Soccer

Sporting Lisbon v Arsenal preview: Sead Kolasinac, Nacho Monreal out

Sead Kolasinac and Nacho Monreal will both miss Arsenal’s trip to Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League on Thursday.

Both have been suffering with hamstring strains and have not made the squad for the trip to Sporting, who, like Arsenal, have won both of their matches in Group E.

Arsenal are looking to win an 11th match in a row in all competitions following their 3-1 victory over Leicester on Monday.


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Sporting, meanwhile, are fifth in the Portuguese top-flight, having won four and lost two of their seven matches this season.

“For us this competition is very important,” said Arsenal manager Unai Emery, who won the Europa League three times with Sevilla.

“Sporting are a very good team, with big experience and good players. In this moment we are two teams both in first position. In our mind we want to be first in this group.

“It is a very big match and very important for our confidence.”

Arsenal are in Premier League action on Sunday when they face Crystal Palace, live on Sky Sports.

Team news

Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Petr Cech are not in the Arsenal squad and Laurent Koscielny (Achilles) and Dinos Mavropanos (groin) are still sidelined.

Carl Jenkinson has been included, having not featured for the Gunners since November 2016.

Opta stats

This will be the first meeting between Sporting and Arsenal since 1969-70, when they met in the second round of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. Sporting held Arsenal to a goalless draw in Lisbon, but were beaten 0-3 at Highbury.

Arsenal have never beaten a Portuguese side away from home (D3 L3), losing each of their last three.

Sporting have won each of their last three games in the Europa League, their best run in the competition since October 2011.

Unai Emery has only lost one of his 20 Group Stage games in the Europa League (W11 D8), with those games coming while in charge of Valencia, Sevilla and now Arsenal.

Six different players have scored for Arsenal in the Europa League this season, more than any other side (Aubameyang, Ozil, Guendouzi, Smith-Rowe, Sokratis and Welbeck).

Charlie’s prediction

It is a tough one but Arsenal have such a big squad now that I expect [Unai Emery] to make changes and a point will be enough as I would expect them to beat Sporting at home. This Arsenal team always look like scoring goals.

CHARLIE PREDICTS: 2-2 (16/1 with Sky Bet)

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