Arsenal vs Napoli, Europa League draw: What Unai Emery’s Gunners can expect from Carlo …


Arsenal have drawn Italian side Napoli in the quarter-finals of the Europa League.

The Gunners progressed to the last eight thanks to a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang double in their 3-0 second leg win over Rennes which saw them through to a 4-3 victory on aggregate. 

In the round of 32 Arsenal eased to a 3-1 aggregate win over BATE Borisov while the London team currently sit in the final Champions League spot in fourth in the Premier League, two points clear of Manchester United in fifth and three ahead of Chelsea in sixth.

Napoli secured progression to the last eight with a 4-3 aggregate win over Red Bull Salzburg, despite losing the second leg 3-1. The Italian side previously defeated Swiss team Zurich in the round of 32 having been relegated to the Europa League after finishing third in their group in the Champions League, which contained Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool.

Arsenal, courtesy of Chelsea also being drawn away from home in their first leg, will host Napoli in the first leg on Thursday April 11 before travelling to Naples for the second leg on Thursday April 18.

But what do Arsenal need to know about Napoli?

Key player

Dries Mertens​. The Belgian forward may only be Napoli’s third highest scorer this season, with no goals in the Europa League but Mertens’ quality, established after successive seasons of brilliance at the Italian side, is clear for all to see. Mertens is fast, creative and versatile, providing a threat across the forward line and his performances will go a long way to deciding how Napoli do in the competition.

Europa League record

Napoli have won the Europa League once, in 1989 when it was known as the UEFA Cup, but they reached the semi-finals in 2015 before being beaten 2-1 on aggregate by Ukranian side Dnipro. In the last five seasons the Italian side have been knocked out twice in the round of 32 and once in the round of 16, and did not compete in the competition in 2016/17 as they progressed to the last 16 of the Champions League.

Napoli’s Arkadiusz Milik carries an attacking threat (AP)

Head-to-head

Arsenal last played Napoli in the group stages of the 2013/14 Champions League, beating the Italian side 2-0 with goals from Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud in London before Napoli got a measure of revenge in the reverse fixture, winning 2-0 in Naples with goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Jose Callejon. 

Domestic form

Napoli currently sit second in Serie A, a mammoth 18 points behind runaway leaders Juventus but a comfortable seven points inside the Champions League places. Carlo Ancelotti’s side were knocked out of the Coppa Italia in the quarter-final stage by AC Milan 2-0.

Odds to win the competition

Napoli 10-3

(Odds provided by Betfair)

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