Arsenal will once again attempt to use the UEFA Europa League as a way to fight their way back into the UEFA Champions League this year. They’re tried and failed to win the competition over the course of the last few years, even reaching the final, but six wins out of six in the group stage is as good of a start as they could’ve hoped for.
Their next task will be to navigate past Portuguese giants Benfica in the Round of 32, who finished second in their group behind Rangers. They’re also in 2nd place in the Primeira Liga too with seven wins from nine games thus far.
Arsenal have only played Benfica once across two legs back in 1991 when they drew the first leg 1-1 before losing the second 3-1 in the European Cup. While this is, of course, one of the toughest games that the Gunners could’ve had at this early stage of the knockout round, fans will still be feeling confident about their chances of progressing.
As of this writing it doesn’t seem as if fans will be able to attend the second leg at the Emirates, but you never know what could change between now and February.
Benfica v Arsenal
Thursday, February 18
Kick-off: 8pm (UK)
To be played at Estadio da Luz, Portugal
Arsenal v Benfica
Thursday, February 25
Kick-off: 5.55pm (UK)
To be played at Emirates Stadium
Dates courtesy of Arsenal.com
Can Arsenal beat Benfica over two legs?