Resident Blogger : SimonSEEZ
Last game of our champions’ league group stage and we visit Naples. Personally I have always had a fascination with the city after I read about its beautiful cathedrals, its wonderful art culture especially the underground art scene and most especially the superstitions of lovers who throng the City especially its bridges to lock padlocks with their names on it and throw the keys into the river as a symbol of their never ending love. Seemed funny when I read it at first but goggled pictures of Naples and the sites were beautiful. Ever since my first thoughts whenever I hear SSC Napoli is a team that comes from a city of padlocks.
The Gunners don’t visit Naples as tourists though, you can be certain that the only things occupying their minds asides from how to look better in a suit than Olivier Giroud would be qualifying top of the group and to do that they would have to fashion at least a draw against Napoli. That result will definitely send out the Italians as we all know the match between Dortmund and Marseille is just a little more important than a preseason friendly. It’s rare to see teams with 12 points still not sure of qualifying for the second round of the competition and to think Man City were moaning about their 10 points last time out when they failed to qualify. Scumbags they are.
The last game against Napoli came at a time when pundits were falling over each other hailing Benitez’s arrival at Napoli and their excellent dealings in the transfer window. Arsenal on the other hand were still proving doubters wrong and the performance on that night especially in the first half was one of the best we have seen this season, Ramsey and Ozil ran them ragged in the first half and then we adopted a professional approach to kill the game in the second.
Things have not been going great for Napoli recently as the early season form seems to be waning, a home loss to Parma and throwing away a 2 goal lead against Udinese has drawn discontent from the fans and boos were heard at the game during the weekend. For Napoli to qualify they have to beat Arsenal with at least 3 goals or draw us and hope Marseille gets a result against Dortmund but we know none of those is going to happen right?
Arsenal on the other hand travel in very confident mood knowing they only have to draw to qualify top but we know Wenger doesn’t know how to play for that kind of result. Wenger is some sort of football purist that feels you would dishonour the spirit of the game if you don’t show up with the attitude to win a game, even when he fields a changed team which he does often at the last game of the champions league he still goes out with a mentality to attack and win it. As much as we all feel less pressure going into this game we only have to think of the season when we played AC Milan and lost 4-0 in Italy and almost turned the result around when the return leg was played in London, so Wenger is experienced to know that this isn’t over yet.
It only makes sense that we expect a few changes from the team that played against Everton at the weekend. The hallmark of a great squad is ability to drop players and still maintain the same quality, no one does that better than Bayern Munich currently. Nacho should come in for Gibbs, Jenks still fills in on the right for Sagna, Vermaelen should get a run in, we can’t expect him to come into games should either BFG or Kos suffer an injury or suspension and play at an optimum level if he doesn’t get games like this especially since he is definitely going to be in the team to play Spurs in the FA Cup. Walcott also should start this game and we can expect to see Flamini and Arteta in the middle to ensure we don’t concede any goals if we are not scoring. That’s how I would set up my team, but Wenger is paid to have that problem.
We need to top the group and help us avoid any potential tough opponents in the next round and scoring early would hugely help us achieve that. Walcott’s pace should trouble Napoli’s defence that has been shipping them lately in the league. They have conceded 12 goals in their last 5 games, scoring 9, winning one, drawing one and losing three. We need to come out attacking like we did against Marseille with Wilshere’s early goal, Cardiff and Hull also where we were awesome coming out of the dugout.
Should make for an interesting encounter and irrespective of my love for the city of Naples and its padlocks, there would be only one thing one thing on my mind tomorrow. Getting three points and knocking Rafa and his team out of the champions league.
Let’s interact on the comments section or on twitter @canoncrested, what would your starting eleven be? Do you think Vermaelen should start or you would love to talk about padlocks and Napoli. Holla
Have a great day guys, until next time keep the Canons in your heart!!
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