Arsenal Team News vs Benfica (Europa League): Thomas Partey, Rob Holding

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Arsenal will be facing Benfica again in the second leg of their Round of 32 Europa League tie on Thursday night. Time to run through the team news in this important clash. (For the Arsenal starting XI prediction go here)

The North London club had a disappointing outing in the Premier League this past weekend as they lost handily to Manchester City. They will have to put that behind them now and focus on the task at hand which is to beat the team from Portugal. With the advantage of an away goal, Mikel Arteta’s men are in the driver’s seat.

There are a couple of fitness/selection problems that the Emirates club will have to deal with. Thomas Partey was assessed ahead of the City game, but didn’t quite make fit enough to become part of the squad. It will be interesting to see if the midfielder manages to become match fit in time for the Europa League game.

Another potential absentee that manage Mikel Arteta will have to deal with is centre back Rob Holding. The Englishman had to be substituted on Sunday due to a concussion. A decision on his availability will be made as the match draws closer.

Given the poor form that the Gunners have shown in the league recently, this match takes on a lot more significance. If they fail to win on Thursday, it ends any chances of winning a trophy this season. It also means there’s a very strong possibility of no European football to look forward to next season.

The Emirates side will be kicking themselves for not scoring more goals during the first leg as they created many chances, which they didn’t convert. But they at least got that one crucial away goal, and it will certainly have a say in the second leg.

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All that matters for Arsenal now is that they take their chances as they come. If they are able to do this, it will become so much easier to win and move on to the Round of 16.

The Gunners do have a challenge on their hands, but they have a quality squad that can get the job done. All eyes will be on Arteta this Thursday night and he will be hoping that his players make him proud.

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