Napoli vs Arsenal Preview: Europa League Preview, where to watch and more
Napoli get ready to host Arsenal at the Stadio San Paolo on Thursday evening in the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie. Having won the first leg 2-0, the Gunners are in pole position to advance.
However, Arsenal should underestimate Napoli at their own peril. The Italian side is a tough nut to crack at home and has made the San Paolo a fortress. Additionally, the Gunners’ well-documented struggles away from home provide the Gli Azzurri with a glimmer of hope.
Unai Emery’s men warmed up for their Italian job courtesy a gritty 1-0 victory over Watford on Monday. Carlo Ancelotti’s troops, meanwhile, battled to a 3-1 win against Chievo in the Serie A.
Before the draw for the quarter final was made, Arsenal and Napoli were among the favourites to lift the Europa League. Thus, with them on a collision course, one can expect fireworks to ensue come Thursday.
Venue: Stadio San Paolo
Date: 18th April, 2019
Time: 20:00 (Local Time), 00:30 (IST) on the 19th of April, 2019
Where to watch: Sony Ten 2/Sony Ten 2 HD; Live streaming on SonyLIV (India)
Referee: Ovidiu Hațegan
Last five competitive matches (Most recent first)
Head to Head
Napoli: 1 win
Arsenal: 2 wins
Draw: 0 draws
Stat of the Day:
All of Arsenal and Napoli’s encounters in Europe have ended 2-0 in favour of the home side.
Players to watch out for
The Swiss midfielder has been one of the Gunners’ standout performers this term. Paired alongside Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi, Granit Xhaka has brought his play-making abilities to the fore more often than not.
The Swiss international missed the first leg due to a groin injury. However, he returned for Arsenal’s victory against Watford and looks set to play a crucial role in the return leg at Napoli.
With him in the mix, the Gunners look more accomplished in possession. Additionally, the midfielder’s accurate cross-field passes allow Arsenal to switch play swiftly. Thus, his inclusion provides another dimension to their attack.
Moreover, he has improved defensively under Emery and shields the back four with more responsibility.
Thus, Xhaka has grown into one of Arsenal’s most vital cogs over the course of the season. And one can expect the norm to continue in the Gunners’ biggest European test in Naples.
Lorenzo Insigne has been a pivotal part of Napoli’s squad over the years. The Italian forward has established himself as one of the first names on the team sheet and his propensity to come up trumps in clutch situations has allowed him to don the captain’s armband as well.
However, in the first leg against Arsenal, Insigne wasn’t his usual effervescent self. Inevitably, Napoli suffered and they failed to make the most of whatever little they created.
Thus, the Italian would be seething from his toothless display last week and he would hope to set the record straight at the San Paolo.
A dazzling dribbler by trade, Insigne would look to exploit Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ inexperience and put the Englishman to the sword.
In addition, the Gunners have been defensively shaky on the road all season. And the Italian could be the ideal player to take advantage.
Hence, the forward is definitely one to watch out for when Napoli clash swords with Arsenal.