Portuguese side Sporting CP will face off against EPL leaders Arsenal in UEFA Europa League play as the teams begin their Round of 16 series on Thursday. Sporting are coming off a 5-1 aggregate win over Danish side Midtjylland in the knockout round playoffs, while Arsenal finished on top of Group A to book an automatic spot in the Round of 16. Kickoff is set for 12:45 p.m. ET from Jose Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal. You can catch all the action via livestream on Paramount+.
Let’s take a closer look at Thursday’s match, with odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Sporting CP v. Arsenal
Date: Thursday, March 9
Time: 12:45 p.m. ET
TV channel: None
Live stream: Paramount+
Odds, picks & predictions
Sporting CP: +240
Moneyline pick: Arsenal +120
Sporting took down Midtjylland with relative ease, logging a 1-1 draw at home followed by a commanding 4-0 win on the road. Sporting finished third in Group D in Champions League play, falling to the Europa League as they look to make a deep run. They’ll have their work cut out for them against Arsenal, who have been sitting at the top of the Premier League table for the majority of the 2022-23 season.
The Gunners won five of their six matches in the group stage, with their only loss coming to PSV Eindhoven on Matchday 5. They were able to finish at the top of Group A, two points clear of PSV as they awaited their opponent from the knockout round playoffs. Mikel Arteta’s side, led by Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka, have won their last four matches in EPL play as they’ve been widening the gap between themselves and second-place Manchester City at the top of the table.
Sporting CP sit in fourth place in Liga Portugal, a full 15 points behind league leaders Benfica. They have also won their last four matches across all competitions, and have only lost twice in their last 11 outings. They’re led by Pedro Goncalves, who has notched 12 goals and six assists through 22 matches in Liga Portugal this season. However, they’ll be without Manuel Ugarte, who will be serving a one-match suspension due to yellow card accumulation.
These teams last met in the 2018 edition of Europa League, with two matches in the group stage resulting in a 1-0 win for Arsenal and a scoreless draw.
With how solid Arsenal has looked in league play this season even with the long-term absence of Gabriel Jesus (knee), back the Gunners to grab a win on the road and return to Emirates Stadium for the second leg with an advantage.