Prediction and odds for the game: Arsenal (3/4) vs Benfica (10/3)
We are backing the draw at odds of 3/1
When: Thursday, 25th February 2021, Kick-off 17:55
Where: Stadio Georgios Karaiskaki
On Thursday night, Arsenal and Benfica go head-to-head at the Emirates Stadium in the second leg of the last-32 of the Europa League. The first leg of this tie finished 1-1 in Rome, so it is all to play for in this clash.
The Gunners head into this clash in poor form, having won just one of their last six games in all competitions. Last time out, Mikel Arteta’s team suffered a 1-0 home defeat against Premier League leaders Manchester City. The game saw another game go by without a clean sheet for Arsenal, who have now failed to keep a clean sheet in six games following a defensive improvement earlier in the season.
The Europa League has seen a consistency in form that has been lacking in the top-flight this season for the Gunners. Arteta’s team won all six of their group games while scoring at least two goals in all the victories.
Three players are the Gunners top scorers in this competition with three goals in Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah and Nicolas Pepe. Willock joined Newcastle on loan in January, so will not be contributing anything else to the Gunners campaign this season.
The Eagles are experiencing a difficult campaign in the Portuguese top-flight and currently sit fourth-place in the Primeira Liga 15 points off the top of the table. They may even struggle to qualify for the Champions League for next season.
Jorge Jesus’s team started this season in Europe’s elite competition but exited at the qualifying round suffering a shock 2-1 defeat against Greek outfit PAOK.
The Portuguese team fared better in the group stages of the Europa League, as they were unbeaten in their six group games, recording three wins and three draws. In fact, they are now eight matches unbeaten in European football’s secondary competition.
Benfica’s recent matches in the Europa League have certainly been entertaining and high-scoring, with over 2.5 goals scored eight of their last nine matches.
A big factor in the Eagles recent results in this competition has been the goal-scoring form of experienced midfielder Pizzi, who has scored seven goals in the Europa League. The competition brings out the best in the 31-year-old, as he has only scored twice all season in the Primeira Liga.
Neither of these teams are in great form of late. With that in mind, we are backing the draw in normal time. The two teams have been involved in several high-scoring games this season in the Europa League, so we are also backing over 2.5 goals scored.
Verdict: We are backing the draw at odds of 3/1 and/or over 2.5 goals scored at odds of 10/11. (All odds are taken from Bet365).[geosnippet id=3620]
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Who will book their place in the last-32 of the Europa League?