Rome’s Stadio Olimpico is tonight’s venue for the Europa League round of 32 first leg meeting between Benfica and Arsenal.

Here is all of the key team news and how we expect the sides to line up.


The Portuguese giants are without both regular right-backs Andre Almeida and Gilberto so Diogo Goncalves will continue to deputise. Club captain Jardel is another long-term absentee for the Portuguese side but Pizzi – tied with Lille’s Yusuf Yazici at the top of the Europa League scoring charts with six – will return to the starting XI.

Several ex-Premier League players will be in with a shot of facing Arsenal here with Jan Vertonghen expected to pair Nicolas Otamendi in central defence and ex-Spurs and QPR playmaker Adel Taarabt lining up in a modified defensive midfield role.

Likely XI (4-4-2): 

Vlachodimos; Goncalves, Otamendi, Vertonghen, Grimaldo; Silva, Taarabt, Weigl, Pizzi; Nunez, Seferovic


Nicolas Pépé bagged three goals and three assists in the group stages, and given the fact that Benfica may have to do without both recognised right-backs, the Ivory Coast winger will be hopeful of starting on the left side and causing some damage.

Kieran Tierney has returned to training but this match may come too soon for the Scottish left-back. Playmakers Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Ødegaard are also both pushing for starts.

Likely XI (4-2-3-1):

Leno; Bellerín, Holding, Luiz, Cedric; Xhaka, Ceballos; Pépé, Saka, Aubameyang; Lacazette



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