Europa League preview and tips: Goals expected in another Sporting test for Arsenal

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Mikel Arteta's side took an early lead before the hosts responded and turned the game on its head to lead 2-1. 

An own goal from Japan international Hidemasa Morita ensured the tie remains in the balance to set up a potential Thursday night blockbuster at the Emirates, with the scoreline at 2-2.

Sporting Lisbon had been priced as heavy outsiders for this tie and that remains the case, but what they did show is that they can create chances against the current Premier League leaders.

It is clear that Sporting will struggle to restrict a rampant Arsenal side from creating multiple chances, but it is also apparent that the Liga Portugal side can create their own opportunities.

From a betting perspective Over 2.5 goals looks a solid bet, while Over 2.75 goals is also favourable in markets that carry that option.

Despite four goals last Thursday night, much of the post-match discussion was directed to a brilliant run from Brazilian forward Gabriel Martinelli.

The youngster raced from his own half, beating four defenders thanks to his immense close control, but sadly the finish did not match the run, denying what would have been a Puskas award contender.

Martinelli might be saved for the latter stages in this leg, as Arteta will be looking to shuffle his pack after leaving Thomas Partey, Gabriel and Aaron Ramsdale on the bench in the first leg.

Winning the Premier League is undoubtedly the number one target for Arsenal, so managing the squad to keep all players fit and fresh is something that Arteta believes is vital. This season, Sporting Lisbon have already proved their pedigree against a Premier League side. Tottenham Hotspur- ironically the fierce North London rivals of Arsenal - ended up drawn in the same group alongside Eintracht Frankfurt and Marseille. Sporting picked up a point in a 1-1 draw in the away fixture, before comfortably beating Spurs 2-0 at home. Whilst Arsenal are clearly better than Tottenham this season, it is nevertheless a good omen for the underdogs. For Sporting, this competition is likely the main priority. Currently fourth in a league with only the top two automatically gaining Champions League qualification, they are seven points adrift of Porto in second. The 'Leoes' (Portuguese for Lions), will likely need to win this competition to ensure they dine at Europe's top table next season. In addition, they do not play another competitive fixture until April against Santa Clara, and with this in mind, Ruben Amorim will surely play his strongest team on Thursday evening. Qualification for Arsenal is still the most likely outcome, however a single goal may not be enough to win this match.

With another all-action affair probable, goals appears likely, while backing Sporting Lisbon to get the better of stand-in goalkeeper Matt Turner at least once looks nicely priced at just shy of evens.

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