It’s going to be a football game to remember today as former teammates clash for the first time since transferring from Real Madrid for greener pastures. Following the high profile transfers of striker Gonzalo Higuain and midfielder Mesut Ozil to Napoli and Arsenal respectively, expectations are high for both teams in their upcoming meeting. Here are some notes about the expectations coming into the match between Napoli and Arsenal at Emirates Stadium:
· Even though Napoli and Arsenal made significant upgrades to their teams with the individual acquisitions of the two football superstars, English sports blog, Independent.co.uk reports that Arsenal’s manager Arsene Wenger told reporters he still wanted to lure Higuain as well as Ozil. Wenger’s team was one of the major players in the negotiations to acquire Higuain. At the end of the day, however, the striker transferred to the club from Italy and the German, Ozil became a powerful new weapon in England’s Arsenal. Now Wenger is left wondering what might have been if he could have attracted both Real Madrid stars to his team last summer.
· Mesut Ozil is a true playmaker. While he attempted 100 shots at the goal last season for Real Madrid and scored 19 times, he made as much of an impact by creating shot opportunities for his teammates.
· It is clear that Napoli came out on top for prying the Argentine football star away from Real Madrid, but Higuain himself gives much credit to Ozil’s ability and what he brings to his new club. The football blog, caughtoffside.com quoted Higuain as saying that “As a striker he is a dream to play with – because you know he is going to create you chances.”
· Yesterday, Ozil released the following tweet in anticipation of his reunion withHiguain: “Looking forward to meet on tuesday Higuain, Albiol and Callejon. But: sorry. We have no presents… #championsleague#ucl.” Ozil is clearly confident that he can compete against his former teammate and will not hold back during the match.
· Higuain has high hopes for his team’s success this season. He says he wants to repeat the feat of football legend Diego Maradona by winning the Serie A title in his first year with Napoli.
· Ozil’s Arsenal teammates are optimistic about their chances in today’s game and in the league in general, thanks to their new striker. Full-back Bacary Sagna says that “At the moment the team is very confident, we are very ambitious and the best way to do that is to win games.”
· Higuain was recently injured in a boating accident in Italy. The star received stitches on his injured jaw last August after slipping on rocks while on boating trip in Capri. Luckily he didn’t have to undergo a lot of recovery treatment. Although now it is easier to find local rehab centers to assist in the process.
· Even though he thinks it would have been fun for he and Ozil to be teammates again, Higuain tells the Mirror’s website that he has no second thoughts about his decision to go with Napoli. “I know there was other interest from England and Italy – but I am very sure that I made the right choice by joining Napoli and have no regrets. It is a club where I can achieve everything I want.