Arsenal are back in Europa League action this Thursday as they travel to Rome to take on Portuguese side Benfica in the first leg of this year’s Europa League round of 16. UEFA have moved this game to the Stadio Olimpico due to travel restrictions in England.
The hosts will look to continue their impressive UEL campaign which saw them finish their group stage games without tasting defeat after finishing second with 12 points behind Rangers.
They head into this tie without a defeat in four games (W2, D2), but have struggled this term to maintain consistency which has seen them drop out of the top three in the Primeira Liga table. The Europa League comes as a distraction for them, and they will hope to pick up a win here to boost their confidence as the season nears a crucial juncture.
Arsenal were among the five teams to finish this year’s group-stages without a defeat. The Gunners went through the group stage in style, winning all six of their matches while scoring 20 times and conceding just five.
Despite their domestic struggles, Mikel Arteta’s side have made the Europa League their own this term. They head into this stage as the team to beat and they will fancy their chances against their Portuguese counterparts.
However, their form in the last five games does not inspire confidence as they have won just twice in their last six competitive matches (D1, L3).