Arsenal boss Unai Emery will be looking to guide his side into the knockout stages of the Europa League when they host Sporting Lisbon on Thursday evening, but he will be without five players for the match, according to their official website.

The Gunners have made a wonderful start to the competition, winning their first three fixtures, including a 1-0 win over the Portuguese side last month.

That all means that if they are victorious at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday evening, Arsenal will be through to the knockout stages as group winners, despite having two matches left to spare.

Emery has a wonderful record in this competition having won it when he was in charge of Sevilla, and he has clearly made the second string European adventure something of a priority since he arrived in London.

The Spaniard has gone with some strong line ups in the tournament to date, and in a bid to get the group done and dusted at the first opportunity, he might send out a decent strength side on Thursday.

There are five men that he is still not able to call upon however, with defensive quartet Sokratis, Nacho Monreal, Laurent Koscielny and Konstantinos Mavropanos all missing the game.

Egypt international midfielder Mo Elneny remains in the treatment room with a thigh injury, although he is expected to return after the international break.

Monreal, Koscielny and Sokratis are all said to be back in training for the Gunners, but this Europa League tie comes too soon for them to feature.

Danny Welbeck was the hero for Arsenal over in Portugal, when his goal earned a valuable three points, and got the Londoners into the position they are in heading into Thursday’s clash.

He will hope he did enough in that game to merit a spot at leading the line when Sporting arrive at the Emirates, on what is a big night for both teams.


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