Arsenal will be aiming to put the missed opportunities of the first leg behind them when they travel to Athens for their ‘home’ tie against Benfica in the last 32 of the Europa League.
Two goals in as many minutes from Pizzi and Bukayo Saka ensured both sides shared the spoils in last week’s first leg played in Rome. That stalemate leaves the tie finely poised.
Arsenal suffered a 1-0 defeat to Manchester City on Sunday, with their chances of a top-six finish now hanging by a thread.
Benfica are 15 points behind leaders Sporting in the Primera Division, but have only lost three league matches this season.
Benfica, for their part, were toothless in their goalless draw with lowly Farense and that marked the third consecutive stalemate in all competitions for the Eagles.
A place in the round of 16 awaits the winner of this tie, which will propel both sides to give their all in a quest for victory.
Despite a promising opening to 2021, Arteta’s men have now won just one of their last six matches in all competitions.
- Arsenal have won five of their past six home matches against Portuguese opposition (D1), scoring 20 goals.
- Arsenal have scored 21 goals in this competition so far, only Bayer Leverkusen have scored more (24 goals).
- Benfica’s only previous away match against Arsenal saw them win at Highbury in the European Cup last 16 in 1991-92.
- Arsenal have won on each of their previous two visits to Greece, both against Olympiakos, in the Champions League in December 2015 and the Europa League in February 2020.
- Pizzi is currently the top scorer in the Europa League with 7 goals.
- The Premier League side are yet to record their first win over the Portuguese giants.
The two sides have met in competitive action on three previous occasions and Arsenal are yet to taste victory against the Portuguese giants.
Their first clash came in the second round of the 1991-1992 European Cup and coincidentally, similar circumstances played out 29 years ago.
Isias Soares had put Benfica ahead in the 15th minute, only for Kevin Campbell to restore parity two minutes later to ensure a 1-1 draw in the first leg at the Estadio da Luz.
Arsenal have picked up just one win from their last six games in all competitions which has left them off the pace in the league. Benfica are also having a season to forget despite spending huge sums in the last transfer window.
The first leg draw leaves this tie in the balance and both sides will give their all to secure progress. The sheer quality in attack means that goals can be guaranteed at both ends and a highly-entertaiing fixture is to be expected.
Arsenal will look to put aside their recent disappointing run and give it their all to reach the next round of this competition. The Gunners created a lot of chances in the first leg, but their inability to finish them could come back to haunt the English side in this fixture.
Benfica have been unbeaten in their last six matches, four out of those six games ended in a stalemate.
The absence of the ‘home’ factor could swing the tie either way and extra-time might be needed for Arsenal to nick this one.
Our Prediction: Arsenal to win @ 1.86
Source: BetInAsia Black