Mikel Arteta has an important decision to make as Arsenal host Sporting CP in the second leg of their Europa League Round of 16 match on Thursday.
The Gunners rotated their squad last week in Portugal, making six changes to the starting lineup, and the lack of consistency played a key role in a sloppy 2-2 draw that saw Arsenal lucky to escape with a level aggregate score.
That leaves the entire matchup to play for in the second leg, and Arteta must now decide whether to deploy his regulars in European play and risk their fitness, or rest his key players again amidst a closely contested Premier League title fight.
Sporting CP, meanwhile, will know the task is tall as they attempt to down a strong Arsenal side in London, but the visitors will be buoyed by their solid goal-scoring form of late. The Portuguese side has not been shut out in any match across all competitions since a January 28 defeat to rivals Porto, a run of 10 matches scoring at least one goal.
Arsenal vs Sporting CP odds
The Gunners are level with Sporting on the aggregate score (2-2), but the Premier League club sees itself as heavy favourites both in the 90 minutes and to advance. They are hovering around 1/3 to win the match in most places, while Sporting sit as huge 7/1 underdogs.
While that might be selling the Portuguese side a bit short, it’s clear that Arsenal are deserving of their pedestal, as even their second-choice lineup was good enough for a draw in the first leg.
There’s some confusion over the flow of this game, as the betting market thinks it will be difficult for Sporting to find the back of the net, but the total goals over is still juiced up to around 2/3.
to score Y / N
|+100 / -140||-110 / +141||1/1, 8/11||1.95 / 1.75||2.02 / 1.80|
|Over / Under
|-155 / +110||-154 / +115||2/3, 11/10||1.64 / 2.15||1.71 / 2.20|
Arsenal vs Sporting: Three things to know
Here are the match facts, team news, key stats, and trends to keep in mind ahead of the match:
Arsenal vs Sporting match facts
- Date: Thursday, March 16
- Kickoff Time: 4 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. GMT / 7 a.m. AEDT (Fri, Mar. 17)
- Location: Emirates Stadium (London, England)
- Official: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (SPA)
- First leg: Sporting CP 2-2 Arsenal (March 9, 2023)
Arsenal vs Sporting team news
Aside from a knock to Eddie Nketiah and the long-term absence of Mohamed Elneny, there are no injury concerns for Arsenal heading into this match. Gabriel Jesus returned to action over the weekend, and while it’s unclear whether he’ll be fit to start, he will at least be available off the bench. Leandro Trossard made his return to the starting lineup over the weekend as well, as Mikel Arteta’s attacking options are once again at nearly full strength. Arsenal players who will be suspended with their next yellow card include Gabriel Martinelli and Kieran Tierney.
One of the major narratives of this match is the absence of key Sporting midfielders Sebastian Coates and Hidemasa Morita, who both triggered yellow card suspensions with bookings in the first leg. Sporting will, however, get Manuel Ugarte back from his first-leg suspension. Former Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin will not feature against his previous club after picking up a knee injury.
Arsenal vs Sporting key stats
- Sporting’s two goals in the first leg were the first goals they had ever scored against Arsenal in five all-time meetings.
- Since a 2-0 defeat to PSV Eindhoven in the group stage, Arsenal have won three consecutive Europa League home matches, keeping a clean sheet in all three.
- In Sporting’s two European victories away from home (at Eintracht Frankfurt and at FC Midtjylland), they kept a clean sheet in both. In the two road games they conceded in (at Marseille and at Tottenham) they failed to win.
Arsenal vs Sporting prediction
- Moneyline lean: Arsenal (-275)
- Score prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Sporting CP
Mikel Arteta took the chance to rest starters in the first leg, and escaped with a draw, but he will know this return fixture is not the time to be toying with lineups.
The Arsenal boss should deploy his strongest XI, and those players will manage to carry the Gunners to victory. He hinted as much, saying of the first leg, “We [were] lacking four of our main attacking players and [still have] everything to now play for.” He knows an early European exit would be a sour note to taint a season with plenty of promise.
Arsenal vs Sporting best bet
- Pick: Under 2.5 goals
- Odds: +110 (BetMGM)
Last Thursday, five of the eight Europa League matches and six of the seven Europa Conference League matches went under the 2.5 goal total. These games can be cagey as teams travel across the continent to play in unfamiliar locations and hostile environments.
Arsenal will know that even one Sporting goal makes things monumentally more difficult, and as such, the Gunners will focus on defensive solidity first before advancing forward. They will control the game with possession knowing the first goal of the match will be critical in deciding who advances. Sporting will press, but without their captain, it will be tough to execute the game plan to full effectiveness.
Arsenal vs Sporting prop bet
- Pick: Gabriel Jesus first Arsenal goal scorer
- Odds: +350 (BetMGM)
There’s been plenty of talk about how Gabriel Jesus won’t just walk back into the Arsenal starting lineup. I’m not buying it. This Gunners attack has been good in his absence, but it’s hard to see the Brazilian not being a first-choice option up front with few other natural strikers on the roster. Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka will still see the field out wide, and Leandro Trossard will have plenty of other opportunities to spell the three.
While the odds on Jesus scoring anytime are understandably low given his mere presence as the first-choice option in front of net, his odds on scoring the first goal for Arsenal are much more palatable. In the four Premier League matches he scored in before his injury, Jesus was the first Arsenal goal scorer in two of them, and has been consistently involved from the start.
Obviously, do not place this bet until starting lineups are announced, in the event Jesus does not start. But if he does, this is a great play.
Arsenal vs Sporting live stream, TV channel
|USA||TUDN, Unimas||fuboTV, Paramount+|
|UK||BT Sport 2||BT Sport|
|New Zealand||—||Spark Sport|
|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+|