Forza Arsenal!

Exciting night ahead. And who would have thought that many fans would not be sad if we lost this two-legged tie? Given the choice of a Top 4 spot and reaching the semi-finals (again) of the Europa with the prospect of a nerve jangling final against the Chavs, many would choose the PL position.

Not me. Silverware trumps Top 4 and there is no trophy for a CL place.

We have drawn the favourites for the EL, just as we did last year. We lost narrowly last time but I believe we can win this tie. Napoli are strong but certainly not unbeatable. A clean sheet tonight and I think we will go through.

Napoli have some fine players. Their talisman is Lorenzo Insigne who sadly for us has regained fitness after a month out. Alongside Milik and Mertens he makes up a formidable forward line. At the back is the much in demand, and likely to be the subject of a massive transfer fee, Kalidou Koulibaly (someone RC pointed out over a season ago). This chap is quality.

In goal should be our friend and current AFC player David Ospina but I guess he will not be allowed to play against us. This must be to our advantage

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More of the same please.

Napoli have won the Scudetto twice, both times with a drug-fuelled but possibly GOAT  Diego Maradona leading the team. I was in Naples for one of my honeymoons when Maradona was at his peak and the whole town worshipped the man. There were Maradona pizzas, Maradona gelati, pasta alla Diego, it was crazy. Eventually Diego was forced to take a drug test, found to be full of cocaine and banned from football for 15 months, but what a footballer he was. Since then second has been their best position

Managed by Carlo Wagnerotti, a man who has won everything there is to win, they are comfortably the second best team in Italy.

You may wonder why the Chavs are at home and AFC away for the second legs, it is because Chelsea are the FA Cup holders and as I told you, silverware trumps PL position.

We have the usual injury concerns and given the awful MF performance at Everton, the loss of Xhaka is a worry. So is the potential loss of Koscielny who will be very important if we are to keep the precious clean sheet.

I expect Mr Emery to take a safety first, pragmatic view of tonight’s game and play  with a single striker and a packed midfield. If we win 1-0 he will be delighted as Arsenal are likely to score in Naples.

The Emirates should be rocking tonight the fans will be noisy. Hopefully they will get behind the team even if we concede early. This is a high profile game which will attract viewers all over the world and I would like the Gooners attending to put on a show.

I will be watching in a bar somewhere in the North of Italy, surrounded by Juventus fans, who will no doubt want an Arsenal win. So do I.

COYRRG

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55 Responses to Forza Arsenal!

  1. chas says:

    Thanks, BR, let’s hope your bar in Northern Italy is rocking!

    Let’s also hope that the ‘home’ Arsenal turn up tonight and we see a spuds, chavs, red mancs type powerful performance.

    The Emirates should be kicking.

  2. Sue says:

    We need a decent performance to get over Sunday! COYG

    No shots on target for the Mancs last night 😜 that really was a crap game!

  3. LBG says:

    Cheers Raddy
    Hoping for a big night at THOF. Hope the Italians dont do too much damage in and around or on the pitch. Will be cheering them on with Ants.
    Szczesny had a good game last night, but still have my money on Ajax to go through.
    Wonder what the final positions and Cups for this season might have been if the two North London Clubs had had the same “luck” as Manshitty and the Dippers have had throughout!?

  4. RA says:

    Good Day, people, 😁

    Thank you for the Post, BR, and I am with the Juve fans too — down with Napoli.

    It would be fun propping up a bar with a bunch of Juve fans, but I hope there are no ‘ultras’ amongst them.

    Actually, I suspect you might prefer propping up Micky rather than the bar – or maybe both. 🥺

  5. Rasp says:

    Great work thanks Raddy. After the very disappointing performance last week, the EL becomes more important in our pursuit of CL next season. I agree trophies trump league position, but the extra £40m or so for CL qualification means possibly one more player in the squad and we do need some quality injected into certain areas.

    I’d take a 1 nil tonight, let’s hope UE’s meticulous preparation is focused on not conceding and staying calm and in control.

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    One of your best ones this season, BR! I find it hard to get excited on Spursday but you managed to get me going. I am fully with you re silverware and actually find it a shame that winning the UEFA Cup leads to participation in next season’s CL competition. It devalues the importance of winning European Silverware

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    Winning the UEFA Cup would be sweet and a stepping stone for this team and Emery. But it will be hard as Napoli are a good team who will defend well and play us on the counter. A clean sheet would be lovely but quite unlikely. Let’s hope Xhaka is fit and Torreira is back at his best. We also need Laca and Auba to rediscover their sharpness. COTA!

  8. RA says:

    Morning, TA,

    You raise an interesting point about CL qualification via another European competition.

    At the base of everything in professional football these days is money. UEFA were worried that many teams who qualified for the EL were putting out ‘weak’ teams to save themselves for domestic games, so they increased the money depending on how far teams made it in the EL.

    But that was not enough. So, the lure of ‘backdoor’ qualification into the Champions League was offered to the winners of the EL.

    Personally I do not mind how qualification for the CL is arrived at. Let’s be candid, the name ‘Champions League’ is already untrue, with as many as 4 ‘champions’ entering from the major leagues.

    The CL would be a very small competition, especially if the ‘champions’ from some of the small countries were discounted as only fodder for the big boys.

    It’s money again. Increase the size of the CL and it attracts more money — throw in the winners of the EL, usually one of the big teams in Europe anyway, and that also helps engender more marketing and promotional income.

    We may not agree with the commercialisation of football, but it is firmly established now and will not change, and as Rasper says, if Arsenal can get more money to buy players simply from being admitted to the CL again, so be it, that might help us become real champions again. 😀

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    Nice one RA, could have been a post!!

    I am fully aware of the notion of money in football. I used to watch my home team Roda taking on all sorts of teams in Europe when I was a boy and loved the romance of it. There used to be three European competitions and now there is one and a surrogate one, which is a real shame imo. UEFA may have their commercial reasons for allowing the UEFA cup winner to play in the CL, but they lack imagination and guts if you ask me. This competition should be about winning the cup, lifting it up with joy and pride and having something to boast about to your nearest rivals. Alas that’s no longer the case. Romance in football is almost dead.

  10. JM says:

    This will be a tactical 1of2 knock-out match, both played on the pitch and in the mind (of players and coaches). A battle of wills and wits with high concentration levels and balance between attack and defence.

    The team that manages to keep its head cool and manage the flow of the match shall be advantageous. Our players must not get cautioned/sent off unnecessarily.

    I will like a 2-0 win, a 1-0 win or a minimum 0-0 draw for us at home. It is bad to coincide at home in the 1st leg. (Reference to our tie against Rennes in the last round; 1-3 away and 3-0 home)

  11. LBG says:

    Impressions from today are that Kos and Granit could be fit to play.
    My team Leno, Kos, Sok, Nacho, AM-N, Wardrobe, Terrier, Granit, Ramsey ( sorry Mesut), Laca, Aubang.

    Vital that Sok, Granit, (and Micky if necessary), remember that they cannot be booked…….oh well!!!

  12. GunnerN5 says:

    Thanks Raddy, you have managed to re-new my interest in the game. Winning with a clean sheet would be ideal but clean sheets have been a rarity of late, only six in the EPL. I wonder if Emery can lift the teams spirit after losing to Everton – we will see.

    I hope you (Raddy) are right and that the Emirates rocks tonight and doesn’t groan after stray passes……….

  13. Rasp says:

    Is anyone else as confused as me regarding the loan of Denis Suarez. Maybe he was signed to see how well he would fit into Ramsey’s shoes … if that’s the case, it would appear that he doesn’t. On the face of it, he seems a bit of a lightweight midfielder, surely not what we’re looking for, but maybe Unai sees something we don’t?

  14. chas says:

    Benayoun retires – we’ll love you forever, Yossi.

  15. LB says:

    Yossiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

  16. chas says:

    Haha, LB.

    Lasagne gate day was, on reflection, one of my favourite ever Arsenal days.

    It was the start of the legend of ‘It’s happened again’. Such a gloriously delicious day.

  17. Rasp says:

    Strongest possible team with the exception of Cech.

  18. mickydidit89 says:

    Evening all

    Looking forward to catching up on some post reading, but for now, great looking team

  19. mickydidit89 says:

    BT Sport 2 ???

  20. mickydidit89 says:

    Rasp

    Suarez: thing that bothers me the most is that he’s 25, so is hardly going to get better. Were he 17 and just too weak, I’d get it as we could beef him up to proper english proportions 🙂

  21. chas says:

    Pires was shit in his first season

  22. fatgingergooner says:

    No silly penalties and no red cards against and we have a chance over 2 legs. Always feel something will go wrong in these big first leg ties.

    That Napoli side looks strong but at home we can hammer anybody.

  23. fatgingergooner says:

    Wow!

    What a goal

  24. fatgingergooner says:

    Wow!

    What a goal!

  25. mickydidit89 says:

    superb goal

  26. mickydidit89 says:

    looked up Koulibaly…6ft 5″ !!

  27. mickydidit89 says:

    brilliant stuff

  28. fatgingergooner says:

    Holy shit!

    How well are we playing!? Need another

  29. mickydidit89 says:

    I definately deserve apple tart and custard

  30. Rasp says:

    Brilliant performance so far. We’ve scored the goals now, we just need to keep working hard and protect that clean sheet now.

    Sorry I missed your comment earlier …. yes I agree re Suarez. Pires was a far better player than Suarez at 25.

  31. mickydidit89 says:

    OMG, never, ever, disrespect the waitrose custard. Yuuuumee

    Fantastic half.

  32. chas says:

    Yeah, because you really followed Bobby’s career at Metz and Marseille when he was 25.

  33. fatgingergooner says:

    Whilst I’d be delighted with 2-0, its a dodgy score line in terms of the mindset we’d have over there, so I’d like to see us push for another goal now as that pretty much kills the tie. We’ve got a chance to end it and I’d rather us have to score a goal now whilst at home and on the up than risk us having to get a goal over in Italy.

  34. Rasp says:

    I watched him in the World Cup … he was an excellent player when we bought him at the age of 26/27 …. what’s your problem Chas? Have you seen something inspirational about Suarez? Can you explain why he’s getting so little time on the pitch?

  35. chas says:

    No problem this end, just calling out bullshit.

    All I was pointing out was that he’s hardly had any game time at all and Bobby was slaughtered in his first season with us as being lightweight. No more than that.

  36. fatgingergooner says:

    Ramsey probably playing his best ever football in an Arsenal shirt right now so it’s understandable that Suarez isn’t playing. It’s jot like we have any easy games to get him a run out. We don’t really know how good or bad he is, but I wouldn’t read into the fact he’s not playing much as the opportunities aren’t there. If we keep him then I’m sure we’ll get a chance to see what he’s about in pre season onwards

  37. Rasp says:

    Thanks for labelling my comment as bullshit … it appears you do have a problem

  38. chas says:

    Only the bit about how good Bobby was at 25.
    Nothing else.

  39. mickydidit89 says:

    says 6′ 5″ on wiki

  40. Rasp says:

    Well thanks for the education Chas … I think I’ll just enjoy watching our game if that’s ok with you

  41. chas says:

    Ooooooooooooo

  42. allezkev says:

    So far so good, now hold onto that clean sheet…

  43. fatgingergooner says:

    Daft to say given the performance but If our final ball was better we’d be 5-0 up tonight.

  44. fatgingergooner says:

    The wing backs have been phenomenal

  45. Rasp says:

    Every player has had a good game as far as I can see ….

  46. mickydidit89 says:

    Suarez has been pants 🙂

  47. fatgingergooner says:

    Fabulous performance and an excellent result, but still a lingering feeling that we could’ve finished the tie tonight and we haven’t. If we play like that away tho then it will be irrelevant because we’ll score at least once.

  48. mickydidit89 says:

    brilliant game
    one goal in Naples should do it

  49. Rasp says:

    Excellent performance. We couldn’t maintain the intensity of the first half … but if we score 1 away, they will need 4. Agree about Suarez, he was anonymous 😂

  50. allezkev says:

    Yep, one goal in Naples and they’ll need to score four, now let’s do a job on Watford.

  51. GunnerN5 says:

    Great game today, thanks for keeping AA together for us Chas, you do a fantastic job – despite the detractor………………

  52. LB says:

    Yes, great game and I agree with the so obviously optimistic intention of the comment at 7.52

  53. mickydidit89 says:

    GN5 and LB

    When a small tiff arises between two of the very few regulars, how can you both possibly think that cheap comments like those can possibly help?

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