Arsenal pair labelled best in Europe give Arteta agonising decision that could scupper their season

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta Credit: Alamy
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta Credit: Alamy

An Arsenal duo have been deemed the best in Europe by an upcoming opponent, and all eyes will be on Mikel Arteta’s next team selection with their Premier League hopes potentially in the balance.

The Gunners hold a five-point advantage atop the Premier League table at present. The last-gasp victory over Bournemouth last weekend ensured they retained their momentum, but there’s the small issue of a Europa League campaign to wrestle with before further league matters can be addressed.

Arsenal square off against Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon on Thursday evening. The away leg is up first in the competition’s Round of 16.

Arteta chopped and changed during the group phase, though often selected around 4-6 of his regular starters in each eleven.

However, with a first EPL title since 2004 within their grasp, all eyes will be on how seriously Arteta treats Europe’s second tier competition.

Ahead of the clash in Portugal, Sporting centre-back, Jeremiah St Juste, labelled Arsenal wingers Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli the best in Europe in their positions.

The pair have combined for 34 goal contributions between them this season and St Juste is fully aware of the almighty challenge he’ll face… if they start.

Doing so would give Arsenal their best chance of securing a commanding lead ahead of the return leg at the Emirates.

However, selecting the red-hot pair would also increase their chances of picking up an untimely injury and potentially scuppering their Premier League title charge.

Saka, Martinelli “prove” they’re the best

When asked if Saka and Martinelli are the best wingers in Europe, St Juste said (via the Metro): “Yeah, I think so.

“They have a lot of quality and they prove that weekly at the highest level so it’s going to be an exciting challenge.”

The 26-year-old Dutchman continued: ‘I think the players and staff see this as a great game to play. They are top of the Premier League and we want to test ourselves against the very best.

“We are expecting an Arsenal who wants to win, wants to press, with quality on the ball. We are expecting a dynamic Arsenal.”

Arsenal’s clash with Sporting will kick off at 5:45pm (UK time) on Thursday evening.

READ MORE: Arsenal concern with Mikel Arteta wanted by ‘very angry’ Euro giants with star manager ‘facing the sack’

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