Arsenal – SSC Napoli: Tactical adjustment backfires as Napoli fails to escape Arsenal’s pressure (2-0)
Arsenal’s dominant home display has left Napoli on the brink of a quarter final exit, but where did it all go wrong for the Italians? Arguably, this might have been an incidental clash of systems that prevented Carlo Ancelotti’s side from fully exploiting the weaknesses they saw in this Arsenal side.
Tactical analysis and match report by Peter M.
With every passing week, the pressure placed upon Emery and his team grows and grows. Still in the midst of the battle for a place in the Premier League top four and also the Europa League could provide a path back into the elite club competition. With this in mind, Emery made five changes to the weakened side that lost away to Everton 1-0, albeit sticking with the back-three. These changes included long-awaited and crucial returns for the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Aaron Ramsey, Lucas Torreira, Laurent Koscielny and Petr Čech.
Napoli are in relative comfort in their firmly-held second-placed position in Serie A. However, that is not to suggest Ancelotti believes his side should put the emphasis on domestic football. His intent was more than a little evident in his team selection alone; bringing Lorenzo Insigne back in having only featured as a substitute in Napoli’s 1-1 draw at home to Genoa on Sunday. Elsewhere, Mário Rui came back in for Faouzi Ghoulam and Alex Meret replaced Orestis Karnezis between the sticks.
Ancelotti’s tweak backfires
As part of Ancelotti’s defense, using an aggressive 4-4-2 . . .