Arsenal will be aiming to advance to the last-16 of this season’s UEFA Europa League when they face Benfica in the second-leg of their last-32 tie in Athens on Thursday evening.
The Gunners, who were beaten 1-0 by Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon courtesy of a very early goal from Raheem Sterling, will be hoping to get the better of the Portuguese side after playing out a 1-1 draw in the first-leg last week.
Although Arsenal were left frustrated not to have won the first-leg, with a collection of chances being squandered, they did ensure that they have an away goal to their name ahead of Thursday’s second meeting.
But whilst Arsenal are considered as favourites to get the better of the Liga Nos outfit and progress to the last-16 of the competition, Mikel Arteta – the Arsenal manager – will know only too well that his side can take nothing for granted, particularly in European competition.
To ensure his players are prepared in the best possible way for the second-leg in Greece, the Spaniard has been putting the players through their paces ahead of travelling to Athens.
But what did we learn from the Gunners’ latest training session? Here, footballsocial.online has picked out four things we spotted from from the latest training video that has been released ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Greece.
Tierney shows his toughness
Although the temperatures in England have improved in the past week or so, certainly in comparison to what they were a fortnight ago, it is still not warm enough for T-shirt weather, you would say.
But try telling Kieran Tierney that. As the Gunners coaching staff got all of the players together ahead of a running exercise, left-back Tierney, who made his first start since the 3-0 win over Newcastle United last month during Sunday’s clash with City, stood at the front of the group with bare arms.
In comparison to the rest of the group, the Scotland international was the only one not wearing a jumper, making it clear that the cool temperatures do not bother him in the slightest.
Since joining Arsenal from Spanish giants Atletico Madrid last summer, midfield enforcer Thomas Partey has consistently struggled with injury troubles.
The Ghana international has continuously been in and out of the team and experienced a stop-start beginning to his career in England. However, ahead of the trip to Athens, the midfielder has returned to training after missing the Gunners’ last three matches in all competitions after suffering a hamstring complaint in the 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa at Villa Park earlier this month.
On Wednesday morning, Arteta, addressing the media in his pre-match press conference, confirmed that the Ghanaian would face one final fitness test but all the signs appeared promising that he could feature against Benfica.
Thomas Partey travels with Arsenal squad to Athens for Europa League match against Benfica
Thomas Partey has travelled with the Arsenal squad to Athens for their Europa League round of 32 second leg clash against Benfica, football.london understands.
The Ghanaian midfielder has missed Arsenal’s last three games due to suffering a muscular injury during the defeat to Aston Villa on February 6.
The 27-year-old has taken part in one training session ahead of the second leg in Athens, which is the Gunners’ ‘home’ leg with the match being played in Greece due to coronavirus restrictions.
Partey was spotted in Saturday’s training session at London Colney, ahead of the Manchester City clash, although he was involved in his own individual session as he peeked through the netting to keep tabs on his teammates.
“Thomas is very close,” Arteta said in his pre-match press conference.
“He has got a final test today in training. If he is feeling good he can play the match.”
Meanwhile, Rob Holding won’t feature against the Portuguese side due to concussion.
The England defender was substituted during Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City but is expected to be fully fit for Sunday’s Premier League clash away at Leicester City.