Arsenal players rated in hard-fought draw vs Benfica (Arsenal players are seen in the photo)
Arsenal's English striker Bukayo Saka (C) celebrates with Arsenal's Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after scoring a goal during the UEFA Europa League round of 32 first leg football match between SL Benfica and Arsenal at the Olimpico stadium in Rome on February 18, 2021. (Photo by ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images)

Arsenal locked horns with Benfica at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome earlier tonight as they looked to pick up a win on the road. Both sides fought tooth and nail in the first 45 minutes but struggled to break each other down as they went into the half-time interval with a goalless scoreline.

The Portuguese side managed to get themselves ahead courtesy of Pizzi’s penalty in the 55th minute. However, the Gunners found the leveller just two minutes later via Bukayo Saka’s goal from close range. The UEFA Europa League contest ended with both teams playing out a 1-1 draw after the full-time whistle, which has set up an exciting Round of 32 second-leg clash at the Emirates Stadium later this month.

Let’s take a look at how each Arsenal player fared during the match against Benfica.

GK: Bernd Leno – 6.5/10

The Gunners made a few decent stops during the game but couldn’t do much about Pizzi’s penalty. He was also tidy with his passing from the back.

RB: Hector Bellerin – 6.5/10

Bellerin made one good clearance and was strong in the air. He also engineered a couple of decent chances in the Benfica half.

CB: David Luiz – 6/10

Luiz cleared the danger once and kept the ball moving well when in possession of it. He also won a few aerial duels but will be disappointed after conceding a second-half goal.

CB: Gabriel – 6.5/10

He won some important headers and cleared his lines when required. Gabriel showed great confidence to get on the ball and drive his team forward.

Arsenal players rated in hard-fought draw vs Benfica (Arsenal's Saka is in action in the picture)
Bukayo Saka of Arsenal scores their sides first goal during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 match between SL Benfica and Arsenal FC at Stadio Olimpico on February 18, 2021 in Rome, Italy. SL Benfica face Arsenal FC at a neutral venue in Rome behind closed doors after Portugal imposed a ban on travellers arriving from the UK in an effort to prevent the spread of Covid-19 variants. (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)

LB: Cedric Soares – 7/10

Soares made a couple of crucial interceptions for the Gunners and was the one responsible for setting up Saka’s equaliser. He got replaced after the hour mark.

CM: Granit Xhaka – 6.5/10

The Swiss international got stuck in with a few tackles but struggled to be effective with the ball at his feet.

CM: Dani Ceballos – 7/10

Ceballos provided decent cover for his teammates in defence and had some encouraging moments in the opposition half.

LW: Emile Smith Rowe – 5/10

The talented youngster gave away a cheap penalty to put his side at a disadvantage. He offered very little in the final third.

CAM: Martin Ødegaard – 7/10

He orchestrated some meaningful openings for others around him but didn’t get a sniff at goal.

RW: Bukayo Saka – 7.5/10

Saka scored with a composed finish from close range and was quite lively throughout the 90 minutes.

ST: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 5.5/10

The Gabon international was guilty of missing a couple of golden opportunities to score.

Substitutes:

LB: Kieran Tierney – 6/10

He brought some energy onto the field.

LW: Nicolas Pepe – 6/10

Pepe made one good run after coming off the bench.

ST: Gabriel Martinelli – 5/10

The Arsenal striker failed to make an impact in the final third.

CM: Mohamed Elneny – N/A

He hardly had any time to influence the game.

CAM: Willian – N/A

He came on to run the clock down for the Gunners.

A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.