Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger feels they need to be at their best against Napoli but insists they are well equipped to deal with the intimidating atmosphere that awaits them at Naples.
The Gunners look set to book their place in the Champions League last 16, with Napoli needing to win by a 3-0 score line to progress at the north Londoners’ expense.
The Frenchman insists that qualification for the knockout phase should be their first priority, adding that his side will not be fazed by the atmosphere at Stadio San Paolo.
According to The Guardian, he said:
Our priorities are simple: first, qualify and, if possible, top. If we finish top, it’s even better. We can’t afford to do anything [regarding rotation]. I rotate a little bit sometimes [but] never more than two or three because stability is important.
We’ll have to keep [Gonzalo] Higuaín quiet he is very dangerous and the more we can play outside of our box, the easier that will be. We have to be at our best. An average performance will not be good enough.
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Will the next three games define our season? Tomorrow’s game certainly [will]. It is to be in the Champions League or not. The other two games will not definitely … we are five points ahead and the championship is a marathon.
We will be in the race, no matter what happens but they [City and Chelsea] will hopefully show our strength. Napoli is a decider, that is for sure.
Arsenal’s Champions’ League group has come down to the final game yet again despite the fact that they have won four of their five games already which usually is enough for any team to progress to the knockout stages but the Gunners are in the strongest position of the three clubs who can still qualify. But with Dortmund playing Marseille, it’s expected the German outfit will be taking all three points and therefore putting the pressure on Arsene Wenger’s men to win in Naples.
It’s always difficult to predict what kind of mindset the manager and players will have going into a game like this. We are close to the knockout stages but if we go into the game with the wrong attitude and Napoli nick an early goal and the nerves start kicking in which might turn things very ugly. The Gunners will consider their chances of victory far greater based on current form and if we score at least one goal then the Italian club will need four goals which I just cannot see happening.
If Arsenal can win their group they will face some of the lesser known teams in the round of 16 but if they fail to win the group then they will have to face the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid or PSG, which won’t do any good to our chances of progressing further.
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