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UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

San Paolo, Italy

Attendance: 47000

* Local time based on your geographic location.

Napoli

  • Gonzalo Higuaín 73'
  • José Maria Callejón 90' +3'

2 - 0

FT

Napoli target Arsenal scalp

Napoli coach Rafa Benitez believes his team will need to be at its very best if it is to beat Arsenal in Wednesday's Champions League match at the San Paolo stadium.

Both teams go into the final Group F match in Naples looking to progress to the knockout stages of the competition.

Arsenal have the upper hand as they lead the pool, three points clear of nearest rivals Borussia Dortmund and Napoli.

Napoli are third, level on nine points with Borussia, and need to either beat Arsenal by a 3-0 margin or better the result of the German outfit, who visit bottom-side Olympique Marseille in the other pool game.

"We know that Arsenal are very strong but we will try," Benitez said in Tuesday's press conference. "My team has to give 100 per cent.

"My players know how important Wednesday's game is and they have all trained really well.

"We have nothing to lose.

"For us to play at home gives us an added strength.

"We were unlucky to be placed in such a difficult group but for me, it's better to experience these games rather than watch them on TV."

Benitez, whose side is third in Serie A, believes the key will be for his side to score an early goal.

"We will try to score as soon as possible and then we will see what the other result is in the other (group) game," he said.

"The result between Olympique and Borussia Dortmund can help us but the message I have given to my players is to focus on ourselves.

"We will go out determined to win by either scoring one or more goals.

"If they (Arsenal) score one then we will need to score four.

"However, while we have to play attacking football, we have to do that showing the right balance."

The former Liverpool tactician knows his team faces a huge task against an Arsenal side that have looked solid this season.

The Gunners, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Everton on Sunday, lead the Premier League standings with a five-point advantage over Liverpool and Chelsea with 15 games played.

Moreover, Arsene Wenger's men have lost just once in Europe this season, a 2-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund back in October.

"In modern football everyone knows the quality of their rivals," Benitez said. "Arsenal is a very strong side.

"This could be the year they win the Premier League.

"For me Wenger is the best coach in the Premier League and knows what his team must do.

"Arsenal will try to control possession and hit us with counter attacks. We have to do our thing, focus on ourselves and not on them."

Benitez will be hoping goalkeeper Pepe Reina is fit having missed Saturday's 3-3 draw against Udinese with a muscular injury.

Should Reina fail to recover, Rafael will take his place in goal. Midfielder Valon Behrami (foot) is doubtful while playmaker Marek Hamsik (foot) misses out.

Goran Pandev, who struck a brace in just three minutes against Udinese, will partner Gonzalo Higuain up front.

Arsenal manager Wenger has warned his side an "average performance" could crush their Champions League dreams.

"I see it as another game we want to win, and that is the only way we can approach the game," Wenger said.

"Benitez has a very big experience, is a very intelligent manager, so I know he will prepare his team well. The only way we can counter that is to be at our best and put in a good performance as an average performance will not be good enough.

"For me the most important thing is to qualify. If we can finish top, it is even better."

Bacary Sagna continues to recover from a hamstring problem, so Carl Jenkinson looks set to deputise at right-back again.

Theo Walcott is pressing for a place in the starting line-up having been used as an impact player from the bench after his return from minor abdominal surgery.

Arsenal are likely to come up against Higuain, the Argentina forward Wenger tracked before he signed for Napoli from Real Madrid in a B£34million summer move.

Wenger is not concerned with what might have been, as Arsenal went on to smash their transfer record to land German playmaker Mesut Ozil on transfer deadline day.

"There were a lot of statements that were not true about Higuain, but he has joined Benitez, is in good hands and shows he is a great striker," said Wenger.

"But we have (Olivier) Giroud who shows as well he is a great striker."

Wenger added: "Higuain is a player you have to keep quiet as he is of course very dangerous, so the more we can play outside the box the easier it will be for us to keep him quiet."

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