Even as much as some fans would be fine with dropping out of the Europa League to focus on the Premier League title race, Mikel Arteta and Arsenal will not be letting up one percent. Back at home against a strong opponent and a chance to move into the quarterfinals is exactly the kind of challenge Arteta would want going into the Crystal Palace match and the international break. Two trophies are still very much a possibility, but first how aggressive will Arteta be in rotating or starting key Premier League starters?
Sporting CP will be missing a few key players when they visit the Emirates. Captain and center back Sebastian Coates as well as defensive midfield Hidemasa Morita both picked up yellow cards in the first leg that will see them miss out on Thursday. Additionally, former Gunner Hector Bellerin is likely to be unavailable for Sporting once again due to a knee injury. However, their midfield could get a boost if Manuel Ugarte is deemed fit to play.
- Gabriel Jesus
- Reiss Nelson
- Gabriel Martinelli
- Martin Odegaard
- Thomas Partey
- Matt Smith
- William Saliba
- Jakub Kiwior
- Ben White
- Oleksandr Zinchenko
- Aaron Ramsdale
- Karl Hein
Left Out: Eddie Nketiah (injury) & Mohamed Elneny (injury)
- Two more matches before the international break. By the time Arsenal return for Leeds, Eddie Nketiah should be back with the squad and Gabriel Jesus could be ready to start.
- There are easily 19-20 players in contention to start on Thursday. How aggressive will Arteta be from the start vs using some of the Premier League starters only if needed in the second half? Will he opt for Trossard up top again? Is Jesus really an option to start a match? And if he was, is this match worth it, given the Premier League title race and the other options available to Arteta?
- Tierney, Tomiyasu, Smith Rowe, Jorginho, and Turner could all use the minutes right now, while it would ideal to keep Partey, Odegaard, Zinchenko, and Ramsdale safely away on the bench.
How to watch
Thursday (3/16) at 4:00 pm ET / 1:00 pm PT on Paramount+.
Arsenal - 3
Sporting CP - 1
Arsenal advancing on aggregate 5-3.
This should be one of the more entertaining and watched second legs on Thursday. While I expect a strong fight from Sporting once again, playing at the Emirates this time and a nearly full squad to select from, the Gunners have a more comfortable time moving on to the quarterfinals.