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Bukayo Saka’s immediate response to Pizzi’s penalty in the first leg has left this tie very much in the balance, though that away goal means that Arsenal will progress to the last 16 should they manage to keep their first clean sheet in six matches.
Consistency has been the issue for the Gunners this season, having not managed to put on a run of more than three wins on the bounce all season, and they’ve now won just one of their last six.
On home soil alone they’ve drawn a blank in three of their last five matches, with the exceptions coming against a poor Newcastle outfit and a very leaky Leeds defence, so we wouldn’t expect Benfica to come unstuck here.
The Portuguese side have not been at their best this season and currently sit fourth with a real struggle on their hands to secure a European spot for next season.
Like Arsenal, they’re not exactly in scintillating form having won just two of their last 10 outings across all competitions.
Output seems to be a big part of the problem at the moment having scored just four goals across their last six games, and netting just three in their last five away.
What can be said of Benfica though is that they often keep games extremely tight, and of their 31 games this season they’ve only been beaten by more than a single goal on one occasion.
As a result, each of their last six matches have featured less than three goals, while that’s also been the same outcome in six of their eight matches against the top-8 in the Primeira Liga, a level similar to that of Arsenal.
Under 2.5 Goals
We’d expect this to be another tight game, with both sides likely to be reserved, especially with the hosts only needing to not concede.
Four of Arsenal’s last six home games have seen ‘Unders’ land, with the exceptions coming against bottom-half sides and we’d expect that outcome again here.
Arsenal are odds-on favourites for this game, though considering they’ve yet to beat Benfica in any of their previous three meetings, we’d be sceptical of that price.
They’ve shown glimpses of promise this season, but their inconsistency has been their undoing and the fact that they’re unable to provide a goal threat on any sort of regular basis is cause for concern.
If the visitors were to get the first goal, the game would certainly open up, though we’d be surprised to see any real attacking prowess from either side, especially in the early stages and we’ll ignore the 1x2 market in what promises to be a competitive clash.