Arsene Wenger has confirmed that the squad for tonight’s match is the same as Sundays.
It’s a tricky fixture though and we need to get the right result to see us through to the next round. We have a tough few matches ahead and we need to be full of confidence, not left thinking, ‘what if’?
A victory or a draw would see us top the group and avoid the big guns in the Knock-out stages of the Champions League. A loss will see us out of the competition altogether, if it’s by three or more goals.
Just why I think Arsene Wenger will start with his strongest side. He wants this big trophy and like all of us fans, I bet he doesn’t want to see Arsenal players performing on Thursday nights!
We have to assume that Borussia Dortmund will beat Marseille so that will draw them level with us on points and of course, Napoli will know that nothing but a 3-0 win will see them through to the knock-out stages, so they will be up for this game…
Rafa Benitez is ready for us:
We know that Arsenal are very strong but we will try. My team has to give 100 per cent.
My players know how important tomorrow’s game is and they have all trained really well. We have nothing to lose.
For us to play at home gives us an added strength.
He is right, they have nothing to lose, so they’ll be all out to win.
So will we though – Arsene Wenger:
The attitude of the players is focused and ambitious. That pleases me very much. We will play our usual game and try to take control of the ball.
Tomorrow (Tonight’s game) is a decider in the Champions League, that is for sure.
It sure is.
The key tonight is an early goal and we need to get it. That would leave Napoli needing four to go through but if we concede early, the momentum and belief will be with the home side.
One thing for sure and that’s we have to start the game a lot lot better than we did on Sunday, we are the ones who have to get out of the traps early and dictate the pace of the game.
Talking of pace, surely Theo Walcott or Serge Gnabry have to start this game, but I can’t see it being the latter as he’s not featured in any of our recent matches. So that leaves Theo, Napoli will know all about his speed and that alone will give the home side something to think about. I’d play him on the left though and get him cutting in onto his natural foot.
If it were down to me, I’d start with both Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta, just as we did in the home fixture. Let them protect the back five and then play a fast and furious attacking game with width, pace and clinical finishing.
Tomas Rosicky is another starter for me, when he plays, the midfield click and we need a good start. Get him on, even if it’s only for an hour – and yes, I’d leave Santi Cazorla on the bench, as I would Jack Wilshere.
That leaves Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud, all of whom simply have to play.
I’m sure a few of you will disagree with that starting eleven…..
But I see that eleven as giving us balance with enough in the attacking department to get us goals and plenty of defensive cover if the game doesn’t go our way at times.
Oh, and enough strength on the bench to change things when needed….
Wojciech Szczesny has been talking ahead of tonight:
I don’t think we should approach the game thinking that we need to avoid a defeat. We believe that we’re good enough to go there and get a win. We don’t need to change our attitude, we need to keep it going the way we have been and that should give us a result.
It’s a Champions League fixture which is always enjoyable, you’re always up for it. I don’t think there will be any problems with our approach to the game.
Good, every player whether starting or on the bench have to be up for this match if they are to get the result we need tonight.
Szczesny also said:
I think in the first half-hour [of the first Napoli game] we were frightening,I never touched the ball so that should tell you a lot.
More of the same tonight please Arsenal, more of the same…..
Finally, Happy Birthday to AllezKev, who is 21 today! Three points just for him would be nice please Arsenal….
That’s your lot……