Mikel Arteta and Arsenal grabbed a significant away goal as they made the trip to Rome last week to take on Benfica in the first leg of their round-of-32 tie. This tie is being held at neutral venues due to the current travel restrictions between Portugal and England and Benfica could only manage a 1-1 draw last week as the home side in the first encounter. The onus is now on the Portuguese outfit to come out and score if they are to have any chance of advancing but that is something they couldn’t do as they travelled to face Farense in the Premiera Liga on Sunday. Benfica drew a blank in a 0-0 draw to pile further misery on their domestic campaign as they now sit 4th and 15 points off the top. Benfica haven’t finished outside the top three in Portugal since the 2007/08 season so they have their hands full trying to maintain that streak. During the group stage, the away side won one and drew the other two of their three matches on the road with a combined 14 goals being scored across those matches.
Arsenal returned to action on Sunday as well and couldn’t stop the raging Manchester City express as they lost 1-0 to the Premier League’s runaway leaders. A narrow defeat but a game that was always out of their grasp, to be honest. However, Arsenal are well and truly in control of this tie and will be looking to keep things the way they are. If Arsenal were to concede first or indeed an early goal it could spell trouble for the Gunners, however, they have only conceded more than once in two of their last 14 matches.