The Warmdown : Aubameyang leads comeback as Arsenal progress to the last 16
Arsenal's English midfielder Emile Smith Rowe (R) and Arsenal's Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (C) celebrate at the end of the UEFA Europa League 32 Second Leg football match between Arsenal and Benfica at the Karaiskaki Stadium in Athens, on February 25, 2021. (Photo by ARIS MESSINIS / AFP) (Photo by ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images)

A Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang header proved the cutting edge that dragged Mikel Arteta's Gunners into the last 16 of the UEFA Europa League. The North-London side won the game 3-2, after coming from behind to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. 

After the Arsenal skipper opened the scoring in Athens with a sumptuous chip, Benfica wing-back, Diogo Gonçalves, levelled the tie with a stunning free-kick from 15 yards out just on the brink of half-time.

Starting the second half a little bewildered, Arsenal fell behind in the tie on the hour at the hands of Rafa Silva, following a terrible defensive error by Dani Ceballos. 

With 30 minutes to go, an early competition exit looked likely for Arteta's side, souring moods on the touchline. However, the 11th placed side in the Premier League were not going to lie down, as winning the Europa League looks to be the only route back onto the continental road next year. 

Kieran Tierney fired the Gunners within one goal of the next round, drilling a low shot across the box past Helton in goal. Finally, Aubameyang scored his second of the game in the 87th minute, breaking Portuguese hearts and heading his team over the line. 

  • Martin Ødegaard looking lost & tentative

Real Madrid loanee, Martin Ødegaard, played a full 90 in yesterday's tie - the most consecutive minutes he's played in an Arsenal shirt since joining the club in January. 

Being played in the CAM role of Arteta's 4-2-3-1 formation, the Norwegian was unable to create the chances and supply the creativity for the Gunners attack. One of his midfield partners Emile Smith-Rowe pressed high up the pitch and was involved in the "home" side's opener.

The same couldn't be said for Ødegaard, who remained stiff for most of the game, seeming to either hold the ball up or pass the ball backwards. This is a trait in the game that has enraged Arsenal fans this season and many suggest it's the reason as to why the club sits in 11th place in the league.

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The Gunners boss will be hoping that his loan signing can produce the attacking flare and individuality that made the club enquire about him in the first place. Ødegaard is yet to show his talents of which he made a name for himself when bursting onto the La Liga scene as a 16-year old. 

  • Bukayo Saka : The vital cog in the engine

Contrary to the five goal scoreline, there was nothing surprising about Bukayo Saka's output and work rate, assisting his captain twice - the second time with a text book winger's cross.

The England international was put in the right-back position for the last half an hour after Benfica went ahead. As well as standing out as a reliable defensive presence, he was keen in and around the box, keeping up the attacking intensity needed to complete a Gunners comeback, and of course providing the winning assist.  

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Despite his solidity and ability to provide game winning solutions, Saka's role in the side is still underrated. He has without a doubt been the best player in Arteta's team this season, with six goals and seven assists in all competitions. 

Arsenal will be hoping to hold onto the 19 year old, as interest from other clubs is sure to come forth in the coming months.