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Confirmed Arsenal XI vs Benfica as Mikel Arteta makes Thomas Partey decision

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Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal are gearing up to face Benfica in the Europa League in what is a must-win game for us.

The Portuguese giants held the Gunners to a 1-1 draw in the first-leg last week. Emile Smith Rowe conceded a penalty and Benfica took the lead through Pizzi. Bukayo Saka equalised two minutes later, and the tie is in balance now.

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A goalless draw will send Arsenal through to the next round, but we cannot go into the game with that mentality. Arteta should send his boys out with the view of winning the game, and he has named an interesting lineup.

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Just one change from last week

Bernd Leno starts again in goal with David Luiz and Gabriel Magalhaes keeping their places in front of him. Kieran Tierney starts after missing out last week and that is a massive boost for us.

The Scotsman is one of our best players and his energy and quality up and down the left flank will be crucial if we are come away from the game with the result we all want.

Hector Bellerin keeps his place at right-back and we need a big performance from him. He hasn’t been at his best lately, but a good display tonight will change people’s recent opinion of him.

Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos start in central midfield and the pair will have to have a solid game. They simply cannot afford to give the ball away cheaply, and their transitional game will have to be spot on.

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The front four is the same as it was last week. Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka start out wide with Martin Odegaard pulling strings from the middle of the park.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will lead the line again and our skipper needs to step up after his performance in Rome. He could easily have finished the game last week, but his crucial misses have made this game a lot more difficult than it should have been.

Thomas Partey, Alexandre Lacazette, Gabriel Martinelli and Willian all take their place on the bench.

Here’s how Arsenal lineup today against Benfica

Arsenal XI: Bernd Leno, Hector Bellerin, David Luiz, Gabriel Magalhaes, Kieran Tierney, Granit Xhaka, Dani Ceballos, Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard, Emile Smith Rowe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Substitutes: Maty Ryan, Karl Hein, Calum Chambers, Pablo Mari, Cedric Soares, Mohamed Elneny, Thomas Partey, Willian, Nicolas Pepe, Gabriel Martinelli, Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah.

Come on you Gunners!

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