Arsenal will be relying on the home advantage as they face Napoli in the Europa League Quarterfinals 1st leg match at Emirates Stadium, in London, on Thursday night (IST).
What competition it is? UEFA Europa League, Quarterfinals 1st Leg
Teams: Arsenal and Napoli
Kick Off: Friday 12 April
Match Timing: 12:30 AM (IST)
Where the game is played? Emirates Stadium (60,260)
TV Info: Ten-Sony Sports Network / SonyLiv App.
This is perhaps the biggest game of the season for Arsenal. Finishing in the Champions League places may be a priority for Unai Emery, but the Europa league gives him and his men a chance to end the season with a European trophy as well as a place in the Champions Legaue next season.
But the Gunners need to be at the top of their game against Napoli, across both the legs, for the visitors can play at a high tempo and are more than capable of producing counter-attacking football.
Certainly, better than what we saw at the Goodison Park in the Premier League game against Everton. For most of the time, there was only one team looking for a win.
In Merseyside, Arsenal were being ultra “Typical.” Away from home, struggling for the tempo, and looking terribly blatant in the offensive department.
No doubt, Emery deserves the praise, but he has to solve the away problems if his team is to progress in this competition.
But this is a home leg, and Arsenal have all the reasons to feel optimistic. The Gunners have a solid home record, with the 2-0 win over Newcastle United being their 10th consecutive home win in the league. While Emery’s men have won all but one home game in Europa League this season.
Napoli meanwhile were aiming to get far in the Champions League, only to be dealt a tough draw in the group stage.
The Naples were placed alongside Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool, as well as Red Star Belgrade, and could only finish 3rd in the group, despite losing just one game.
As a result, the Partenopei were relegated to the Europa League, and now will be looking to win the competition.
With Serie A offering nothing, Carlo Ancelotti had to switch focus towards Europa League. In the last two knockout rounds, Napoli eased past FC Zurich 5-1 over two legs and 4-3bon aggregate against Salzburg.
Recent form (Last six matches)
Arsenal – D L W W W L
Napoli – D L W W L D
ARS vs NAP Dream11 TEAM NEWS: Injuries and Suspensions
Arsenal vs Napoli Team News:
Injured – Danny Welbeck, Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin are long-term absentees for Arsenal.
Suspended – None.
Questionable – Arsenal were poor against Everton in the absence of Granit Xhaka. As per Arsenal medical reports, the Swiss international, along with captain Laurent Koscielny, remain questionable. Both the players will be monitored before the match.
Note: Sokratis Papastathopolous is back from suspension after missing the clash against Rennes. Also, the fact that he is suspended for the next two Premier League games, makes him a sure starter in this match.
Aaron Ramsey and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, meanwhile, were both named on the bench at Goodison Park, so both the players are in contention to start against Napoli.
Key Players – Aubameyang, Lacazette
Injured – As for Napoli, Raul Albiol and Amadou Diawara are the injury absentees.
Suspended – None.
Questionable – Goalkeeper David Ospina is carrying a knock and will be assessed before the match.
Note: Centre-back Nikola Maksimovic and Kalidou Koulibaly missed Napoli’s last Europa League game through suspension and will be returning to the starting XI.
Lorenzo Insigne was fit enough to feature from the bench on Sunday and should be fine now to start at the Emirates Stadium.
Key Players – Insigne, Mertens,
ARS vs NAP Dream11 Playing 11 – (Probable) –
Arsenal– Leno (GK), Mustafi, Sokratis, Monreal; Maitland-Niles, Ramsey, Guendouzi, Kolasinac, Iwobi, Lacazette, Aubameyang
Napoli– Meret (GK), Malcuit, Maksimovic, Koulibaly, Rui, Callejon, Allan, Fabian Ruiz, Zielinski, Mertens, Insigne
ARS vs NAP Dream11 FANTASY TEAM:
INDIA FANTASY PREDICTION:
Arsenal are pretty hard to beat in home games this season, while Napoli have struggled on the road.
We back the Gunners to avoid a defeat here.