So we have been paired with Napoli for the quarter-finals of the Europa League, and it is probably the toughest opponent we could have got other than Chelsea. Here are the dates of the two legs….
Arsenal v Napoli
Thursday, April 11
Napoli v Arsenal
Thursday, April 18
Kick-off: 8pm (UK time)
San Paolo Stadium
We have been been made to play at home for the first leg (thanks UEFA!) which is normally an advantage to the away side. Usually the first meetings are tactical affairs with the home side trying hard not to concede an away goal, and the away side trying to stop any goals being scored at all. This is bad for Arsenal, as we cannot afford to go to Italy with anything less than a 2-or 3-goal lead in my opinion.
Napoli are vulnerable on the road and Arsenal need to take full advantage of that as in the cauldron of Naples they are nearly invincible. A couple of weeks ago they did lose at home to Juventus, who are 18 points clear of them in Serie A, but that was their only defeat in the last 28 games in all competitions spanning a whole year!
Obviously that doesn’t mean that Arsenal can’t buck the trend when we are in top form, but with our away form this year I believe it is imperative we go all out at the Emirates to try and kill the tie in the first leg.
If we don’t, I will be very worried….