Neither Arsenal nor Benfica felt at home in Rome, but at least Mikel Arteta saw his side’s efforts count double. They deserved to leave with some kind of advantage and it was secured by a close-range away goal from Bukayo Saka, who quickly equalised after Pizzi had scored a penalty for Benfica early in the second half.

They will know it should have been greater, however, and would have been if Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had not endured an unusually wasteful evening. Three misses included a first-half sitter that, almost any other day, could have offered a platform from which to open up a convincing margin against rugged opponents whose endeavours rarely raised the pulse. Next week’s rematch in Athens will reveal whether Arsenal are to be haunted by the ghosts of February 2020.

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