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Premier League’s Challenge to Stop Arsenal’s Glory: From Tottenham’s Marcus Edwards to Hector Bellerin

Premier League's Challenge to Stop Arsenal's Glory: From Tottenham's Marcus Edwards to Hector Bellerin

On Thursday, Arsenal will resume their Europa League campaign with a last-16 clash against Sporting Lisbon. The Portuguese side dropped out of the Champions League, where they were in the same group as Tottenham and managed to secure a win and a draw against the north London side.

Mikel Arteta’s side will undoubtedly be the favourites in this match as they continue their charge towards winning their first Premier League title since 2004. They currently hold a five-point lead over Manchester City. The Europa League also presents Arsenal with a glorious chance of winning more silverware, something that has eluded them since the 1993/94 European Cup Winners’ Cup. They have lost in the final of the Champions League in 2006 and most recently the Europa League final to Chelsea in 2019.

A place in the quarter-finals is up for grabs over the two legs against Sporting, with the first leg taking place on Thursday and being broadcast live on talkSPORT 2 at 5.45pm. There are a few familiar faces among the Portuguese team, chief among them Hector Bellerin.

The 27-year-old was an Arsenal stalwart for a number of years, playing 239 times for them after joining their academy from Barcelona in 2011. In September 2022, his contract with the Gunners was terminated, and he returned to his boyhood club Barcelona. Bellerin played just seven times for the Catalan club before joining Sporting on loan for the rest of the season.

Another name that fans will probably recognize is that of Marcus Edwards, the former Tottenham youngster who has turned into a star at the Portuguese club. He even scored against his old side in the Champions League this season, one of his 10 goals so far this campaign, and will no doubt be hoping to make it a north London double. Edwards has scored against the Gunners before while he was playing for Vitoria in the Europa League, although he was on the wrong end of a 3-2 defeat.

Sporting’s captain is Sebastian Coates, a former Liverpool player. He featured 24 times for the Reds before joining Sunderland on a permanent deal in 2015. He lasted just six months at the club before going to Sporting on loan, and that move was made permanent in 2017. Francisco Trincao has more recent Premier League experience having spent last season on loan at Wolves from Barcelona. He made 30 appearances in all competitions before joining the Portuguese side for the 2022/23 season.

In conclusion, Arsenal will be looking to continue their impressive form as they take on Sporting Lisbon in their Europa League last-16 clash. With familiar faces such as Hector Bellerin and former Tottenham youngster Marcus Edwards in the Sporting side, it promises to be an exciting encounter. The Gunners will be hoping to secure a victory and progress to the quarter-finals as they continue their quest for more silverware.

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