Arsenal take on Napoli on Wednesday in a game
In relation to their previous meeting in the competition Wojciech Szczesny described it in eloquent terms earlier today as ‘frightening’ but he recognised the need to be more cautious ahead of a second meeting:
"I think in the first half-hour we were frightening. I never touched the ball so that should tell you a lot. But then again it will be a completely different game now, they play at home, they know they need to win, so they will probably throw everything at us and we're going to have to be focused to deal with that. But I believe we can turn up with the same sort of result again.”
And he touched on one key point - they are at home. Home sweet home.
The Stadio San Paolo is a 60,000 capacity cauldron of noise and emotion that haunts the ground below you when you fly into Naples airport - like some demonic monster ready to gobble you up.
And the noise it makes is just as devilish. The Tifosi’s brand of Campanian passion twizzles around the stadium like a whirling dervish creating an enveloping cacophony of noise that would send shivers up the spine of the most hardened man.
It’s reputation as one of the most difficult places to play was confirmed in 2005-06. The Partenopei were then playing in Serie C1 but still had the third highest attendance in Italy - at the third tier of Italian football they achieved a record crowd of 51,000.
Napoli is not one of those cities that if you are born there you might follow Juventus, Milan or Inter because they are sexier or more fashionable.
You support Napoli.
Christian Maggio, Napoli’s right wing-back knows this - and alluded to the fact speaking to the press today:
“San Paolo will be one more weapon we can use against Arsenal on Wednesday.”
See how he calls it San Paolo, like it is some organic benevolent being - Napoli fans believe that and believe come tomorrow night it will swallow Arsenal whole.
However, Borussia Dortmund fans probably felt the same a couple of weeks ago.
And we all know what happened there.
image: © SheaAk