Arsenal vs Napoli preview | Gunners injury boost | Expected line-ups | Prediction
Here is our match preview ahead of Arsenal’s Europa League clash with Napoli at the Emirates including team news, expected line-ups and prediction
Arsenal will be looking to secure a first leg lead in our Europa League quarter-final with Napoli at the Emirates tonight.
We head into the game off the back of a disappointing 1-0 defeat at Everton last weekend that’s left us sitting fifth in the Premier League table so Unai Emery will be keen to get back to winning ways as soon as possible.
We face a tough battle to finish in the top four so Arsenal need to take the Europa League seriously as winning the competition would secure our place back in the Champions League next season.
Emery is a Europa League specialist having won the cup three times with Sevilla and we breezed through the group stages this season but we’ve made life difficult for ourselves with some poor performance away from home in the knockout rounds.
Arsenal lost away at BATE Borisov in the last-32 and lost 3-1 to Rennes in the previous stage. Although we turned the ties around at the Emirates, we can’t rely on our form on the road so Emery knows he needs to secure a first leg advantage tonight.
We’ll be up against a very talented Napoli side and boss Carlo Ancelotti also has a huge pedigree in Europe so it’s going to be tough to beat them over two legs. However, the Italians haven’t been firing on all cylinders lately and were held to a 1-1 draw at home by 10-man Genoa at the weekend so this might be a good time to play them.
Arsenal skipper Laurent Koscielny is expected to return to the squad after overcoming a foot injury that’s kept him out of the last two games while Granit Xhaka could also be back in contention after recovering from a groin problem.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is pushing for a recall after being named on the bench recently due to a virus while Aaron Ramsey could also come back in to the side after not being risked from the start against Everton due to a minor knock.
Lucas Torreira returns from a domestic suspension but Hector Bellerin, Danny Welbeck and Rob Holding remain on the sidelines. Petr Cech has been Arsenal’s regular goalkeeper in the Europa League this season so he could replace Bernd Leno.
Emery might be tempted to drop Mesut Ozil for this tough fixture with Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan pushing for recalls.
Napoli will be without the injured Raul Albiol and Amadou Diawara while David Ospina is ineligible to face his parent club – although he’s also carrying a head injury.
Lorenzo Insigne and Faouzi Ghoulam both returned from injury at the weekend so are in contention to start tonight.
Arsenal 2-1 Napoli: We beat Napoli 2-0 at the Emirates in the Champions League back in 2013/14 when Mesut Ozil inspired us to victory and we have an excellent home record this campaign so I’m confident of a positive result tonight. With Aubameyang and Lacazette up front I fancy us to score a couple of goals. The problem is Napoli are dangerous going forward and our defence is fragile so they might grab what could be an important away goal. I’m backing a 2-1 Arsenal win which would leave things finely poised for the second leg.
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