4-2-3-1 Arsenal Predicted Lineup Vs Leicester City (Arsenal players are celebrating in the photo)
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal celebrates with team mate Emile Smith Rowe after scoring their side's fourth goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Leeds United at Emirates Stadium on February 14, 2021 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Arsenal will lock horns with Benfica at the Stadio Olimpico on Thursday evening hoping to pick up a win in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League Last 32 tie. The Gunners managed to beat Leeds United by a 2-1 scoreline in the Premier League last weekend, which will keep them in high spirits going into this European clash in Italy. In contrast, the Portuguese giants were held to 1-1 draw away at Moreirense earlier this week, so they will be desperate to produce an improved showing versus the North London outfit.

Talking Tactics

Benfica boss Jorge Jesus is expected to opt for a 4-2-2-2 formation and could instruct his players to defend well and expose the opposition’s weaknesses on the counter. However, the Portuguese outfit cannot afford to play a high defensive line because both Jan Vertonghen and Nicolas Otamendi lack the pace to make recovering runs at the back.

Mikel Arteta will probably set his team up in a 4-2-3-1 formation and will ask his players to focus on dominating the ball and create some clear-cut goal-scoring chances for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang up top.

Team News

Benfica

Andre Almeida and Gilberto are both significant concerns for this game because of injury. Jardel remains a long-term absentee for the Portuguese club.

Benfica Predicted XI

Vlachodimos; Goncalves, Otamendi, Vertonghen, Grimaldo; Silva, Taarabt, Weigl, Pizzi; Nunez, Seferovic

Benfica Vs Arsenal Tactical Preview And Team News (Benfica players are celebrating in the picture)
Benfica’s Argentinian defender Nicolas Otamendi celebrates with Benfica’s Uruguayan forward Darwin Nunez (C) and Benfica’s Swiss forward Haris Seferovic (R) after scoring a goal during the Portuguese League football match between SL Benfica and FC Famalicao at the Luz stadium in Lisbon on February 8, 2021. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images)

Arsenal

Both Thomas Partey (hamstring problem) and Kieran Tierney (lower leg injury) are unlikely to recover in time for this Europa League showdown in Italy. Otherwise, Arteta has no fresh injury concerns to cope with ahead of this game.

Arsenal Predicted XI

Leno; Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Cedric; Xhaka, Ceballos; Saka, Smith Rowe, Pepe; Aubameyang

Key Men

Benfica

Adel Taarabt needs to have a good game if Benfica are to come out on top later this week. Both Nicolas Otamendi and Jan Vertonghen will have to figure out a way to keep the Gunners attackers at bay in midweek.

Arsenal

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will once again carry most of the goal-scoring workload for Arsenal. The defensive performance of David Luiz and Gabriel during the 90 minutes could be crucial in determining the fate of this clash.

Odds

The Gunners are the slight favourites to secure an away win at the Stadio Olimpico as they are priced at 13/10 by the bookmakers. The draw has been listed at 13/5 while Benfica are 9/5 underdogs to emerge victorious on Thursday night.

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.