Predicted Arsenal line-up vs Sporting Lisbon
Arsenal face Sporting Lisbon on the road in the first leg of their Europa League last 16 tie today.
The Gunners have won their last four Premier League games. They recently secured a stunning 3-2 comeback win over Bournemouth after a last-second winner from Reiss Nelson.
Hence, the confidence should be high within the squad but manager Mikel Arteta will want his team to guard against complacency when they face Sporting at the Jose Alvalade Stadium.
Ahead of the game, Arteta is likely to contemplate few changes and here is how Arsenal could line up.
Matt Turner has been the Gunners’ first-choice goalkeeper for the Cup competitions this term. Arteta is likely to trust him between the sticks against the Portuguese outfit.
In defence, we anticipate a couple of changes from the Cherries win. Takehiro Tomiyasu had a difficult opening half before being replaced by Ben White, who scored his maiden Gunners goal.
The England star is clearly the first-choice right-back in current form and should get the nod in the XI.
With Kieran Tierney apparently ill, Oleksandr Zinchenko looks set to continue in the left-back position. Tomiyasu is an option for Arteta but he may go with the specialist for the game.
In central defence, the manager should stick with his regular centre-back pairing of William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes. Rob Holding has been a regular in Europe but may not start today.
Thomas Partey was not at his defensive best against the Cherries but redeemed himself with a goal. He also played his part in the lead-up to Nelson’s wonderful assist for the equaliser.
Despite this, Arteta could give him a breather, having just returned from injury. We anticipate Jorginho to start in the number six role while Granit Xhaka should partner him in midfield.
Fabio Silva has had a lot of success against Sporting while playing for Porto, but may still drop to the bench.
In attack, there will be an enforced change with Leandro Trossard sidelined with a groin injury.
In our opinion, Nelson has won himself a place in the starting XI after his weekend heroics. He should get the nod on the left side ahead of Emile Smith Rowe, who is still short of full fitness.
Elsewhere, Martin Odegaard should start in the number 10 role with Bukayo Saka on the right wing. Gabriel Martinelli is widely expected to lead the line against the Primeira Liga outfit.
Gabriel Jesus was back in full training yesterday but Arteta is expected to handle him with caution. He could make a cameo off the bench. Eddie Nketiah is out with an ankle problem.
How Arsenal could line up vs Sporting Lisbon
Stats from Transfermarkt.com