Europa League: Sporting Lisbon v Arsenal preview

Arsenal manager Unai Emery. PA

Arsenal manager Unai Emery. PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Arsenal travel to the capital of Portugal to face Sporting Lisbon in search of their 11th consecutive win.

The Gunners take on a Sporting Lisbon side who’ve emerged victorious in four of their last six games including two of out of two in the Europa League.

A Mesut Ozil-inspired second half performance saw the North Londoners beat Leicester 3-1 at the Emirates on Monday evening as they moved back into the top four.

Qualification from Group E this week is a real possibility if Unai Emery’s side can notch another triumph after winning ten on the bounce - including a brace of victories in continental competition with a 4-2 home victory over Vorskla Poltava and a 3-0 triumph in Azerbaijan against Qarabag in Baku.

The Gunners top the group, level on six points with Lisbon but with a goal difference of five compared to three for the Portuguese giants.

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However, Emery was taking nothing for granted. Speaking after the victory over Claude Puel’s Foxes he said he was expecting a tough match but that the team would be focused on the job ahead.

He added: “We are playing with a good attitude and level in our quality but we need to keep working.”

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It won’t be an easy task against a Sporting side that sit in fifth place in the Portuguese Primeira Liga Table, four points off leaders Benfica – even if the 18 times Portuguese champions have had a difficult few months.

Following a group of Ultra’s attacking the squad at their training centre at the end of last season 11 players chose not to renew their contracts over the summer.

Key departures included Gelson Martins, William Carvalho, Bruno Fernandes, Rui Patricio and Bas Dost as they entered the new season with a new squad.

Sinisia Mihajlovic, the former Lazio midfielder and AC Milan boss, assumed the role of head coach after previous incumbent Jorge Jesus left - but the former Serbian international lasted nine days in the job.

He was replaced by Jose Peseiro, who returned to the verde e brancos - green and whites - 13 years on from his first spell at the helm.

The game is live on BT Sport with a 5.55pm kick-off at the Estadio Jose Alvalade in Lisbon.

Arsenal travel back from the Iberian Peninsula to south London for a derby clash with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Sunday lunchtime against Roy Hodgson’s Eagles.

Follow Arsenal reporter Layth on Twitter @laythy29

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