Friday, June 22, 2018

UCL Preview: Arsenal v. Napoli

Arsenal will host S.S.C. Napoli at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night.

Arsenal will host S.S.C. Napoli at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night.

The two sides enter Tuesday’s clash on scintillating early-season form.

Arsenal have won their last nine games in all competitions, while Napoli have yet to lose in seven matches (6-1-0), having already notched wins over the likes of AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund.

Correspondingly, Arsenal and Napoli are currently situated at the top of their respective leagues as well as Group F, which also consists of the aforementioned Borussia Dortmund and French giants Olympique de Marseille, in the UEFA Champions League.

The visitors, fresh off a 2-0 away win over Genoa, are led by former Valencia, Liverpool and Internazionale manager Rafa Benitez, who infamously served as Chelsea’s interim boss last season.

Possible Team Selections

Arsenal Starting XI: Szczęsny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Flamini, Ramsey; Gnabry, Özil, Wilshere; Giroud.

Napoli Starting XI: Reina; Maggio, Albiol, Britos, Zuñiga; Behrami, Inler; Callejón, Hamšík, Insigne; Higuaín.

Manager Quotes

Reina: “The first thing that Benitez brought was a winning mentality and it is important for us. We always play to win and we do this until the end.”

Wenger: “Napoli’s counter-attacking style struck me in the Emirates Cup. They all come out like bombs every time they win the ball, so the transition by our team from offence to defence will have to be very quick.

“We have started very well, with the win in Marseille, and if you win the second game at home you have a good chance to qualify.

“I wouldn’t say it’s already a decisive game, but it’s one that will have a great weight on the end result of the qualifying teams.”

Match Facts

Arsenal came from two goals down to salvage a draw against the Partenopei in the Emirates Cup on 3 August 2013 amid speculation linking Liverpool striker Luis Suarez with a summer move to North London.

Lorenzo Insigne opened the scoring for the visitors in the seventh minute before Goran Pandev doubled their lead within half an hour.

However, an inspired second-half performance — not different from what took place against Swansea City on Saturday — and goals from Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny rescued Arsenal from Davy Jones’ Locker.

Since 3 August, Arsenal have failed to secure the services of summer transfer targets Luis Suarez and Gonzalo Higuian (now at Napoli), but the deadline day signing of Germany international ace Mesut Özil has the club’s supporters buzzing, and rightfully so.

Özil, who has tallied three assists in as many Premier League appearances for the Gunners this term, is 2/1 to score anytime against Napoli on Tuesday.

Betting Odds

Arsenal (1/1); Napoli (11/4); Draw (5/2)

Match Prediction

Arsenal 1 – Napoli 2 (12/1)


Shawn Etemadi



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