Arsenal expected lineup (4-2-3-1) vs Benfica, Pepe and Holding return

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Arsenal will travel to Stadio Olimpico for the first leg of the round of 32 of the Europa League on Thursday against Benfica.

The north London team recently ended a three-game winless streak with a resounding 4-2 Premier League victory over Leeds United at the Emirates Stadium.

The victory should boost the team’s confidence and coach Mikel Arteta will hope that his team can replicate the performance against Benfica.

Training: 4-2-3-1

Planned alignment:

Arteta gave Alex Runarsson four appearances in goal during the Europa League group stage, but the 25-year-old is not registered for the knockout stage.

Mat Ryan is now the Gunners’ assistant goalkeeper, but the coach should go with the first choice on Bernd Leno between the posts.

At the bottom line, there may be a lone change with Gabriel Magalhaes giving way to the return of Rob Holding in central defense.

Kieran Tierney has returned to training after a lower leg injury, but the game may come too early for him to reach the starting eleven.

In midfield, Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos are Arteta’s best options with Thomas Partey still with a hamstring problem.

The duo are likely to keep their spots ahead of Mohamed Elneny, who may appear on the bench once again.

Later, Martin Odegaard could be replaced by Nicolas Pepe, who was an unused substitute against Leeds.

Pepe should fit into the left wing position with Bukayo Saka on the opposite flank, while Emile Smith Rowe will likely be ranked No. 10.

Alexandre Lacazette could be a starter on the bench following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s first hat-trick in the Premier League last weekend.

The club captain has recovered his best moment against the whites and will aim to bring the momentum to the first leg against Benfica.

Arsenal expected formation (4-2-3-1): Log; Bellerin, Holding, Luiz, Soares; Xhaka, Ceballos; Saka, Smith Rowe, Pepe; Aubameyang.

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