Confirmed Arsenal team for Europa League clash with Benfica

The teams are out for tonight’s Europa League clash between Arsenal and Benfica in Rome.

Tonight will be the first of two-legs, both of which will be played in neutral stadiums due to different countries travel restrictions, with this evening’s clash being staged in the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

The Gunners come into the tie on the back of a very impressive victory over Leeds, but neither side can really boast as being the most consistent this term.

Arsenal do have a 100% record to defend however, currently remaining as the only team in European competition to have won every fixture so far this season.

While Benfica didn’t dominate their group in the way we did, they do have an unbeaten record to defend however, so one of the two teams will be leaving tonight without their respective records in tact.

Folarin Balogun and Eddie Nketiah both featured heavily in the group stages, but haven’t been selected to start tonight in such a crucial game, but the latter could well play a part off the bench. There is no place for Balogun however.

What do you think of Mikel Arteta’s selection for today’s clash? Should this team give us the advantage needed to secure the away goals which will seal our route to the next round?


Tags Benfica


  1. Everytime Luiz starts we cough one up.

    Just start Holding and Mari for goodness sakes.
    If anyone comes off the bench it best be Martinelli.

    1. Aaron either you like it or not Luiz is still our best defender and we play better with him in the team.

  2. Strange, no rotation from the weekend and city on sunday, i hope we dont use fatigue as excuses after not resting players, not even one. Obviously strong team but surprised.

    1. Rest? Resting is bullshit
      We will still lose to city, let us play the best 11 everytime.

      Admin has never approved any of my comments, let’s see if this get approved

  3. If I read one comment asking why Martinelli isn’t starting, I’ll lose my mind.
    Manager: Rotates his strongest ten in a cup game and lost

    Fans: bîtch about it

    Manager: Plays his best available team in a cup game we need

    Fans: Biîtch about lineup and favourite not playing…

      1. Yeah so what?
        That’s what common sense would tell anyone.. So the manager decides okay nope lemme go with my best team instead of using the players I rested.
        Am I supposed to cry because he went with his best team instead?

        1. Eddie pretty sure you said it’s common sense that Willian came on in our last game because Martinelli would start this game.

          1. What has martinelli even done this season to warrant him starting all the games? He’s always injured, this is a tight game, benfica is seating deep with 10 behind the ball, this doesn’t suit martinelli or pepe’s game that is why the manager went with smith Rowe and Saka on the wings, players that are good in tight spaces. Martinelli usually runs and is not good with tight spaces or close control. Please stop these your fantasy about him. I will rather have willian play in this game than martinelli

        2. i wouldve put money on him starting too eddie. I still like lineup tho. Hoping everyone delivers today is all i care bout.

  4. Arteta has made a correct decision by keeping the winning team. Pepe or Martinelli could come as super subs if needed

  5. Excellent line up. Let’s hope they have recovered well from the game against Leeds.

    This should not be far from our best 11 available.

    This is Arteta taking the Europa League seriously.

    I pray we win this game.

  6. As the Europa Cup is realistically our only route into the Champions League next season, it makes sense to play a very strong side.Personally ,I would have included Holding for Luis, but let’s hope he is switched on this evening.

  7. Arguably the strongest XI available.

    Arteta’s line-up for Sunday’s match just became very interesting.

  8. Is this a clear indication that lacazette is preferred for games where we will be sitting deep. Who knows.

  9. I don’t like Willian on the bench because he might find his way onto the pitch, otherwise it’s a good selection.

  10. Disgraceful that Odegard is starting tbh. He will go back to Madrid in the summer and should only be used when resting ESR. If I was Pepe or Martinelli, I would be looking to leave in the summer.

      1. So you dont rate either or your taking a shot at me ? Nobody likes you on this forum john I suppose pme more wont hurt your rep

  11. It makes perfect sense for MA to field what he thinks is his strongest team in the ONLY competition we have ANY chance to win. Only a fool would not do so.

  12. Martinelli can come in second half and make an impact.

    I want to see Martinelli, Lacazette and Pepe come in second half.

  13. This looks like it is going to be one of those boring games, where I reget not going to bed earlier the next morning.

      1. You mean a professional footballer under no pressure can pass a ball accurately 20 yards

        New, improved contract right now!

        Give credit where it’s genuinely due, not to prove a point.

      2. @Ken450BC- to be fair Ken, Bellerin is very good in these positions and that was laid on a plate for Auba. And with the way we are set up this evening, Bellerin should be getting into these positions at every opportunity.
        Bellerin though is criticised more for his defensive performances, and most times it’s very difficult to argue with this.

        1. Phil, not going to argue with the point you are making, but once again, I was admiring the player – as you can see from the replies though, some are quick to dismiss him and his contribution.

          1. Ken- I’m with you on Bellerin. He is not as defensively sound as he should have been for a number of years but then tell me who has been in any Arsenal defence over the last god knows how many seasons? And some overlook the fact that our full backs were, certainly up until Arteta took over, very often too exposed with little or no cover.
            @ Got an Idea is forever mentioning how Xhaka is often dropping deep to the left to cover the LB especially when we are going forward. He is tight and this had only started since Arteta took over. But Bellerin never seems to have this cover, exposing him far more than Tierney/Soures ever have been.
            Going forward when we attack, Bellerin can be very very good, but so often he fails to take his man on and hit the line. When he does, like this evening, he is a very dangerous attacker for us, but just as his defending, he is erratic and inconsistent, He is a far better player than he is often given credit for, but at the same time you can never entirely defend him against the criticism he gets

      3. Are you by any chance implying that he’s a world class player? Both him and Xhaka are very slow in decision making and more often than not, they end up making the wrong one

        1. No, I was simply asking if we were aware who crossed the ball, as he is often maligned by some of our fan base.
          Not sure that the question I asked, infers to him asbeing a world class player – perhaps you are looking for something to criticise the player for?
          Bellerin had an excellent game tonight, but it’s normal not to recognise that fact.

  14. Everybody loves Martinelli. Me too, but I’m worried about his injury prone. That could be the reason why Arteta very cautious about him. We definitely don’t want to loose another talent like Wilshere. I rather have him really heal and come back strong.

  15. Aubameyang should’ve buried that super easy chance and Benfica’s level is obviously way below ours. I hope Smith-Rowe is okay, because he’s been the best of our attackers so far

  16. @Got an Idea- the next time you mention how important Xhaka is to our team performing the Double Pivot on our left side when attacking, could I ask you to remember “THAT” ridiculous ball he just played that should have had us 1-0 down. He is a liability and has to be out the door at the end of this season. Ceballos is 10 times the player Xhaka is this evening, and Arteta needs to get him out quickly. That ball was inexcusable

    1. An occasional mistake like that happens sometimes, but you must also see his contributions in the game. His forward passes to through our left flank were great and he did the dirty work to stop Benfica’s attacks

      1. I can’t defend Xhaka in this one, the ref is about to below the whistle for halftime and you are the senior players on the picth giving such a wayward pass right next to your 18yard. What happened to game management? Remember they did the same against Wolves and we never recovered. This is a tight game that would be won or Lost by small margins and the presence of Xhaka and Luis is a big risk.

      1. That doesn’t matter….a decent pass does not make up for a terrible mistake under no pressure!

        So if he makes 10 good passes,he can make 10 mistakes and you fine with it? My word

        Also he should definitely have a yellow card by now,that ine challenge in the middle of the park was terrible and extremely late

    2. are you blaming Xhaka for that? there is no redeeming you.
      he made a pass to ceballos, he was sure bellerin was there, was it his fault ceballos waited until opponent got involved?

      1. Yes PAL I am blaming Xhaka. He blindly passed across our box to nobody. As I pointed out to GOT, if they had scored what would you be saying then ?
        Two pundits in Hoddle and Keown slaughtered Xhaka for the pass but you know better. Ridiculous

          1. @adanim- are you seriously defending Xhaka for an irresponsible pass, on the stroke of half-time, that could/should have seen us a goal down?
            Stevie Wonder could have been a Pundit tonight PAL and I’m telling you he would have slaughtered Xhaka for playing that ball.

          2. Adajim, “competent” footballers like Glenn Hoddle and Martin Keown as pundits often know a bit about what constitutes a wayward or dangerous pass. These two don’t often get it wrong.

      2. AdMin- why has my post been removed? There was nothing in there that could ever be anything to be controversial or insulting

    3. Spot on Phil … the lack of ambition of n some fans is staggering xhaka Luiz bellerin need to be moved on in the summer if we are to progress

      1. Xhaka is just a Donkey with the ability to kick like an ass. He was awful tonight and Benficas best attacks were started by his lack of abilty.

  17. Am not impressed so far. none of our players taking any risk, everyone playing safe. and Auba? hmmm if it were willian or Pepe that miss the sitter…

    1. They won’t mention that, until he misplaces a pass in the middle of the pitch. We are struggling to score in a match but some how our DM is under scrutiny

      1. He was doing what he should be doing. A good tackle, good covering. But it still does not take away the fact this player is a liability it’s his errant passing at times, and fails to give us an attacking impetus from midfield. Too slow, too static.

  18. Nothing but detractors on here now.
    No point excusing any of the overpaid lot that kick a ball.
    They should play like they know they’re one bad result away from the sack, just like all of us working real jobs in the real world!
    But no, money always talks. Give them an inch and they run.

  19. Players talent alone won’t do. That’s where an experienced manager is needed. This benfica team is a poor one.

    1. What do we really want. It’s not as if Martinelli or Pepe has been playing. Those are equally good and deserve to come in. They could make an instant impact. Laka will have his day.

  20. Xhaka has hardly touched the ball in the middle of the park. Keeps drifting to LB where there’s no pressure on the ball. Cowardly performance. Contributing nothing.

  21. Good performance tonight we should have won but an unnecessary comment about xhaka being cowardly. When will it end with this nonsense

  22. Beside the goal Saka has been very poor today. His pressing and work rate off the ball has much to be desired.

    1. One descent season our young players become worldclass players, and lost their desire to improve , we have so many examples in our club

  23. Oi where do you get off calling Arteta that. Isn’t this the sort of abuse we are trying to eradicate. Admin please do something about this!

    1. I’m not happy with this substitutions, i use that word because I’m fed up with his substitution especially willian, we are almost out of all the cup competitions and sitting in 10th position in epl table , sorry for that “abuse word “i used.

  24. I take it away goals come into this tie. If so that’s a bonus from a very lacklustre performance tonight. Very little intensity in a game that was there for the taking.
    Arteta had some thinking to do now with Citeh on Sunday and the 2nd leg next week.
    I believe he should go full out for the second leg next week and prioritise that over Sunday.

      1. Well PAL- I would say the only bonus from tonight is the away goal wouldn’t you?
        So we are 1-0 up before a ball is kicked not matter where we play

  25. Only caught last 25 minutes. Can only say manager and his players were saving their good stuff for next week. Arteta should get rid of his technical advisors at the very least. And yes Xhaka and David Luiz have to go. The team is not all about them. If they are our spine then Arsenal really are a mediocre, going no where type of club.

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