Arsenal travel to Rome to take on Benfica in the next round of the Europa League this week.
It now looks like the Europa League is our most realistic route to the Champions League next term. Winning the competitions has become all the more important now, and Mikel Arteta should be wary of all the threats he could face on Thursday.
Jorge Jesus’ side haven’t been at their best this term. They have won just twice since the turn of the year, and are currently 10 points off the top of the table – not a great record for a club aiming to win the Portuguese championship.
However, sides completely out of form are the ones that tend to cause us a lot of trouble and we should be cautious. We take a look at three Benfica stars who could cause us a few problems in Rome on Thursday.
The name rings a bell, doesn’t it? The Brazilian was a star at Gremio where he caught everyone’s eye – including Arsenal’s.
Unai Emery was reportedly trying really hard to sign Everton in the summer of 2019. Radio Grenal even claimed then that we were planning to send a doctor to Brazil to get a medical done, but no move materialised.
Everton joined Benfica last summer and he will look to prove a point against us on Thursday. He has scored four goals and has provided seven assists so far this season, and his pace and trickery will make it a difficult test for Hector Bellerin.
Another reported Arsenal target here and he could be one we try to sign in the summer. FourFourTwo revealed in December that Arteta’s Arsenal were keeping a close eye on Nunez who has been brilliant this season.
The Uruguayan has scored 12 times and has provided nine assists in all competitions this term. He has five goals in the Europa League already and he is one player we should be really concerned about.
If he fares well, he might convince Arteta to sign him in the summer, which is all the more incentive for him to be at his best on Thursday.
A very frustrating striker to have in your own team and a frustrating one to play against as well. Seferovic is having a good season at Benfca having scored 12 goals so far.
He isn’t the quickest of strikers but he is good with his back to goal. He can hold the ball up to bring players in and he is a physical presence in the box which means that we should be careful in set-piece situations.
Grant Xhaka will know Seferovic very well from their time together with the Swiss national team. He will have to share all his secrets with our defenders, who will have to be at their best to keep him at bay.