Predicted XI

Partey fighting for fitness - How Arsenal could line up against Benfica

The former Atletico Madrid midfielder will have one more test on Wednesday to determine if he will be available for the Europa League

1:04pm on Wednesday 24th February 2021
Martin Macdonald

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta might have Thomas Partey back available for the Europa League last 32 game against Benfica on Thursday.

The Ghanaian has missed the last few weeks due to injury in a season that has been fractured by various absences.

If he is not deemed fit enough for the Benfica game, then it will probably be this weekend's huge Premier League fixture against Leicester when he will see him return.

The Gunners will be without Rob Holding after he picked up a concussion in the 1-0 loss against Manchester City on Sunday.

David Luiz and Gabriel should return to the starting XI for European action anyway, with Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney on either side in the full-back roles.

Tierney only returned to the team in the first leg from injury, but with the tie balanced at 1-1, Arteta will need to go strong against the Portuguese giants.

Mohamed Elneny will probably drop out of central midfield to make way for Dani Ceballos, who will partner Granit Xhaka.

Emile Smith Rowe was surprisingly left out of the starting line-up for the Man City game, but expect him to be restored to the attacking midfield trio alongside Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will lead the line, but expect an appearance from Alexandre Lacazette off the bench at some point.

Arsenal predicted XI against Benfica

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