Arsenal are in action against Benfica in the Europa League last-32 on Thursday, a game that will be held in Rome (8pm kick-off). The Gunners
Arsenal are in action against Benfica in the Europa League last-32 on Thursday, a game that will be held in Rome (8pm kick-off).
The Gunners were perfect in the Europa League group stage, winning all six of their games to ease through to the knockout stages while Benfica finished second in Group D behind Rangers.
How to live stream Benfica vs Arsenal online:
US ONLY: Fubo* are streaming a selection of Europa League fixtures live for account holders. Those without a Fubo account already can take advantage of their seven-day free trial by following the simple steps below.
- Click on this link.
- Click ‘Start Your Free Trial’ and enter your details.
- Log in and pick your desired channel to watch.
*Geo restrictions apply. Fubo is currently available in the United States, Canada and Spain. Packages and pricing differ per country.
Where to watch Benfica vs Arsenal on TV:
- UK: BT Sport 2
- US: CBS All Access
Scoreline prediction: Benfica 1-3 Arsenal
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Benfica vs Arsenal build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
As things stand, Benfica are not qualifying for the 2021/21 Champions League, sitting outside the top three in the Primeira Liga albeit just two points behind Braga. Jorge Jesus’ side have endured a number of disappointing results over the past months, with just two wins from their last eight league games, drawing five and losing once.
With the teams above them stringing wins together, the Europa League may be Benfica’s best route to the Champions League group stage, having been knocked out at the qualifying stages earlier this season.
Unfortunately, they come up against an Arsenal side that will also be looking to use the Europa League as a route back to the Champions League, a competition they haven’t graced since 2016/17. The Gunners are still paying the price for their horrific run of form towards the end of 2020 in which they went seven games without a win, dropping as low as 15th.
Mikel Arteta’s side are now back up to 10th, but recent results still have them eight points off the top four, with a number of teams above them having a game in hand. It won’t be impossible for them to break into the top four, but given their form in the Europa League, it could be worth Arteta prioritising the competition (with Arsenal out of both domestic cups).
- Benfica (vs Moreirense): Leite; Goncalves, Otamendi, Vertonghen, Grimaldo; Rafa, Taarabt, Weigl, Everton; Seferovic, Nunez.
- Arsenal (vs Leeds): Leno; Bellerin, David Luiz, Gabriel, Cedric; Xhaka, Ceballos; Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe; Aubameyang.
Jardel and Andre Almeida are expected to miss out for Benfica, while Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney and Thomas Partey are fighting to be fit following injury layoffs.
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Players to watch:
- Benfica: If Benfica are to be the first team to beat Arsenal in the Europa League this season, they’ll want Pizzi to dominate from a midfield position. The Portuguese international is the Europa League’s premier goal getter this season, being directly involved in eight goals (scoring six and recording two assists), more than any other player in the competition. In the group stages only Rangers managed to prevent Pizzi from scoring, and even then it was only for one of the two meetings and he played just 21 minutes. The best thing for Benfica with Pizzi is that he fits into pretty much any formation they want, so however they set up against Arsenal, he will be there and ready to fight.
- Arsenal: Another midfielder enjoying his time in the Europa League this season is Nicolas Pepe. It wouldn’t be wrong to say the Ivorian hasn’t had the best time since joining Arsenal in 2019 but he has been having his moments in the Europa League. Aside from scoring three goals and recording three assists, Pepe has been a key part of Arsenal’s attacks in the Europa League this season, being involved in 48 open play sequences that have ended with a shot, more than any other player.
Europa League 2020/21 recent form:
- Benfica: WDDWD
- Arsenal: WWWWW
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