Mikel Arteta is expected to make a number of key changes ahead of the second-leg of Arsenal’s Europa League last-32 tie against Benfica.
The Gunners earned a 1-1 draw against their Portuguese opponents in the first-leg in Rome and will play the ‘home’ leg of the fixture at the Karaiskakis Stadium in Greece.
Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City has thrown up a number of selection dilemmas for Arteta, who is looking to put an end to a poor run of form.
Arteta has a number of selection dilemmas ahead of the tie in Greece
Arsenal have won just one of their last six matches in all competitions – a 4-2 success against Leeds United in the middle of February.
Bernd Leno has been an ever-present since that victory over Leeds and is expected to get the nod ahead of Mat Ryan in the Greek capital.
In front of him, Arteta will be forced into a couple of significant changes, starting with Rob Holding who became one of the Premier League’s first ever concussion substitutes against Man City.
Rob Holding was forced off against Manchester City and is unavailable for the tie against Benfica
He has missed training this week as a result of that injury and will be replaced by Gabriel at centre-half, who will partner David Luiz as per last week’s match in Rome.
Kieran Tierney looked jaded against Pep Guardiola’s men at the weekend but is expected to retain his place at left-back, while Hector Bellerin is the obvious choice on the opposite flank.
The midfield area is where Arteta has one of his biggest dilemmas with Thomas Partey back available again for the first time since the 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa at the start of February.
Partey has travelled with the squad to Athens and is available to play, although Arteta will be wary of rushing him back from injury too soon.
Partey is back in training and could be involved from the off against Benfica
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