Round trip to Hellas
Arsenal face off against Benfica in Athens during the Europa League round of 32's second leg. The first leg ended in a 1-1 stalemate meaning that this fixture is still wide open, the question is, who will take advantage of it?
The Gunners are coming off the back of a surprisingly not so bad defeat, courtesy of runaway leaders Manchester City in a game that showed some promising potential for the Gunners during the second half. The issue is, Arsenal must replicate that second half performance and make it the norm if they are to really improve, something they are not quite capable of doing, yet at least.
Lack of concentration?
The first leg was quite evenly contested stats-wise but the scoreline is deceptive; Arsenal missed a handful of solid chances and despite looking fatigued towards the end of the game, were definitely the closer side.
If Arteta's men performed as they did during the second half of the game against City, they should have no problem in advancing to the next round. Or, even simpler, if they don't miss as many chances as they did during the first leg, they will win.
The Portuguese outfit did well in earning the draw last time out but were definitely fortunate in the sense that Arsenal's finishing was complacent, at best.
Not at their best
Furthermore, Jorge Jesus's men have not been performing up to their standard lately with 6 of their last 9 league games ending in draws leaving them at a disappointing 4th place, a whopping 15 points behind leaders Sporting. What's more is that 4 of their recent draws have come against bottom half of the table opposition meaning that all is currently not as it should be in Lisbon.
It's not the hardest of tasks but given their recent woes, both scoring and keeping Arsenal at bay seem like very tall asks for this underperforming Benfica side.
Arsenal are the better side, there are no if's, but's, or or's around it and if they are not as complacent as they were the last time around, there should only be one outcome, which is why i will be backing an Arsenal win at the fantastic odds of 1.80 with Betway.