Our prediction for this Portugal Primeira Liga match:
Buoyed by a 2-0 win over Pacos Ferreira, Benfica will look to cement top position in the standings when they take on Arouca on Matchday 18. The Eagles are eyeing their third consecutive league win, as well as their third clean sheet in a row, but they will have to prove their worth on the field. With no fresh injury worries to report, boss Roger Schmidt is unlikely to make changes to the team that outplayed Os Galos on Thursday.
Arouca, on the other hand, aim to build on a splendid 4-0 win over Portimonense, but they will have a much bigger fish to fry against the league leaders. Benfica do not suit Arouca, and seeing that the Eagles emerged triumphant in each of their last seven meetings with Armando Evangelista’s troops, away win should be considered. A man to keep an eye in in the home team will be in-form Palestine forward Oday Dabbagh, who has found his goal-scoring touch at the start of 2023.
Highlighted Player (Julian Draxler):
Julian Draxler is arguably one of the most impressive footballers to have come out of Schalke’s youth academy in recent years and he spent ten years in the academy before he was promoted to the senior side in January 2011. The attacking midfielder soon started showcasing his skills at the biggest stage and just a year later received his first Germany call-up.
Draxler scored 18 goals in 119 league appearances for Schalke before moving to Wolfsburg in a high-profile deal in the closing stages of the 2015 summer transfer window. Despite his fragile age, the talented footballer has already made over 15 outings for the Germany national team, making one substitute appearance as Die Mannschaft went on to claim the 2014 World Cup trophy.
An exciting player capable of playing on either wing or through the middle, Draxler boasts a good goalscoring record and also regularly creates chances for his teammates, although he has yet to fully realise his potential.
Highlighted Team (Benfica):
Member of the ‘Big Three’ clubs in Portugal alongside FC Porto and CP Sporting, Sport Lisboa e Benfica are the football club that has never been relegated from the Primeira Liga. The club is nicknamed Aguias because of the Eagle symbol atop the club’s crest. Benfica play their home games at the Estadio da Luz which replaced the original one in 2003 and which boasts the capacity of more than 64,000. Arguably the most successful club in Portugal, Benfica have won a record of 35 Primeira Liga titles and also a record 25 Taca de Liga and 7 Taca da Liga trophies.
Two-time European Cup winners, Benfica are the club known for their diligent work with youth players, many of which went on to make great careers abroad. The most prominent players to wear a Benfica shirt are legendary Eusebio, Manuel Bento, Jorge Tavares and most recently Javier Saviola, Nuno Gomes, David Luiz and Angel Di Maria.