Sporting set to be biggest challenge to Arsenal’s winning run

Arsenal may have won ten games in a row so far, but tonight’s game against Sporting Club de Portugal is likely to be our toughest test yet as we aim to carry on our winning run, especially as it is guaranteed that Emery will be tinkering with his line-up as we are set to travel to Crystal Palace on Sunday. Currently Sporting are in fifth place in the Primeira Liga but only four points behind the leaders Benfica.

Emery admitted that this is not going to be easy. He told “For us first this competition is very, very important and the opposition tomorrow is a very good team with a very good experience in this competition and with good players.

“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.”

We may want to win but we all need to be aware that there is no such thing as an easy game at the Estádio José Alvalade as the facts tell us that Sporting have not lost a home game in any competition for over a year, in fact the last team to win there was Barcelona who won 1-0 last September.

The Stadium holds 50,000 and they have a very vocal support (and don’t mess with the Ultras!). It will be a very intimidating atmosphere, so if we win tonight with a weakened side I for one will be extremely impressed. I would be happy with a draw so we can top of the Group by beating them back at the Emirates….



  1. gotanidea says:

    My line-up prediction:

    Lichtsteiner . Mustafi . Holding . Niles
    ………..Guendouzi …….. Elneny
    Ozil …………….Ramsey…………..Welbeck

    1. CanonSpike says:

      Thats not a good lineup.
      We’ve established that Ozil is better in the middle.

      Atleast play Smith-Rowe

      1. gotanidea says:

        Can Smith-Rowe play as a right winger?

        1. Break-on-through says:

          We need to give rest to Ozil at every opportunity. It’s Ozil’s mind that needs the rest the most, allot of pressure for a player to be relied on, and as adored by football fans all over, as he is, while playing for one of the greatest football clubs of all time. That is real pressure, people, for me expectations are pressure, but I cannot fathom the type of pressure that Mesut Ozil must be feeling at times. He makes it look so easy, that’s the beauty of it all. The simplest answer is most often the most difficult one to find. Like Bergkamp, and I’m not comparing the two, Bergkamp fans, which is everyone all the same. The only comparison I was making is how effortless they make it look, it’s Art at its most beautiful, poetry in motion as they say. Getting off topic again, oh yeah, I’d prefer to rest Ozil’s mind, let him relax and concentrate his thoughts towards some of his next victims. I like some of Ramsey’s attributes, I can’t help it because when I played, I realized my most difficult opponents were always the most rounded ones and esp when they had better stamina than the rest of us. I also realized that you either have all that, or you don’t. I’m not always a fan of Ramsey, but I am one of those people that always looks for the good in people, or so they tell me, like it’s a flaw. Anyway, I don’t like Ramsey in Ozil’s role, I don’t think he’s any good for it, unless it’s solely based on effort and pressing, and being an extra midfielder at times. But that is giving too much respect to our opponents when we do that, we’re better than that. Ramsey has a time and a place, but Gotanidea, I’m sorry, usually you can make interesting assumptions or queries, but not with this Ramsey at no10 idea. It’s a play-maker role above all, I’d prefer Mkhitaryan, Iwobi, Smithy, but would see Mkhitaryan as the way to go or else try a different set up.

    2. Sarmmie says:

      You actually believe Ramsey will do a better job at 10 than ozil? If Ramsey starts at 10, then I can bet that ozil won’t play at all, and I feel emery will start smith Rowe over Ramsey at 10, he started smith Rowe over mkhitaryan at 10, I don’t see why he shouldn’t do it for Ramsey

      1. gotanidea says:

        It’s just a prediction dude

        Because I don’t know who else Emery would play as a right winger, since Mkhitaryan might be needed for the Crystal Palace game

    3. iffybright says:

      No width….No wingers
      Your team is so full of central midfielders…….
      With this set up, penetration and creating spaces and chances becomes harder

      Remove one of Ozil/ Ramsey
      Add either Milky or Iwobi

  2. Angello says:

    I don’t expect a walkover but my prediction is Sporting 1-3 Arsenal.

  3. George Kapu says:

    ….Arsenal players are determined than ever. Its gonna be another 3 vital points .

  4. Innit says:

    Sporting is a quality side. Don’t underestimate them at their home.

    I hope Emery puts out as strong a line-up
    as possible and still rest a few players


    Bench Lacazette, Bellerin, Guendouzi, Sokratis, Xhaka,

  5. Sue says:

    I don’t want to see a Nani backflip!!!

  6. stubill says:

    Only if one of our defenders kicks him up in the air.

    1. Sue says:

      Well then yes I’m up for that ?

  7. Wolfgang says:

    If Arsenal aspire to be atop team this is the type game they
    have to win to lay down a marker.They don’t come
    tougher than Sporting to date.
    Looming in the background is Liverpool. The reds would delight in smacking down the gunners.
    They have deadly strikers. So do Arsenal.I have feeling the reds could go physical
    to unsettle the gunners.When the fm was around there was no plan b.
    As Emery is a 3 time Europa winner he will be more pragmatic and will go direct
    to score.
    There is no reason why the gunners cant win tonite though the defence is suspect..

  8. l says:

    We shouldn’t be comparing ourselves with a team who struggled to beat Vorskla Poltava. In fact they were down by 1 goal at 89th minute. Two late goals saved them the day. We are winning tonight.

  9. Andrew E says:

    A tough one to call, there will be goals so I hope we score more that them.

  10. Jimad says:

    Arsenal 3-1 sporting

  11. Kenny Rolfe says:

    Who could ever forget the last time we played Sporting Lisbon in Europe. Two goals by George Graham and one from John Radford saw them off in a 3-0 win and led to victory in the old Inter Cities Fairs Cup (UEFA Cup) against Anderlecht in the 1969 final and the first trophy since 1953. Like to point out, that competition was a lot harder to win than the present Europa Cup owing to the fact that the old European Cup consisted of only the winners and NOT the top four from Leagues across Europe.

    1. Kenny Rolfe says:

      Correction: 1969/70

      1. Kenny Rolfe says:

        Just like to add, the BBC are showing Haringey Borough, a non league club I played for in the early seventies against Wimbledon in the FA Cup 1st round on Friday 9th Nov. At the time the club we’re managed by Les Clapton, a lovely, lovely man who has since passed away and had connections across the London football scene, more so at West Ham United and was the brother of former Arsenal and England favourite Danny Clapton, a name well known to some of our older bloggers like Jon Fox and Ken1945

        1. Sue says:

          Bet you’ll be watching that Kenny!

          1. Kenny Rolfe says:

            I will be Sue, looking to see improvements in the ground, they’ll certainly need them.

          2. Sue says:

            Be nice to reminisce too ?

  12. Break-on-through says:

    I won’t mind if we draw the Liv game, but hopefully our winning streak will hold out until then at the least. Someone else mentioned that they won’t mind as much, us to lose the Liv game, if we put the commitment in that we put in for large parts of our last game. I’d be gutted all the same, but I totally see where this guy is coming from. Sporting, although I haven’t seen anything from them in about two seasons or so, three actually, since we last played in the CL because I used to watch all of the highlights (CL – Europa games) when we were in the CL. Now I only watch some, whatever peaks my interest most. Anyways, I’m getting a bit off topic here. What I was saying is, I reckon they still play open football and that could be good for us.

    Counter attacking, I expect some teams will rely on that heavily rather than taking us on with an expansive style. I like that now, when teams try to press us, once we get past that first press we are able to shred them to pieces. And if they sit back, they’re asking for trouble, we can shoot from anywhere in and around the box, as well some players only need a half of a yard. Others like Iwobi can turn a marker inside out, laying it off with the next pass not under any immediate pressure, and depending on how many markers he sucks towards him, a couple of dangerous players could be free. He done that very well in our last game, there were times I seen three opponents trying to swarm the lad. Xhaka can shoot from thirty yards, not always accurate, but opponents can not just back off and allow him to have a pop. Aubameyang looks capable of an Henry special, curling it from just outside the box. And I haven’t even mentioned… – The Mercurial – The Magical – The main Event, That is …Mesut Ozil!!!.

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