The duel between SL Benfica and Arsenal promises to be divided. Arsenal have a fast attack that can cause problems for the Portuguese, but defensive instability can be a point to explore.
Head-to-head will be two teams that wanted nothing to do with the Europa League. Both out of their ambitions and going through a troubled phase, marked by sporting failures. Difficult to say who can come out on top in this match between SL Benfica and Arsenal.
The two hands of this round of 32 have a drawback: due to travel restrictions to and from the UK, neither team will play at home. The first game will be played in Italy, at the Stadio Olimpico, and the second leg will be played at Georgios Karaiskakis, in Greece.
But, after all, what can Benfica do Arsenal, the runners-up finalist in 2019, expect? A team disoriented, insecure in defense and game processes or a team quick in the offensive and strong transition in possession in the opposing midfield. It all depends on chance. Instability is the watchword in the team coached by Mikel Arteta.
Arsenal are strong at controlling possession under pressure and have improved since they started playing with a defensive quartet. The squad is filled with talents like Aubameyang, Lacazette e Pépé, which give a dizzying offensive power. Willian and Bukayo Saka are also strong options for the attack.
One of the reasons for the team’s underachievement is Aubameyang’s poor form, which has been below expectations after last season being the team’s best scorer. Former Benfica David Luiz, in defense, he has also made some mistakes that penalized the team and left them in a modest 10th place in the Premier League.
Between the posts, Bernd Leno it is an authentic wall and, on several occasions, saved Arsenal from a worse evil. The Germanic counts talented defenders to help him in guarding the goal, as Héctor Bellerín e Gabriel Magalhães. Tierney’s injury can bring Cédric Soares to the starting eleven.
In turn, Arsenal have a muscular midfield, with Jaca e party as options. Dani ceballos e Ødegaard they give a mix of creativity, and quality of passing and dribbling.
The lack of coordination at the moment of the defensive transition is one of the points that Benfica can take. The team grants spaces between the defensive and the intermediate line, presenting serious difficulties in controlling depth.
Arsenal are also a team in the works, which may undergo a revolution in the near future. Mattéo Guendouzi, Lucas Torreira, Lacazette and David Luiz are appointed at the exit door, and the first two have already left on loan this season.
“What can change is in defensive terms”
In a press conference ahead of the game against the English, Jorge Jesus recognized the power of Arsenal, but admitted few changes in the way his team played.
“We know the Arsenal individually and collectively. It is a team that is at a very high level of English football but we know the value we have and we want to surprise Arsenal. When we are defending, I want us to be a well-structured team to nullify those players that Arsenal have, especially Lacazette and Aubameyang in the front, ”said the Benfica coach.
“It is true that away goals in these competitions have a lot of influence, but that is not what will change our idea of the game. What can change is in defensive terms, that we may not be a team with as many strikers as in the Portuguese championship. We know that the Arsenal team has a very powerful attack and with a lot of individual quality. We have to strike a balance, but having a good defensive organization is not enough. We have to know how to attack the opponent when we have the ball, ”he added.
Asked if he will opt for three central system who used, for example, in the game against Sporting, Jorge Jesus said he has not yet decided. According to the newspaper A BOLA, Jorge Jesus is considering launching tomorrow Lucas Veríssimo, 25-year-old central bank that was the only reinforcement of the January transfer market.
“There are no lifeline. Benfica joined this Europa League and had a very good group stage, always with the intention of getting as far as possible. We will face an opponent who also has ambitions in this competition. It is a good thing that we are here, it is not a lifeline, it is a matter of entering into a project where one wants to get as far as possible, ”said the 66-year-old.
Daniel Costa, ZAP //