Arsenal v Sporting Total Goals Betting Tip
Today’s Betting Preview
Arsenal can book their spot into the knockout phase of the Europa League by duplicating their success over Sporting at Emirates Stadium on Thursday night. The Gunners have made it three from three in the competition, defeating the Portuguese side 1-0 two weeks ago to sit three points ahead of them in Group E.
Our Arsenal v Lisbon betting tip is Lisbon Over 0.5 Goals at Betfair Sportsbook as the second time around should see more scoring opportunities for both sides, especially a Sporting squad that now has their top striker available.
Arsenal remain one of the hottest teams in Europe, maintaining a 14-match unbeaten streak that hasn’t seen them drop a match since August 18 against Chelsea.
The last week provided more strong play from Unai Emery’s squad, as they defeated Blackpool 2-1 in Carabao Cup action despite a Matteo Guendouzi red card in the 56th-minute last Wednesday. Then, they battled unbeaten Liverpool to a tough 1-1 draw at home, finding an 82nd-minute equaliser from Alexandre Lacazette.
The Gunners not only sit top five in the Premier League after their string of results, they also lead the way in the Europa League as well. They began the campaign with an easy 4-2 win over Vorskla at home in September before 3-0 and 1-0 away wins at Qarabag and Sporting, respectively.
They now get to host the Portuguese at home, where they hold a 5W 2D 1L record in Europa League play over the last year. The Gunners scored at least three goals in five of those matches, with both teams scoring in six of the eight contests.
Sporting have played well across all competitions this season, sitting third-place in the Primeira Liga with a 6W 1D 2L record over nine matches this season.
They did suffer a setback in the Taca de Liga, Portugal’s League Cup, last week when they dropped a 2-1 away decision to Estoril Praia on Wednesday. They managed to rebound with a 2-1 away victory against Santa Clara in league play on Sunday however, finding goals from Bas Dost and Marcos Acuna to pick up three points.
Their Europa League campaign had been running smoothly until they met Arsenal a fortnight ago. They dispatched Qarabag 2-0 at home before scoring twice in added-time to pose a thrilling 2-1 comeback victory at Vorskla in their second fixture.
Their form away from Portugal in the competition has been abysmal, with Sporting posting a 3W 4D 12L record over their last 19 games outside of Estadio Jose Alvalade. Defence has been their major issue during that poor run, as they conceded at least two goals in each one of their 12 losses. Overall, 11 of those 19 games went over 2.5 total goals, while Sporting failed to score in seven of them.
Last month’s matchup was their only competitive tie in the last 40+ years. Sporting have visited England on 11 occasions in European football, going winless in their last six visits.
Emery should see his lineup shuffled from the usual squad to give some opportunities to the bench players, as he has done in the previous three matches in this competition.
The 4-3-3 formation is likely to sport an attacking trio of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi up front. Welbeck was the one that produced the winning goal in Portugal and has made the most of any opportunities to start as he looks to work his way into the regular rotation.
Having missed the last two matches due to a red card suspension, Guendouzi should start at centre-midfield. Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka, who has been playing extremely solid even when forced into emergency left-back duties, should be by his sides.
Sead Kolasinac’s return from injury should facilitate the change for Xhaka, giving Emery a true defender on the left side once again. Sokratis, Rob Holding and Stephan Lichtsteiner should round out the usual second-team defence that see Europa League action.
Petr Cech, who appears to have taken back regular goalkeeper duties from Bernd Leno, is likely to make the start in goal.
The Portuguese outfit is without a manager at the moment, as they await the arrival of newly signed Marcel Keizer this weekend. That means there should not be too many changes made from the last match tactically, as Lisbon played a competitive match that saw them lose due to a momentary lapse in concentration.
One big boost they have heading into this clash is the return of striker Bas Dost, who was absent in the last matchup due to injury. The Dutch forward has three goals in four matches this season and could be the spark they visitors were missing last time out. He will be joined by Nani and Fernandes at the top of the 4-3-3, making up a quick and dangerous front three.
Serbian international Nemanja Gudelj is the key man in the midfield for Sporting, as the loanee from Chinese squad Guanzhou Evergrande put forth a strong performance against the Gunners from the left side last time out.
The defence is led by Uruguayan international Sebastian Coates and Andre Pinto, who did well to keep Arsenal away from goal in their first matchup. While playing at the Emirates may pose a more difficult task, if the pair are able to contain the attack once again, they will give Sporting every chance to get at least a point from the encounter.
Arsenal have no fresh injury concerns heading into the match and will actually be able to field several players that have missed out recently.
Guendouzi returns from his red card suspension, while Kolasinac has been out for over a month with a lingering injury. The Bosnian’s return means that Xhaka will be relieved of his defensive duties after playing left-back the last two matches due to injuries to Nacho Monreal, Mohamed Elneny and Laurent Koscielny.
Sokratis should also be back in action from an ankle injury and will play in the central defence role.
The visitors will make the trip without midfielder Rodrigo Battaglia, who was subbed-off in the opening 30 minutes of Sunday’s match. It is unclear the severity of his injury, but unlikely that he will be able to feature against Arsenal.
Jeremy Mathieu should be back in the lineup even if not deemed 100% fit for action, with the former Barcelona man adding a wealth of big-game experience to the club.
Raphinha, Stefan Ristovski and Stefano Sturaro all remain on the sidelines with injuries.
Today’s Betting Prediction
The first match in Lisbon was an extremely tight affair, with both teams shutting down the opposing offence for a majority of the match. Welbeck finally found a way through in the 77th-minute and the Gunners were able to hold on.
Playing at home sees a much more free-flowing Arsenal squad, meaning that goalscoring opportunities should be available on Thursday night. The addition of Dost back into the Sporting lineup is a major boost, as he had found the goal in three of his four appearances this season.
The Gunners have kept just two clean sheets in their last 10 home matches and we expect that trend to continue in a 3-1 home victory.
Published on: 8 Nov 2018 at 11:28
See how the match unfolds below with our Match Day Updates showing the starting 11 teams, goals, cards and subs.