Arsenal has truly had a “Batman” in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who saved his side from elimination in the Europa League and turned up for the Gunners once again like he has in the past.

Arsenal completed a comeback victory against Portuguese side Benfica in their round of 32 tie in the UEFA Europa League, to win 3-2 to go through to the last 16, 4-3 on aggregate.

With just 3 minutes left in regulation time, Arsenal needed to find a winner to go through else they would have been knocked out on the away goal rule.

This was a must-win for Mikel Arteta’s side as they are currently 11th in the Premier League and already out of both – the FA Cup and Carabao (League) Cup. The only hopes that the Gunners have for European football next season seem to be by winning this season’s Europa League so had they been knocked out now, it would have been a huge setback for Arsenal.

The Gunners made it extremely hard for themselves in the second leg. They did well to pick up a draw away from home against Benfica, which saw them get an away goal.

Aubameyang Saka Arsenal

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (L) celebrates scoring the 1st Arsenal goal with Bukayo Saka (R)
(Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

However, they were poor defensively and credit to Benfica for taking the game to the side from Islington. Aubameyang made it 1-0 in the 21st minute from a lovely through pass played by Bukayo Saka, which the Gabonese star chipped over the Benfica goalkeeper.

Arsenal kept dominating the game up until close to the end of the first half when out of nowhere, Diogo Gonsalves scored a sublime freekick that he got up and over the wall, which wickedly dipped into the top-left corner that no goalkeeper in the world could have saved. Benfica needed a moment of magic and there it was to make it 1-1 in the match and 2-2 on aggregate.

The first half ended at 1-1 with all to play for going into the 2nd half.

Arsenal started brightly with Aubameyang scoring a nice chip once again but this time, he was offside. Things went from bad to worse for the Gunners as Dani Ceballos made a huge mistake as he tried to head the ball back to keeper Bernd Leno but only managed to gift the ball to Benfica striker Rafa Silva.

Silva pounced on the opportunity to round up Leno and put the ball into an empty net. Benfica were in the driver’s seat now at the hour mark, having a goal to the good and the away goal advantage as well.

Arsenal Tierney

Kieran Tierney celebrates his goal. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta’s squad was not ready to throw in the towel yet. 7 minutes later, one of the best left backs in the Premier League, Kieran Tierney made it 2-2 to beat Helton in goal with a terrific finish. Although the aggregate score was 3-3, Arsenal needed to win the game to qualify as they would otherwise get knocked out on the away goal rule.

Arsenal kept coming at the Portuguese side who tried to shut shop and hold on to the draw but it was not to be.

Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang stepped up and delivered the knockout punch to crush the hopes of the Portuguese club after Saka put in a beautiful cross to the far post that the Gabonese man headed home to secure the victory for the Gunners in the 87th minute.

Arsenal will be hoping for a favourable draw and ideally want to avoid Manchester United, Tottenham, AC Milan, AS Roma and Ajax. They would like their chances against the other sides and will be hoping to make a deep push in the competition.

Arsenal have a tough game against Leicester City on Sunday in the Premier League and the Foxes will be keen on bouncing back after getting knocked out to Slavia Prague in the Europa League.