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Europa League preview: Arsenal face Lisbon away, Chelsea host Borisov

Arsenal players

Bengaluru, October 25: Arsenal take a 10-match winning streak to Sporting Lisbon as their quest to win the Europa League continues on Thursday (October 25), when city rivals Chelsea, possibly without the influential Eden Hazard, host BATE Borisov of Belarus.

After sealing an impressive 10th straight victory at home to Leicester in the Premier League on Monday, Unai Emery's outfit are the team to watch in Group E.

Arsenal and Sporting sit on six points apiece after two games, with Azerbaijan's Qarabag and fellow strugglers Vorskla of Ukraine still pointless.

Sporting are fifth in Portugal's top flight, four points off the top with former Manchester United star Nani having scored three goals from seven league outings.

If Arsenal needed more reason to believe in their chances of going all the way, they need not look far. As coach of Sevilla in 2013-2016, Emery led the Spaniards to three consecutive Europa League titles.

"We are beginning to play with heart," Emery said after the come-from-behind 3-1 win, in which Mesut Ozil scored and provided an assist in a man-of-the-match performance.

"I think we played some sexy football," said the 30-year-old German.

Having won both their opening Group L matches, 2013 champions Chelsea can take a major step to the next round with a home win on Thursday, although they may have to do without Hazard.

The Belgian playmaker says he was kicked so much during Chelsea's 2-2 weekend draw with Manchester United that he will miss the Stamford Bridge game against BATE with a bad back.

"When I woke up on Monday I was stiff. Even during the second half I couldn't accelerate properly," he said.

With Spanish centre-forward Alvaro Morata struggling on just three goals this season, Hazard's absence could rob Chelsea of their main attacking threat after a blistering seven-goal start to the Premier League campaign.

As Marseille prepare to face Lazio, the French side will be hoping the past experience of coach Rudi Garcia pays dividends as they bid for their first win of the group stage following a 2-2 draw at Apollon Limassol.

He joined them from Roma, where he faced Lazio five times in the capital-city derby and never lost.

"Three wins and two draws in five games, I hope we can get a result like I used to in those Rome derbies," said Garcia.



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Fixtures

(Early kick offs, 10.25pm IST)

Group A: Zurich v Leverkusen, AEK Larnaca v Ludogorets

Group B: Salzburg v Rosenborg, Leipzig v Celtic

Group C: Zenit Saint Petersburg v Bordeaux, Kobenhavn v Slavia Praha

Group D: Anderlecht v Fenerbahce, Spartak Trnava v Dinamo Zagreb

Group E: Qarabag v Vorskla, Sporting CP v Arsenal

Group F: AC Milan v Real Betis, Dudelange v Olympiacos

(Late kick-offs 12.30am Friday IST)

Group G: Rangers v Spartak Moscow, Villarreal v Rapid Vienna

Group H: Eintracht Frankfurt v Apollon, Marseille v Lazio

Group I: Sarpsborg v Malmo, Besiktas v Genk

Group J: Standard Liege v Krasnodar, Sevilla v Akhisar

Group K: Jablonec v Astana, Rennes v Dynamo Kiev

Group L: Chelsea v BATE Borisov, PAOK v Vidi

(With Agency inputs)

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    Story first published: Thursday, October 25, 2018, 14:46 [IST]
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