Amazing Auba fires Arsenal into the next round

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang‘s double has assured Arsenal of a place in the next round of the Europa League, but it was an assured team performance that deserves immense credit.

The Gunners started the match brightly. They were enjoying comfortable spells of possession, and were looking comfortable as they work their way up the field.

The breakthrough came from an amazing run of play. Bukayo Saka initially picked up the ball on the far right, before overlapping with his team-mates as he cut inside, and finds the perfect ball to split the defence from deep and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang wasn’t going to waste his chance.

Benfica aren’t one to lay down, and it was another amazing goal to level the scores. Diogo Goncalves has fired in a pinperfect free-kick from a fair distance, and it is deep in the top left-hand corner.

We went into the break with worry, we knew at this point that any goal at the wrong end would leave us in need of two goals, but we started on the front foot.

Aubameyang again was at the front of things, as he once again made his run into the box to place his effort into the net, but the timing off his run was a little early this time.

Shortly after the dreaded event happened however. It was Arsenal’s corner which the goalkeeper managed to get control of, and he fires it deep as Rafi Silva runs through on goal. Our player stretches but is unable to redirect it and the forward is able to play it past Bernd Leno to pass it into the open goal.

Our team showed amazing mentality to stick to their task, and within minutes the score was tied again.

Kieran Tierney picks up the ball outside the box, and plays his way past the out-running defender to get into space, and fires down low to the keeper’s left.

We are back level once again, the third time in the 180 minute clash, and with 20 minutes to find a winner, or lose on away goals at a neutral stadium…

It was an amazing tie whichever way you looked at it, but this Arsenal team wasn’t going to lie down and take it.

It was another fine team effort, and after a run of possession, Saka received the ball down the right once again. This time the defender stands off the youngster, and he is allowed to cut back onto his left and place his cross in, and Aubameyang leaps high to score from point-blank range.

With only minutes remaining, Benfica were unable to pluck up the courage to earn any clearcut chances to get one final away goal, and the Gunners emerge through to the next round with a well-deserved display.

This show of passion and fight was a reminder of what motivation Arteta can bring to the side, and you would be silly to doubt our chances of going deep in the competition.


Tags Benfica Europa League Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang


  1. Pure stupidity by Ceballos, but he might be too adventurous to play in the deep midfield area. Arteta made a bad decision by keeping Odegaard who offered nothing special, but maybe there’s a minimum amount of minutes in Odegaard’s loan contract

    Arteta was given a lifeline by Tierney and Saka, but he shouldn’t make another bad decision next time

      1. Tierney was energetic, Saka was great and Smith-Rowe worked hard again despite playing out of his natural position

    1. I agree with you GAI. Odegaard was overly cautious. I see a football brain in him. He hardly loses the ball. But his decision making was okay. He needs to blend with the team more. Tierney is a baller. Ceballos should have just headed the ball forward. Also, Willian did well today. His maturity was seen. Gabriel and Luiz today put us under a lot of pressure. Saka deserves a rest. He should not start the next game. We cannot afford him being injured.

      1. Odegaard currently offers nothing more than what Ozil and Willian can do. Maybe Odegaard’s work rate is little bit higher, because he’s much younger than the other CAMs

        Odegaard tends to wait for a perfect through ball chance like Ozil and his physicality is similar to Ozil/ Willian. I prefer Smith-Rowe the CAM, because he pressed harder, faster, better in the air and more clicked with Saka

        1. smith rowe literally offered nothing all night … pressed harder LOL … odegaard after a shaky opening 10 was blatantly the superior footballer nice touches and link up play constant movement clear vision of the game … faded after about 75 mins should have been removed … but better by such a margin that only someone with a regressive english players forever gene could make this statement

        2. by now, i believe you should have understood why ODE is crucial to the balance of our attack, with your tactical knowledge.
          let me quickly say that our attack overburden has been on left side leaaving right side redundant because we have like 4 players attacking from left(LB,LCM,LW and CF) all operates from the left, now with the inclusion of ODE the right side is becoming lively, instead of haveng 2 operators (RB& RW), we now have 3 because CAM with join the attack from right, as against before now when even the CAM join the left

    2. i think bringing in Odeegar in january was a neccesary distraction to get ESR settled by reducing the fans pressure on the boy. henceforth one of them must start, and martinelli,,,,,cant say

      1. agree. Not seeing why we should go out of our ways to make him permanent tho. Which im fine with. If RM wanted near 30mill for him, it would be a ripoff from what he’s shown so far. He’s been fine but I’d be thinking if there are more suited players around still.

      2. We should’ve used Willian and Ceballos as Smith-Rowe’s backup, but Arsenal like to get fancy attackers whenever a chance arises. A new LB would be more useful than Ozil 2.0

        1. Lets give Ödegaard a chance in the new league and team. He had a brilliant season last year and as a reward got stuck on thr Real bench. This was his what, 2nd start?

          1. Third start and I agree with giving him more chances, but not at the expense of the team. He should’ve come in as Smith-Rowe’s substitute, not a starter

            But I suspect Real Madrid forced Arsenal to give him a certain number of starts or minutes, after they saw Ceballos’ limited opportunity in England. If we start with passengers again, we’d likely lose

          2. 👍 Let’s write Odegaard off now after 3 games, like people did with Bergkamp and Henry when they didn’t score from day one. New team, new League, new country.

      3. I get your point adajim. Smith Rowe needed that distraction. And he had some injury struggles. But arteta also deserves some stick. He is overly cautious and not utilising his team well. Martinelli should get into this team. Saka deserves a rest. He should not start our next game.

        1. U guys don get his gist.
          He means players Arteta doesn’t rate
          So wats silly about that.
          Understand a statement before jumping on to your keypads

    1. His mistake was his text saying 100% fit and ready to play. Silly boy, Arteta doesn’t like players going off script.

      Speak out & get put in the freezer, simple.

      1. MA is basically communism personified.

        You may say whatever you want….as long as it’s what I want to hear!

  2. the last 20 min was a show of horror from Ceballos and Gabriel. the show of character is excellent. well done boys

  3. Thank you Aubamenyang, Saka and Tierney.

    Ceballos almost cost us this game. He gave away the free kick for their first goal. The second mistake was terrible. Headed back pass from that position? Awful….

    And Willian got an assist today. Hehe

    1. Ceballos was terrible. But that was no foul – the one for Benfica’s equalizer The match official was all the time looking for loophole to crucify Arsenal.

      I doubt Ceballos will play again for Arsenal till his loan finishes

      1. Please do not lie! You know very well, as do we all, that it was an obvious foul. Ceballos SHOULD have moved his own feet and NOT stretched stupidly, thus fouling the opponent!

        1. Please look at the replay again. Yes he stretched his leg. What did you expect him to do – try to stop the ball movement or just watch the player pass him by?
          It was actually the Benfican who tried to injure Ceballos but then also feigning being fouled.

          1. Nonsense ! Open your eyes and write what you ACTUALLY saw! YOU ARE NOT WRITING WHAT YOU SAW, THAT IS CERTAIN.

  4. Arteta overplays this team and its the reasin we were knocked out by olympiakos and almost lost today.
    I think he still gets many of the crucial decisions wrong. I dont think he should stay here for the long term lest we continue to stay in mid table and an average team

  5. Goodbye, everybody, I’ve got to go
    Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth
    Mama, ooh

    Goodbye Cebalos, now you have got to go!
    You were a queen in the midfield when we needed a King.
    What a mad rid: This surely must sealed your back to Madrid return destiny!

    Willian had a destiny game as well, had he not assisted, had we not won, the knifes would have been out.

  6. Ceballos gifting 2 assists is something not a single one of us would’ve predicted, so I can’t be blaming Arteta for selecting him knowing Partey just got back from injury.
    Tierney and Saka!! These two!!
    The subs were spot on, so kudos to him for that. Willian got an assist, credit to him for that one even if it was Tierney’s brilliance.

    Saka? I’m tired of saying and typing the same thing every weekend, the boy is absolutely ridiculous FFS!!
    The boy is the definition of quality and class..
    Gabriel’s overconfidence will get him in trouble one of these days.
    That was a nervy win

    1. Honestly Eddie, Tierney was just immense. The timing of his goal, his willingness to pit more crosses in the box and his overlapping runs are just top quality. As for Saka, he deserves a rest. I am just worried about him getting injured. The amount of games he has played for his age, the influence he has in the team. Saka is top quality. He can play in all the positions. goal keeping inclusive. lol

      1. Things is we all know he deserves a rest, not problem is, while he’s away do we have anybody to replace him?

  7. OMG.
    Where to start. Arteta is not progressing us whatsoever. There is nothing there.
    What does Bellerin do as a footballer? Can’t defend, can’t attack. He saw a lot of the ball in the second half than Tierney and just continually played back passes, square passes, poor crosses. What a joke.

    Comapre him to Tierney.

    Xhaka, Willian also back pass and square pass masters.

    Gabriel is a very shaky tentative defender. He is starting to make me nervous too.

    We are going nowhere as a team. And it’s down tk Arteta I have to say.

    1. Why Bell? Problem is the depth of Arsenal squad. There are only these few players who can play.
      We are definitely not like Chelsea or Man City who have quality rotational or backup players.
      Willian just because he play in portion of the match does not make him good. He still needs to show consistent performances. If comparing Odegard N Willian look at the number of matches each of them playing n performances.

      Ceballos is decent player but definitely he’s not worth 22m as I have said before. He’s worth only 12 to 15m. But he’s worth of buy at this moment. Save our funds for more important players.

      Gabriel was our star defender when he came in but recently starting to play quite inconsistently started to worry me. MA needs to chat w him personally. And the few bright spots u know who u are that’s why Arsenal is still in the run.

      And Aub grats u will need more of that to regain back Yr confidence n streak.

      Overall well done Arsenal.

  8. Great character win and I still believe in Arteta but tbh it felt like the comeback was in spite of Arteta’s decisions rather than because of them.

    Chapeau to Saka. What a player.

  9. Since the start of last season, no player has provided more assists in the UEFA Europa League than Bukayo Saka, 8 👌

  10. the goal is to win the competition, which we are still in thank goodness. The questions continue about the quality of the squad and the manager tho. Benfica’s performance throuhgout the 2 legs should not have given them even close to 3 goals. Saka carrying the squad yet again. Hope he gets a rest soon.

  11. Much more excitement than I hoped for, almost had a heart attack! But we are through, and Im happy about that. Ceballos at fault for both goals, but Bellerin also has to take some blame for his too relaxed defending for the freekick leading to the first goal. Thank God for Saka, Tierney and Auba, they certainly did their part tonight!

  12. Still alive. No thanks to manager. Tierney is ready to be captain. Agree with many that Odergaard is not much. Perhaps a more intelligent, more consistent,less cynical Xhaka. If he is worth 80 million, then Arsenal’s trio of ESR, Saka and Tierney are truly valuable assets.

  13. I don’t understand the way arsenal were playing.Our players looked confused in the new formation after the second goal by benfica.We didnt create enough chances just imagine if there was no Tierney what would have happened?

  14. Plus if martinelli dont start in the next game then i am seriously doubting arteta’s man management.What exactly should that boy do to get a chance in the first team.

  15. Arteta decision making is very bad, could have cost us d game. Early exit from Europa. Nightmare.

    Auba good finish
    Saka nice assist
    Tieney nice goal

    We shouldnt have struggled.

  16. Saka saves Arteta’s bacon one more time.For how long?Horrible performane again.We play nothing,just moving the ball around without any sense of urgency,hoping for a lucky strike.No attacking plan again,the same “ super-safe” aproach.Saka,Odegaard and Bellerin stepping on each other’s feet in a 10 yards circle on the left.Xhaka producing nothing just moving the ball sideways,ESR isolated on the left.Why keep Odegaard on the left line if you have nobody in the central attacking position?Atrocious game plan,Arteta style-ugly,boring,riding the luck to the end.Emery was a master compared with this inept “ coach”.If we draw an English team for the next round,any of them,we are out,easy.We simply play nothing,nothing,I have sored eyes for watching this uglyness.Arteta out,out,out!Enough is enough-to struggle against a mediocre team formed of 7-8 defenders and only 2-3 offensive players-this is unacceptable.Arteta must go.We look like a small team and this is not because we don’t have good players,because we have a small team mentality induced by a scared,inept and unprepared “ coach”.

        1. Duncharido, not celebrating, just passing on information. If Arsenal plays Villarreal in a future round, I will be hoping for a solid Arsenal win!

  17. Here Here antonioro. The players gave Arteta a get out of jail card. The game plan was too negative, although taking Bellerin off was a smart move. Partey will make a big difference in speeding things up but my confidence in Arteta is decreasing.

  18. Wow!! I hold my hands up – my ‘bye bye European football’ comment was premature!!
    When we needed him most Starboy Saka does it again! He just can’t stop assisting..
    That goal from Tesco.. awesome! And his reaction.. priceless!!
    Auba – normal service resumed!
    Wow, what a night, talk about do it the hard way though!! My poor ticker.

    And breathe…..

    1. That is the sort the goal our midfielders should be scoring but the are programmed to passing backwards and sideways.

    2. Yes Sue. That was a game. After we scored the 3rd goal. I was really worried about Benfica scoring another goal. Saka, Tierney and Aubameyang. These 3 were outstanding.

  19. Team backbone for next season: Leno-Tierney – Partey-Saka – Auba. No doubt Saka will be our player of the season!

    1. I’ll be amazed if it isn’t Villarreal or the spuds! Drawing the spuds would mean playing them 3 times in a week!!
      Find out tomorrow…

  20. The whole Martenelli thing is too much now. Now I don’t think he is, a bad player at all, and I like Martenelli, but he needs to still mature. In all the games he has played this season except for recklessly running into players and losing ball what special thing has he done? Give the youngsters time please. The same people who keep calling for these youngsters to be thrown into the deep end, are the same people to crucify them when they do not live up to their standards.

    1. Thats the point tho. We know waht he’s capable of and we want him to get some gametime to get him back to his best. Sitting on the bench will do no good. There’s no reason he couldn’t have taken some of Willian’s sub time and played 15-20 minutes. ESPESCIALLY when we were chasing games and needed more energy in attack. We all understand he’s been out for a while. I dont think many of us are expecting miracles, but we do expect one of our young stars to be picked over well, an expensive flop.

    2. I agree. Martinelli needs time to get back to his best. It is also important to note that he has had quite a few injuries with long spells out.

    3. Dboy as usual you have taken the extreme like throwing in the deep end etc which no-one is saying should be done.

      Do you mature by not playing? If he is to mature he needs to play.

      There is not one fan that has suggested he should be starting every game, merely that he should get some minutes every game or two and maybe start one in five. Hardly throwing him in the deep end.

  21. There is nothing any Manager can do to legislate against the apalling,unprofessional mistake made by Ceballos for their second goal.By immediately taking off the Spaniard he sent the correct message to the rest of the team, and demonstrated strong management.I’m afraid the Luis, Gabriel pairing simply will not do against a better side than Benfica, who like us are but a shadow of the team they were.In one on one situations Gabriel is very vulnerable and he may turn out to be yet another poor CB acquistion.I hope he proves me wrong but I hope Holding and Mari team up against Leicester.Finally, tonight proved once again that in Saka and Tierney we have two terrific young players.

  22. Among the litlle spoilt children onhere who want our manager gone, let me be the one wo inject a note of realism and point out something that not a single post above chooses to mention or perhaps has not even noticed, so not mentioned.

    Namely that no manager can be blamed for two clear mistakes by one individual , Ceballos in this case. But as soon as we went 1-2 behind he instantly brought on Partey and changed the whole dynamic leading to an exciting win.
    If you had not seen the game and only read the bonkers posts on here, you might conclude that only three players were responsible. THAT IS ARRANT NONSENSE OF COURSE and as a rare realist on here I will be the first, so far, to say what is obvious to we realists. Of course Saka , Tierney and Auba had top games but no team wins with only three players playing well.

    I genuinely pity those juveniles who posted the slew of ridiculous posts above mine!

    IMO they may well be fans but they are not supporters, as supporters do support and not constantly moan, moan, moan, til they get their way like a two yearold having a tantrum.

    1. 🤡 comment once again
      Because someone is of different opinion to yourself you call them Spoilt children your head knows no boundaries,
      Remember all the kings men and all horses…..,

    2. Jon Fox and Grandad you are both old enough to realise that life is about opinions whether you agree or not what others say but by constantly putting people down who’s views you do not share is completely wrong you both think Arteta is the right man for the job I and many others don’t hes not made us any better since he has taken over infact he has the worse record of any Arsenal manager and if we had a owner that was ambitious and wanted to challenge for everything then Arteta would have been given the job in the first place unfortunately or fortunately for Arteta hes just happy to rake in whatever money he can. Hopefully 1 day he will sell up and we get someone in who genuinely wants to bring the glory days back to Arsenal!!

      1. Danny
        Read your views and you are right
        Life is all about opinons
        Problem with your views. It has major flaws
        1. We don’t have an ambitious owner and haven’t for the past 12 or so years
        The glory days were over 15 years ago
        We have no money to buy top quality players to replace the mediocrity we have within our squad
        No top manager will touch us with a barge poll
        We can all dream Danny boy but reality tells us different
        Onwards and upwards

      2. Danny This is a fan site where all are allowed to give our free opinions. We live in a fortunate part of the world where free speech is allowed and encouraged and, rightly, is regarded as precious. If part of that gift of free speech includes deriding what I consider to be unthinking posts from SOME other fans, then that is the right we all have.

        But which you would, presumably, try to ban, given your post above, which is as wrongheaded as can be.

        Putting their views down is not wrong ; it is free and allowable opinion which I expect you will one day learn is so important, when you grow older.

    3. Jon Fox- that is a great post you did. Here is full of moaning children , who are never satisfied.
      You comment of the game is great.
      Thanks God , that Arsenal has some real supporters like you.

      1. we are two thirds of the way through the season and in the bottom half of the table which is where we have been most of the season, we have no discernible style beyond a david moyse packing the defence approach two thirds of passes are backwards or lateral and two thirds of those in our own half … am i a satisfied fan … to damn right im not … lots of reasons but people who dont recognise arteta as one of them … and a big one at that … have simply lost the plot

  23. Who is up for some Arsenal vs Villareal next round. It would be beautiful for the past to battle the present. But a word of caution to that take, Mr Good ebening is a master of the EL

  24. Arteta is an enemy unto himself,i may loose my trust and believe in him if he continue this way,it would have squarely be all his fault if we had exited this competition.Why the hell is he not playing Martineli? Why the late 70-80 minutes changes always?

  25. J Fox, chill man. Managers aren’t accountable for player’s onfield gaffs but they are responsible for tactics, motivation and choosing the correct line-up. This guy is clearly blinkered in how he plays and who he puts on the field. The way he and his useless assistants were celebrating after the game looked like it was all down to their strategic nous, whereas it was individual initiative from the players which led to the goals.

    1. “The way he and his useless assistants were celebrating after the game looked like it was all down to their strategic nous”

      please explain how someone can celebrate in that fashion? There literally just celebrating the win…

  26. Danny, I am not in the habit of putting people down.I responded to you earlier today because you accused Arteta of being “a clueless idiot”_ your exact words.A clueless idiot would not have held down a highly paid position with Man City nor been selected to manage a Club like Arsenal.You openly suggested that you hoped Arsenal lose to hasten the sacking of our Manager.Are you now denying you said these things which can be verified by hundreds on this site?A true Arsenal supporter would never, I repeat , never hope we lose for any reason.

    1. Well said Grandad.
      Obviously Arteta is NOT an idiot but perhaps the ones calling him an idiot.
      And only an idiot will want Arsenal to lose for any reason

  27. Grandad I do not deny calling Arteta a clueless idiot yes I did say that and still believe he is not Arsenal manager material again in my opinion whether right or wrong that’s all it is!!

    1. Evidently, you can have opinions about how the team plays etc. However, one would question why you feel it is necessary to insult the manager.

    2. Danny You are naturally totally free to express your opinion. Equally, anyone here is also free to either challenge it or agree with it or discuss it, if they so wish. I totally disgree with your opinion and that of many others who share your opinion.
      I therefore exercise my own inalienable right to give my opinion about their opinions. And about yours. And will continue to do so, if I so choose!


  28. Arsenal are through to the Europa League Cup round of 16 knock out matches this season after knocking out Benfica FC out at the round of 32 stage of the competition this night in Greece. The game was neve racking for Arsenal and us Gooners a like. But the Gunners came through it successfully to qualify for the next round. I am happy relieved, delights and elated for Arsenal. And I say bravo to the team and manager.

    Sideways and backward passing game is part of the game playing of a possession base oriented team like Arsenal current pattern of playing is for long been looking to be.

    Which no past Arsenal trio managers of, Emery, Ljumberg and Arteta who all came after the former AFC manager Arsene Wenget who instituted tiki-taka football at Arsenal, have attempted to change Arsenal to offensive based team. e.g. like the current Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham Hs, West Ham, Everton and Aston Villa teams are currently looking to be playing. And who are currently above AFC in the PL table.

    And I think most of the AFC midfielders such as Xhaka for a single example, has considered passing the ball sideways or backward for safety reason to keep his team possession of the ball and game, than to take a risk to pass the ball forward when he’s not sure his team mate will hold the pass but could lose it to the opposition team player to cost his team ball/game possession.

    For, is it not when a team has the possession of the ball to kesp the game under it’s control that the players can do what they wani to do with the ball? Such as forward passing it to make attempts to create chances to score goals. Right?

    But notwithstanding, over passing the ball sideways or backward may not help the team positively to create the goals scoring chances that the team ought to be creating to score goals to win matches. Since it’s by passing the ball forward and passing it forward accurately most of the time in a match that will put the opposition team defending under pressure to slip up or crack leaving an opening for goals to be scored.

    But if AFC want to change from possession based team that they are currently are to a principally an offensive or attacking minded team. The club will have to sign 2 to 3 new players next summer who are naturally attacking minded based strikers/midfielder kinds to enabling change the the team, in additions to the ones they already have on ground in the team. Such as the speedter 8ellerin in particular. And Luiz, Maglhaes, Holding and of course Tierney who all can run fast forward to cause havoc in the opponent’s half of the field/area/box. But I’m not saying the club should discard off AMN, Mari and Soares as these AFC defenders are still very useful in the team.

    In the Arsenal midfield, one audacious new attacking minded midfielder like Thomas Partey should be added to ESR, Xhaka, Elneny and the loan returning Willock next summer window to change the Arsenal midfielders to an attacking minded kind.

    While in the forward line or striking department unit, 2 new audacious high caliber attacking/offensive minded forward players must be injected into the Arsenal forward next summer in addition to the club still keeping Aubameyang, Pepe, who I believe with patient, will still come very good for Arsenal after he has fully settled down in the team this season. And Martinelli, Saka of course. But will Eddie Nketiah have an inform turnaround breakthrough in the Arsenal forward before this season before it runs out? Which if he has will justify his remaining in the squard next season? Well, I don’t know but I believe Arteta will know better than me in this regard.

    These are all what I have to rant about for now.

  29. The only real saving grace of this match was the fact that we secured the victory in the closing minutes, instead of being on the receiving end of a crushing defeat like last season…our tactics are still too negative, which is why we had to rely on a few moments of brilliance from our highest quality players(Auba, Saka & Tierney)…that said, we can’t afford to make such amateurish mistakes like the one Dani committed or we’re gong to struggle to get results against the better clubs

    ESR looks like a different player since Ode supplanted him, which isn’t a good look for a club that professes to be building for the future…twice in that game ESR didn’t even look for open runners in the box and simply passed backwards, which is something he almost never did when he was the driving force in the midfield after Xmas…Ode has some skills but his link-up play has been atrocious since arriving at the club…I would rather Arteta play Willian than Ode, considering the fact that he will be here for the foreseeable future, as no one with half a brain will take on that contract for two years

    like I’ve said before it’s clear that Marts has landed in the doghouse, likely for his little tweet about being healthy and ready to go…if that’s the case Arteta is way too fragile to deal with the modern day athlete, which could be very costly for our future prospects as we can ill-afford to lose several of our most promising blue chippers simply because our novice manager focuses too much on outside perceptions than maximizing our footballing potential…we can’t afford another latter years Wengeresque cult of personality dynamic at the club again, so someone has to not-so-gently remind Arteta it’s not about him, it’s about the TEAM

  30. Whatever your personal biases, Arteta is quite clearly making decisions based on what he thinks is best for the team.
    Where do you get the idea from that Martinelli is in some kind of doghouse?

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