With the last 32 tie poised at 1-1, Benfica and Arsenal played out a rollercoaster second leg in Athens, which ultimately saw the Gunners come out on top.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fired Arsenal into the lead in the 21st minute, but a superb free-kick from Diego Goncalves drew Benfica level before half time.
Arsenal then slipped behind just after the hour mark when Rafa Silva scored, but a quick reply from Kieran Tierney meant it was game on again in Greece.
The Gunners knew they were heading out on away goals at 2-2 and Aubameyang popped up three minutes from time to secure a 3-2 victory and progression.
Arteta is delighted to progress and told his post match press conference: “Last year against Olympiacos was a very difficult one to swallow.
“To have some beautiful moments to celebrate together as a team is really important.
“When a positive experience is in the back of your mind…it is much more powerful and convincing for everybody.”
Arteta brought Willian on in the 63rd minute and believes that the former Chelsea man played a key role in tilting the game in the Gunners’ favour.
“With Willian, I think he changed the game.
“He gave us composure and creativity and produced the goal for Kieran.”
Arsenal, who view winning the Europa League as a realistic route into next season’s Champions League, will now wait to find out who they will face in the last 16.