Yep, we’ve missed that one! Atalanta was unlucky to get a red card very early on, and I’m sure you’ve seen the rest. For those of you who went to bed earlier last night, Real Madrid took a late win… even though they’ve struggled (at times) against a one-man-down Atalanta.
Now, we’re turning our focus towards the second most prestigious European club competition – Europa League. We’re all about Arsenal vs. Benfica tips, to be more precise. It’s the biggest clash in this round of the EL playoffs and, with the first leg finished at 1:1, there’s everything to play for here! Both teams expect to go through to the next round.
Another thing that adds complexity not just to this matchup but to our Arsenal vs. Benfica betting predictions is the fact that the game will be played on neutral turf. At the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in Pireas, though Arsenal will have the on-paper home turf advantage. Obviously, the match will be played behind closed doors.
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Arsenal vs. Benfica Betting Predictions
What makes this the biggest Europa League contest when Arsenal are currently 11th in the Premier League and Benfica are fourth in the Portuguese Primeira Liga?
But, let’s stop speculating and get down and dirty!
Arsenal Need to Close This One Out
Let’s just say Arsenal’s domestic season has been terrible. At the moment, they’re in eleventh place, snatching just four points in the last five matches. Arteta’s men can’t be happy with how they’ve been performing, that’s for sure!
However, they’re still a force to be reckoned with in the Europa League. They are on of the most notable names in the competition despite not being in the best form. Can they turn a new page and secure a spot in the next round of the Europa League or will they succumb to the pressure against the Portuguese machinery?
▶️ 𝗡𝗼𝘄 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝘆𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝗻 𝗧𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗰𝗵
Our final preparations before flying to Athens for tomorrow's second leg against @SLBenfica 💪
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) February 24, 2021
What about Arsenal’s roster – who are the most notable players this season? Well, the 19-year old Bukayo Saka is proving to be a miraculous discovery. The all-around defensive midfielder is doing more than just defending. He has five goals and two assists to his tally, and splendid defensive stats across the board. Arteta have found gold in this youngster – if they can keep developing him and nurturing his talents, they’ll have a proper midfielder for years to come!
In terms of goalscoring potential, Lacazette and Aubameyang are on level terms at eight goals each. However, Lacazette’s has had more influence in the midfield portion of Arsenal’s attacks, even getting two assists to his name.
Benfica Looking for a Hail Mary
We aren’t done with our Arsenal vs. Benfica betting predictions just yet! At the moment, Benfica is on fourth place in the Portuguese Primeira Liga. Sporting is far above everyone else, still unbeaten and only three draws in twenty matches.
Benfica has to be pointed out as the third-best defense in the league… though their goalscoring potential leaves much to be desired.
Rafa and Haris Seferovic are in charge of the attacking oomph. The Portuguese creative, attack-minded midfielder has three goals and three assists to his tally, but his midfield organization and vision cannot be measured with stats. The same goes for his overall contributions – the 27-year-old Rafa is the key player in Benfica’s squad.
Wrapping Up the Tips
I expect a real thriller tomorrow. It won’t be a beautiful match, that I can tell you right away, but it’s going to be a real nail-biter for both sets of players and their respective fans. This is a big occasion for both teams, but one of them will be eliminated from this season of Europa League… and my money says there won’t be a lot of goals involved in the ordeal.
Last time out, both scored in a 1:1 draw but, tactically, this is going to be a different match. You can expect a lot more passing down the middle, good old passive play in the effort to keep possession. And we’re not just talking about Arsenal, Benfica ought to be doing the same exact thing. It won’t be until the final half-hour of the match that we’ll see the full attacking potential of these two… assuming we see a goalless first half, of course.
If Arsenal score, Benfica will go into the so-called “all out attack” mode, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Arteta’s men swing another one in behind Vlachodimos’ back. After all, they’re averaging three goals per match in the Europa League.
Other Europa League Betting Opportunities
There are a few more matches we need to point out ahead of tomorrow’s Europa League craze!
Ajax going up against Lille should be a cruise for the Dutch side. They’re coming into this one with a 2:1 away win, and their qualification for the next playoff round isn’t really in question. Ajax to win at -106 is fine accumulator material.
AC Milan vs. C. Zvezda is going to be a fiery contest. I expect a lot of goals, just like the first leg which ended in a 2:2 draw. Both teams to score seems about fit for this one; accumulator stuff for sure!
By winning 4:0 in the first leg, Manchester United have cemented their spot in the next round. However, I doubt they’ll stop there. They’re finally picking up their pace in Premier League, and I reckon their fine form will brush off on tomorrow’s clash with Real Sociedad. The Spaniards are plagued with injuries, and that creates a fine opportunity to go with something like a three-way handicap (-1) at +260.