Arsenal vs Benfica predicted line-ups: Team news ahead of Europa League fixture tonight


Arsenal are out to advance to the Europa League last 16 tonight as they come up against Benfica in Athens in their last-32 second leg. 

That could be especially important given their inconsistent form; Mikel Arteta’s team have lost four of their last eight games across all competitions, including a 1-0 loss to Manchester City in the Premier League at the weekend.

Benfica are 15 points behind leaders Sporting in the Primera Division, but have only lost three league matches this season.

The game kicks off at 5.55pm this evening.

The match will be shown live on BT Sport. Subscribers can also stream the match via the BT Sport website and app.

Arteta has said that Thomas Partey may be available to return, with the midfielder having been sidelined recently with a hamstring injury he sustained earlier this month. However, Rob Holding will be missing after suffering a concussion against Man City. Pablo Mari played with Holding at the weekend, but Arteta could use tonight’s match to give Gabriel and David Luiz some game time.

Emile Smith Rowe should also return to the starting XI after a rest during the City game, but Alexandre Lacazette may be on the bench again. Saka and Martin Odegaard are likely to be in attacking midfield behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, while Nicolas Pepe, Cedric Soares and Mohamed Elneny could also play if Arteta decides to shuffle the pack.

Benfica boss Jorge Jesus may send out Darwin Nunez and Luca Waldschmidt to lead the line, while Jardel and Andre Almeida remain out. Julian Weigl was suspended for Benfica’s game against Faranse but will be back here, and Pizzi is also likely return to the starting line-up.

Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney, Ceballos, Partey, Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang

Benfica: Leite, Gilberto, Vertonghen, Otamendi, Grimaldo, Silva, Weigl, Pizzi, Everton, Nunez, Waldschmidt

Arsenal should have gotten more out of the first leg than a 1-1 draw, and they impressed at times against Man City last time out despite coming up short. They must build on those performances to avoid a slip-up here or even an arduous night involving extra-time. The latter feels almost inevitable, doesn’t it? Arsenal 1-1 Benfica (Arsenal to win in extra-time).

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