Premier League leaders Arsenal take a break from domestic play to shift gears to the Europa League, traveling to Portugal to take on Sporting CP in Lisbon on Thursday.
The matchup is the first of two legs in their Round of 16 meeting, with the return leg set for a week’s time at Emirates Stadium.
Both clubs face a fierce domestic battle: the Gunners are looking to hold off a furious charge by Manchester City in the title race back in England, while Sporting are clinging to their Champions League lives, sitting fourth in the Portuguese league table but in much better form since the World Cup break concluded.
As both weigh the fight on multiple fronts, an intriguing tactical chess match could ensue as the two sides position themselves for the best chance in the return leg.
LIVE BLOG: Follow all the action from Lisbon as Arsenal take on Sporting in the Europa League
Sporting CP vs Arsenal match facts
- Date: Thursday, March 9
- Kickoff Time: 12:45 p.m. ET / 5:45 p.m. GMT / 4:45 a.m. AEDT (Fri, Mar. 10)
- Location: Estadio Jose Alvalade (Lisbon, Portugal)
- Official: Tobias Stieler (GER)
- Last meeting: Arsenal 0-0 Sporting CP (Aug. 11, 2018 | Europa League)
Sporting CP vs Arsenal prediction, odds
- Moneyline lean: Draw (+240)
- Score prediction: Sporting CP 1-1 Arsenal
While Arsenal are in great form, able to pull results out a hat when they desperately need them, there’s not quite the same urgency around this fixture. The opponent is quality, and they will know that seeing out a draw on the road will trump the need to secure a victory at all costs.
A draw was enough from the first leg of the last time these two teams faced off to see Arsenal eventually through to the next round, and they’ll know it will be enough here as well.
Fascinatingly, the late line movement has been slightly in favour of Arsenal, but mostly in favour of defensive output, as the under took a wild last-minute swing down to nearly 1/2.
|Sporting CP win||+260||+263||13/5||3.60|
to score Y / N
|+100 / -140||-123 / -126||10/11, 4/5||2.00 / 1.73|
|Over / Under
|+125 / -175||+133 / -169||6/5, 8/13||2.35 / 1.55|
Sporting CP vs Arsenal: best bet
- Pick: Under 2.5 goals
- Odds: -130 (BetMGM)
These two teams are exceptional goalscoring sides, but they are also very good defensively, and often in the first leg of a two-legged matchup, the latter shines through as teams are selective with their attacking flow.
These sides matched up in the 2018/19 Europa League, and across the two legs, only one goal was scored, as Arsenal advanced 1-0 on aggregate. Sporting also played Tottenham this year in the Champions League group stage and kept the tally under, while going slightly further back, they also faced Chelsea and Manchester United in European play over the past 15 years, and each time the first leg finished 1-0.
Finally, factor in Arsenal’s issue at striker, with Gabriel Jesus still not ready to return and minor injuries to Eddie Nketiah and Leandro Trossard both sidelining the backup options. Gabriel Martinelli will deputise up front, and while the Brazilian is surely capable, the situation undoubtedly hampers the Gunners’ attack further.
Sporting CP vs Arsenal prop bet
- Pick: Bukayo Saka 2+ shots on target
- Odds: +340 (BetMGM)
There is exceptional value on this selection, as Bukayo Saka’s shot output has increased exponentially over the past few weeks. Through the first 18 matches of the Premier League season, Saka took 34 shots, or about two per match, with 12 on target. In the past eight matches, he’s ripped off 32 shots, putting 10 on target, over double his per-match output.
Last time these two teams matched up, Arsenal registered 10 shots on target, so there should be plenty of opportunities to have a go even if they don’t find the back of the net.
Sporting CP vs Arsenal live stream, TV channel
MORE: Watch Premier League matches live with fuboTV in USA
|USA||TUDN USA||Paramount+, ViX, TUDN|
|UK||BT Sport 2||BT Sport|
|New Zealand||—||Spark Sport|
|India||Sony TEN 2||Sony LIV, JioTV|
|Hong Kong||beIN Sports 3||beIN Sports Connect|
|Malaysia||beIN Sports 3||beIN Sports Connect, sooka|
|Singapore||beIN Sports 3||beIN Sports Connect, StarHub TV+|
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