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Arsenal vs Sporting Lisbon preview: key man returns, Jenkinson to start + prediction

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sokratis arsenal 2018

Arsenal can secure safe passage to the knockout stages of the Europa League with a win against Sporting Lisbon at the Emirates Stadium tonight.

We’ve been faultless so far with a narrow 1-0 win in the reverse fixture in Portugal two weeks ago maintaining our 100% record in Group E and we head in to tonight’s game sitting three points clear of Sporting with three games to play.

Victory would seal our place in the knockout phase but we can also virtually guarantee top spot which would take the pressure off our last two matches and allow us to focus on the Premier League.

The players showed a huge amount of character to come from behind to take a fully deserved point against Liverpool last weekend with the 1-1 draw extending our unbeaten run to 14 games in all competitions so the squad is full of confidence right now.

Team News

Arsenal are expected to be boosted by the return of Sokratis as he resumed full training this week after recovering from an ankle injury that’s kept him out for the last two matches.

However, Nacho Monreal won’t be risked as Unai Emery is being cautious with his hamstring injury so he remains on the sidelines along with Laurent Koscielny who’s still working his way back from an Achilles injury. Mo Elneny is also still out with a thigh problem.

Emery will rest our key men with the likes of Hector Bellerin, Sead Kolasinac, Granit Xhaka, Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette expected to be rested.

Sporting will be without Stefan Ristovski, Stefano Sturaro and Raphinha due to injury while Rodrigo Battaglia is also a doubt after picking up a knock at the weekend.

Preferred line-up

Hopefully Sokratis is fit enough to return to the starting eleven as I think we’ve missed him and he needs to get some football under his belt while Stephan Lichtsteiner should start in place of Bellerin at right-back. The big decision is who starts on the left and I’d give Carl Jenkinson another run out. It’s not his usual position but he did alright against Blackpool and I wouldn’t risk Kolasinac with Monreal not 100% fit.

That would allow Ainsley Maitland-Niles to start in midfield alongside Matteo Guendouzi while Aaron Ramsey can get a run-out in the No.10 role once again. I do think he’s more suited to a deeper position but Emery seems to like him further forward. Also, I’d love to see Emile Smith Rowe given another chance to impress.

This would be my line-up:

football formations

Prediction

I thought we controlled the game well in the reverse fixture two weeks ago and Sporting didn’t really look like they could hurt us so I’m confident we can secure another win tonight. The squad has a real resilience about it right now and despite making plenty of changes, I’m backing the boys to seal a 2-0 win.

Score prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Sporting Lisbon



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Arsenal news

Arsenal news: Unai Emery decides to sell ONE player in January, replacement lined up

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The Egypt international is yet to play in the Premier League under Emery this season.

Elneny, 26, has been hit and miss since joining the Gunners in 2016 from Basel.

And according to The Sun, Emery is desperate to pocket £15m for Elneny in the January transfer window.

They say Leicester could be a potential landing spot for the defensive midfielder in the New Year.

Should Emery’s wish be granted and Elneny leaves Arsenal, the Gunners want Villarreal midfielder Pablo Fornals as his replacement.

The 22-year-old will cost just £17.8m due to a release clause in his current contract.

Spain international Fornals has netted three goals and chipped in with two assists in all competitions this season for Villarreal.

Emery was forced to change his January transfer plans following Danny Welbeck’s horror injury.

The striker has more than likely played his last game for Arsenal after breaking his ankle in the Europa League earlier this month.

That leaves Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette as Emery’s only real options up top.

Gunners legend Ray Parlour recently told Express Sport that Emery is already making plans ahead of the January window.

He said: “I’m sure they’ll be positions he wants to. For me centre-half he could probably strengthen.

“But he’s got [Laurent] Koscielny coming back, they’ve missed him.

“He’s a little bit older but I’m sure he’s working hard to get back in the side so I think he’ll assess the situation when it comes to January.

“He’ll be lining people up anyway.”

Arsenal are back in action this weekend against Bournemouth in the Premier League.

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Miguel Almiron coming to Arsenal? – VIDEO Skills, Goals and Assists

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Now that it is quite possible that Arsenal are going to be signing Miguel Almiron from Atlanta in January when the MLS season ends. I must admit that our new scouting team appear to have made very good choices at cheap prices so far, so I am hoping that Almiron turns out to be just as good.

Anyway I thought it would be worth revisiting a couple of videos of his time in the USA for you to check out his skills during the last 12 months. The first one shows all 12 of his goals in 31 games for Atlanta…

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And this one shows Almiron’s goals, skills and assists.

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He looks quite good doesn’t he?

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Spurs compare Paulo Gazzaniga to Diego Maradona

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Tottenham Hotspur have enjoyed having goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga in the Argentina squad for the current international break. Although…

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