Arsenal have been drawn against Napoli in the Europa League quarter-finals. This was perhaps the most difficult draw possible for the Gunners, but as they say, you have to beat the best to be the best and if Emery can get past the Italian side he will be confident his team can go all the way.
Will Arsenal be able to beat Napoli? It’s a tough call, so follow expert tips from OLBG’s tipster challenge to see their thoughts on the clash. Carlo Ancelotti has improved aspects of Napoli’s game and they currently sit 2nd place in their division, albeit 18 points behind Champions elect Juventus.
Arsenal fans will feel unlucky to be placed against a team of Napoli’s caliber so early in the competition, whilst Chelsea, by contrast, will face Slavia Prague. The draw also means that the Gunners cannot face Chelsea until the final of the competition. Valencia or Villarreal will face the winner of Napoli vs. Arsenal, whilst Chelsea will face the winner of Frankfurt vs. Benfica.
But Emery will be focused on defeating Napoli, with his team set to host the Italian’s in the first leg. Arsenal players will need to display much higher levels of discipline in the two legs following red cards in the away games against both BATE and Rennes.
Lacazette has now served his ban and Sokratis will also be eligible to return, this will be a massive boost to the team, but they cannot afford to play against Napoli with 10 men at any point, it will be hard enough 11 vs. 11.
One of the reasons Emery was appointed at Arsenal is because of his pedigree in the Europa League. So far, he’s done very well, but Napoli will prove a much tougher test than any of the clubs previous opponents in this competition.
Unai will have to really earn his money in this clash, but if the Gunners do come out on top then he will certainly earn plenty of plaudits.
Fabian Ruiz is an emerging star from Ancelotti era at Napoli and he is a player that Arsenal will have to keep a close eye on. Granit Xhaka or Lucas Torreira are likely to be the player that will have to blunt Ruiz and his creativity. The 22-year-old Spaniard was signed from Real Betis in the summer and has gone from strength to strength since signing for the Italian giants.
Elsewhere Aubameyang and Lacazette will have a big battle up against one of Europe’s best defenders in Kalidou Koulibaly. Arsenal fans would dream of a defensive signing like Koulibaly in the summer, but he is valued at over £100million by his club, highlighting his ability.
Defensively Arsenal will face their biggest tests, though, with Napoli stacked with attacking talent.
Polish forward, Arkadiusz Milik has been on fire this season, netting 14 Serie A goals. Emery’s biggest task though, will be keeping the agile wide players, Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens at bay. Between them they have 17 league goals and 13 league assists this season.