Suddenly, their draw doesn’t look so tough
Arsenal drew the short straw in the Europa League quarter-finals on Friday afternoon, as they were paired with Napoli, widely regarded as the best team left in the competition.
Gooners were envious of Chelsea, who were drawn against Slavia Prague after the Czech side knocked out Europa League veterans Sevilla in dramatic circumstances.
But Arsenal fans may be pleased to hear the news that three Napoli players have sustained injuries and are now major doubts for the first leg at the Emirates. Vlad Chiriches, formerly of Arsenal’s arch rivals Tottenham, Amadou Diawara and club captain Lorenzo Insigne have been ruled out for at least three weeks.
Insigne is of course the biggest miss for the Serie A side, as a vital source of creativity and goals – as well as leadership since Marek Hamsik left to play out his career in the Chinese Super League.
During that three week period, the trio will miss league games against Udinese, Roma, Empoli and Genoa. They are also major doubts for the first leg of their knockout tie against Arsenal on April 11.
Insigne has grown from peripheral figure into key man during his time at Napoli, where he rose through the ranks. Despite standing at just 5’4″, he carries huge importance to the side and Carlo Ancelotti will be desperate to bring him back to full fitness in time for this quarter-final clash.