Arsenal vs Napoli Preview, Team News, Likely Line-Ups, Key Man & Predicted Score
Arsenal welcome Italian giants Napoli to the Emirates Stadium tonight for a crucial Champions League group game. Here’s a preview with team news and predictiion
Arsenal welcome Italian giants Napoli to the Emirates Stadium tonight for a crucial Champions League group game.
The two clubs share top spot in Group F after opening round wins over Marseille and Borussia Dortmund respectively, so the winners tonight can move three points clear and take control of the group after just two games.
We’ve been on a stunning run since losing to Aston Villa on the opening weekend of the season, and we now sit top of the Premier League table after a 2-1 win over Swansea City on Saturday made it five wins in a row.
While that may be an impressive record, the visitors actually boast a slight better one as they’ve won five and drawn the other of their opening six Serie A games. However, that’s only good enough to see them sit second with AS Roma currently top having taken maximum points so far.
Napoli are now managed by Rafa Benitez who we all know well from his time here in England with Liverpool and most recently Chelsea. The Spaniard is certainly an excellent tactician and always seems to save his best for European competitions, so we should expect a difficult night.
We’ve been boosted by the return of midfielder Tomas Rosicky who’s recovered from a hamstring injury that’s kept him out for the last month. I’m not sure whether Arsene Wenger will decide to start him ahead of young Serge Gnabry – who could be feeling the effects of a draining week that’s seen him play three games in 7 days.
We have no fresh injury worries but Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla, Yaya Sanogo, Lukas Podolski, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Abou Diaby all remain unavailable.
Mikel Arteta is pushing for a recall after making a successful return from a thigh problem but Wenger is unlikely to tinker too much from the team that served him so well in recent weeks.
There could also be some excellent news with Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain a major doubt due to a calf problem. The forward trained alone on Monday and woke up in pain this morning so he’s rated at no better than 50:50 to start.
Gordan Pandev is in line to replace the Argentinean if he’s ruled out, while Marek Hamsik is expected to be recalled after being rested for Saturday’s 2-0 win over Genoa.
Olivier Giroud: The midfield from both sides is packed with talent and Giroud’s hold-up and link-up play is going to be vital tonight. If he’s on form and his touch is on point, he’ll certainly be a real handful for the Napoli backline.
Arsenal 2-1 Napoli: It’s going to be a tight game and hopefully one full of quality, but I feel the Gunners are going to make home adavntage count and take control of Group F.
What would be your preferred team and what’s your predicted score for the game? Share your thoughts below.
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