Arsenal vs Sporting CP: Sporting CP will host Arsenal in a potential UEFA Europa League Group E decider on Thursday, when the two teams with 100 per cent records in the pool face off.
The Gunners have been reborn under Unai Emery and are riding a 10-match win streak to the Estadio Jose Alvalade in Lisbon, Portugal, where Sporting have not been quite at their usual standard this season.
The Primeira Liga side are fifth in the domestic standings after losing two of their last three league games, leaving them four points from leaders Benfica.
Like Arsenal, though, their European record remains undented so far. However, while the Lions netted twice in their games against Qarabag and Vorskla, the Gunners almost doubled that tally with seven combined in their two group games.
Here, we provide all the essential live-stream and television information for Thursday’s Europa League clash, complete with a match preview and the latest odds.
Date: Thursday, October 25
Time: 5:55 p.m. BST/12:55 p.m. ET
Venue: Estadio Jose Alvalade, Lisbon, Portugal
Sporting CP: 3-1
All odds provided by Oddschecker.
The only previous meeting between these two sides came in the 1969-70 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup second round. Arsenal won 3-0 over two legs and went on to lift the trophy, but they won’t want to replicate the 0-0 stalemate they ran to in Lisbon that season.
Bertie Mee, Arsenal’s second-longest serving manager behind Arsene Wenger, was the club’s boss at that point and far more established than Emery, but the Spaniard has drummed up a lot of excitement early on in north London.
The most recent of their 10 consecutive wins came on Monday evening, when they beat Leicester City 3-1. In that trio of strikes was a team goal finished by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang that harked back to the Arsenal of old.
Portuguese football writer Tom Kundert felt a sense of dread on Sporting’s behalf after witnessing that finish:
Sporting can take some solace in the knowledge their only two losses this season have come away from home. They boast a perfect record at the Estadio Jose Alvalade this term and have failed to score in only one of their last 13 outings.
But Arsenal look a far classier outfit of late. Not since their opening-day defeat to Manchester City have they failed to score in a match, and they’ve conceded only three times in their last six games.
A panel of NBC pundits analysed Arsenal’s fast adjustment to life under Emery, which now appears to be getting the best out of players such as Alexandre Lacazette, Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil:
Ozil impressed in particular against Leicester and etched his name into the Premier League history books with his goal, posing bad omens for Sporting if they encounter him at his best:
Sporting’s situation is less positive. Following on from the player exodus in the summer caused by the reign of former club president Bruno de Carvalho, per Reuters, it’s been a tense fight for manager Jose Peseiro.
Winger Nani is the Lions’ top scorer in the league with three goals. Bas Dost is one of three players tied for second on two goals, despite the fact he’s been injured since August and won’t be back in time to face Arsenal, according to Kundert:
Whatever Emery has done to Arsenal of late seems to be working, and the confidence running through the Premier League side should be sufficient to see off a Sporting team that’s in a more intense state of flux.