Need Breaking Updates?
Subscribe Now and Receive Breaking Stories directly to your email inbox daily
Thank you for subscribing.
Something went wrong.
Arsenal welcomes Napoli to the Emirates Stadium on Thursday night in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie.
The Gunners’ quest for a top-four finish took a blow at the weekend when they came unstuck at Goodison Park, falling to a 1-0 defeat to Everton in the Premier League, while Napoli have effectively conceded the Serie A title to Juventus following recent dropped points in the league as the Partenopei now turn all of their attention to the Europa League.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos is back from suspension for Arsenal after missing the second leg against Rennes and, given that he is now banned for two domestic matches, he seems certain to start this one.
Fellow centre-back Laurent Koscielny missed the defeat to Everton and remains doubtful for Thursday night, while midfielder Granit Xhaka is also rated as 50-50 by Emery.
Napoli will have highly-rated defender Kalidou Koulibaly and Nikola Maksimovic back in their ranks, meanwhile, after both players missed their side’s last European match through suspension.Lorenzo Insigne made his comeback from injury in Napoli’s 1-1 draw at home to Genoa on Sunday night and is expected to play some part on Thursday evening as the Italian forward was introduced 25 minutes from time, but was unable to find the winner for his team.
Faouzi Ghoulam also returned to the squad last weekend, while Amadou Diawara and Raul Albiol are carrying injuries and David Ospina – on loan from Arsenal but eligible to play against his parent club – is also expected to miss out because of a head injury suffered last month.
Head To Head
Arsenal and Napoli have met just twice before in Europe, both games coming in the 2013-14 season.
The Gunners won 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium in the group stage of the Champions League, before losing by the same scoreline at the Stadio San Paolo.Napoli have lost seven and drawn one of their previous eight away matches against English opposition, going down to Burnley, Leeds United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City and indeed Arsenal.
Arsenal’s victory over Newcastle at the beginning of April marked their tenth successive home win in the league and they will therefore be looking to continue their brilliant home record on Thursday.
Their confidence may have taken a hit, however, following their lacklustre defeat away to Everton on Sunday afternoon, where they rarely troubled the home side’s goal.
Gli Azzurri manager Carlo Ancelotti has not been impressed with his side’s recent performances and has warned they will need to improve the following defeat to Empoli and a draw at home to ten-man Genoa. However, before these two disappointing results, Napoli ran out 4-1 winners over Roma. Perhaps the Naples side were guilty of letting their focus slip in the lead up to this Europa League clash, which is now their only remaining hope for silverware this season.
Predicted Lineups Arsenal: Leno; Maitland-Niles, Mustafi, Koscielny, Sokratis, Kolasinac; Torreira, Ramsey, Ozil; Aubameyang, Lacazette.
Predicted Lineups Napoli: Meret; Hysaj, Koulibaly, Maksimovic, Ghoulam; Callejon, Allan, Ruiz, Zielinski; Mertens, Milik.