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Benfica vs Arsenal Odds & Prediction – UEL Round of 32 Leg 1

Quinn Allen

by Quinn Allen in Soccer News

Updated Feb 17, 2021 · 1:16 PM PST

Benfica vs Arsenal
Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, centre, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Leeds United at the Emirates stadium in London, England, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021. (Catherine Ivill/Pool via AP)
  • The Europa League Round of 32 kicks off Thursday, with a high-profile first leg between Benfica and Arsenal
  • The Gunners finished atop Group B, while the Portuguese giants were runners up in Group D
  • Get our odds, preview, and best bet for this fixture below

The Europa League Round of 32 begins this week and right off the bat, there’s an exciting clash between two of the competition’s finest sides with Benfica vs Arsenal. Benfica will host Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal on Thursday, February 18th, kick-off at 3:00 PM EST at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, due to COVID-19 restrictions in Portugal.

The Gunners were the only team in the group stages to win all six of their matches while conceding just five times. As for Benfica, they collected three victories and three draws.

These two sides have only met twice in their history back in the 1991 European Cup, with the Portuguese outfit winning one encounter and drawing the other.

Benfica vs Arsenal Europa League Round of 32 Leg 1 Odds

Matchup Spread Moneyline Total
Benfica vs Arsenal BEN pk (+115) | ARS pk (-135) BEN +200 | ARS +130 | DRAW +255 Ov 2.5 (-127) | Un 2.5 (+106)

All odds taken Feb 17 at DraftKings

Benfica Shifts Focus to Europe

At this point, Benfica’s chances of winning the Primeira Liga title are basically non-existent. Jorge Jesus’ men are in fourth spot and a whole 13 points off league-leaders Sporting Lisbon. With this in mind, expect Benfica to be solely focused on making a deep run in this year’s Europa League campaign.

Their form hasn’t been the greatest coming into this massive clash though. The Portuguese giants have secured just one victory in their last six domestic outings while also drawing four times. An underwhelming 1-1 result with Moreirense on Sunday wasn’t ideal, where Benfica severely struggled to find the back of the net.

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Haris Seferovic’s first-half goal put them ahead, but they conceded a penalty just 15 minutes later which allowed Moreirense to equalize. Despite having 65-percent of the possession and a total of eight shots on target, Jesus’ side couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities.

Although it was a few months back, Benfica did look good in the group stages of Europa. Two of their draws came against Rangers and they also bagged 18 goals in just six matches. That was the third-highest amount throughout all 64 teams, behind only Bayer Leverkusen and, coincidentally, Arsenal.

Their backline has been solid this term as well in both Europe and Portugal, conceding just 17 times in league play and nine in the Round of 64. Keep an eye on Seferovic in the final third for Benfica, having already netted 12 goals this season across all competitions. However, he’s yet to score in the Europa, but this would be the perfect time to do so.

Can Arsenal Keep it Rolling in Europa?

The Gunners definitely had an easier group than most, but they completely dominated in the group stages. Considering their form at the time in England was poor, it’s a miracle Arsenal was able to win all six games.

Things have changed for them over the last month and a half though. Although Arteta’s side is still well out of the Premier League top-six, they’ve begun to find results. A brilliant performance against a vibrant Leeds squad on Sunday will have the Gunners heading in the right direction for Thursday’s fixture.


Arsenal put four past Marcelo Bielsa’s men in an electric attacking display. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a hat-trick and looks to be finding his form after numerous off-field issues that have kept him out of the Gunners lineup.

Currently in 10th place and just two wins off the sixth spot, Europa League for next season is still a possibility. But, just like Benfica, the North Londoners will be focused on doing damage in this year’s competition. Arsenal will also be looking to steer clear of another exit in the Round of 32 after Olympiacos heroically knocked them out last season at this stage.

Benfica vs Arsenal Key Stats

3-3-0 (2nd in Group D) Standing in Group Stage 6-0-0 (1st in Group B)
18 Goals Scored in UEL 20
9 Goals Conceded in UEL 5
1-3-1 Form in Last Five League Matches 2-1-2

Benfica vs Arsenal Best Bet

Although these sides were impressive in the group stages, their form currently hasn’t been spectacular. But with Arsenal coming off a convincing victory over Leeds where Aubameyang found his scoring touch, I like the English giants here.

Also, expect Nicolas Pepe to play a crucial part in the attack, having already scored three goals and assisted another three in Europa this term.

It will be a close result, leaving things open for the second leg in Greece.

Pick: Arsenal to win by 1 (+310)

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