Arsenal v Sporting Lisbon odds and best bets: Props and predictions for March 16
After an eventful Round of 16 first leg that left the tie delicately balanced at 2-2, can Arsenal extend their unbeaten run at home to beat Sporting Lisbon on Thursday and book a place in the quarterfinals of the Europa League?
Hell bent on securing a first Premier League title since Wenger’s Invincible last won it for the Gunners almost twenty years ago, Arsenal could be forgiven for caring very little about Europe’s second tier competition.
But Mikel Arteta still fielded a strong line up for last week’s first leg at José Alvalade Stadium, and the Arsenal faithful will certainly be hoping the club can add a cup run to what could be the north London side's best season in two decades.
Since their last Premier League defeat in a 3-1 loss to Man City last month, the Gunners have gone on a six game unbeaten run in all competitions with a perfect record of five straight wins blighted only by that 2-2 Europa league draw last week.
Sporting Lisbon are on an impressive run of their own as well though. Having seen off Boavista in a 3-0 win on the weekend Rúben Amorim’s side are unbeaten in their last seven outings. And their away record has been impressive of late, with the Portuguese outfit winning each of their last five matches on the road.
Nuts & Bolts
Whilst the Gunners have won 13 of their 17 home games in all competitions this season Mikel Arteta’s side have only one win in their last six European knockout matches.
Momentum counts for plenty though. And Arteta may field a lineup closer to his starting 11, with Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus also available after a timely return from the injury he picked up at the World Cup.
Arsenal have scored two goals or more goals in their last four matches, and they kept a clean sheet in each of their last four home games in Europe.
Sporting will be without center-back Sebastian Coates and defensive midfielder Morita, with both players missing out through suspension after picking up yellow cards in the first leg.
Rúben Amorim’s side have been on the losing side of their last nine away games against English clubs, so all the signs point to an Arsenal win on the night.
All odds courtesy of NorthStar Bets
Gabriel Martinelli anytime goal (+148)
With 12 goals in all competitions Martinelli is Arsenal’s top scorer this season. He almost bagged a goal of the season contender in the first leg and we’re backing him to find the net tomorrow.
Both teams to score (-104)
Arsenal has scored two or more in each of their last four games and Sporting have nine goals in their last four outings.
Sporting Lisbon most cards (-155)
Expect a fiery encounter between these two teams with the Portuguese side getting the lion's share of the bookings at the Emirates.