Arsenal have sealed their place in the knockout stages of the Europa League following a goalless draw against Sporting Lisbon.
The Gunners were unable to break the deadlock at the Emirates, but a strong defensive performance ensured passage into the knockout stages. Jeremy Mathieu received his marching orders with three minutes on the clock leaving Arsenal with little time to take advantage. A potentially serious injury to Danny Welbeck overshadowed the result with the England international travelling to the hospital with an ankle problem.
The draw extended their unbeaten run under Unai Emery, and the Gunners can win the group with victory in their next fixture. The game was only the second under the Spaniard’s tutelage that Arsenal have failed to find the back of the net. To improve their impressive record so far, Emery should launch a bid for Juventus defender – Medhi Benatia.
Valued at £20.7m by Transfermarkt, the Moroccan international is widely expected to leave the club after struggling to hold down a place in the Juve first-team. Despite emerging as a key player for the Old Lady after joining from Bayern Munich, Benatia’s role has been significantly reduced by Massimiliano Allegri. Reports in Italy suggest the defender will be available in January for just £13m.
Despite being 31-years-old, Arsenal should definitely consider bringing the former Roma man to the Emirates. Benatia remains one of the world’s best defenders and has a wealth of experience to bring to the north London. His vast knowledge could help youngsters like Rob Holding develop into an even better player.
His physical approach to defending means he will have no issues adapting to life in the Premier League. Landing Benatia’s signature in January could prove to be a masterstroke.
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