Emery confident of win in first leg

"It's going to be difficult, but we have confidence. We need to be very consistent in two matches," Arsenal manager Unai Emery said.
"It's going to be difficult, but we have confidence. We need to be very consistent in two matches," Arsenal manager Unai Emery said.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LONDON • Unai Emery has urged Arsenal to show more consistency as they prepare to host Napoli in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final today.

The Gunners suffered a major blow in their bid to finish in the Premier League top four to qualify for next season's Champions League when they slipped to fifth spot after a 1-0 loss at Everton on Sunday.

But they can also book a place in Europe's top club competition if they win the second-tier Europa League.

The manager said yesterday: "It's a big test. We want to play against the best teams. Napoli are one of them. It's going to be difficult, but we have confidence. We need to be very consistent in two matches.

"Our idea is to win and not concede goals. We are prepared for extra time or penalties."

He will have to wait on injuries to Laurent Koscielny and Granit Xhaka while Aaron Ramsey and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could return after starting on the bench at Everton.

Arsenal have been formidable at home with seven straight wins at the Emirates in all competitions, including second-leg comeback wins over Bate Borisov and Rennes in the Europa League.

And that will not be good news for Napoli, who have not kept a clean sheet in any competition since beating Red Bull Salzburg in the last-16 first leg on March 7. The Italian side also lost to struggling Empoli before a disappointing draw with Genoa on Sunday.

But Carlo Ancelotti's side will be boosted by the availability of forward Lorenzo Insigne, who has scored 13 goals this season, after he played 23 minutes against Genoa.

Arsenal's London rivals Chelsea appear to have an easier route. They head to the Czech Republic for their first leg against Slavia Prague buoyed by Eden Hazard's double against West Ham on Monday.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


ARSENAL V NAPOLI

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2019, with the headline 'Emery confident of win in first leg'. Print Edition | Subscribe