UEFA Europa League: Arsenal vs Napoli: preview, line-ups, prediction
Out of all the quarter-final pairs, the upcoming match between Arsenal and Napoli would fit the Europa League final best, but one team will have to leave the tournament at the quarter-final stage.
Both teams don’t hide their desire to win the Europa League, because for both Arsenal and Napoli this is the last chance to end the season with a trophy. However, for the Gunners, who sit in fifth in the Premier League, this is also an additional chance to get to the Champions League for the next season.
The hosts confidently went through the group stage of the Europa League, beating Vorskla and Qarabag twice, as well as winning and playing a draw against Sporting. The guests were third in the Champions League group with PSG, Liverpool and Red Star Belgrade.
In the 1/16 finals, the Gunners forced their fans to worry, losing the first match against BATE, but taking revenge at home (0:1 and 3:0), and even stressed them more in the confrontation with Rennes (1:3 and 3:0).
The Parthenopeans confidently went through the first round of the playoffs against Zurich with a total score of 5:1, but then they had to struggle against RB Salzburg (4:3).
Both teams approach the first leg having problems with the composition. Arsenal lost Hector Bellerin a long time ago, and three more key players’ appearance is questionable: Koscielny and Xhaka haven’t fully recovered from their injuries, moreover, Aubameyang managed to get sick.
Napoli’s situation is less complicated. Albiol and Diawara won’t play, and Ospina’s condition is in doubt. However, Insigne and Verdi fully recovered immediately before the match, who, first of all, would strengthen the Neapolitans’ attacking power.
Arsenal: Cech — Sokratis, Mustafi, Koscielny — Kolasinac, Torreira, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles — Ramsey, Iwobi — Aubameyang
Napoli: Meret — Mario Rui, Koulibaly, Maksimovic, Malcuit — Callejon, Allax, Ruiz, Zielinski — Mertens, Insigne
Players to note: Torreira, Aubameyang — Insigne, Koulibaly
Time: 20.00 GMT
Venue: Emirates, London
(Reporting by Nathan Dent, editing by Valerie Cooper)