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Arsenal will have the opportunity to secure their place in the knockout stages of the Europa League when they face Sporting Lisbon.

The Gunners are currently top of Group E with three wins from their opening three games, including a 1-0 win over the Portuguese club two weeks ago to take control.

Read on for Arsenal v Sporting live stream options, team news, predicted XIs, stats and TV channel info.

How does Lucas Torreira compare to the best CDMs in Europe?

Unai Emery’s men were expected to ease through their group but the growth of Arsenal under their new manager has come at a surprise to some, especially after a poor start to the campaign.

Part of this form has been down to the introduction of summer signing Lucas Torreira into the Arsenal starting XI, with the Uruguayan really taking control of the Gunners midfield alongside Granit Xhaka, boosting the performances of his team-mates. But how does he compare to some of the best defensive midfielders in Europe right now?

Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets, Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante and Casemiro of Real Madrid are widely regarded as the top defensive midfielders in Europe, though Kante’s game has changed under Maurizio Sarri. And Torreira does compete well with the trio.

The Uruguayan has averaged more interceptions per 90 (2.3) than any of the trio, almost one per 90 more than his closest rival which is Casemiro with 1.34 per 90.

Torreira is also an accomplished passer, averaging 60.72 passes completed per 90 in his 11 Premier League appearances, bettered only, and understandably, by Busquets’ 73.42 per 90 for Barcelona.

Where Torreira does still need to improve, however, is his tackling. The Arsenal man has averaged 1.28 tackles won per 90 so far this season, only more than Kante whose positional change has taken some of his defensive responsibilities away. The Uruguayan also gives away too many fouls, averaging 1.79 per 90 – the most of among the quartet.

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How can Arsenal qualify for the last-32?

In a fairly straightforward permutation, Arsenal can qualify for the Europa League knockout stages with a win over Sporting on Thursday. A victory would see the Gunners on 12 points, six clear of second place with two games left to play. Even if Vorskla beat Qarabag to go level on points with Sporting, the two still have to play each other meaning both cannot get the six points required to send Arsenal out.

When is Arsenal vs Sporting Lisbon?

Competition: Uefa Europa League

Venue: Emirates Stadium

Date: Thursday, 8 November

Kick-off: 8:00 PM GMT

Match preview

Arsenal will be looking to extend their current unbeaten run in all competitions to 15 games when they welcome Sporting to the Emirates on Thursday.

The Gunners showed the self-belief of their players at the weekend in coming from behind against Liverpool to earn a point and keep that run going, and that momentum should carry over to the Europa League.

Though Emery is likely to rotate some players to combat Arsenal’s busy fixture list, the Gunners are in a better position than their Portuguese opponents.

Sporting Lisbon recently sacked manager Jose Peseiro after a shock Portuguese League Cup defeat to Second Division side Estoril and have Tiago Fernandes in charge for the trip to London.

Fernandes oversaw a win for Sporting at the weekend against Santa Clara but the Lions had to come from behind and were the beneficiary of a sending off, facing 10 men for the final 30 minutes of the match.

Despite winning their opening two Europa League matches, Sporting know they will likely need at least a point against Arsenal to have some security in their second spot with Vorskla, three points behind them currently.

Where can I watch live?

Arsenal’s game against Sporting can be viewed by UK residents on BT Sport 2, channel 414 on Sky, and channel 532 for Virgin Media users. BT Sport subscribers can also watch the game online at sport.bt.com and via their BT Sport app.

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Head-to-head

Both Arsenal and Sporting have enjoyed similar starts to their domestic campaigns this season with the Gunners currently fifth in the Premier League with seven wins from their opening 11 games. Meanwhile, Sporting have won six of their first nine games in the Primeira Liga to see them third.

Thursday’s match between Sporting and Arsenal will be just the fourth time the two sides have faced each other, with the Gunners currently unbeaten against their Portuguese opponents including a 1-0 win in Lisbon two weeks ago.

Arsenal wins: 2 Draws:Away wins: 0

Team news

Given the high-intensity match in which Arsenal participated at the weekend, and going on previous Europa League matches, Emery is likely to rotate his squad to face Sporting on Thursday. Matteo Guendouzi missed the draw with Liverpool due to a suspension but is likely to start in midfield alongside Granit Xhaka to give Lucas Torreira a rest.

Meanwhile, Sporting Lisbon may be without Rodrigo Battaglia who had to be taken off in the first half against Santa Clara through an injury, though the Lions will be boosted by the return of striker Bas Dost.

Predicted Home XI: Cech; Lichtsteiner, Holding, Sokratis, Kolasinac; Xhaka, Guendouzi, Iwobi, Ramsey, Mkhitaryan; Welbeck.

Predicted Away XI:  Ribeiro; Gaspar, Coates, Mathieu, Lumor; Fernandes, Gudelj, Nani, Acuna; Montero, Dost

Squawka Prediction

Sporting are in a weird position right now, without a permanent manager, which will only work in Arsenal’s favour. 2-1 Arsenal.

Predictions & Betting Tips

Get the BetBull sign-up offer HERE – Ts&Cs apply. +18 only. BeGambleAware.org

1. Danny Welbeck to score first @ 7/2

Danny Welbeck is loving the Europa League this season, making half of his six starts this season in the competition.

The Englishman has played in three different positions in his three games in Europe, testing himself across the Arsenal front line with some success.

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Welbeck scored the only goal in Portugal two weeks and will back himself to do so again at the Emirates, where his four other goals this season have come.

Key Stat: Danny Welbeck has scored two goals in three Europa League games this season.

Tip: Danny Welbeck to score first @ 7/2 with BetBull – bet here

Odds correct at time of publishing (06/11/2018, 15:30)

18+ only. Ts&Cs apply. BeGambleAware.org

2. Arsenal to win and both teams to score @ 8/5

Since beating Sporting 1-0 in the Europa League two weeks ago, Arsenal have played three matches and conceded in all three of them.

Crystal Palace managed to score two goals against the Gunners while League One side Blackpool found a way to breach the Arsenal defence in the Carabao Cup before a score draw with Liverpool at the weekend.

Meanwhile, Sporting have kept just four clean sheets in their 15 games across all competitions this season, including one in their first Europa League match against Qarabag.

Key Stat: Arsenal have kept just four clean sheets in their 16 games across all competitions.

Tip: X @ X/X with BetBull – bet here

Odds correct at time of publishing (06/11/2018, 15:30)

18+ only. Ts&Cs apply. BeGambleAware.org

3. Under 3.5 goals @ 1/2

In what is likely to be a close affair on Thursday, neither Arsenal nor Sporting will want to expose themselves too much defensively to ensure at least a point from the match.

When these sides last met it was a similar situation, with a 1-0 win sufficient enough for Arsenal to get all three points and take control of the group.

Key Stat: Both Arsenal’s and Sporting’s last two games have seen fewer than 3.5 goals scored.

Tip: Under 3.5 goals @ 1/2 with BetBull – bet here

Odds correct at time of publishing (06/11/2018, 15:30)

18+ only. Ts&Cs apply. BeGambleAware.org

The post Arsenal vs Sporting Lisbon predictions and match preview appeared first on Squawka News.

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