PARIS • Goalkeeper Bernd Leno has said that Arsenal are buoyed by Saturday's 1-1 Premier League draw with Liverpool ahead of today's Europa League home clash with Sporting Lisbon.
The Gunners top Group E with a perfect three wins and a second straight win over the Portuguese side would extend their unbeaten run to 15 games in all competitions.
Back-to-back defeats by Manchester City and Chelsea at the start of the season had raised question marks over whether Arsenal could compete with the best, but Leno said Saturday's home performance had proved otherwise.
"I think we saw that we can play our way against big teams," the German told the club website. "We controlled Liverpool. We played the ball with passes from behind and that's the way we want to play."
The 2006 Champions League runners-up failed to qualify for Europe's top club competition in each of Arsene Wenger's last two terms at the helm, but early signs seem to suggest they can end that run.
Leno thinks that new manager Unai Emery's influence has been key to changing the mood, saying: "The coach gives us a lot of confidence to play like this.
"I can't compare it because last year I was not here.
"I think (Emery) changed some things - of course the way we play from behind, but also to play very aggressive, the defence is getting better, more controlled.
"Tactically, it is one step better than at the beginning of the season because it needs time.
"If we work like this and play like this, we could have a great season."
Chelsea top Group L with nine points and will book a ticket for the last 32 in Europe's second-tier club competition with victory at Belarusian champions Bate Borisov.
The Blues are unbeaten since a 2-0 Community Shield loss to City in August and have scored 18 goals over their last six outings.
ARSENAL V SPORTING
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BATE V CHELSEA
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