Arsenal to Play Sporting in Round of 16 EL Tie (043)

The Europa League round of 16 draw has just taken place, revealing that Arsenal will play Portuguese side Sporting after a 4 – 0 win over Midtjylland saw them win 5 – 1 on aggregate. Statistics are on our side for this match, as in four meetings we have never lost; two wins and two draws, and in the Europa League competition this is 1 win and 1 draw. The first leg will take place in Portugal on 9th March at 20:00. Bellerin will be reuniting with his teammates as he is Sporting’s number 19. 

The other fixtures are as follows:

Union Berlin vs Union Saint Gilloise
Bayern Leverkusen vs Ferencváros
Juventus vs SC Freiburg
Sevilla vs Fenerbahçe
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Feyenoord
Manchester United vs Real Betis
Roma vs Real Sociedad

A look back at how Arsenal made it to the round of 16 this season:

Matchday 1 of 6 back in September saw the Gunners win 2 – 1 away from home against FC Zurich who won only one of their six fixtures. Matchday 2 was postponed until October, but saw a less than convincing 1 – 0 victory at home to PSV. Matchday 3 was more in the spirit as we glided to a 3 – 0 victory courtesy of goals from Eddie, Holdini, and Vieira over Bodø/Glimt. The reverse of that tie was another 1 – 0 victory as Saka was the man who made the difference with a 24th minute goal. The only fixture we have lost so far in the competition was a 2 – 0 defeat away to PSV, but the boys bounced back as we ended the group stage with a 1 – 0 win over FC Zurich. 

Matt Turner has been excellent his debut season for Arsenal, conceding only 3 goals in the six game we have played thus far. As the competition intensifies, we can expect to see the first team players making their way back into the starting XI, and perhaps the reserves coming on towards the end of the game if Arteta feels we have been dominating.

As Arsenal were the group winners, we have the advantage of playing the second leg at home, giving us the chance to bounce back with a stadium full of fans if things don’t go so well in Portugal. Despite Sporting being tough competition I have faith that the boys will win and even bring back a European trophy this season. 

Written by: Abby Goodson (@_abbygoodson)

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