Well Arsenal fans, despite a 2-0 defeat away to Napoli, the Gunners are through to the knockout phase of the Champions League again, for the umpteenth year in a row. But just like last year, the last game of the group stages slipped away and Arsenal have got the tough task of facing one of; Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona, PSG or Athletico Madrid.
Jenkinson isn’t as bad as everyone makes out! by Ash
Since Carl Jenkinson joined Arsenal back in 2011, the right sided defender has endured a relatively tough time at the club. He has had to put up with stick from the fans during a distressed period of time, whilst his own playing ability has also been the cause for concern on several occasions during the two and a half years he has been with the Gunners. And because of Sagna’s form he is not getting many chances in the team.
Where will Podolski play upon his return? by Ash
Arsenal fans have been greeted with the news in the past week that German striker Lukas Podolski is close to regaining match fitness and will soon return to the Arsenal team. Confirmation of this was then stated today when pictures ahead of tonight’s Champions League game against Napoli, revealed Podolski to be in a recent training session.
Arsenal only needed a point in Italy against Napoli to qualify at the top of their Champions League group, but sometimes that is an awkward situation and the players would need to go out with the right frame of mind. Although the manager did not want Arsenal to just sit back, he went for the extra protection of playing both Arteta and Flamini in front of the back four.
Arsene Wenger has insisted that his Arsenal team selection was not influenced by the upcoming Premier League clash away to Manchester City on Saturday, while also stating that he feels it would be dangerous for the Gunners to try to sit back and defend the point we need to top the group.
However, he also said that Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere were carrying small muscular problems so that is wht they are not in the starting line-up. He was also asked by Thierry Henry, who is on the Sky Sports panel for the game against Napoli, whether he thought about starting Theo Walcott. The boss agreed that he had but that he was holding the pacy winger in reserve in case Arsenal need to go and get a goal.
Arsenal fans and players are bound to be a bit nervous before the final Champions League group game in Italy tonight, but that is because of the importance of the game rather than any fear of our opponents Napoli, or a lack of confidence and belief.
Rafa Benitez, on the other hand, must be slightly wary of facing the might of Arsenal again, especially after the Gunners ripped his team to shreds in the game at the Emirates. The fact that the score was only 2-0 was down to us taking our foot off the gas and not because Napoli came back into the game, which Arsenal controlled throughout.
It is competition time Arsenal fans! Not only can the Gunners secure a place in the knockout phase of the Champions League tonight, they can top the group and avoid the really tough teams like the team that knocked us out last season, Bayern Munich. And what could make it even better? That’s right, an exclusive Just Arsenal t-shirt of your very own.
How do I get my hands on this coveted item I hear you ask… Well with a bit of luck and three educated guesses about what will happen in the San Paolo stadium tonight. To enter the competition, simply tell us in the comments section below what you think will be:
A. the final score
B. the first Arsenal scorer
C. the time of the first goal for either side
It is likely to be a very hostile atmosphere of Arsenal fans and the players both inside and outside the San Paolo stadium tonight as the Gunners try to complete the job and finish at the top of the group widely accepted to be the hardest one of all in the Champions League this season.
Napoli vs Arsenal preview, line up and predicted score by KJ
Arsenal have begun our run of four extremely difficult games with a draw against Everton and now we have to go to Naples knowing a draw is enough to top our group and significantly boost our chances of reaching the last eight.
Napoli since our win against them at the Emirates have lost a bit of their edge and are struggling in the league. They recently drew 3 – 3 with Udinese in the San Paolo. They allowed an amazing 17 shots on their goal with 7 on target. It’s clear that this game will be very open and this can only benefit us.
Despite being in a great position at the top of their Champions League group, they cannot relax because there is still a chance that the top spot and even qualification could be snatched away. And with a trip to the Etihad to face Man City early on Saturday, Arsene Wenger has some tough selection choices to make.
I personally feel that the situation is crying out for Theo Walcott to play from the start. The Gunners only need a draw, so although the players will not exactly be playing for it, we are likely to be a bit more cautious than usual. With Aaron Ramsey looking tired against Everton, it could be a good idea to rest him ready for the Premier League clash.
Most Arsenal fans may not have heard of him, and he is not the striker that many of us feel is the priority for the January transfer window, but the young Hamburg player Hakan Calhanoglu could be swapping the German Bundesliga for the Premier League and Arsenal, according to his agent.
The 19-year old attacking midfielder has been one of the rising stars of German football this season, scoring three goals already and attracting interest from various clubs, but the Talksport report about Arsenal’s potential bid for him will not have many Gooners getting too excited. After all, with Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and the rest, do we really need another attacking midfielder? Would he even get a game?
Is Lavezzi a potential Arsenal target? by Ash
A few days back Arsenal were linked with a top class player in a transfer rumour that hasn’t entirely gone away since and such speculation has led to some speculation, wondering if this is a deal that Arsene Wenger could realistically pull off in January.
Paris St. Germain forward Ezequiel Lavezzi has been linked with a move away from France following on from the player’s amount of game time in the league this season. Such rumours have also linked him with the Premier League where he is yet to be tested, according to a few sources including Sky Sports.