Arsenal will be looking to defend a 2-0 first-leg lead as they play Napoli in the 2nd leg Europa League quarterfinal match at Stadio San Paolo, in Naples, Italy, on Thursday night (IST).
What competition it is? UEFA Europa League, 2nd Leg (Arsenal lead 2-0)
Teams: Napoli and Arsenal
Kick Off: Friday 19 April
Match Timing: 12:30 AM (IST)
Where the game is played? Stadio San Paolo (60,240)
TV Info: Ten Sports Network has the rights to stream UEFA Europa League matches in India. Matches can also be enjoyed on SonyLiv App.
Unai Emery loves to play in the Europa League. There shouldn't be any doubt about that. After all, he is the only manager in the world to win three consecutive titles, having beaten Liverpool 3-1 in 2016 edition for the hattrick.
So you could understand why he is so adamant to win it again. He has taken the competition seriously right from the start, naming a strong playing 11 whenever possible. Not only the Europa League gives him a chance to win a trophy in his very first season in England, but a title win would also ensure Arsenal's passage to the next edition of the Champions League.
But Emery has insisted that he prefers a top-4 finish nonetheless. For it would be a good indicator of his side's progress. And Arsenal took another step towards that target after winning 0-1 away against Watford on Monday night. Interestingly, it was Arsenal's first clean sheet in away Premier League matches this season.
With the win, Arsenal moved to fourth on the table with 66 points from 33 games. Tottenham Hotspur are 3rd with 67 points, while Chelsea are level on points but sit below due to an inferior goal difference.
Gunners are in a good position to progress but they have a massive fight on their hands. Their away record is poor overall and despite winning at Vicarage road, the performance was far from perfect. Not even average against the 10-man Hornets who ran ragged the visitors for most of the game.
A similar performance against a more talented Napoli side could prove fatal to Unai Emery's side.
For the entire first half, Napoli were like visitors at the Emirates Stadium. Playing like a side with no purpose and direction. Only Arsenal's indecision in the final third and the wayward finishing left the tie within reachable distance.
So in a sense, Carlo Ancelotti's side were lucky to leave London with a 0-2 deficit and now considering how Arsenal have been away from home this season, the Naples can even think about scripting a comeback.
The biggest surplus with Napoli is their head coach, who is a three-time UEFA Champions League winner. He knows all about the deficits and the comebacks. Napoli's home form in Europe is good as well, having beaten Liverpool and forcing a much-deserved draw against PSG in the group stage of the Champions League.
Recent form (Last six matches)
Napoli – W W L D L W
Arsenal – W W W L W W
ARS vs NAP Dream11 TEAM NEWS: Injuries and Suspensions
Napoli vs Arsenal Team News:
Injured – There are no fresh injury concerns for Napoli ahead of this match. Carlo Ancelotti should go with the same squad which featured in the first leg. However, two players in the shape of Amadou Diawara and Raul Albiol will be missing the game for Napoli, with the duo missing the action since March and January respectively.
Suspended – None.
Questionable – No concern here for Napoli.
Note: Arkadiusz Milik has been in good form all season, so his exclusion from the starting 11 came as a surprise. Ancelotti, instead, went with Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens up top at the Emirates Stadium. The move didn't work and we expect Milik to start at the expense of Mertens. Another change could come at the right-back with both Kevin Malcuit and Elseid Hysaj, who started at the Emirates Stadium, pushing for a start.
Key Players – Lorenzo Insigne, Allan, Arkadiusz Milik
Injured – Arsenal will miss the long-term absentees Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin and Danny Welbeck.
Suspended – None.
Questionable – Lucas Torreira suffered a groin injury during the 1-0 win over Watford and remains a doubt for this match.
Note: But Torreira's potential loss coincides with the return of influential Granit Xhaka. He is expected to start in the heart of the midfield alongside Matteo Guendouzi. In addition, striker Alexandre Lacazette didn't feature against Watford and is likely to start at Stadio San Paolo.
Key Players – Alexandre Lacazette, Aaron Ramsey
ARS vs NAP Dream11 Playing 11 – (Probable) –
Napoli– Meret (GK), Hysaj, Maksimovic, Koulibaly, Rui, Callejon, Allan, Ruiz, Zielinski, Insigne, Milik
Arsenal– Petr Cech (GK), Sokratis, Koscielny, Nacho Monreal, Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Kolasinac, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette
ARS vs NAP Dream11 FANTASY TEAM:
INDIA FANTASY PREDICTION:
Napoli and Arsenal have faced each other just once in Italy. That encounter came in the 2013-14 Champions League group stage and Napoli won the match 1-0.
While Arsenal's last trip to Italy came at the last-16 Europa Legaue match with the Gunners winning the match 0-2.
We don't expect Arsenal to return with a similar scoreline but predict them to advance to the next stage.
THIS ARS vs NAP Dream11 MATCH PREVIEW IS BASED ON OUR RESEARCH AND UNDERSTANDING FROM VARIOUS NEWS SOURCES. YOU CAN SELECT YOUR OWN PLAYING 11 ON THE BASIS OF TEAM NEWS AND ALL THE OTHER INFORMATION REQUIRED FROM THIS WEBSITE. USING OUR TEAMS IN ANY CONTEST WILL INCREASE THE PROBABILITY OF HAVING THE SAME EXACT TEAM WITH OTHER USERS CAN LEAD TO THE WINNINGS SPLIT.