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.
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.
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.
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