After the first leg ended in a 1-1 stalemate, Arsenal are set to go to war with Benfica once again in the second leg of their UEFA Europa League tie this week. The Gunners know that things are on a knife-edge after they were unable to fully get the upperhand on their Portuguese opponents last week, but they should also know they’ve more than got enough in their locker to progress into the Round of 16.
Today, we’re going to give our thoughts on the contest and where we see Arsenal going from here in the competition.
Mikel Arteta knows that this competition isn’t going to be the defining moment of the season for Arsenal – unless they get to the final, that is. They’ve done it before and we all know they’re capable of doing it again, but they need to be cautious about leaving themselves too open at the back.
Between their poor run of form in the league to their inability to make many chances in the first leg, we’d say the confidence within Benfica’s first team is at an all-time low. They just don’t seem to have any answers for the issues that lie in front of them, and they need to shape up in they’re going to overcome Arsenal.
We’re going to say that Arsenal will edge out the second leg 1-0, taking themselves through to the next round in the process. Sure, the fact that it’s being played in Athens due to the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t going to help Arteta’s men, but Benfica had to deal with a similar problem last week. Arsenal continue to struggle in the Premier League and that trend isn’t likely to subside anytime soon, so they may as well give everything they’ve got in the Europa for as long as they’re competing in it.
Can Arsenal make it into the Round of 16?