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Sporting CP vs Arsenal Europa League round of 16 first leg preview: Where to watch, kick-off time, predicted line-ups

When is it? How can you watch it? What are the possible line-ups? All you need to know about the UEFA Europa League round of 16 first leg between Sporting CP and Arsenal.

Bukayo Saka in training ahead of Arsenal's journey to Lisbon
Bukayo Saka in training ahead of Arsenal's journey to Lisbon Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Sporting CP and Arsenal meet in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 first leg on Thursday 9 March.

Sporting CP vs Arsenal at a glance

When: Thursday 9 March (18:45 CET kick-off)
Where: Estádio José Alvalade, Lisbon
What: UEFA Europa League round of 16 first leg (second leg: 16 March)
How to follow: Build-up and live coverage can be found here

Where to watch Sporting CP vs Arsenal

Fans can find their local Europa League broadcast partner(s) here.

What do you need to know?

Sporting CP are yet to score in four previous meetings with Arsenal: two in the 1969/70 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, the non-UEFA affiliated predecessor of the Europa League, and two more in the 2018/19 group stage.

The Lions have been having an up-and-down season, but can hope that Arsenal will be distracted by their domestic campaign as they chase their first Premier League title since 2003/04. Within Sporting's ranks is one Héctor Bellerín, who was on the Gunners' books from 2011 to 2022.

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Predicted line-ups

Sporting CP: Adán; Diomande, Coates, Gonçalo Inácio; Bellerín, Morita, Pedro Gonçalves, Matheus Reis; Edwards, Paulinho, Nuno Santos
Suspended: Ugarte
Misses next match if booked: Coates, Esgaio, Morita, Reis

Arsenal: Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Ødegaard, Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli
Misses next match if booked: Tierney

Form guide

Sporting CP
Form (all competitions, most recent first)
Most recent result
: Portimonense 0-1 Sporting CP, 04/03, Portuguese Liga
Where they stand: 4th in Portuguese Liga

Form (all competitions, most recent first)
Most recent result: Arsenal 3-2 Bournemouth, 04/03, English Premier League
Where they stand
: 1st in English Premier League

Expert predictions

Carlos Machado, Sporting CP reporter
Arsenal look to be trophy contenders, but Sporting will aim to emulate their performances against the Gunners' local rivals Tottenham in the Champions League group stage, having won at home and clinched a draw in north London. The Lions possess players who can hurt Arsenal, though their confidence levels have slipped of late and they will need to be focused after needing a late equaliser to hold Midtjylland at home in the knockout round play-offs.

Lynsey Hooper, Arsenal reporter
With their scintillating domestic form, the Gunners must be billed as one of the favourites to take the Europa League title this season, and with performances full of character and grit you can never write them off – no matter what the deficit is. Getting their noses in front is exactly what the Portuguese side need to do in Lisbon, but even that might not be enough across the two legs. Arsenal have entered a rich new period under Mikel Arteta.

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What the coaches say

Rúben Amorim, Sporting CP coach: "Arsenal are out of this world and we well know the spirit in their camp. They are eager to win every match and that's why they've been able to win right at the death. You saw how they celebrated the victories. We are up against an Arsenal side in great shape and we know it will be very difficult."

Mikel Arteta, Arsenal manager: "We will try to keep picking the team we believe is the best to win on the day, because if you do something different people will say: 'Why did you pick this team and we didn't win in the Europa League?' We're going to pick the players that are in the best possible condition, because it's really important to win the game to be in a better condition to win the next one."

Where is the 2023 Europa League final?

POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Budapest's Puskás Aréna will host the final on 31 May 2023.

The winners gain a place in the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League group stage, if they have not qualified via their domestic competition.

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