Portuguese giants Benfica have a tough Europa League draw to navigate if they want to qualify for the round of 16 of the competition after they were drawn against Arsenal in the round of 32. The draw for the Europa League round of 32 was held on Monday afternoon and it pitted Benfica with the Gunners.
Ahead of the double legged game next year, Benfica and Arsenal are enjoying contrasting fortunes in their respective in their respective leagues. Benfica are second in the Portuguese topflight behind league leaders Sporting Lisbon after nine matches in the Portuguese Primeira Liga this term. Benfica have 21 points from the nine games played and are just two points off leaders Sporting Lisbon who have 23 points from the opening nine matches of the season.
For the Gunners, they are badly out of form in the Premier League after a run of one point and four losses in the last five games. Arsenal have also lost their last four home games in the Premier League after the slim 1-0 defeat at the hands of struggling Burnley.
The Gunners finished the game with ten men after midfielder Granit Xhaka was sent off for putting his hands on the neck of Burnley midfielder Josh Brownhill. The visitors picked up the three points courtesy the second half own goal from Gabonese international Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The defeat left Arsenal five points clear of the relegation zone and ten points adrift of the top four places on the league standings.
Benfica were in Group D during the group stage and they finished second behind Scottish champions Rangers with 12 points. On their part, Rangers won the group with 14 points. Rangers and Benfica were unbeaten throughout their group campaign. Arsenal won Group B comfortably with six wins from six games.
The Gunners were the only team to finish the group stage with a perfect record in European competitions this season. Benfica will host Arsenal at the Stadium of Light in Lisbon on February 18 in the first leg before the return leg at the Emirates Stadium on February 25.