Arsenal face Sporting Lisbon tonight in the second leg of the UEFA Europa League, and Mikel Arteta has some big decisions to make regarding his starting XI.

The Gunners came away from their trip to the Portuguese capital with a 2-2 draw after a chaotic match against Sporting, with William Saliba and a Hidemasa Morita own goal helping Arsenal take a decent result back to north London this Thursday.

With a 3-0 win against Fulham shortly following this draw against Sporting, Arsenal now have an all-but fit starting XI to face Ruben Amorim’s side, with Mohamed Elneny and Eddie Nketiah the only notable absentees from the squad this evening.

Arteta will want his side to repeat their heroics against Fulham tonight with Sporting, and here is our predicted starting XI for this massive European encounter in north London.

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Saka dropped as Trossard leads Arsenal’s XI vs Sporting Lisbon

Arsenal vs Sporting predicted XI
Arsenal vs Sporting predicted XI

Dropping Bukayo Saka might seem like an unlikely move from Arteta given how big this fixture is, but with Leandro Trossard back to full fitness and Arsenal facing Sporting at home, Reiss Nelson could be given a chance to show his quality having started last week in Portugal.

Kieran Tierney’s return to fitness having missed last week’s trip to Sporting due to illness will likely see the Scotsman return to the starting XI, though we will likely see Arsenal’s trusted central partnership of Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba return based on how much Jakub Kiwior struggled last week.

With Takehiro Tomiyasu and likely to start ahead of Ben White and Matt Turner once again replacing Aaron Ramsdale, Arsenal’s backline is looking rather strong given that only two of the five players are regular starters, with the midfield also looking impressive.

Sporting CP v Arsenal FC: Round of 16 Leg One - UEFA Europa League
Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Alongside Saliba, Fabio Vieira was one of Arsenal’s best players in last week’s clash against Sporting, and the Portuguese youngster more than warrants a return to the XI, alongside Jorginho, with Thomas Partey dropping down to the bench to keep him fresh for Sunday as Granit Xhaka also starts in the midfield.

Onto the attack, and as mentioned and seen above, Saka also makes his way to the bench with the England international looking physically exhausted against Fulham, giving Nelson the opportunity to impress the Arsenal faithful at the Emirates.

With Trossard leading the line, Gabriel Jesus once again starts the match for Arsenal on the bench, though given how lively the £50m Brazilian looked on Sunday, the striker will likely feature at some point given how deadly the forward could be in the final moments against Sporting.

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