Napoli v Arsenal
UEFA Champions League
Stadio San Paolo
Kick off: December 11, 2013 7:45 PM BST
Tonight’s game against Napoli is vitally important to Arsenal’s Champions League aspirations, but at the same time is strangely comfortable. Napoli require a 3-0 win in order to guarantee them qualification, while Arsenal only need a draw to put us safely at the top of the group.
It was a sloppy opening to the game, with the ball spending more time in the air than on the ground. Neither team seemed to be able to get the ball down and play it, and this seemed to benefit Napoli initially.
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There were a couple of close offside calls for Higuain in the first fifteen minutes, but the linesman did his job for all but one decision; which Koscielny dealt with.
Napoli pressed well throughout the game, but Arsenal eventually managed to get some possession and played a bit of keep away. If the Italians continue to press like this, they will be exhausted by the end of the game, which will play perfectly into our hands, allowing us to sit back for the draw while also being able to hit them on the break.
Giroud had Arsenal’s best chance of the half, Flamini sliding the ball into his path for a tight angled shot. He blasted it straight at the keeper though, and when Özil tried to follow up the rebound, it bobbled up awkwardly and he miskicked it.
Napoli also created a couple of half chances through Pandev and Maggio, nothing Koscielny, Mertesacker and Szczesny couldn’t deal with comfortably though. It wasn’t so comfortable when our Polish shot stopped attempted an over confident chip on Higuain. It didn’t clear the Argentine striker though, and his header went just wide.
Defensively Arsenal look very solid so far, but we haven’t offered a huge amount going forward. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as we can soak up some pressure and hit them on the break in the second half. Things looking bright at the moment, although a goal would do a lot to ease my nerves.
Jenkinson Koscielny Mertesacker Gibbs
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