After being eliminated by Atletico Madrid from the Europa League in the semi-finals last season, Arsenal will be looking to clinch the trophy this time around. However, they will have to get past a defensively solid Napoli in order to book a slot in the semis.
However, the Gunners boast of an attack that is in good form and is looking sharp. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are in good form, with the latter scoring with an audacious chip against Newcastle United last week.
In fact, the Frenchman has not scored or assisted in a Premier League game only once since January 19 and that was against Manchester City at the Etihad stadium. While Aubameyang can pride on being the statistically superior striker with 17 goals and 5 assists in the league this season, Lacazette could prove to be the x-factor, given his current form.
Although, it won’t be easy for the Frenchman as he faces one of the best centre-backs in Europe in Kalidou Koulibaly.
The Senegal international has attracted interest from some of the top European clubs like Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Juventus and even Real Madrid.
In the Champions League, Koulibaly has averaged 2.5 tackles and 2 interceptions per 90 minutes. The impressive rate of interceptions shows that he is intelligent with his positioning and averts danger before it takes shape. It wouldn’t be surprising if he cuts service to Lacazette and hence forces him to drop deep.
The high tackle rate shows that it’s just not easy to get past Koulibaly. It’s worth noting that he has arrived at these numbers despite coming across some of the best and fastest attackers in the world in Kylian Mbappe, Mohamed Salah and Neymar earlier this season.
The presence of Koulibaly in the heart of Napoli is a mammoth obstacle for Lacazette and despite his good run of form, the Frenchman will have to produce one of his best games of the season to get the better of the Senagal international.