Arsenal host Napoli at the Emirates in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League quarterfinals
Date: Fri, 12/04/2019
Kick-off: 12:30 Am IST
Arsenal and Napoli are set to face each other in the first leg of the quarter-final. Both teams made it by the skin of their teeth. Napoli almost lost the 3-0 lead they had in the first leg of the RO16 but somehow clung to the fringes and moved on. Arsenal managed a fantastic comeback against Rennais with a 3-0 victory.
Unai Emery has been on the receiving end of a lot of positivity after the exit of longtime manager, Arsene Wenger. They have a good shot at qualifying a spot in the UCL. Despite the recent 1-0 loss against Everton, they are still fifth in the league with a game to spare against Chelsea. Regardless of all that, expect Lacazette, Mustafi, Aubameyang to perform to the fullest. That may not be the best thing and may cause some pressure among the players going into the game. Napoli are second in their league.
While the UCL spot seems to be secure, the League Cup might as well be resting in Juventus’ hands. Some players like Koulibaly, Zielinski, Insigne and Milik have shown great strides this season, while Mertens maintains peak form. It will be interesting to see how the sides of Emery and Ancelotti will fare in the tussle.
A lot of players are injured. Holding, Welbeck and Bellerin are recovering after surgery and are unlikely to make an appearance. Koscielny and Xhaka might play(as subs) as they are being currently assessed for the game because of their injuries. The rest of the squad is pretty much the same as the previous games. Mkhitaryan’s presence in the starting XI is not anticipated.
Koulibaly and Maksimovic will be back after suspension. Iawara, Raul Albiol and Ospina will miss out due to injuries. Not much else.
Leno; Mustafi, Sokratis, Monreal; Maitland-Niles, Ramsey, Guendouzi, Kolasinac; Iwobi; Aubameyang, Lacazette
Meret; Malcuit, Maksimovic, Koulibaly, Rui; Callejon, Allan, Fabian Ruiz, Zielinski; Insigne, Mertens
SCORE PREDICTION: Arsenal FC 0-2 Napoli
With the surge in the form of so many players, Napoli has seen quite the rise in terms of team quality. They have been superb in their league and Koulibaly, Zielinski and Insigne have made their Defence, Midfield and Attack extremely airtight. They will be tough to topple.