Arsenal’s ‘nightmare’ Europa League opponents Napoli in midst of injury crisis with Insigne among missing stars

Arsenal’s ‘nightmare’ Europa League opponents Napoli in midst of injury crisis with Insigne among missing stars

ARSENAL have been handed a major boost ahead of their Europa League quarter-final against Napoli with the Italian giants struggling with an injury

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ARSENAL have been handed a major boost ahead of their Europa League quarter-final against Napoli with the Italian giants struggling with an injury crisis at the club.

Captain Lorenzo Insigine is among the three first-team stars that may miss the trip to the Emirates after he was ruled out for at least three weeks with a muscle problem.

Napoli captain Lorenzo Insigne faces a race against time to be fit for Arsenal
Getty Images – Getty

The Italy forward strained a muscle in his right leg during the warm-up ahead of Thursday’s defeat to Red Bull Salzburg and now faces a fight to be fit for Arsenal.

Carlo Ancelotti may also be without former Tottenham defender Vlad Chiriches and holding midfielder Amadou Diawara, who have both been ruled out for three weeks.

Chiriches suffered a hamstring injury late on during the game in Austria while Guinea international Diawara is nursing a fracture in his right foot.

Reacting to facing Arsenal, Ancelotti said: “[The draw is] a difficult but very fascinating challenge for us, for the club and for our fans.”

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Insigine joins defender Vlad Chiriches on the sidelines
Reuters
Napoli also may be without Amadou Diawara for the first-leg
EPA

The crocked trio will miss definitely miss Napoli’s league games against Udinese, Roma, Empoli and Genoa, before they are assessed for the Arsenal tie on April 11.

Goalkeeper David Ospina, who is currently on loan at the Italian club from the Gunners, is eligible however to play against his parent club.

The North London side were originally due to face Napoli away first but they lost their second-leg home advantage in the tie because of Premier League rivals, Chelsea.

The Blues are playing Slavia Prague at home on the same week, meaning the fixtures have been reversed so that Arsenal will face a tough second-leg in Naples.

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London police and the local authority say it is impossible for the city to host two European ties on consecutive days, meaning one would have to be switched.

And Uefa regulations give higher priority to the Blues as domestic cup holders, after they bested Manchester United 1-0 to claim the FA Cup last May.

The two English rivals also cannot now meet until the final after the draw placed the two London clubs in separate halves of this season’s competition.

If Arsenal get through they will face either Villarreal or Valencia, meanwhile, Chelsea would be rewarded with the winners of Benfica and Eintracht Frankfurt.

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