Europa League Group E Preview & Predictions – Arsenal / Qarabag / Sporting Lisbon / Vorskla

Arsenal
I fancy them at 9/1 to win the tournament
Unai Emery – New Manager
Won Europa League 3 years on the trot with Sevilla
Finished 6th. Runners up League Cup (lost to Man City). Europa Semis (lost to Atletico).
Won 2 lost 2 so far in league (lost to Chelsea and City)
Should be able to walk through this group
Arsenal will face about 10,000 miles of flying for their three away fixtures

Qarabag
Won Azerbaijan Premier League
Didnt win a game in group stage of CL last season
Worst group with Roma. Chelsea and Atletico. Only scored 2
Mahir Madatov was their top scorer with 9 goals in all comps!
Easier challenge with this group but will still struggle to make it out

Sporting Lisbon
Quarter finals of Europa – Lost to Atletico who won it
3rd in league last season missing out on Champs League
President De Carvalho threatened to suspend almost the entire first-team squad and lashed out at the players, calling them “spoilt children”.
Led to an attack by fans at the training ground.
9 players quit including 3 top scorers (Rui Patricio, William Carvalho, Gelson Martins (11), Bruno Fernandes (16), Ruben Ribeiro, Bas Dost (32 goals) and Daniel Podence)
Bas Dost and Fernandes then returned after president Bruno de Carvalho was removed by club members
3 wins and a draw so far though
Nani returned to club and has 3 goals so far this season

Vorskla
3rd in the Ukrainian Prem, 24 points behind Shakhtar and Dynamo Kyiv
Won 3 lost 4 so far this season
Last time they were in Europa they came last in group (Hannover, Standard Liege, Copenhagen)
Going to get smashed

Verdict:

Arsenal should walk it but travel could test them
Arsenal have lost four of their last five European games in Ukraine, drawing the other.
Conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia means Qarabag might not be safe for Mkhitaryan
When Borussia Dortmund travelled to Azerbaijan in 2015, Mkhitaryan was absent on security grounds

Prediction:

Arsenal
Sporting
Qarabag
Vorskla

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