mhkitaryan
To be honest we know that Emery needs to rotate but he hates to lose so maybe he will just push our first team to see who can handle it? What do you think of the team I’ve chosen? It’s not the best but it gives a few of our lads a break….
I must admit i’m not as confident as usual but am hoping we can come away with a draw…. Probably 1-1