Arsenal got an away goal having gone behind to Benfica, but should have come away from Rome with more from this game.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang wasn’t clinical enough in front of goal, and the Gunners flagged a bit in the second half against a side who were there for the taking.

It’s all still to play for in the second leg, but we need to do more in the final third.

Read the Benfica 1-1 Arsenal match report and see the goals here

Benfica 1-1 Arsenal – Player Ratings

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Naked Cygan

Should have won that game.

Runcorn Gooner

Xhaka and Luiz a bit slow is being very generous to them.

Zet

Luiz is far more effective bringing the ball forward than Xhaka. Xhaka have a habit of looking backwards and sideway for passing options when he get the ball.

Daveo

Xhaka is just not suited to games when teams sit deep and defend tactically and then press him. Most of his advanced passing is nulified and he struggles to recover against counters. We’ve known that for years. If Partey is fit, I think Partey and Ceballos should start in the 2nd leg. Benfica will do the same again.

Justno

Xhaka has one average game after 2 months of great games and you ride his back. Aubameyang misses sitters and that’s fine, Bellerin plays some of the worst football of his career and yet he isn’t the problem.

Drey

One of the kind of arguments that irks me. Aubameyang missed sitters and was criticized. He has the lowest rating by Arseblog. How is that still a valid excuse not to criticize Xhaka for his poor performance?

Mick Malthouse

Best game William has played since arriving.

Martin

Saliba is on loan

Chippy87

Thumbed this up for the glorious user name!

JGunner16

Anyone else finding Arteta’s substitutions increasingly terrible?

Chippy87

Should have kept Cedric on, thought he was one of our best players tonight.

IAmGooner

He obviously wanted to give Tierney some minutes ahead of the City game. Maybe he could have subbed Bellerin, and switched Cedric to RB?

DaveGsnr

think the idea was to give Tierney playing time

El Mintero

Not so much the subs tonight but the starting XI was disappointing imo. Pepe and Laca are both on form, both can give us goals. They should have started.

ESR looks tired. Martin O is a similar player, why play both at the same time? Bench one of them and start Pepe instead.

Boxman

This is the team that were 4-0 up against leeds before the substitutes came on and the flow was disrupted yet youre dissapointed by it?

Are you forgetting aubameyang had just scored a hat trick in the last match yet you think arteta should have dropped him for “in form” lacazette?

MARIO DIAMANT

Agreed. I would have liked to see Lacazette start instead of Auba (despite the hat trick in the last game) and pepe instead of smith rowe

Henkamp

I am going to say one thing that Arteta is still lacking is the ability to make changes at the right time.

It does my head in how he waits and waits and waits before deciding to start changing with 15 minutes to go. Frustrating.

Johnny 4 Hats

I agree. With ESR fading, we really could have done with Pepe or Martinelli sooner.

I actually thought Tierney had more of an impact than blogs gives him credit for. He seemed to drive us forward down that left flank as soon as he came on. Praying for his fitness from now until the end of the season.

Twatsloch

Also, Willian was not the player to bring on as a sub in this game. This was not a game in the bag where he could sleepwalk it to the end. We needed someone who could have an impact to avoid a draw.

Nachoman

William is not the sub to bring on in any game

Ponsonby Gooner

The right time to make the changes was before the match. The team looked leggy and decision making was slow. Plus now we play City in three days time with our best 11 tired. We should’ve rotated for this match in my opinion.

PodB

Given this is the only way back to the European top table he was quite right to play this team … play the ‘B’ team against City, rest these guys for return leg.
KT gives us so much down the left and if Partey is fit? we should go through. PS: If Everton had scored it would have been tough to Kop.

GraeB

I think winning this competition will be harder than getting up the PL. There are 3 PL teams above us (ok one is Spuds but other two are in top 3) who are still in it. We could still have won this game with rotated squad and given players game time.

I may be on my own with this thought but focus on PL position and make the team look attractive for summer dealings.

Hurensohn

Easier to beat those teams who are better than us in a one-off game, than over 16 games in the league.

Henkamp

Good observation. I personally was hoping to see Saka, ESR, and Xhaka given a rest today considering how many minutes they’ve played over the last few games. Was also expecting to see Mari get a start.

Arteta seem reluctant to give Xhaka and Saka a rest, though. Hope that doesn’t come back to bite us in the bum

Fezec

You’re right in that it was clear we looked off the pace from 15 minutes.

The constant fouling from Benfica and inability to stay onside slowed any momentum.

Wether that was fatigue or just one of those things we’ll never know.

I think we were right to play our first team though.

We only have a 10% chance of beating city even with our best squad.

viegunner

5.5 for auba, much as i like him, seems generous. also think the ratings are a bit high in general, we should have slaughtered them

Goonish

Agree with you, apart from Ceballos, who was terrific today.

A Different George

I thought Ceballos was nowhere near as good as against Leeds; much slower.

Philip Visser

Ceballos terrific? Poor decision making, gave ball away several times, slow. At best he was average

Frederick

He created a goal from absolutely nothing from deep in midfield. Auba just missed it- but that kind of contribution is absolutely as valuable a contribution as a midfielder can make. It’s almost equivalent to a 30 yard screamer how it takes a nothing situation and creates a likely goal out of it.

Guns Up

I’m not a Ceballos fan in general, but I lost count of how many times he won possession back in this one. Thought he had an outstanding game.

Baichung Bhutia

My opinion: Bellerin, Saka and Odegaard – 7. Everyone else 6 or below. For a rating of 7.5 Ceballos should have scored a goal or made a brilliant assist.

David Hilliers Arm Cast

Bellerin was awful. I wonder if I’m watching a different game than everyone else? His passing was poor his dribbles were poor and his defensive work was shakey.

canon fodder

I must have been watching a different game!

Graham

I just don’t get all of the Bellerin bashing. Every game there’s a few people laying into a player who makes few mistakes, is reliable, busts his lungs and legs for the team, combines well with teammates, and his end product is improving. Granted he has lost that electric pace through injuries, but he’s no slouch and his positioning has improved with the decline in his athleticism. Can’t help but feel he simply isn’t liked for aspects of his personality because he is definitely good enough for this team as it is. While not the first name on the team… Read more »

madara

Honestly he was one of the better players this match (honestly the entire team was quite poor, very sloppy from both teams). I’m getting sick of the bellerin hate, sure he’s not prime dani alves, but thats no reason to hate anyone…..

canon fodder

Well said! he scored against Leeds, set up Auba for an ‘unmissable’ chance yesterday and combined well with Odegaard. The goal we conceded had nothing to with him and yet those with a negative agenda choose to bash him. I would love us to go back to the day when we supported our players!

Joe

“His passing was poor”
Like when he set Auba up with a goal on a silver platter?

goonshow

He did make a brilliant assist – just that Auba cocked it up!

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Exactly what I was gonna say.
Missed chances like those for a man of his quality, is the equivalent of a Luiz fuck up to concede a goal.
Luiz wouldn’t have been rated 5.5 for doing similar at the other end

Dave

We looked so much worse without Auba on the pitch

Henrik

Arteta needs to step up his in game management, he looked really pleased with 1-1 draw today. He always makes the subs way too late, ESR and Saka shouldn’t even have started today, we need to be careful with these amazing talents..

COYG

Henkamp

Exactly. Saka especially needs rest. I am sure he is starting again on Sunday.

I was also expecting Smith Rowe to be taken off at halftime after going down in the first half. Yet, out he came again. That was poor.

There’s still a lot Arteta has to learn, clearly.

Henrik

Absolutely, unfortunately it seems his not really a quick learner but a stubborn one. We have to try an stay positive, I am sure that with fans in the stadium he wouldn’t keep doing these mistakes though…

Dave

Saka needs rest…. But without him playing we don’t score much.

Everything is Awesome

Considering we pissed away a huge wage and transfer fee for Willian and Pepe you’d hope we could put someone else on the flanks. Gabi not getting a look in doesn’t help either.

Crash Fistfight

I’d have liked to have seen Saka rested, with Odegaard on the right and Pepe on the left. Can always bring on Saka for Odegaard or Smith-Rowe at some point.

I also don’t like ESR on the left as much as through the middle. I don’t necessarily see him as creative as Odegaard in terms of passing and vision, but his pressing, movement and quickness of passing work much better in that position than on the left.

Vee

It would be foolish to get rid off Lacazette. We should not get rid off our quality players. Balogun has played what 45 mins in the europa league, Eddie has way better numbers in the u23 and look how ineffective he has been, and people are getting excited over Balogun just like they got excited for Eddie.. Martinelli is 19, he has had 15 ish starts in the premier league and been out for so long, we cannot rely on him either. Aubameyang is fantastic but he is the only striker we can rely on to get us top 4… Read more »

Spanish Gooner

Alternatively, we could act like a big forward-thinking club and sell Lacazette (who has 12 months left) and invest in a player that suits our squad better and improved our first XI. Depay on a free could be a shrewd move, and at 27 he should’ve hitting his peak for us, and I’m sure there are plenty of other decent options out there if we look creatively

Vee

He was quite awful when he came to the premier league, he will demand big wages too. In my opinion there are not many people have the all round game that Lacazette just praising his work rate his lazy analysis. Also we have plenty of other positions to worry about. I see a much bigger scope of improvement improving our centre attacking mid, right back, and centre midfield options

Vee

is*

Spanish Gooner

We’ve just spent £50m on a new CM so unless there are sales I can’t see another being brought in, and our defensive record is fine so I’m not sure RB is high priority. I don’t think Depay is the perfect option and I don’t think we’ll sign him, he’s just an example of how we could reinvest our money proactively this summer on a younger player whose contract isn’t expiring. For what it’s worth, if we got £18m for Lacazette we’d cover Depay on £200k a week for 5 seasons

Vee

Here are our midfield options Elneny, Xhaka, Partey, Ceballos will be gone most likely so he doesn’t count, Willock, Torreira looks like he is gone, and with Guendouzi anything is a possibility that is no where near good enough. None of our right backs are first team quality either unless you rate Bellerin or Cedric. Our defensive record is good, there is a reason why, our midfield is slow and vulnerable so to protect them and our defence’s deficiencies we have our attacking players run to the ground, also they have more attacking responsibility because some of our players are… Read more »

Fezec

Assume you’re talking about central midfield options? If so I couldn’t agree more. Partey is world class to the point where he made the definition of “squad player” Elneny look amazing against ManU. It’s a shame he’s been injured so often as I really believe we would have won 5-6 more matches with him fit. The squad build has to be a 2-3 year project (to challenge for big honours). Evidence says we’re highly unlikely to strike diamond encrusted platinum again with more ESR or Saka level players in the academy. Ceballos, Xhaka, Guendozi, Willock, Torreira, on current evidence, don’t… Read more »

Dave Cee

Uhm, 200k a week is 10M a year :/

ClockEndRider

Someone should take Diane Abbott’s abacus away from Spanish , above.

CAZORSAKANELLI

Auba was shocking tonight I’m speechless

El Mintero

He was really bad. Laca and Pepe should have started

onenil

But how could anyone predict he would have a stinker? Auba scored a hattrick last timeout. Arteta’s fault for not being psychic?

Henkamp

10/10 for Leno’s passing these days. Not quite at the level of Ederson yet, but his footwork has improved massively.

Jack

Would be interested to see Gabriel‘a long ball success rate. No higher than 0% I reckon

Des's hammerhead

Wasn’t it his long ball that sent Auba clean through in the second half

Martin

It was pretty good if you watched. He sent Auba through in the second half

CAZORSAKANELLI

the pitch was difficult to play in most players were slipping and the ref is a major cnt anyone remember him against us vs Barca in the champions league?? but still that game should never have ended 1-1 we should be walking away with a win no question

Fezec

anyone remember him against us vs Barca in the champions league??

Not the RVP sending off?

CAZORSAKANELLI

No not the RVP sending off that was the Swiss ref Masimo Busacca(Massive cunt). This ref his name Cüneyt Çakir was the one that refd the 2-0 loss against Barca at the Emirates Round of 16 champions league 2015/2016 i believe. He was shocking. Remember those times it was almost a tradition to play barca every season in group stage or round of 16 i think we played barca in 3 or 4 consecutive champions league clashes and everytime the uefa refs were involved in someway to absolutely ruin it for us and give advantage to Barca except for the… Read more »

goonshow

Wasn’t him if I recall correctly

Vee

If Lacazette did what Auba did Arseblog would have gone for his head 5.5? he gets a 0. It is a sign of underrating one player and getting all excited for the other just because he played well in 2 games.

Spanish Gooner

Or if Auba had scored but Luiz had made two errors to make it 3-3 (a better result thanks to away goals), would he have got anything higher than -20?

Chamakhyungpark

Tonight, more than any before, I missed the fans. We are playing an away game in Europe and we don’t have the Portuguese fans with their flares and their singing and passion. We’re not even in fucking Portugal. The atmosphere is what makes it entertaining. I still enjoy watching Arsenal but it’s just not the same.

Sean

It’s Arsenal, so of course I was fully invested in this as I am every match. But I have to say, watching this game with just the one commentator (no co-commentator on the stream I was watching) quietly droning on to himself against the back-drop of an empty stadium genuinely felt like a chore to sit through at times. All the usual competitiveness and stakes of knock-out football felt like it had been completely sucked out by the lack of atmosphere in the ground. Like so many other things over the course of this past year (off the top of… Read more »

Chamakhyungpark

Couldn’t agree more Sean. The European game made it even more striking to me for some reason. Usually, in these games, I’m kicking every ball but nowadays I am only 30% interested.

Rosapirescastle

Your quick with the ratings tonight blogs. Ya I agree but I’d give Gabriel and extra point for his passing and coolness on the ball. If that was van dyke who passed to auba people be replaying it ova and over. Really see him coming into form after a run of games. I’m a Dani Cabellos fan anyhow but delighted with him thought him tenacious and like gab coming into form with hard work. Martin Odd is going to be a special player but like u said a grafter too. ESR is working well on the left. If Auba had… Read more »

Tierneys tescobag

Odegaard motm for me!

Chris

Please please please do whatever it takes to sign Odegaard. That pass to Saka in the first half 😍 he seems to see the game in slow motion.

Eduardo

I have to say it felt like a drag watching arsenal tonight. Not enough forward passing and attacking intent for my liking. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled watching arsenal most my lifetime…

Pooner

I agree. They were there for the taking and yes, we made a few nice passes and a had few good moves but it was mostly insipid, slow and uninspired. We’re just not very good any more. We’re not 10th by accident.

onenil

I think the pitch was largely to blame. It was so slow. It was really hard to move the ball quickly on that surface. They were a decent team but we were clearly better. But ultimately Auba had an off night.

Give youth a chance

I thought Ceballos had one of his worst games for us. Several times he lost possession by letting the ball run across him before trying to play it

Naked Cygan

His passing, link up, and defensive work was really good. Which game did u watch?

Martin

He was one of our best players, worked hard and put in one vital defensive clearance

Baichung Bhutia

I don’t think Ceballos had a bad game but definitely not a 7.5 rating game. There will be a lot of down votes for this but Arsenal have become so average that such a performance is considered brilliant and people will be ok with us buying him in summer.

CAZORSAKANELLI

it looked as if Arteta forgot it was 5 subs he could make because the left some of them substations really late when it was obvious some of the players were starting to look leggy especially Smith Rowe and Saka but he could take Saka off because we need his quality but he looks like he needs rest Martinelli should be starting this weekend he’s fresh Pepe is fresh Nelson fresh please please someone tell Arteta to stop playing Willian I’m slowly becoming anti Arteta for his insistence to keep playing Willian

Jack

Willian must have something in his contract about guaranteed appearances. What was the point of bringing him and Elneny on for 4 mins?

Naked Cygan

He wants to qualify for the medals if we win.

Nachoman

U can never predict what arteta might do regards team selection and subs…at the very least, a little worrying to me

Supergirlfootballer

I like Ceballos but think today was his worst performance of late – got caught on the ball too many times and wasn’t as positive passing the ball. I like his link up play with Odegaard though, hope they can keep playing together. Auba really should have scored at least 2 and still doesn’t seem to be at his best. Arteta should have made changes a lot earlier – you could tell some of the players were tiring and we needed someone to come on and change up the game which Tierney/Martinelli/Pepe might have done if they’d come on a… Read more »

Nachoman

Anyone think Leno should of saved the peno🤷‍♂️?

Crash Fistfight

Nope. Don’t think he should HAVE saved the penalty, either.

Vee

ESR and Xhaka 7 and 6.5, okay so clearly he didn’t watch the game, they were both awful. I think he is in love with esr, not the first time he has been generous with him.

El Mintero

I agree both were poor. Thought ESR’s final ball was shocking. Lad needs a break, looks a little tired.

Muckamore

Ratings are obviously subjective, so we will all rate differently. Personally thought ESR was very good. He knows when to ghost into space, when to attack space. Not a fan of Xhaka, but he has played really well recently and last night had a solid game

Vee

He lost the ball like crazy, him and Cedric were fiddling with the ball when they could have cleared it out which led to the corner, which led to the penalty. He does this thing where he passes and goes which is nice, his off the ball work is nice, but he needs to add more to his game, he is rarely ambitious with his passing and his careless with the ball at times. Xhaka couldn’t string one simple pass yesterday, plus that God awful floaty ball which we were lucky not to concede from and again constantly giving unnecessary… Read more »

Crash Fistfight

He’s both unambitious and careless?

Vee

Yes, lets spell it out for you. It is because he passes backwards and sideways way to much for a proper number 10, and he gets dispossessed quite easily whether it is a stray pass or whether he gets tackled, a stray pass which is simple enough to play, you must have watched the game right?

Rich

That was like watching paint dry

Very generous ratings…

We were far too slow playing it out the back, it felt like Xhaka played 90%+ of his passes back to our centre backs

Was really looking forward to that, but really didn’t enjoy it

Martin

Except Xhaka made more forward passes than any other player.

Everything is Awesome

Stats < Feelings

Xhaka was fine. Love Auba but he should have put us in the lead and that changed the game. Arteta should have been proactive with getting subs on, didn't (and losing his rag at Gabi was poor too).

David Hilliers Arm Cast

A 7 for Bellerin is a joke. He lost the ball repeatedly and looks shakey defensively.

I think blogs’ bias is showing 😉

Everything is Awesome

He is being pushed higher up with Cedric out of position on the left, got into dangerous positions, put some good balls in, and had a decent enough game.

A Different George

So much slower than against Leeds, every pass seemed ages in being made, ages more in arriving (some of which may have been the way the pitch played, but surely not all). Little pressing; far fewer off-the-ball runs. Almost everyone looked tired except Odegaard and (in the first half) Bellerin. Saka had his worst game in a long time–and still scored.

The Arsenal

Leeds as entertaining as they are, also leave massive spaces and are wide open despite their frenetic pace. All you have to is match their energy and pick them off. Sounds like Wengers emirates sides. This Benfica team was far better drilled…I mean Taarabt was playing dm…and well. They will have to open up at some point next game and they will be destroyed when they do.

goonshow

Agree – also, that pitch looked both sluggish and slippery, which can’t have made it easier

Philip Visser

Poor performance. Slow, ponderous, no urgency, sloppy on the ball, decision making in key moments wrong. Why players don’t speed up the game with 15 min to go is beyond me. It really looks like we settled for a draw and was happy to manage the last 10 minutes. Overall impression – players looked tired, sluggish with little interest or intent to win. Overall rating for the team should be below 5. Auba 3 IMO. You can’t miss chances like that.

old gun

absolutely right! why secure a draw for ½ hour with the oponent dead on the floor?

The Arsenal

Like the look of Odegaard, still getting used to the team but there is a real good player in their i think. Would people be happy to see him stay for a full pre season etc or is another 10/ offensive player out there. I like Xhaxa and Ceballos but this is the type of game when you realize the line between decent and great. I thought both had decent to good games but with no real effect, They are both just limited in comparison to the powerful athletic and fast players that are needed. To be honest considering how… Read more »

Flying with Dennis Bergkamp

Auba had an awful game today. Hopefully he recovers and gets his shooting boots back for mancity game. I thought Luiz and Xhaka were decent, barring that cross field kamikaze by the latter. They were really calm on the ball and it transcended to the team. The back 4 + Xhaka + Leno controlled any pressure and calmed the team down, while Dani Ceballos was proactively looking for runners to unleash that zippy through ball to penetrate the defence. Once the ball reached the front 4 close to final third, the passing became short and zippy triangular one touches. Really… Read more »

Monkey knees

I get what Arterta did with his selection, we were so good for most of the game against leeds, but I wanted to see Laca, pepe and martinelli tonight! City are gonna roll us over, so we should’ve been more adventurous tonight!

Dave

Always find it a bit odd rating players down for missing chances.

We looked far worse when Auba came off than when he was on.

Dave

Massively downvoted but people need to realise that the xG of chances is nearly always far lower than they think. The most important thing for a striker is to get into those positions time and time again. Auba did that yesterday. Yes we underperformed our xG (1.38), but only by 0.38. As a side note Benfica created very few chances last night but including the penalty they also underperformed their xG (1.12) by 0.12. A penalty is worth 0.77 xG therefore their non-penalty xG was only 0.35, which they didn’t convert. The difference yesterday was a very dubious penalty which… Read more »

Zack

It’s just really, really frustrating to watch this team offer no goal threat in the last 10-15 minutes of EVERY game.

Rising Dough

Too many players looked tired- mentally and physically. Some were conserving energy when others attempted to attack or apply pressure, and plays fizzled out as a result. Better, earlier substitutions could have earned the full three points.

Still, their quality was apparent, and the team showed enough resilience to earn the tie. Avoid the mental errors, and they should advance next week.

Pepe was a rolling stone

I don’t really get the ratinga for Bellerín and Ceballos ratings.
Ceballos really slowed ua down, which is a common issue with him, and Hector’s decission making and passing was really bad (part from that pass to Auba).

I’m worried about Auba, for me he shouldn’t be our leading striker next year, which ia a problem bcs of his contract.

Alex Nagy

Xhaka has been soo good recently, he looked a little leggy last night. I think the problem is our lack of options at CM mean he doesn’t get rotated out and rested as much as he should be, this then leads to costly errors.

patrick ryan

Absolutely spot on Andrew about that pitch,really made it a difficult watch, I text at half time, ‘I’m not sure who is playing worse, Xhaka or the pitch?

Exit the Lemming

Against teams who don’t defend like 10 attacking mids (Leeds Utd), Auba’s deficiencies get exposed. The tie is very finely poised. Can’t say I’m ‘super’ confident we’ll make it through