Arsenal welcome Italian side Napoli to the Emirates Stadium tonight for their second champions league group stage game of the season. The game, which kicks off at 7.45pm, is highly anticipated and we desperately need Arsenal to win again which will take us to the top of the group on 6 points.
After gaining victory in France with a 2-1 win over Marseille, Aaron Ramsey once again being the difference between the two sides, it made Arsenal top of the group, despite Napoli beating Borussia Dortmund by the exact same score line in Italy. Although Arsenal’s result wasn’t entirely shocking, the final score from Italy certainly shook things up a bit, with Jürgen Klopp’s side failing to continue the fantastic European form that took them to the finals in the last campaign.
As we all know, Arsenal are very much in the group of death and it consists of the leaders of each respective league in Italy, Germany and of course England, where The Gunners sit on 15 points. But its concentration on the Champions League for now and Arsenal will need to pick up another three points in hope we can qualify for the knockout stages. Both Napoli and Arsenal have 3 points each, whilst Dortmund and Marseille are left on 0. It’s not going to be easy to beat Dortmund home or away, whilst Napoli away will also be a tough test so we must take advantage of tonight as if everything counts on it.
In terms of injury news, there isn’t any bad news regarding Arsenal players, and so we can expect to see a similar team that lined up against Swansea this weekend. With quite a few players already on the sidelines, no news really is good news for the Gunners. Tomas Rosicky has been included in the squad and could play, although he only hust returned to training and so probably won’t start.
Szczesny is likely to remain in goal, whilst the back four won’t be too different. Vermaelen and Monreal may be pushing for a game but their chance is more likely to come this weekend against West Brom rather than against Napoli. As for midfield and we could see Arteta return to the team, perhaps in place of Flamini, however the Frenchman has been very impressive on all accounts and so it would be harsh to drop the 29 year old. In attack we don’t have many options and so it’s quite likely to be Ozil, Giroud and Gnabry once again, although I wouldn’t mind seeing Miyaichi have a run out because his pace could really punish those in blue!
As for Napoli and they have a reformed team this season, with the likes of Pepe Reina, Jose Callejon and Gonzalo Higuain now in the line-up. Of course the latter is the biggest threat and it will be a tough test to see how the man who almost joined Arsenal in the summer comes up against the Gunners defence. Furthermore it’s also a reunion for Ozil, who also left Madrid this summer but overall it will be no love lost when Arsenal hopefully come out of the game with all 3 points!