Arsenal may have drawn a tough nut to crack in the form of Napoli in their Europa League quarterfinal, but the probable absence of Lorenzo Insigne and David Ospina may lead the Gunners to face a relatively weakened Napoli side.
Lorenzo Insigne picked up an injury during Napoli’s Europa League game against RB Salzburg on Thursday, and according to the initial assessment, the Napoli Captains is set to miss 3 weeks of action.
Good news for Arsenal? ?https://t.co/XDsogxu8bW
— Goal News (@GoalNews) March 16, 2019
Vlad Chiriches and Amadou Diawara also picked up injuries during the game and are likely to miss 3 weeks of game time along with their captain. Both Insigne and Chiriches have picked up thigh injuries while the youngster, Amadou Diawara, has some sort of problem with his right foot.
Insigne, who has scored 13 times so far this season, will be a huge miss shall he fail to recover in time for Napoli’s match against Arsenal.
David Ospina, on the other hand, fell prey to a head injury during Napoli’s game against Udinese. The Colombian goalkeeper suffered a serious head cut early in the game, though he continued to play after receiving treatment. However, the 30-year-old collapsed on the ground close o half time and was rushed to the hospital.
Napoli later released a statement on Twitter stating, “ [David Ospina] had a CAT scan after being involved in a collision during the game. The scan has come back clear but Ospina will stay in a clinic overnight for observation.”
Napoli's David Ospina collapsed after a blow to his head during the 2-2 draw with Udinese, but early reports indicate he is okay after being taken to hospital pic.twitter.com/sGZkNSVpPc
— Goal (@goal) March 17, 2019
Losing the first choice goalkeeper and the club Captain would be a huge blow for the Italian side and the fact that two other players might also go into the Europa League quarterfinal lacking full fitness makes thing even worse.
Napoli currently sits the second place in Serie A, 15 points behind league-leaders Juventus and 7 points clear of 3rd placed Inter. The club was one of the favourites to win the Europa league, but the tie against Arsenal along with the recent injury crisis may make their road to the trophy very difficult.
Napoli’s manager, Carlo Ancelotti, is up for the challenge and even without Insigne, he knows he can rely on the likes of Milik and Mertens to get him goals.
Speaking about the draw, he said, “A difficult but very fascinating challenge for us, for the club and for our fans”.
Arsenal have had difficulties of their own in the Europa League and have had to come back from first leg deficits in both of their last 2 fixtures in the knockout round.
In the Europa League, Arsenal have gotten into the habit of allowing their opponents to draw first blood. However, if the Gunners are to get a positive result against Napoli, then they must cease to concede the advantage to their opponents because, given the chance, Napoli will hurt them.
With players like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Dries Mertens, and Arkadiusz Milik goals are guaranteed. The game, irrespective of the result, will surely be a treat for the fans.
1⃣5⃣ Serie A goals for @arekmilik9 this season ?
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) March 18, 2019
Ex-Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, is also pumped up for the game. The Frenchman was quoted,
“I will be an Arsenal fan on the evening of the match against Napoli, as in all the other games. I won’t give any advice to Emery. I love Ancelotti, he’s one of the greatest managers of all time, a true master in the way of working with his teams.
“However, Arsenal are a great team and for Napoli, it will be a very difficult task to overcome in order to advance to the next round”.
Unai Emery, who has been impressed by his team’s ability to cope under pressure has said,
“Playing under pressure is good, growing up under pressure — with each player playing like a team and feeling the difficult moments to give us our best performance”.
The Spaniard also added saying,
“ I said to the players today, I’m excited (about) this competition, but it’s exciting not only for the possibility to go to the Champions League but also because it’s one title”.
“Today, Inter (Milan) are out, Sevilla are out — a big surprise. And the last teams, they are all very important, and it’s going to be very difficult.”
“We are going to think the same before every match. The next match is the most important for us.”