Arsenal is marching through the Europa League as the Gunners are topping the Group E with three wins out of the first three rounds, and two weeks ago, they overcame Sporting 1-0 at Estadio Jose Alvalade in Lisbon, Portugal. This time, the Gunners welcome the Lions at Emirates Stadium in London and they are considered as huge favorites by the bookies, but the visitors certainly stand a chance to stay unbeaten on this one.
ARSENAL vs. SPORTING
Three-way: 1: Arsenal -323; X: +400 Draw; 2: Sporting +900
Spread -1.5: Arsenal -106; Sporting -112
Total 3 Goals: Over +105; Under -125
Both Teams to Score: Yes +100; No -133
The Gunners are unbeaten in 14 straight games in all competitions, earning 12 wins and a couple of draws in the process including a 1-1 stalemate against Liverpool at home last weekend although they were slight underdogs against the Reds. The manager Unai Emery prefers an attacking style of play with the constant high pressure and the Gunners have scored in each game this season, besides the opening clash against Manchester City when Arsenal was beaten 2-0 at Emirates Stadium.
The pacey striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is leading the way for the Gunners with nine goals in 14 appearances in all competitions, while the skillful forward Alexandre Lacazette has bagged six goals along with four assists in 14 apps so far. The forward Alex Iwobi is the team’s best assist-maker with five dishes in 13 games, whilst the full-back Hector Bellerin has made four dishes in 11 appearances. Unai Emery will miss the defender Laurent Koscielny (Achilles tendon) and the midfielder Mohamed Elneny (hamstring) due to injuries, but all other players should be ready to go.
- Arsenal has a 7-1-1 home record this season with a 20:9 goal difference
- Arsenal conceded in five of its last six games
- 11 out of Arsenal’s 16 games this season had at least three goals in total
The Lions are playing in a shaky form since the start of the season, and they are currently 3rd-placed in their domestic championship with a 6-1-2 record and a 16:9 goal difference. However, the Lions have won two of their first three games in the Europa League against Vorskla 2-1 on the road and Qarabag 2-0 at home, so they are sitting at the second spot of the Group E table with six points and a 4:2 goal difference, three points behind Arsenal and five points ahead of Vorskla and Qarabag.
The experienced winger Nani and the attacking midfielder Bruno Fernandes are topping Sporting’s scoring chart with six goals apiece, while the striker Bas Dost has added three goals in five appearances thus far. The talented winger Jovane Cabral is the team’s best assist-maker with five dishes in 12 appearances, also adding three goals to his name. The manager Nuno Presume is having some problems with injured players among his squad, and the right-back Stefan Ristovski and the midfielder Rodrigo Battaglia are both questionable for the clash against Arsenal.
- Sporting has a 4-1-2 record on the road with a 12:10 goal difference
- Sporting kept the net intact in one of its last seven games
- Six out of Sporting’s last seven games had at least three goals in total
The bettors can expect an entertaining game at Emirates Stadium, while the bookmakers expect to see some goals here setting the odds on the over 2.5 goals at -164. Arsenal has beaten Sporting 1-0 on the road, but we could’ve seen at least a couple of goals as Sporting and Arsenal have combined for 29 shots on goal. Arsenal has had the ball in possession for 62.0% of the time, and I expect to see more of the same on this one.
In seven of their nine home games this season, the Gunners have scored at least two goals, and I’m backing them to improve their stats against the Lions. Arsenal possesses a deadly front line with Aubameyang and Lacazette onwards, so I doubt Sporting’s chances to cope with the Gunners on the road. Hereof, I will go with the hosts to cover the spread, while the bettors who want greater wages can take the over 3.5 goals or try with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score first at +300.
The Pick: Arsenal AH -1.5 (-106)
Additional Pick: Over 3.5 goals (+155)