Full Arsenal squad revealed for Europa League clash vs Benfica as Arteta faces Partey decision
Arsenal will be looking to join north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the last-16 of the UEFA Europa League when they lock horns with Benfica in the second-leg of their last-32 clash in Athens this evening, kick-off 5:55pm.
The Gunners, who were defeated 1-0 by Premier League table-toppers Manchester City on Sunday afternoon, will travel to Greece with the tie poised at 1-1 following last Thursday’s first-leg in Italy.
After falling behind to Pizzi’s penalty, the Gunners responded just two minutes later through Bukayo Saka, ensuring Mikel Arteta’s side secured an all-important away goal ahead of this evening’s second-leg.
Although, because of current coronavirus travel restrictions in place, tonight’s second-leg is being staged in Athens, Arsenal are the home team this evening, meaning they will be looking to progress to the last-16 without the threat of Benfica claiming an away goal of their own.
Despite circumstances regarding European club football being different this season, in terms of matches being staged in neutral venues and neither side having the backing of their own fans, Arteta believes it makes the scenario all the more difficult.
The Spaniard, speaking to the media on Wednesday morning, said: “I think it’s different. The away goal is always important but in this case, in this context I don’t think it’s that relevant.
“We take the game like there is everything still to play for. It’s the second half of the game and we need to go there to try to go to win the game.
“Because any other thing, without the fans, without being in our stadium or anything, I think makes the game very tricky.” full story
Mesut Ozil’s misery continues at Fenerbahce despite Arsenal transfer exit
When the midfielder’s Arsenal contract was terminated in January it supposed to be the ideal solution for all parties.
The Gunners got their top earner off the books after he was frozen out for the previous 10 months – while Ozil was free to join the club he grew up supporting, and Fenerbahce in turn landed a player they hoped would inspire them to the Super Lig title.
But Ozil has so far failed to score or create a goal for the Turkish giants, who have lost three of the five games he has played since joining.
That run has seen them knocked out of the Turkish cup by Istanbul Basaksehir, while they have slipped to third in the Super Lig.
Ozil and his new club are now three points behind Galatasaray, and level on points with second-placed Besiktas.
Of course, it would be unfair to blame their recent slip-ups on Ozil, who will need time to adapt after almost a year without football. And with the league table so tight, the playmaker has plenty of time to inspire his new club to glory this term. full story
Kieran Tierney’s moment of fury in Arsenal training after being called out by David Luiz
Kieran Tierney is well-known for his no-nonsense approach when it comes to games, matches and opponents.
But the Scotland international didn’t take too kindly to being called out by David Luiz in training on Wednesday after trying to get away with a fast one.
The Arsenal duo, along with a number of teammates, were taking part in a one-touch rondo at the club’s London Colney base.
Tierney was on the outside of the circle aiming to keep possession from two defenders, and under-pressure improvised brilliantly to flick the ball through the space and keep possession.
Unfortunately for the Scot, he used two touches to do so, with the first lifting the ball and the second swiftly poking it past his opponent with the outside of the boot.
He is known to take training sessions extremely seriously and was even asked to tone down his tackles on his teammates, according to Arsenal legend Martin Keown.
“Right from the beginning I could see there was a determination about him,” Keown told BT Sport in January.
“He’s just the right type that you need – his personality, character. He’s a driving force and he’s a throwback.
“In training, they have to tell him to calm down because he’s tackling ferociously. I really like that attitude that he brings.”