Sporting Clube de Portugal will kick off their Europa League campaign group stage round away to Switzerland’s FC Zürich tomorrow at the Letzigrund.
The Sporting squad traveling to Switzerland does have some notable exclusions: Elias is out, due to being cup-tied after playing in the Europa League for Atlético Madrid. Luis Aguiar, Jeffrén and Matías Fernández are still not fit enough and do not travel.
Most notable of the exclusions is that of the captain, Daniel Carriço. Daniel Carriço has only started one of the first 6 games of the season for Sporting and has been excluded for this match and the previous game against Paços de Ferreira. Should Carriço fail to find his way back into the first team it could be a wonder whether he will still be at the club by the end of the season.
FC Zürich’s recent form isn’t too impressive as of late, 4 defeats in their last 5 matches and the Swiss team currently stand 7th in Switzerland’s Super League. FC Zürich qualified through to the Europa League after having been eliminated by German giants Bayern München.
It’s well worth nothing that FC Zürich have in their ranks a former Sporting youth-team player in Jorge Teixeira. The Lisbon-born man was at the club until moving on to Casa Pia Atlético Clube in 2005.
Sporting will want to kick on from their dramatic 3-2 win away to Paços de Ferreira last weekend.
Ricky Van Wolfswinkel will hope his late winning goal will guarantee him a starting position up front. Bruno Pereirinha’s positive performance could be likely to retain his position on the right hand side until the return of Jeffrén. Marat Izmailov’s goal scoring could ensure he starts in the place of cup-tied Elias, where as Diego Capel and Fabián Rinaudo may retain their starting berths.
In defence, Emiliano Insúa would be making his second ever Sporting appearance should he continue as the first choice left-back. It will be interesting to see if Paciência sticks with the centre-back pairing Alberto Rodríguez and Oguchi Onyewu after the two goals conceded at the weekend. Ânderson Polga will be looking to regain his place back from Onyweu with Rodríguez seemingly cemented as a first choice in the centre of defence.
Elsewhere, Rui Patrício and João Pereira have been ever-present this season will almost certainly start once more.
It’s important now for Sporting to try and find some sort of rhythm after clinching their first league win last weekend. An away tie to FC Zürich will certainly not be an easy prospect but Sporting are certainly good enough to come back to Lisbon with a positive result.