Will Arsenal make it all clear in the first leg?

After football fans in Europe have already been enchanted with Champions League football this week, the first legs in the last 16 of the Europa League are still on the schedule to conclude the European Cup week.

One of the most attractive matches in this competition will be played in the Portuguese capital Lisbon, where hosts Sporting will meet Premier League leaders Arsenal London. Two illustrious names will be facing each other, with the English side being the favourites for a Sporting Lisbon vs Arsenal tip from the best bookmakers.

And an away win is definitely in the cards for Mikel Arteta’s side at the Leoes in their current form. It is not for nothing that the Gunners, along with Manchester United, are top favourites to win the Europa League this season.

The Portuguese, on the other hand, have fallen short of their own expectations both nationally and internationally this season. In the Champions League, they already had to pull out after the group stage.

After relegation to the Europa League, Amorim’s side won through in the play-offs against Midtjylland, and now a real thriller awaits the Portuguese in the round of 16.

The bookmakers’ Sporting Lisbon vs Arsenal prediction on who will come out on top after the first and second legs does not leave many questions unanswered. Sporting Lisbon have never been able to defeat the English in four European duels so far and have not even scored a goal of their own.

Sporting Lisbon – Statistics & current form

After winning the championship in 2021 and finishing runners-up last season, Portugal’s second-biggest Sporting club will have to bake smaller rolls this season. In the domestic league, Sporting are only in fourth place after the 23rd matchday, without any realistic chance of still being in the championship race.

The Portuguese runners-up have also bowed out of the European Champions League. After their relegation to the Europa League, the top favourites Arsenal London were not exactly the dream draw. At least the Sporting Lisbon vs. Arsenal odds of the betting providers do not indicate too much of an underdog role for Ruben Amorim’s team, at least in the first leg.

Can Sporting defy the Gunners?

At least in the domestic league, the “Leoes” have a good home record with nine wins from eleven home games and a goal difference of 29:7 goals. However, the fact that Sporting Lisbon have failed to win three of their four European home games this season shows that home records in the Portuguese league should be treated with caution when it comes to the European top level.

While home wins against the smaller teams in Portugal’s league are almost a foregone conclusion, the games against Porto and Benfica are the real yardsticks in Portugal. Sporting lost to Porto in their own stadium just a few weeks ago.

In the Champions League, too, there were clear defeats at home against Marseille and Frankfurt. However, Sporting surprisingly won their home match against Arsenal’s league rivals Tottenham in the top flight, which shows that the Portuguese can quickly become a very unpleasant opponent on a good day.

In the Europa League play-off, which Sporting had to take part in as Champions League relegated teams, they only managed a meagre draw at home against the Danish representatives Midtjylland. With Arsenal London, a completely different calibre is now coming to the Portuguese capital. That’s why we’re not making any Sporting Lisbon vs Arsenal predictions on the Amorim side being able to trip up the strong Gunners.

Last matches played by Sporting Lisbon:

Liga Portugal
05/03/2023 – Portimonense 0 – 1 Sporting CP

28/02/2023 – Sporting CP 2 – 0 Estoril

Europa League Final Stage
24/02/2023 – FC Midtjylland 0 – 4 Sporting CP

Liga Portugal
21/02/2023 – Chaves 2 – 3 Sporting CP

Europa League Final Stage
17/02/2023 – Sporting CP 1 – 1 FC Midtjylland

Arsenal – Statistics & current form

Arsenal London continue to be the measure of all things in the English Premier League this season. In the past week, the Gunners have won two games at home against relegation candidates Everton and Bournemouth and thus continue to lead the table ahead of Manchester City.

Against promoted and relegation candidates Bournemouth, the Gunners unexpectedly struggled last weekend, but came back from 2-0 down to win at home in literally the last minute.

Another proof of the strong morale of the Arteta eleven this season. In the Europa League, the Spanish coach’s team must now first play away at the Portuguese fourth-placed team, where the Sporting Lisbon vs Arsenal odds show a not too clear favourite role for the team from the English capital.

Will Arsenal also win at Sporting?

In fact, the favourites’ role might even be a little clearer, because after all, the Gunners travel to the Portuguese capital as the team with the strongest away record in arguably the strongest league in the world this season and as top favourites to win the Europa League. Apart from the slip-up at Everton a few weeks ago, Arsenal have remained unbeaten on foreign soil in all their Premier League games, winning ten of their 13 away matches so far.

Their goal-scoring record at home is also impressive at national level, with 25 goals to 9. The preliminary round of the Europa League did not pose any major problems for Arteta’s team; apart from the ultimately meaningless defeat in Eindhoven, Arsenal celebrated five victories here. A development that star coach Mourinho already foresaw in 2020 as the then coach of Tottenham.

The Gunners’ record against Portuguese sides is also quite respectable, and they have never lost to their upcoming opponents in four meetings. Arsenal also won their last meeting on Portuguese soil by a narrow 1-0 scoreline in the 2018/19 season, while Sporting Lisbon are still without a single goal in all four games against the Gunners so far. It is quite possible that this will continue to be the case after the first leg in the round of 16, as Arteta’s side have defended so well away from home this season.

In eight of the 13 away games in the domestic Premier League, keeper Ramsdale has kept a clean sheet – the best record in the Premier League. Away from home, the Gunners’ style of play is less spectacular than in home games. Mikel Arteta’s team mainly aims to keep a clean sheet, and one or two good actions up front are often enough to win the game. In the first leg in Lisbon, too, not many goals are to be expected.

Last games of Arsenal:

Premier League
04/03/2023 – Arsenal FC 3 – 2 Bournemouth

02/03/2023 – Arsenal FC 4 – 0 Everton

25/02/2023 – Leicester 0 – 1 Arsenal FC

18/02/2023 – Aston Villa 2 – 4 Arsenal FC

16/02/2023 – Arsenal FC 1 – 3 Manchester City

Sporting Lisbon – Arsenal Direct comparison / H2H balance

A total of four duels have been played between the two teams so far, in which the Gunners are still unbeaten. Two wins and two draws stand in the balance. Sporting have not scored a goal in any of the four encounters so far.

While the first meeting between the two teams in the predecessor competition to today’s Europa League, the Fairs Cup, is almost 50 years in the past and has no relevance to the upcoming clash, the last encounter in the Europa League in the 2018/19 season is more meaningful.

On that occasion, Arsenal won 1-0 at Sporting Lisbon in the group stage, with the return leg in London ending in a goalless draw.

Sporting Lisbon – Arsenal Tip

Two illustrious names in European football will meet in the last 16 of the second most important European club competition. Arsenal London are already slight favourites in the away leg.

In this case, the role of favourite should be absolutely justified, as the difference in quality between the two teams is too great this season. While Arsenal travel to southern Europe as England’s strongest away team, Sporting Lisbon have won only one of their four European home games so far this season. The Sporting Lisbon vs Arsenal prediction therefore goes in the direction of an away win.

Spectacle at home, meagre fare away. That’s how you could sum up the Gunners’ games this season. Coach Arteta’s plan to operate from a compact defensive position away from home is clearly recognisable. Not for nothing did Arteta’s team score less than three goals in eight of their 13 away games in the Premier League, as well as in two of their three European away games this season.

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