For the first time since its inception in 2007, Napoli will participate in the Emirates Cup. The tournament starts on Saturday, at -- where else -- Emirates Stadium. Arsenal play host, while Galatasaray and Porto are the other two sides participating. For some odd reason, not every club plays every team, possibly because the tournament lasts just two days. Napoli kick off against Arsenal in the late match on Saturday and then play Porto in the early match on Sunday.
So how does a team win the tournament, you ask, if not all teams face one another? Well. As per usual, it's 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw. Then you've got a point for each goal scored, as well as shots on target being taken into consideration if teams end up level on points. In other words, this was a competition made for free-wheeling, happy-attacking Napoli. Rafa's partenopei? We shall see.
The official Napoli website published the list of the 25 players who went off to London: Rafael, Reina, Colombo, Albiol, Britos, Cannavaro, Fernandez, Gamberini, Armero, Behrami, Dossena, Dzemaili, Hamsik, Inler, Maggio, Mesto, Radosevic, Zuniga, Callejon, Mertens, Higuain, Insigne, Calaiò, Novothny, Pandev.
If the club manages to leave behind say, Dossena, I sure wouldn't mind. As for the rest, we'll likely see nearly all of them at some point, what with the having to play 180+ minutes in less than 24 hours. But, as much as some may try to deny it, we know we're waiting to see Gonzalo Higuain. Such pressure; such a hole to fill -- will he manage? And how long will it take to settle in?
Match Date / Time:
Arsenal - Napoli -- Saturday, August 3 at 5:20 PM CET / 11:20 AM ET
Napoli - Porto -- Sunday, August 4 at 3 PM CET / 9AM ET
Venue: Emirates Stadium, London