Arsenal vs. Benfica – Europa League, February 25, 2021
Arsenal and Benfica meet for the second leg of their Europa League Round of 32 tie at Olympiacos’ Karaiskakis Stadium on Thursday, February 25.
The two sides produced an entertaining 1-1 draw at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico last week – so it’s still all to play for!
If you’re planning to wager on Thursday’s Europa League clash, make sure you check out my Arsenal vs. Benfica prediction and betting pick below.
Arsenal vs. Benfica Odds
In all honesty, I’m surprised by the prices for this game. Given that the teams looked pretty evenly matched in the first leg, I expected the odds gap to be much tighter this time around.
10bet views Arsenal as the favorite (1.80), leaving Benfica (4.05) as the rank outsider. However, the big price for the draw (3.80) stands out to me at first glance.
Arsenal vs. Benfica Preview
Arsenal may have enjoyed 59% possession in the first leg, but it’s fair to say that Mikel Arteta’s men failed to make the most of their dominance.
The Gunners only managed to register two attempts on target last week, with a close-range Bukayo Saka tap-in canceling out Pizzi’s earlier penalty. But other than that, the game remained finely poised throughout the entire 90 minutes.
Back home, Arteta’s men suffered their third defeat in four EPL games on Sunday, losing 1-0 to Manchester City. However, given the form that Pep Guardiola’s side is in at the moment, the Gunners gave a good account of themselves.
After going behind to a Raheem Sterling header inside two minutes, Arsenal weathered the storm in the first half before creating multiple goalscoring opportunities during the second 45.
Looking at the bigger picture – the Gunners have only won two of their previous eight outings in all competitions. Can they arrest the slide on Thursday?
Despite only racking up six shots in the first leg, Benfica managed to record four shots on target. While Arsenal was wasteful, it could be argued that the Portuguese side deserved to edge the previous meeting.
Pizzi has now bagged seven goals and two assists in seven Europa League appearances this term, making him the competition’s top scorer. It goes without saying that Arsenal will be looking to keep him quiet on Thursday.
However, both Pizzi and Benfica have struggled on home soil of late. In fact, the Eagles have won just one of their last seven Liga NOS matches, registering five draws and a loss during that period.
Sunday’s goalless draw with lowly Farense means that Jorge Jesus’ men now find themselves fourth in the Primeira Liga standings – 15 points behind frontrunner Sporting CP.
Like Arsenal, Benfica is struggling domestically. But when it comes to the Europa League, the Eagles invariably up their game.
Arsenal vs. Benfica Pick
If I was going to back the Gunners to win this one, I would like the price to be a lot higher. Arsenal probably deserves the favorite tag, but the outcome of this tie is by no means a formality.
Yes, Benfica has domestic issues. But so does Arsenal. At the end of the day, I saw more than enough in the first leg to suggest that Jesus’ men can snatch a draw on Thursday. Plus, odds of 3.80 are seriously tasty, right?