Arsenal and perennial Serie A runners-up Napoli square off in the 1st leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie at the Emirates Stadium.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side is without a doubt the toughest team the Gunners could have draw in the last eight, but get past them and it’s one step closer to opening up the backdoor to Europe’s premier club competition next season with the Premier League route too tough to call.
Our miserable PL away form has spilled-over to continental competition as we lost both our previous knockout stage 1st leg away ties against BATE and Rennes respectively, but with the backing of the Emirates faithful, few tactical and personnel tweaks, Unai Emery and the boys turned things around at home. Thus making it imperative that we take full advantage of home comforts or risk being up against it with the 2nd leg in front of an animated, vociferous and passionate Stadio San Paolo crowd.
Napoli don’t have fond memories of playing on English soil.
Since 2010/11 they lost on each of their five trips away to PL opposition by an aggregate of 11-3, however, they did had the upper hand in Naples with an aggregate score of 8-4 (W4, D1).
So the take away here may be that whichever team makes the most of their opportunities in their home fixture will have the better chance at progression to the Europa last four.
On teams news: a worry for Emery is still the fitness of two key players, Laurent Koscielny and Granit Xhaka, but hopefully both will return to action ahead of another crucial PL game on the road for the Gunners on Monday night. With Lucas Torreira also back after missing the weekend due to suspension, we can expect to see a very strong matchday lineup.
The prospect of Arsenal against Napoli in whatever competition is certainly something that will have many football fans salivating… and here’s hoping the Gunners get off to a great start to leave us with a good chance in Italy next week.