There’s no place like home for most football teams and that’s certainly the case for Arsenal as they face a crunch clash against Napoli. Unai Emery’s men have made the Emirates a genuine fortress at home, although their form has taken a Jekyll-and-Hyde approach to their form, given that their woes away from London have been present througout the campaign. In just the last week they made it ten wins on the spin at home with a routine 2-0 win over Newcastle and then they played like bottom half opposition when Everton were frankly flattered not to beat them by even more than 2 goals.
This has, at times, jeopardised their progress in the Europa League; The Gunners lost in Belarus against BATE Borisov and in France against Rennes, but won both ties against them with strong displays at the Emirates. Facing a different class of opponent in Napoli, they simply must start on the front foot in this quarter-final.
They can feel confident about being able to take Napoli here; at the Emirates they have beaten Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United, and Emery does have the tools in the shape of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (set to start after being ill), Alexandre Lacazette, and Aaron Ramsey on his farewell tour. His chances would be improved if he could be able to call upon Laurent Koscielny who has been recovering from a foot injury, and Granit Xhaka, who has a groin problem.
Arsenal v Napoli
UEFA Europa League Quarter-Final 1st Leg
20:00 BT Sport 2 / BT Sport 4K UHD
HEAD TO HEAD RECORD
(Maximum 10 matches, past 10 years)
DEC 2013 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Napoli 2-0 Arsenal
OCT 2013 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Arsenal 2-0 Napoli
Napoli are one of the best teams left in the competition but they have gone off the boil as Juventus have sealed Serie A; In their last two games they have lost at relegation-threatened Empoli and be held at home by Genoa. Carlo Ancelotti is very worried about his side’s defending and rightly so – they have no clean sheet in their last six.
However, teams have not been able to keep them out. Napoli do boast an extensive amount of attacking riches in the shape of Jose Callejon, Arkadiusz Milik and Dries Mertens to name just and they have scored a goal in each of their last 10 games. However, that run does include two recent failures to win and Arsenal could take a lead over to Italy.
The 3/1 on them winning a game with both teams scoring looks a fair price and so does the 8/1 on a 2-1 victory.
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