Arsenal host Sporting Lisbon on Thursday, after a good result against Liverpool kept their unbeaten run going over the weekend.
After keeping their drive for the Premier League top four going on Saturday, Arsenal return to the Europa League, where they have the chance to secure top spot in the group against Sporting Lisbon. A win against their Portuguese opponents would guarantee Arsenal finishing first, as long as Vorskla drop points to Qarabag.
Even if Vorskla win, the odds of them overtaking the Gunners would be very small. The Ukrainian side would have to beat Arsenal by two goals, then beat Sporting Lisbon in Portugal while the Gunners lost to Qarabag at home.
As a result, you’d expect Unai Emery to take this game very seriously. Being able to rest players during the trip to FC Vorskla later this month could be vital, as Arsenal play Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, just three days later. However, the Gunners do have a match against Wolves this weekend to think about.
Let’s have a look at our predicted lineup for the Sporting clash.
1Goalkeeper and Defence
Petr Cech should return to the starting lineup, after featuring in the Carabao Cup last week. Bernd Leno appears to have taken the 36-year-old’s spot in the Premier League starting XI for now, so this is Cech’s chance to get some game time.
Similarly, Stephan Lichtsteiner will continue his run in the defence for the cup and European games, giving Hector Bellerin a rest after his return from injury. On the left, Arsenal have Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Sead Kolasinac back, and after Kolasinac played 90 minutes on Saturday this one should go to Ainsley.
With any luck, Sokratis Papastathopoulos will recover from injury in time to feature alongside Rob Holding, just as they did in the away fixture against Sporting Lisbon.
Centre-back is still the area of the pitch where Arsenal are lightest, with Laurent Koscielny and Konstantinos Mavropanos still out. Shkodran Mustafi should get a rest.
Click ‘Next’ for Midfield, Forwards and our Full Predicted Starting XI