Aubameyang the hero, but Saka takes the plaudits as Arsenal keep season alive with Benfica late show


Aubameyang the hero, but Saka takes the plaudits as Arsenal keep season alive with Benfica late show

Arsenal kept their European campaign alive and kicking this evening, courtesy of a nail-biting victory over Benfica.

Auba at the double

Mikel Arteta’s men made the trip to Greece a short time ago, for the 2nd-leg of their Europa League Last-32 showdown with the Portuguese giants.

The tie of course sat on a knife-edge ahead of kick-off, on the back of a 1-1 stalemate in the opener between the sides last week.

Arsenal were aware ahead of proceedings getting underway that their season, as a whole, essentially rested on the outcome of the action in Attica, with the north Londoners languishing in mid-table in the Premier League, 6 points adrift of the top-6.

As such, hearts were no doubt in Gunners mouths across the globe when, after taking the lead through Pierre-Emerick’s cute dinked finish, Benfica turned the tie on its head just past the hour mark.

Diogo Goncalves was first on target , rifling home a stunning free-kick, before Rafa Silva took full advantage of a Dani Ceballos mistake to round Bernd Leno and slot home.

Arsenal, however, showcased impressive steel to pull level a little over 20 minutes from time, when Kieran Tierney picked out the far corner with a rasping drive:

Then, with 87 minutes on the clock, and hopes fading fast, the Gunners came up with the evening’s telling moment.

A wonderful piece of skill and subsequent cross on the part of Bukayo Saka saw the teenage talent’s delivery nodded home at the back post by Aubameyang, to secure a 3-2 win on the night, and 4-3 victory on aggregate:


On the back of proceedings coming to a close at the Karaiskakis Stadium, most would likely have envisioned Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang stealing the headlines, on the back of a match-winning brace this evening.

However, this has since proven far from the case.

Whilst Arsenal’s captain of course proved crucial versus Benfica, he was not the true catalyst en route to victory for Mikel Arteta and co.

This title goes to the ever-impressive Bukayo Saka.

It is starting to feel as though each and every time he steps onto the pitch, the 19-year-old is primed to come up with a telling contribution, and tonight proved no different.

After bagging the assist for Aubameyang’s opener, as outlined above, Saka was also responsible for Arsenal’s winner, courtesy of a moment of brilliance befitting of a player far beyond his years.

In turn, it has since come as little surprise to see Saka’s name take centre stage online, with some of the social media highlights showcased below:

Arsenal tipped to target Barcelona stopper in Hector Bellerin swap deal

Arsenal defender David Luiz encouraged to re-join Benfica at the end of the season

This article was edited by Robert Fosterman.

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# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City FC 25 35 59
2 Manchester United FC 25 21 49
3 Leicester City FC 25 17 49
4 West Ham United FC 25 10 45
5 Chelsea FC 25 16 43
6 Liverpool FC 25 11 40
7 Everton FC 24 4 40
8 Aston Villa FC 23 11 36
9 Tottenham Hotspur FC 24 10 36
10 Leeds United 25 0 35
11 Arsenal FC 25 5 34
12 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 25 -6 33
13 Crystal Palace FC 25 -14 32
14 Southampton FC 25 -12 30
15 Burnley FC 25 -12 28
16 Brighton & Hove Albion FC 25 -6 26
17 Newcastle United FC 25 -17 25
18 Fulham FC 25 -11 22
19 West Bromwich Albion 25 -36 14
20 Sheffield United FC 25 -26 11
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 17
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United FC 15
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur FC 13
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur FC 13
Bamford, Patrick Leeds United 13
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 13
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City FC 12
Gundogan, Ilkay Manchester City FC 11
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United FC 10
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa FC 10
Rashford, Marcus Manchester United FC 9
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City FC 9
Barnes, Harvey Leicester City FC 9
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace FC 9
Maddison, James Leicester City FC 8
Ings, Danny Southampton FC 8
Lacazette, Alexandre Arsenal FC 8
Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick Arsenal FC 8
Soucek, Tomas West Ham United FC 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 7