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Arsenal v Benfica Bet Builder – Europa League Predictions & Player Props

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Arsenal take on Benfica in the second leg of their Europa League last-32 knockout game on Thursday in a 5:55pm kick-off.

The match will be played at Karaiskakis Stadium, which is the home of Olympiacos in Greece, due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions.

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The two sides drew 1-1 at Stadio Olimpico in Italy last week, with Bukayo Saka quickly cancelling out Pizzi’s penalty in the second half.

Arsenal are odds-on 3 / 4 favourites to win and subsequently progress, with the draw 3/1 and a Benfica win 10/3.

Despite both legs being played on neutral territory, away goals still stand, meaning only a 1-1 draw would take the game to extra-time and potentially penalties.

Interestingly, these two sides have scored in all seven of their Europa League matches this season, with both teams to score landing five times each, too.

As such, I’m going back Over 1 Goals for Both Teams Combined. Hopefully we get an early-ish goal which forces the other side out.

With plenty at stake and the tie on a knife edge, though, it’s hard to see a bucket full of goals either.

The Portuguese outfit have only conceded three times twice in all competitions this season, with Arsenal only doing so on three occasions, so I’ll also back Under 4 Goals for Arsenal and Under 3 Goals for Benfica.

The reason I am backing Under 4 for Arsenal is that, if the scoreline is 2-1 to the Gunners towards the end of the game, you could easily see them scoring on the break as Benfica push for an equaliser which would take them into the last-16 of the competition.

Given Arsenal are arguably the stronger side, I’m trusting that the same scenario won’t happen in reverse!

On top of this, I’ll also back both sides to pick up a card each. Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers isn’t great at all for cards to be honest, averaging only 2 cards per game in his six Champions League games this season, but with the amount at stake here it’s hard to imagine both teams not taking a tactical yellow at some point:

Over 1 Goals for Both Teams Combined, Under 4 Goals for Arsenal, Under 3 Goals for Benfica, Over 0 Cards for Arsenal, Over 0 Cards for Benfica @ 21/20.

Indeed, with the likes of Granit Xhaka and Nicolas Otamendi lining up for either side, there’s always the chance of yellow cards!

I like the look of these two with former Borussia Dortmund midfielder Julian Weigl in a treble at 25/1 (Sky Bet). They have 19 yellow cards between them in the league alone this season.

You could even throw Hector Bellerin, who has eight to his name in the Premier League this season, in for a whopping 125/1.

One price I have got my eye on is Benfica to score a penalty at 6/1 (bet365). Pizzi has scored seven goals in the Europa League this season, with four of those coming from the spot, including in the first leg last week.

Given that Pizzi is best priced at 7/2 to score, and Kuipers has awarded eight penalties in his 20 matches in the Eredivisie and Champions League this season, 6/1 seems a very good price.

Betfair have also boosted the first leg’s goalscoring pair of Pizzi and Bukayo Saka to have a shot on target each to 11/4.

Pizzi has scored in six of his seven Europa League appearances, with Saka having two shots on target alongside scoring in the first leg and having 12 shots on target in his last 13 Premier League appearances.

I'm a freelance sports journalist who has worked for Goal & Bleacher Report amongst others. Get in touch, you're more than welcome to do so via Twitter.  

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