With the concerning news of Walcott is out for several weeks, Gunners received the good news about Oxlade Chamberlain return. The 20 year old who is versatile enough to play in different positions has received a vote of confidence from his teammate Mertesacker and the manager Arsene Wenger.
Per Mertesacker, one of the main reasons to Arsenal’s strong defense this season has stated that Chamberlain’s return is extremely vital for the Gunners at this moment.
Speaking to the club’s official website, Arsenal.com he said, “We need every single player and in particular Alex. It was a real shock when he was out after Aston Villa.
“Following that game we did really well as a team, but we need him because he can always make the difference with his speed, with his passing and obviously with his finishing. He can [make] absolutely a great impact for any team in the world so we are really pleased that he’s back.
“But I think he needs some time to get through training and to have some good games, but I’m really pleased for him that he got 45 minutes against Fulham. That is a step back to absolutely full fitness.”
Arsene Wenger has spoken with great admiration about the Ox’s ability to play in different positions. However, he believes Chamberlain will eventually become a central midfielder.
He said, “At the moment he is still in formation. It is good for his education as he plays left, right and centrally when needed. After [the age of] 23 or 24 you settle in a definite position.
“He will be deeper as he has a good long ball, penetration from deep and a good quality to distribute and penetrate individually. Certainly he has the same qualities of Steven Gerrard.
“He is a bit of a Ramsey type.”
The arsenal’s manager is also of the belief that his return to action after injury will earn him a place in the world cup squad for England. Chamberlain has been absent for the Gunners ever since being injured in the opening home fixture against Aston Villa.
He will now hopefully return to action against Aston Villa on Monday. With Walcott still inured, Wenger will most probably use Ox, along with Podolski on the flanks. The added speed, will provide them an edge against their rivals in the upcoming fixture.
The Champions League is back on tonight and it does not get much bigger than the Arsenal against Napoli match up at the Emirates.
Arsenal are flying high on top of the English Premiership two points clear of join second place Liverpool and Tottenham, while Rafa Benitez’s side are in first place of the Serie A after winning 2-0 away to Genoa thanks to a couple of goals from Macedonian striker Goran Pandev.
The last time the two teams met was during a friendly back in August that saw Arsenal come back from being 2-0 down to draw the match at the Emirates.
The good news for Arsenal is that Midfielder Tomas Rosicky is back in the team after having suffered a hamstring injury while on international duty with the Czech Republic in a match against Italy back on September 10th.
Despite the good news on Rosicky Arsene Wenger’s squad will be without Theo Walcott (stomach), Santi Cazorla (ankle), Yaya Sanogo (back), Lukas Podolski (hamstring), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Abou Diaby (both knee).
Napoli will be at near full strength with only Right-back Christian Maggio absent for tonight’s encounter.
All eyes will be on former Real Madrid player Gonzalo Higuain who the Gunners failed to sign in the summer balking over Madrid’s asking price that left the door open for Napoli to come in and sign the Argentinian striker.
It is not only Higuain who is the threat as Jose Callejon and Raul Albiol have also been effective in scoring goals in particular Jose Callejon who has linked up with Slovakian international Marek Hamsik to score three goals for I Ciucciarelli so far this season.
Wenger knows the threat of Higuain and the quality of Napoli on the counter attack, and when asked about if he was worried that his missed signing would come back and haunt him said:
“It is not the best moment to talk about transfers he was on the market, as you know, and several clubs were in for him”.
“I do not think it needs to be talked about again.”
He added: “We have to be organised against Napoli because they are very good on the counter-attack.
Napoli will be coming to London looking to go home with at least a share of the points, and if Arsenal think thanks to their recent form that it should be an easy home win the Italians could provide a wakeup call to Arsenal.
This match has big ratings in prediction sites and other sports betting communities. I suggest you visit some and compare sports betting odds. This match has draw written all over it for me so I will predict a 2-2 finish which will suit the Italians just fine.