ARSENAL V NAPOLI EMIRATES CUP 2013

Arsenal vs Napoli Preview

Resident Blogger : SimonSEEZ

This post is dedicated to the all the young school children in Yobe, Nigeria who last weekend when we were celebrating the Arsenal against Swansea win were been killed by terrorist elements in Northern Nigeria. How someone, a human being with a brain just like mine, with full processing abilities will think that killing over 40 innocent children while they are asleep is the best way to send a message is not comprehensible by me. If anyone has an answer, feel free to share it with me. Incidents like this make football really what it is, a game. Life really exists outside the stadiums. May their souls rest in peace.

Apologies, if I ruined your day. I am sure that’s not a conventional way to start a football post.

On to the pitch now, all is well with The Arsenal. Victory at the Liberty stadium cemented our place at the top of the league, I am not too concerned by the league table now as its early days but considering all the negative news that surrounded the club during the window and the amount of injuries, every Arsenal fan deserves the right to revel in our current state of affairs. When was the last time we were ahead of Manchester Utd by 8points early on?

It’s a different competition today and we got three crucial precious points in the first game away to Marseille. Considering the nature of our group, every point would count towards qualification for the next stages. We welcome the men from Naples and this sure is a different league compared to the opposition we have played so far this season. Napoli is a top quality team and it would be nice to test ourselves against them.

Napoli

Rafael Benitez has done outstanding work on this team continuing from the ground work laid by Walter Mazzarri even though he now plays a more English system 4-2-3-1 rather than the 3-5-2. Cavani, their lethal striker who benefited the most from Walters set up was sold to PSG and Benitez and the guys in charge at Napoli did what we have always called for the Arsenal hierarchy to do. Invest the money gotten from player purchases into making the team better rather than banking it.

Benitez bought well in the summer and depending on which side of the argument you are, they hijacked Gonzalo Higuain from us sealing a £32million deal with the club when rumours had it a deal had already being concluded with Arsenal. It’s not Higuain I feel Arsenal should be worried about though, my favourite players in the Napoli squad, Marek Hamsik. Marek is an outstanding player , really tricky, pacey, an eye for an assist and a scorer himself. He is the Italian leagues assist king, leading the league last season with 14. As the gods would have it, we have the European assist king in Mesut Ozil!!!  If we intend to take any points from the game we have to make sure we do a job on him.

“If Gareth Bale is worth €100 million, then Marek Hamsik is priceless,”If you name a price in this market, then there will be somebody who ends up offering it, so I’d say Hamsik is priceless because we don’t want to sell him.” – Benitez

 Player To Watch : Marek Hamsik

Arsenal

We play at home and the onus will be on us to attack. Much has been written about how our away form has been excellent and we seem inhibited at the Emirates. To win tomorrow we must be forceful and ensure the game is played at a pace we determine. Napoli will get their chances but it’s our job to limit them. Not to say Stoke is anything near Napoli but the exact way we allowed them keep the ball in the second half while we focused on keeping our shape and hitting them once we get an outlet? I feel this will work once we go a goal up.

We definitely would miss Walcott as his pace would have worried the Napoli defence which manager Benitez acknowledges he needs to work on. He seems to have realised this early and wanted to rectify it with the purchase of Martin Skrtel from Liverpool during the summer. The space that is left between their midfield and defence when they attack needs to exploited by Arsenal players and Serge has the energy to do that should he be given a starting shirt which he has earned with his display at Swansea.

The manager rates this game highly and you can tell that from his comments with regards to what a win would do for us

If we win the second game we know we can qualify,’ he said.‘I wouldn’t say it is already a decisive game – but it is a game that will have a great bearing on who qualifies.‘If we deal with that situation then we will be in a very positive mood to finish the job.’ – Wenger

Napoli is unbeaten this season in the league and would be nice for us to give them that baptism.

Player To Watch : Aaron Ramsey

Prediction

Arsenal 2 – Napoli 1

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Hope we have a great night. #COYG

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