ARSENAL were left hoping for more after claiming a 1-1 draw with Benfica on Thursday.
Bukayo Saka levelled after a Pizzi penalty put the Portuguese side in front after an Emile Smith Rowe handball.
Bukayo Saka scored the leveller to send the sides to Athens levelCredit: PA:Press Association
But there were chances to snatch the away leg of their Europa League last-32 tie, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang guilty of a couple of misses.
Here, SunSport’s Jordan Davies delivers his individual ratings from the 1-1 draw.
BERND LENO – 7
Had very little to do all night, and will be disappointed that he was unable to keep out the second-half penalty. He dived the correct way, but was a fraction of a second too late.
HECTOR BELLERIN – 6
His driving runs forward in the first half got Arsenal up the pitch, but remains a worry when it comes to the final pass, or in fact making the right pass. Bellerin’s leadership cannot be questioned, but his ability on the ball in the final third can.
GABRIEL – 7
After a nervy return to the starting XI following his positive coronavirus test, the Brazilian looks to finally be getting back to his best. Very rarely looks unsettled, and is building a nice partnership with his compatriot beside him.
Gabriel put in a confident performance as he gets some form under his beltCredit: Getty Images – Getty
DAVID LUIZ – 7
A much-welcomed scare-free night from the veteran defender – and one which is becoming more and more common as he settles as Arteta’s experienced head. There is always a chance he will lose his head, but tonight was not one of them.
CEDRIC SOARES – 7
With Benfica sitting narrow and deep, Cedric had plenty of chances to deliver and in the second half one connected as Saka tapped home his cross. In the absence of Kieran Tierney he has performed well, and done his chances of starting the next couple of games with the Scot returning little harm.
DANI CEBALLOS – 8
Another game and another reason why Thomas Partey should not expect his return to the Arsenal starting XI to be a given. His creativity from deep and abstract style compared to Xhaka gave Arsenal a good balance in midfield, and came close to providing several openers with his passing.
Dani Ceballos continued his strong run in the side of lateCredit: Getty Images – Getty
GRANIT XHAKA – 7
A solid performance from a man so depended on now by Arteta, and provided Arsenal with protection on the counter. His only misplaced pass before half time could have cost his side as it allowed Benfica to have one more attack. Luckily for him, they didn’t take it.
BUKAYO SAKA – 8
An instinctive finish topped off another fine evening for the English winger, and perhaps could have had more in a game littered with chances. A dragged effort just before his second-half leveller would have earned him a deserved double, and was a marked man throughout with Jan Vertonghen throwing a few tackles his way.
EMILE SMITH ROWE – 7
He looked as though the intense schedule has caught up with him with some heavy legs on the Stadio Olimpico turf, but he still managed some moments of magic. His link-up play was matched only by his work rate, dropping deep to help build attacks.
Emile Smith Rowe conceded the penalty on an otherwise decent display in RomeCredit: Getty Images – Getty
MARTIN ODEGAARD – 8
His influence on this Arsenal attack is growing by the game, and this was no exception on a grand European stage. His runs in the pockets off the front men proved difficult for the Benfica defence to manage, and his pinpoint through ball created the leveller.
PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG – 6
Missed several chances to hand Arsenal an important away win, including a sitter from six yards in the first-half. He may have bagged a hat-trick against Leeds, but the striker remains lacking that fine cutting edge fans are used to seeing.
KIERAN TIERNEY (FOR SOARES ’64)
NICHOLAS PEPE (FOR AUBAMEYANG ’77)
GABRIEL MARTINELLI (FOR SMITH ROWE ’77)
MOHAMED ELNENY (FOR CEBALLOS ’90)
WILLIAN (FOR ODEGAARD ’90)
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