Written by Ash Handelaar
Follow on Twitter: @handelaar101
Matchday 6 of the Champions League sees The Gunners fly to Naples in Italy to take on Serie A’s third place team Napoli.
Arsenal have almost guaranteed they’re qualification from the group and need just a single point to ensure they go through to the knockout rounds. Napoli need a win or for Marseille to pick up a result against Dortmund in the other Group F game. Either way, the Italian side are chasing a victory.
Arsenal lead the way in Group F on 12 points, while Napoli and Dortmund are level on 9 points. But it’s Dortmund who have the better goal difference in their favour. Marseille have yet to pick up any points in the group, but with one game to go, they are surely going to want to go out on a high.
Napoli have won both of their home games in Champions League Group F so far, so will be confident that they can trouble Arsenal, despite being dominated by them at The Emirates. Napoli’s man to watch on the night will be Gokhan Inler. While a lot of the attention will be on former Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuian and playmaker Marek Hamsik, Inler has been a real rock in the middle, playing the holding midfield role. He is a strong passer of the ball and ruthless tackler. He might not be an obvious threat, but the stats don’t lie or hide the fact that he has been one of the teams top and most consistent performers.
Arsenal’s player to watch on Wednesday is Mesut Ozil. He bagged himself a goal at the weekend and along with Aaron Ramsey has been a creative force doing very little wrong. The reason I suggest Ozil this game is down to a couple of factors. He scored his first Arsenal goal in the home game of this fixture and has been in fine form since. He has taken to the Premier League and Arsenal like a duck to water. The second reason is because before joining Arsenal, Ozil plied his trade in Spain and Germany, both leagues offering the traditional European game as oppose to the style of play of the Premier League. Having only recently moved, he might still be a little adjusted to the style of play outside of England.
Whatever line up Arsenal go with in Naples, I’m sure Wenger will have thoughts in the back of his mind about what team he plays against Man City on Saturday. Whomever he goes for, best be for a fight, because Napoli are not to be underestimated.
Napoli v Arsenal Match Stats
Napoli must win by a three goal margin to secure a place in the last-16, regardless the result of the other game.
However, Napoli must do better than Dortmund against Marseille to reach the knockout stage of the Champions League for the second time in the history of the Club.
If they win by a one or two goal margin and Borussia Dortmund beat Marseille, Napoli will be the first side to finish at the 3rd place in a CL group picking up 12 points.
Napoli have not drawn a game over their last 18 fixtures in European competition.
The Partenopei haven’t kept a single clean sheet over their last 12 games between Champions League and Europa League.
Arsenal are on course to reach the knockout stage of the Champions League for the 11th season in a row.
Arsene Wenger’s side were defeated 4-0 in their last trip to Italy (vs AC Milan in February 2012) – overall their record in Italy in the Champions League is W3 D3 L3.
The Gunners have won five of their last six Champions League fixtures between this and last season.
Mesut Özil has scored only once in an away game in the Champions League – at Allianz Arena, back in April 2012.
Gonzalo Higuaín has never scored against an English team in the Champions League.