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Familiar faces and the next Joao Felix: What lies ahead for Arsenal in Benfica Europa League tie

When Arsenal drew Benfica in the Europa League Round of 32 it was widely viewed as the toughest possible task they could have got.

The Portuguese outfit are a side with established European pedigree having reached the final of this competition as recently as 2015 who have been domestic champions 37 times in their history.

The players to have graced the Estadio da Luz turf in recent years include Jan Oblak, Bernardo Silva and Joao Felix to name but a few.

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But where does this current side rank when it comes to its predecessors?

With a few familiar faces to Premier League fans and some of the best young talent in Europe here football.london takes a look at everything you need to know about Arsenal’s Europa League opponents.

The manager

Those who watched Liverpool’s Club World Cup triumph will likely recognise Jorge Jesus as the manager who took Flamengo so close to being champions of the world.

Back in his second spell with Benfica the 1970s rock star-looking manager has a point to prove after being written off by many following a difficult end to his spell with Sporting Lisbon in 2018.

Benfica’s head coach Jorge Jesus reacts during the Portuguese League football match between SL Benfica and FC Famalicao at the Luz stadium in Lisbon, Portugal on February 8, 2021. (Photo by Pedro Fiúza/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Speaking before the game the Portuguese boss admitted that he is relishing the prospect of pitting his wits against opposition of the calibre of the Gunners.

“These competitions are always ideal, because they are the ones where the big teams are,” he said. “Benfica will play with Arsenal, who are a great team.”

Style of play

Jesus’ tactics this season have been something of a footballing throwback as he has generally tended to set his side up in some form of 4-4-2 formation.

Former Borussia Dortmund…