Dec 11, 2013 at 7.45pm UK at ​Stadio San Paolo
Napoli
2-0
Arsenal
Higuain (73'), Callejon (90')
Mertens (36'), Dzemaili (41'), Fernandez (84')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Arteta (63'), Giroud (66'), Ramsey (84')
Arteta (76')

Live Commentary: Napoli 2-0 Arsenal - as it happened

Live Commentary: Napoli 2-0 Arsenal - as it happened
© Getty Images
Sports Mole brings you live coverage from the Champions League where Arsenal make the trip to Napoli in Group F.

Arsenal travelled to Napoli in the Champions League on Wednesday night on the verge of qualifying for the next round.

The Gunners needed to avoid defeat by three goals to progress to the next stage, while the Italians needed to better the result of Borussia Dortmund against Marseille to advance.

Despite Napoli winning the match, they were dumped out of the competition due to a Dortmund win in France, with Arsenal heading through in second place.

Read how the match unfolded in our live commentary below.


Sort:
Newest
Oldest
6.46pmGood evening and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of the Champions League where Napoli host Arsenal in their final Group F clash.

6.48pmThere is just one game of the group stages to go, and there is still so much to be sorted in Group F. Only the fate of Marseille has already been decided, having lost all five of their games in the competition.

6.50pmAs for the rest of the pool, it's a shootout between Arsenal, Napoli and Borussia Dortmund. Two teams will advance into the knockout stages of the Champions League, while the other will have to settle for a place in the Europa League.

6.52pmIt's amazing that Arsenal have 12 points from a possible 15 in this group and they could still miss out on progressing. However, the Gunners need just a point to confirm their place as group winners, while avoiding a 3-0 defeat will be enough to guarantee them a spot in the next round. It will take a lot and a freak result to see Arsenal dumped out tonight.

6.55pmThree points behind Arsenal sit both Napoli and Dortmund who will not be willing to take any risks over their future in the tournament. Napoli could draw and go through, but that would need Dortmund to lose at Marseille. It's very finely poised.

6.56pmThese two teams met in the second game of the group stages at the Emirates, where Arsenal put in a sensational first-half display to ease to a 2-0 victory. They would certainly take that again tonight.

6.57pmIt doesn't really mean much as it was in pre-season, but these two sides did battle in the Emirates Cup back in August. Napoli led that match 2-0, before the Gunners responded after the break with goals with Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny to earn a draw. They're certainly getting the know each other well.

6.58pmSpeaking of knowing each other well, the managers are more than familiar with one another and have been full of praise for their counterparts this week. Rafael Benitez even described Arsene Wenger as the best manager in the Premier League; and you would be brave to disagree with him at the moment.

6.59pmRight, let's get the team news. We'll start with the English club; Arsenal.

7pmARSENAL XI: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Flamini, Rosicky, Ozil, Cazorla, Giroud

7.01pmArsene Wenger has made two changes to the team that drew with Everton on Sunday.

7.02pmThe Frenchman has given rests to British duo Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey, with the pair starting on the bench. Mathieu Flamini and Tomas Rosicky have been given the nod.

7.04pmApart from those two changes, it's arguably the strongest available team to Wenger. Giroud starts up top, with Ozil in behind him. Cazorla and Rosicky find themselves on the flanks, although those three are certain to roam around and give their markers a headache. Mikel Arteta and Flamini will sit and protect the back four.

7.05pmArsenal are still without Lukas Podolski, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Yaya Sanogo and Abou Diaby, who are all long-term absentees. While Bacary Sagna is not fit enough to be included in the squad, with Carl Jenkinson deputising.

7.05pmLet's see what Wenger has available on his bench then.

7.06pmARSENAL BENCH: Fabianski, Vermaelen, Monreal, Wilshere, Ramsey, Walcott, Bendtner

7.08pmThat's a strong set of substitutes that Wenger could use if needs be, but he does have a massive game at Manchester City on Saturday to come. Will that affect his mentality? You wouldn't have thought so, but we will have to see.

7.10pmSo that's the Arsenal. Now let's have a peek at what Rafael Benitez' Napoli side look like.

7.12pmNAPOLI XI: Rafael, Maggio, Fernandez, Albiol, Armero, Dzemaili, Behrami, Callejon, Pandev, Mertens, Higuain

7.15pmRafael Benitez has decided to make three changes to his starting lineup following their 3-3 draw with Udinese on Saturday.

7.16pmPablo Armero, Valon Behrami and Dries Mertens all come into the team, while Anthony Reveillere misses out all together, and Gokhan Inler and Lorenzo Insigne are forced to settle for a place among the substitutes.

7.16pmNapoli are still without their usual starting trio of Pepe Reina, Juan Zuniga and Marek Hamsik. Regardless, it is still a side that can cause Arsenal a lot of problems.

7.17pmNow for the bench.

7.19pmNAPOLI BENCH: Colombo, Uvini, Bristos, Insigne, Cannavaro, Inler, Zapata

7.20pmSo those are the squads ahead of what should be an highly-entertaining fixture at the San Paolo stadium.

7.21pmArsenal are very much set up to keep hold of the ball, with Rosicky, Ozil and Cazorla being preferred to the more attack-minded figures such as Theo Walcott. Arteta and Flamini both started in the reverse fixture against the Italians, and barely gave Napoli a sniff at goal at the Emirates. Wenger will want more of the same tonight.

7.28pmLet's take a look at what both managers had to say prior to this game.

7.29pmBenitez: "Arsenal have the best coach in the Premier League. Wenger will prepare for this game by looking to make the most of his players' qualities, and we have to do the same. They are good in possession, but also on the counterattack – we have to play our own game."

7.30pmWenger: "The most important thing is to progress from the group. Of course we would like to be first in the group, but to qualify is the most important thing. We won't be affected by playing in such a hot atmosphere. We have played in stadiums all over Europe so we are used to the pressure exerted by the home supporters."

7.33pmArsenal are in the group stages for the 16th consecutive year this term, and they have qualified for the knockout phase for the last 13 years in a row. If they win the group tonight, it will be the 10th time they have done so in that time. Not a bad record for Wenger.

7.36pmNeedless to say, I will keep you up to date with what is going on at the Stade Velodrome between Marseille and Borussia Dortmund, as that has a significant effect on this game. Alternatively, you can focus on that match by clicking . However, I'm sure you'd much rather stick with me, right? Thought so. Sorry Matt Domm.

7.37pmLess than 10 minutes until kick off, and the Stadio San Paolo is rocking already.

7.39pmAn interesting stat ahead of this match for you. Napoli have no clean sheets in their last 12 European games, with only three clean sheets in last 17 games.

7.39pmThe players are in the tunnel.

7.41pmInterestingly, Napoli are wearing their yellow away kit with turquoise trim despite being the home side. Arsenal are in their first strip of red shirts with white sleeves, shorts and socks.

7.42pmOut they come to a roar at the Stadio San Paolo. Kick off is moments away.

7.45pmThe usual pre-match anthem and handshakes are over with, and they're just lining up to remember Nelson Mandela.

7.47pmArsenal have played in Italy nine times before in the Champions League; winning three, drawing three and losing three. The last time they were in this country, they were battered 4-0 at AC Milan just under two years ago.

1 minKICK OFF! Napoli, playing from left to right, get the match up and running.

2 minFor some reason, the lower tier is shut off at the Stadio San Paoli. No idea as to why.

2 minSCORE UPDATE: Borussia Dortmund have an early lead at Marseille. It's extremely early days, but they would qualify behind Arsenal as things stand.

2 minNo early chances here. Higuain and Giroud have been flagged offside at either end.

5 minNothing has really happened so far. The two teams exchanging possession fairly frequently. Higuain and Giroud have both been offside twice already.

9 minCHANCE! First real opportunity of the game as Mertens plays a fantastic diagonal ball over the top from inside his own half. Pandev runs onto it, albeit away from goal, and hits it on the half-volley at goal, but Szczesny can comfortably hold it.

10 minArsenal just trying to keep hold of the ball at the moment. Napoli are sensing the urgency though and pressing hard.

11 minCarl Jenkinson gives the ball away and Armero can break down the flank. He's got Higuain in the middle who he tries to find, but Mertesacker makes an awesome interception by stretching out those long stilts of his.

12 minNapoli attacking a bit more now, as Higuain tries to cross the ball on the right towards Pandev, but Mertesacker intercepts again. Higuain is getting into some good early positions here.

12 minSCORE UPDATE: Good news for both these teams as Marseille have just equalised against Dortmund.

13 minNapoli have a real intense spell of pressure on the Arsenal goal, where they appeal for a penalty against Koscielny which the referee rightly waves away. Mertesacker then blocks the shot of Mertens, and Arsenal are given some respite as Ozil is fouled.

15 minNapoli have a free kick in a decent position from over 30 yards out after Rosicky tackled Higuain, who was just about to shoot, from behind.

16 minIt's a long way out this free kick, and would take something special to beat Szczesny.

16 minIt was a nice idea from Napoli, who lay it off and then dink it over the wall to Callejon on the right of the box, but Arsenal can win it back.

20 minThe game has quietened down now after a frantic few minutes. The Arsenal away fans have now entered the stadium following some travel delays.

21 minHiguain swings a corner in from the left, but Giroud can head it clear.

22 minArsenal playing keep ball once again but Napoli are pressing them. Mertesacker has to turn away from Higuain and passes the ball to Flamini who is surrounded. The ball falls to Higuain, but Mertesacker makes a huge tackle midway inside Arsenal's half, which takes the final touch of the striker to result in an Arsenal goal kick.

23 minSAVE! Arsenal close to an opener as Giroud is played in on the left on the box. He smashes the ball towards the far corner, but Rafael can make the save. His stop falls to Ozil just inside the area, but he loses his footing and scuffs the ball. Dangerous moment for the hosts there.

24 minWe're over a quarter of the way through the game, and it's so far so good for Arsenal.

28 minArsenal are defending very well so far, with Koscielny and Mertesacker making a number of interceptions between them. Napoli not having a lot of space to maneuver.

31 minCHANCE! Callejon comes inside from the left and hits an effort at goal which dips just over the centre of the crossbar. A goal kick is given, but it actually takes a slight touch off Jenkinson.

32 minSCORE UPDATE: Still 1-1 in France, but Dimitri Payet has been sent off following two yellow cards for Marseille. Big ask for their 10 men to get anything off Dortmund now.

36 minYELLOW CARD Dries Mertens is booked for putting his foot into the midriff of Rosicky. He then complained about the decision.

37 minNapoli are starting to get a bit frustrated in this game as they fail to break Arsenal down.

38 minCHANCE! Higuain clips a ball in behind the Arsenal defence for Maggio to run onto on the right. He gets there before the onrushing Szczesny, but the Gunners stopper put him off enough to force Maggio to curl his shot over and behind.

40 minMertens fouls Giroud, who looked to be breaking away for Arsenal. Having just been booked, Mertens has got to be careful.

41 minYELLOW CARD Koscielny makes an interception and then goes on a run forward, which results in Dzemaili putting an arm across him as he goes in for a tackle. Booking for the Swiss midfielder.

43 minFlamini is bundled over as he looks to be through on goal, but the referee doesn't give anything.

44 minCLOSE! Szczesny is lucky here. The ball is casually knocked back to him, with Higuain chasing, and the keeper tries to play back over the head of the striker. He in fact hits it straight at Higuain's head, who nods into the side-netting.

45 minHALF TIME: Napoli 0-0 Arsenal

8.33pmSo far so good for the Gunners, who have been largely comfortable in that half. As things stand, they are 45 minutes away from going through as Group F winners.

8.34pmIt would take an absolute disaster for Arsenal not to qualify now. Napoli would need to score three in the second half, and the way Arsenal have defended tonight, that isn't happening.

8.46pmIt's 1-1 in the other match at the break between Marseille and Borussia Dortmund, the hosts are down to 10 men.

8.47pmThe players are heading back out at the Stadio San Paolo.

46 minKICK OFF! Arsenal, playing to the right, get the game back underway. No changes at the break.

49 minArsenal have had most of the ball in this second half, and are just trying to get hold of it. Pandev's intercepted pass to Higuain was the closest we've come to a chance.

49 minOzil gets the ball inside on the edge of the D from Cazorla, but his effort spins comfortably wide of the far post.

52 minArsenal still looking comfortable.

53 minI'm a bit surprised that there isn't a bit more urgency from Napoli to be honest, they need to win.

54 minFlamini smashes the ball clear from the edge of the Arsenal box under pressure from several attackers, and it nearly turns into a pass for Giroud in the other half, but Rafael beats him in a sprint race to the ball.

56 minNice attacking spell on the edge of the Napoli box from Arsenal, but Albiol tackles Giroud inside. The game is opening up now and the stadium has come alive.

57 minNAPOLI CHANGE Goran Pandev has been replaced by Lorenzo Insigne, who I'm a bit shocked didn't start.

58 minSAVE! Napoli should be ahead as the left-back Armero breaks free in the Arsenal box, but then shows why he is a defender. Looks to panic and not be sure of whether to pass or shoot, in the end, he pretty much passes a shot to Szczesny's hands.

59 minNapoli play a cross in from the right, but it's just an inch to far ahead of Callejon. Napoli are looking in the mood now.

60 minArsenal are weathering a bit of a storm here, with the substitution seeming to have upped the ante for the hosts.

61 minMertens, off balance, hits a shot from range that flies over. It's enough to get their crowd up on their feet and shout.

62 minCLOSE! Koscielny's risky header falls straight to the feet of Callejon, who races through. The Arsenal man, who is quick, gets back in between the winger and the goal, and Callejon's shot from the right of the box is dragged wide of the far post.

63 minYELLOW CARD Mikel Arteta goes into the book for a late challenge on Behrami.

65 minIt's all Napoli at the moment, but Arsenal have stood firm so far.

66 minYELLOW CARD Giroud is booked for running the ball away after he had been pulled up for offside. Silly yellow that for the Frenchman.

67 minARSENAL CHANGE Aaron Ramsey has been brought on for Arsenal, with Santi Cazorla the man being replaced.

68 minInsigne has a go from range, but it's easily held by Szczesny.

69 minCHANCE! Another Napoli chance. This time Higuain is slid in on the right of the box. It's a difficult position up against Koscielny from an acute angle, and he blazes a shot over.

71 minBrave keeping from Szczesny, who comes to punch away a cross from a free kick before diving in front of a poised Higuain to claim the ball.

72 minSCORE UPDATE Somehow, it's still 1-1 between Marseille and Dortmund. A Napoli goal here would see them and Arsenal through at the expense of the Germans.

73 minGOAL! Napoli 1-0 Arsenal (Gonzalo Higuain)

74 minNapoli are ahead, and it has been coming. Higuain gets the ball inside the box with his back to goal, and he slides it to his right and hits it on the turn with his left foot across goal and into the bottom corner. Brilliant goal.

74 minAs things stand now, Arsenal still top the group but only ahead of goal difference over Napoli.

75 minARSENAL CHANGE Tomas Rosicky is replaced by Nacho Monreal.

76 minRED CARD! Arteta makes a silly challenge and tries to go away without getting noticed. But the referee issues him with a second yellow for clattering Callejon from behind. Arsenal down to 10, and suddenly, it looks worrying.

78 minNapoli need to score another two goals to dump Arsenal out of the tournament. Surely not?

79 minRamsey seems to have taken the position of Arteta in the middle, and it's almost a 4-4-1 now.

82 minArmero hooks a pass from the byline across the face of the Arsenal goal, and somehow it goes all the way through without a touch.

84 minYELLOW CARDS Ramsey has to be careful here. Napoli want the ball knocked out as their man is down injured, which the Welshman did look to be doing, but Fernandez went in hard on him on the touchline, which prompts Ramsey to shove the defender. Both receive a caution.

85 minGoing back to the Arteta sending off, and that was just his second foul of the night and he's been booked for both of them. Behrami has committed six for Napoli, but hasn't been cautioned. Home bias? It's an interesting one.

86 minSCORE UPDATE: Dortmund have just scored in Marseille, which means that they would go through as group winners with Arsenal as second. Napoli must scored two more to advance.

90 minSilence has fallen upon the Stadio San Paolo. Napoli need a miracle to go through now.

90 minThere will be three added minutes, in which Napoli must score two.

90+3 minGOAL! Napoli 2-0 Arsenal (Jose Callejon)

90+3 minNapoli have 30 seconds to find a third and dump Arsenal out. Insigne's ball is looped over the head of Szczesny by Callejon.

90+3 minFULL TIME: Napoli 2-0 Arsenal

9.38pmArsenal are through! But only after one almighty fright. Napoli, who were heading through at one stage, go out due to Dortmund's win over Marseille.

9.38pmDortmund win the 'Group of Death', while Arsenal finish second. Napoli are into the Europa League.

9.39pmMikel Arteta was sent off in between goals from Higuain and Callejon.

9.40pmIt's so harsh on Napoli. All three teams are on 12 points, but the Italians head out.

9.40pmBut the long and short of it is that Arsenal are through.

9.41pmThat's it from me for this match, but stick around for my upcoming analysis piece that will be on Sports Mole shortly.

Arsene Wenger talks to the press before an Arsenal Champions League game.
Read Next:
Wenger: 'Arsenal will try to beat Napoli'
>
You May Like
Recomended from Sports Mole



Premier League
Championship
Scottish League Cup
La Liga
Bundesliga
Serie A
Ligue 1
Segunda Division
2.Bundesliga
Australian A-League
Belgian Pro League
Greek Superleague
Eredivisie
Primeira Liga
Russian Premier League
Turkish Super Lig
Major League Soccer
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City98103242825
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd96212241820
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs96211761120
4Chelsea95131710716
5Arsenal95131712516
6Watford94321517-215
7Newcastle UnitedNewcastle9423108214
8Liverpool93421414013
9Burnley934289-113
10Southampton933389-112
11Huddersfield TownHuddersfield9333710-312
12Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton9324910-111
13West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom9243710-310
14Leicester CityLeicester92341214-29
15Swansea CitySwansea9225610-48
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham9225817-98
17Stoke CityStoke92251020-108
18Everton9225718-118
19Bournemouth9216613-77
20Crystal Palace9108219-173
LIVE SCORES VIDEPRINTER
expand