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manager faces a tricky balancing act as Sporting Lisbon visit the Emirates to battle for a spot in the last eight of the . With the match poised at 2-2 from the first leg, fielding a strong side would boost the Gunners’ chances of advancing, but it would also increase the risk of incurring a costly injury for the title run-in. With that in mind, Express Sport takes you through how Arsenal are likely to line up…

Goalkeeper – Turner

Matt Turner has played five full matches in the Europa League this term, with Aaron Ramsdale very much the starting stopper in the Premier League. Despite the magnitude of the game, the American is likely to be given another vote of confidence by Arteta against Sporting. 

He will have to repay the manager’s faith, however, after a shaky showing in Portugal almost left Arsenal chasing the game heading into the second leg. 

Defence – White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko

Arteta is likely to select his strongest-possible defence in an effort to keep things tight at the back and allow the attackers to express themselves freely. Takehiro Tomiyasu is in with a shot of starting at right-back but Ben White remains the top choice and should start instead. 

Jakub Kiwior was given his first minutes in an Arsenal shirt in the reverse fixture, but with the stakes so high, he could well make way for Gabriel Magalhaes to return alongside William Saliba, who scored in Portugal. Oleksandr Zinchenko has established himself as a key player on the pitch and in the dressing room, which puts him in a strong position to complete the back-four on Thursday.

Midfield – Vieira, Jorginho, Xhaka

Thomas Partey and Martin Odegaard have been two of Arsenal’s strongest performers this season, but the risk may simply be too high for Arteta to field them in the Europa League. Losing either the Ghanaian or the Norwegian could be disastrous for the Gunners’ title hopes, meaning changes are likely from Sunday’s win over Fulham. 

Summer signing Fabio Vieira has been a regular in Europe this term, despite only starting twice in the league, while Jorginho could be selected to anchor the midfield in place of Partey. Granit Xhaka started in Lisbon and could do so again at the Emirates, providing much needed experience in the middle of the park.

Attack – Saka, Trossard, Nelson

Bukayo Saka recently discussed the fatigue that comes with such an intense season, but his performances make him virtually undroppable for Arteta, and he has already played in 36 games at club level alone this campaign. 

The Gunners have options through the middle but the impressive Leandro Trossard could get the nod ahead of Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus. Meanwhile, Reiss Nelson’s growing highlight reel of important moments this term should be enough to see him start ahead of Emile Smith Rowe on the left flank.

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