MX23RW : Tuesday, November 13 03:20:47
Nov 8, 2018 at 8pm UK at ​Emirates Stadium (London)
Arsenal
0-0
Sporting Lisbon
FT

Mathieu (87')

Emery keen to wrap up top spot

Emery keen to wrap up top spot
© Reuters
Arsenal have won their first three games in the Europa League this season.

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery is targeting early progression into the latter stages of the Europa League with victory over Sporting Lisbon on Thursday night.

The Gunners have won their opening three Group E matches and a fourth win in succession could be enough to seal qualification for the knockout stages in first place.

Sporting head to the Emirates Stadium with an interim manager, Tiago Fernandes, in place after former coach Jose Peseiro left the club since the reverse fixture a fortnight ago.

Emery's side are defending a 14-match unbeaten run after Saturday's 1-1 draw with Liverpool extended a streak that stretches back to August.

The Spaniard, who won the Europa League three years in a row while manager of Sevilla, is now aiming to maintain Arsenal's perfect start to their continental campaign.

"Of course the first (thought) for us is to finish first in this group," Emery said.

"It is a very important match because they are second in the table and if we win, we are first in the group. That's our clear target.

"We want to find our focus in two ways – one is in this competition, which is very important for us. It's one way (to win) a title and get into the Champions League next year.

"The second focus is on our work, to continue to improve and to continue with the players, taking responsibility and confidence.

"They (Sporting) are a team with very good players, very good history, also in this competition.

"They've changed the coach but I think for them tomorrow is a very big match and a very good test in this competition, also for fighting for first position against us. But we want tomorrow to give a big match with our personality."

Tiago, who has previously won titles with Sporting's Under-19 team, is keen to use his chance to make a mark on the Europa League.

Sporting endured a difficult summer as a host of players departed following an attack on the club's training ground by disillusioned supporters.

Peseiro replaced Sinisa Mihajlovic, who lasted just nine days in the job, with Tiago the third man to take charge of the side this year.

He guided Sporting to a 2-1 victory over Santa Clara in the Primeira Liga at the weekend but has the task of trying to get a result from Arsenal as Al Jazeira coach Marcel Keizer is reportedly close to being appointed.

"As manager of Sporting, every game you play with this team is to win," he said.

"I do what the chairman has asked me and tomorrow I will do the same as I have throughout the week. I have had help from the players.

"That motivates me and I have happiness to represent this team in the competition and to manage players with this quality.

"I'm always here to help Sporting, however long the situation is. I will be ready to give a contribution to the team, I have been here eight years and I will not comment on the rest."


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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger watches on during a Premier League clash with Huddersfield Town on May 13, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City1210203653132
2Liverpool129302351830
3Chelsea128402781928
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs1290320101027
5Arsenal1273226151124
6Bournemouth126242116520
7Watford126241714320
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd126242021-120
9Everton125431915419
10Leicester CityLeicester125251716117
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves124441213-116
12Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton124261318-514
13West Ham UnitedWest Ham123361418-412
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle12237915-69
15Burnley122371225-139
16Crystal Palace12228817-98
17Southampton12156821-138
18Cardiff CityCardiff122281125-148
19Huddersfield TownHuddersfield12147622-167
20Fulham121291131-205

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