Arsenal have a difficult clash against Serie A side Napoli at the Emirates in the quarterfinal of the UEFA Europa League.
The Gunners are coming on the back of a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Everton, and will be eager to turn things around.
Arsenal team news
Arsenal will be without the services of Hector Bellerin, Danny Welbeck, and Rob Holding due to long-term injuries while Laurent Koscielny is nursing a foot injury.
The Frenchman is a doubt going into this game along with Granit Xhaka, who will also face a late assessment after picking up a groin injury last month.
Predicted Arsenal lineup vs Napoli
Despite having to face a late fitness test, we expect Koscielny to recover in time to start at the heart of Arsenal’s three-man backline. The veteran defender will be partnered by Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi in central defence. Nacho Monreal is the likely alternative should the Arsenal captain fail to recover in time.
It won’t be a surprise to see coach Unai Emery deploy a deep-block defensive system in an attempt to keep out Napoli, and play on the counter. This could definitely suit Sokratis, whose physical prowess and defensive commitment will be important as Arsenal look to avoid conceding a goal at home.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles has impressed in his role as a right wing-back, of late, meaning the 21-year-old is a guaranteed starter in the said position while Sead Kolasinac is likely to be deployed ahead of Monreal on the opposite flank.
Petr Cech, on the other hand, has normally been the cup goalkeeper for Arsenal this season. The veteran ‘keeper, will, therefore, start in between the sticks for the Gunners tonight.
We expect Xhaka to recover in time as well and the Swiss international will be deployed at the base of Arsenal’s 3-4-2-1. However, should he miss out on the action tonight, Matteo Guendouzi is the best available alternative.
Lucas Torreira is a guaranteed starter in central midfield alongside either Guendouzi or Xhaka. The Uruguayan international will be vital to Arsenal as they look to cope with Napoli’s effective midfield trifecta of Allan, Fabian Ruiz and Piotr Zielinski.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could return to the side after being left out in the defeat to Everton. The former Dortmund star will spearhead the Arsenal attack and will be partnered by Alex Iwobi and Aaron Ramsey.
Both the players will start just behind the main striker, looking to provide creativity and dynamism in the final third.