Predicted Arsenal Line-up (4-2-3-1) vs Benfica, Pepe and Holding return


Arsenal make the trip to Stadio Olimpico for Thursday’s Europa League round of 32 first-leg tie against Benfica.

The north London side recently ended a three-match winless streak with a convincing 4-2 Premier League victory over Leeds United at the Emirates Stadium.

The victory should boost the confidence of the squad and manager Mikel Arteta will be hoping that his side can replicate the performance against Benfica.

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Predicted Line-up:

Arteta handed Alex Runarsson with four appearances in goal during the group stage of the Europa League but the 25-year-old has not been registered for the knockout phase.

Mat Ryan is now the deputy goalkeeper for the Gunners but the manager should go with the first-choice in Bernd Leno between the sticks.

In the backline, there may be a solitary change with Gabriel Magalhaes making way for the return of Rob Holding in central defence.

Kieran Tierney has returned to training after a lower leg injury but the game may come too soon for him to make the starting XI.

In midfield, Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos are the best choices at Arteta’s disposal with Thomas Partey still nursing a hamstring issue.

The duo are likely to keep their places ahead of Mohamed Elneny, who may feature on the bench once more.

Further forward, Martin Odegaard could drop to the bench for Nicolas Pepe, who was an unused substitute against Leeds.

Pepe should slot into the left wing position with Bukayo Saka on the opposite flank while Emile Smith Rowe is likely to fill the number 10 role.

Alexandre Lacazette may start on the bench after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s maiden Premier League hat-trick last weekend.

The club captain appeared back to his best against the Whites and will be aiming to carry the momentum into the away leg against Benfica.

Predicted Arsenal line-up (4-2-3-1): Leno; Bellerin, Holding, Luiz, Soares; Xhaka, Ceballos; Saka, Smith Rowe, Pepe; Aubameyang.

Stats from

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