Guendouzi, Sokratis, Torreira – Arsenal possible expected XI vs Sporting CP

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Unai Emery’s side have made light work of what is just their second ever Europa League campaign, having opened up with a 4-2 home win over Vorskla Poltava before beating Qarabag 3-0 and Sporting 1-0 on their travels.

The trip to Lisbon two weeks ago was a pivotal match in Group E, with Danny Welbeck’s late strike maintaining Arsenal’s impressive winning run and leaving them on the brink of a place in the knockout rounds for a second successive year.

A point could be enough for the Premier League side this week should Vorskla, six points worse off, lose at home to pointless Qarabag in the other group match taking place on Thursday.

Fourteen games without defeat has created a far more positive vibe around the Emirates Stadium compared to recent years, and that is almost entirely thanks to the work of Emery in his first few months at the helm.

Arsenal have a place in the last 32 of the Europa League firmly in their sights as they prepare to welcome Sporting Lisbonto the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners have three wins from three in Group E and will advance through with three more points against the Portuguese side on Thursday night.

As has been the case so far in the competition, the Spaniard is expected to freshen things up on Thursday night from the starting XI that featured against Liverpool at the weekend, but it will still be a team that is packed full of international experience.

Teenager Emile Smith Rowe is expected to get another start, however, and will hoping to add to the goals he has scored against Qarabag and Blackpool this season.

Petr Cech will start in goal with Stephan Lichtsteiner expected to come on the right side of a defence that could see Rob Holding partner Shkodran Mustafi once again at centre-back, with Sokratis (ankle) to be assessed ahead of kick-off.

Nacho Monreal (hamstring) is also expected to miss out once again, with Emery having to decide whether to play Sead Kolasinac or Ainsley Maitland-Niles at left-back.

Matteo Guendouzi will come back into midfield having sat out the draw against Liverpool due to suspension and he could start alongside Lucas Torreira, with usual Europa League starter Mohamed Elneny out with a thigh problem.

Danny Welbeck, who scored the winner against Sporting CP in Lisbon a fortnight ago, will once again lead the front line – with Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan expected to line up on either side of the England international.


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