Arsenal FC at Napoli Injury Report: Bellerin, Holding, Welbeck, Albiol, Diawara

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Arsenal FC lead Napoli 2-0 on aggregate heading into the second leg of their UEFA Europa League quarterfinal tie in Italy. Should they go through, the Gunners will face Valencia, who beat Villarreal 3-1 away from home last week. The Gunners are in a good position to win the UEL tournament, but according to midfielder Granit Xhaka, finishing in the top four of the Premier League is the priority.

The Gunners are ahead of arch-rivals Chelsea on goal differential, and they have a game in hand.

granit-xhaka

“I think we want to stay in the top four – we want to be back in the Champions League,” Xhaka said.

“I think, for me, the Premier League is first and after if you can go to the final and take the Europa League, of course it is nice as well but for us it is the Premier League first.

“I think for us the biggest game was last night (a rare road win, at Vicarage Road over Watford), it is always like this. We are now in fourth place, two points over United, one game less than Chelsea and one point behind Tottenham and they play against Manchester City next week. It can be a big, big weekend for us.”

Now comes the midweek fixture in Naples on Thursday night. Let’s take a look at the fitness situation for both sides. For Napoli, Raul Albiol could return after having recovered from left knee surgery. Amadou Diawara, an AC Milan transfer target, is doubtful.

europa-league

Switching over to Arsenal, Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Danny Welbeck are all long term absentees who are out for the season.

Arsenal FC at Napoli UEL Quarterfinal Leg 2/2 (Gunners up 2-0 on aggregate) FYIs

Kickoff: Thursday, April 18, 8pm, San Paulo Stadium

Arsenal Starting XI Prediction: go to this link

Odds via Odds Checker: Arsenal 75/19, Draw 16/5, Napoli 8/11

Prediction: Arsenal 2, Napoli 1

You can safely bet that both English clubs are going to get through to the semi-final round, and most likely won of the pair will win it all in the end.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, regularly appears as a guest pundit on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

He also contributes sociopolitical essays to Chicago NowFollow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.

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