By Bulldog Drummond
Since the first leg of the Uefa cup tie against Arsenal, Napoli have played one game – a 3-1 away win against Chievo. The result left them in second place in the league
So, second spot in the league and thus a return to the Champions League looks assured. Juventus win the league, as we (not very cleverly) predicted at the start of the season.
Arsenal are of course fourth in the Premier League, coincidentally just one point worse off across the sesaon than Napoli – but in a much tougher league in depth
We have scored more goals this season than Napoli but have a much worse defence through the league season – although to some extent this is a reflection of the nature of football in the Italian league as well as the Premier League having six strong teams, as opposed to two in the Italian league.
So far all three games between the two sides have ended up with the same result…
|01 Oct 2013||Arsenal v Napoli||W||2-0||UEFA Champions League|
|11 Dec 2013||Napoli v Arsenal||L||2-0||UEFA Champions League|
|11 Apr 2019||Arsenal v Napoli||W||2-0||UEFA Europa League|
Our line up for the last game – that on 11 December 2013 game was
Carl Jenkinson Laurent Koscielny Per Mertesacker Kieran Gibbs
Mikel Arteta (captain) Mesut Özil Mathieu Flamini
Tomas Rosicky Santi Cazorla
What was particularly noticeable in that game was that we got given four cards between the 64th and 84th minute – four yellows including a second yellow for Arteta which meant he was sent off. It was during this period of card awarding that the goals came – the second coming in the 90th minute.
This time around cards could again be an issue since Sokratis, Xhaka and Mkhitaryan are in a position where a card in this game would mean they would miss out on the first semi-final match if Arsenal get through.
Ahead of the match in its build up to the game, the Daily Mail has decided to utilise its approach to reporting transfer rumours – that is citing sources that cite sources, and then reporting the results as fact. Still I suppose that is better than just making it up as one goes along. Although not much. Under the headline
“Arsenal fans to be safeguarded by 800 Italian police amid fears of attacks by Napoli hooligans at Europa League clash”
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, via Sports Witness, there is a strong fear over the ‘presence of holligans’ and as a result a police presence will be reinforced. And we might pause and reflect that this is rather amusing, in that the Daily Mail never take responsibility for their commentaries. So I am not sure of the validity of…
“And in December last year, an Inter supporter was killed during clashes with Napoli fans not far from the San Siro. Ten mini-vans carrying away supporters slipped past police checks and were confronted by around 100 Inter supporters carrying sticks and other weapons.”
How do you slip ten mini-vans past police checks? With the cunning plan of using another road while all the police were gathered on the main highway? I really wish they had let us know. Although the affair was tragic in its consequences as one supporter later died in hospital.
As for the Arsenal line up the website 90 Mins have
Maitland-Niles, Koscielny, Sokratis, Monreal;
Torreira, Guendouzi, Xhaka;
Ramsey, Iwobi, Lacazette
and interestingly Sports Mole go with exactly the same selection.
The other quarter finals are Chelsea v Slavia Prague (1-0), Eintracht v Benfica (2-4) and Valencia v Villareal (1-3).
- Bournemouth v Arsenal: the team news, Jesus’ problem, and winning records
- Bournemouth v Arsenal: injury update, and the record between the clubs
- Bournemouth v Arsenal and Tottenham’s yellow card bonanza
- Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the dirtiest team of all?
- The great injury conundrum: how can Arsenal cope, and how are other clubs suffering?