Will Napoli victory ensure Arsenal's Champions League qualification?

By Avenell Dave

When the Champions League draw was made, my heart sank.

We had probably one of the toughest groups including big spending Italians, last season's finalists and one of the strongest sides in France. 

But a lot changes in football very quickly. 

Dortmund don't look the same side this season - and that can't be entirely down to the departure of Goetze. 

Napoli have emerged as our greatest rivals in the group and in Rafa Benitez, they have a manager who knows all about winning the Champions League and other European trophies. 

In Gonzalo Higuain they have one of the best strikers in the world and someone we really should have signed rather than focused on Luis Suarez with all his baggage and misbehaviour.

They are currently second in Serie A and have enough about them to make life very difficult for us this evening. 

I would go so far as to say that it will be the toughest game we have had this season. 

And yet if we come away with a win, we are halfway to guaranteeing our place in the knockout stages.

Did you see what the Napoli fans are like at home? For those of you who don;t know, Naples is one of the toughest, rawest parts of Italy, a far cry from Rome or Milan. 

Football is everything to the Neopolitans and I would say playing there would be even tougher than going to Greece or Turkey in terms of atmosphere.

Needing to win over there is not something I would want us to have to do, making tonight's fixture even more important. 

The side, of course, pretty much chooses itself. The only question is whether Jack Wilshere keeps his place. 

I thought he did ok on Saturday but he tired late on and almost handed Bony a goal - and having just had a second child, I wonder if he may need a break from the starting line-up.

So I'm going to suggest that Mikel Arteta comes back into the starting line-up. That will give Aaron Ramsey even more room to roam and provide some more defensive nous against Napoli's forwards. 

You could argue that Serge Gnabry needs a rest too after the youngster played three games in a week for the first team, but unless Tomas Rosicky comes in - and he has not played for a while as well as not being so able to cover defensively when required - there are no real options apart from pushing Carl Jenkinson into attack. 

Win this and at home against Marseille and we have nine points, needing just one more win or a couple of draws to ensure qualification.

The international break is coming up, time for more players to come back into the squad after injury, hopefully. 

The Italians will be noisy tonight - let's send them back humbled and silenced by the might of Arsenal. 



Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny Gibbs

Arteta Ramsey Flamini

Gnabry Giroud Ozil