Stadio San Paolo - Naples 11/12/2013 - 20:45CET (20:45 local time)

Group stage - Group F

Napoli - Arsenal
2-0
 

Napoli - Arsenal 2-0 - 11/12/2013 - Match page - UEFA Champions League 2014

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Path ahead tough but clear for Napoli's Pandev

Published: Tuesday 10 December 2013, 15.03CET
"They are top of the Premier League, but we have to win," shrugged Goran Pandev as the SSC Napoli forward looked ahead to a tense Group F encounter with Arsenal FC.
by William Anselmo
from Naples
Path ahead tough but clear for Napoli's Pandev
Goran Pandev celebrates scoring the first of his two goals against Udinese ©Getty Images
 

Suspensions and injuries

Reported player injuries

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  • InjuredInjured
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Last updated: 14/02/2014 14:21 CET

Tournament statistics

Napoli
Arsenal

8

Goals scored

8

50

Possession (%)

54

61

Total attempts

44

37

on target

31

24

off target

13

12

blocked

8

2

against woodwork

1

22

Corners

19

14

Offsides

14

8

Yellow cards

4

0

Red Cards

0

66

Fouls committed

57

78

Fouls suffered

58

2816

Passes

3520

2107

completed

2824

Standings

Last updated: 12/12/2013 01:55 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
 
  
Published: Tuesday 10 December 2013, 15.03CET

Path ahead tough but clear for Napoli's Pandev

"They are top of the Premier League, but we have to win," shrugged Goran Pandev as the SSC Napoli forward looked ahead to a tense Group F encounter with Arsenal FC.

Three goals in the space of a week have brought a smile back to SSC Napoli striker Goran Pandev's face, but he would be happy to go without on Wednesday if it means beating Arsenal FC.

Level on nine points with Borussia Dortmund, the Partenopei will be sure of a place in the round of 16 if they post a better result against Arsenal than the German side can muster at eliminated Olympique de Marseille. A win might not be enough, though, since three sides could potentially finish Group F with 12 points – with one of them missing out depending on head-to-head results.

The maths is complicated, but the principle is simple. "The most important thing is to win against Arsenal," explained the 30-year-old Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia international. "We are focused – we have prepared really well for the match. We want the three points. The coach said we should keep our heads and not feel like we are under any pressure."

Pandev had endured a barren spell in front of goal since registering in successive Serie A games in late September, early October. However, having gone seven games without a goal in all competitions, the dam broke as he made his mark in a 4-2 win at SS Lazio on 2 December. Pandev then struck two in the space of three minutes in a 3-3 draw at home to Udinese Calcio at the weekend - his 100th game for the club in all competitions.

It may be nice to get back on the scoresheet, but Pandev's priorities lie elsewhere. "For me, it's more important that the team plays well than me scoring – the team was doing well even though I hadn't scored in a while," he explained. "Scoring goals is important for strikers, and playing with [Gonzalo] Higuaín is easy for me."

A UEFA Champions League winner in 2009/10, the former FC Internazionale Milano and Lazio man is certainly enjoying his time in Naples, saying recently that he would "like Napoli to be his last team". He added: "I don't know anything about the transfer market. I have one and a half years left on my contract and I am happy here. I wouldn't want to change team but if I had to, I would consider going abroad."

For the moment, though, there is nowhere else that he would rather be than Naples, with Arsenal providing the best challenge possible. "Arsenal are a formidable team with incredible players," Pandev noted. "They are top of the Premier League, but we have to win."

Last updated: 10/12/13 21.37CET

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