SSC Napoli – Arsenal: Arsenal Quickly Hose Down Napoli Fightback (0-1)
Although chances to score were few and far between, these two European heavyweights still managed to play out an intriguing, evenly fought contest, which saw Arsenal crowned victors. Napoli’s early threat might have provided a doorway back into the tie but a lacking clinical edge cost them, as it did at the end of the first leg.
Tactical analysis and match report by Peter M.
This match was crucial for both clubs, as the Europa League offered a chance of adding some silverware to their trophy cabinet. Napoli have already been knocked out of the Coppa Italia and are currently trailing Juventus by seventeen points. For Arsenal - knocked out of all domestic cups and heavily trailing City and Liverpool - a fourth place in the Premier League might count as a prize, but it is not an actual piece of silverware to lift during a ceremony.
Off the back of their 3-1 victory at Chievo Verona, Carlo Ancelotti made just three changes to Napoli’s lineup. Dries Mertens, Elseid Hysaj and David Ospina all made way as Allan returned to the side along with Nikola Maksimović and Alex Meret. However, the big change came in the system, where he deployed the same 3-4-3 shape that had worked so well for Napoli in the Champions League group stages.
Despite managing their first away clean sheet in the Premier League on Monday, at Watford, Unai Emery still made wholesale changes. Five in total, including a switch from his 4-2-3-1 setup back to the 3-4-1-2 system . . .