Emery wants team to seal the deal in Italy

LONDON • If only Arsenal could unlock the bewildering and elusive secret to away games.

Having given themselves an encouraging leg-up with a 2-0 Europa League victory at the Emirates on Thursday, thanks to Aaron Ramsey's effort and a Kalidou Koulibaly own goal, attention now switches to a daunting trip to Napoli next week to see their enthralling quarter-final through.

Their wretched form on the road this season, with Arsenal the only Premier League team yet to keep a clean sheet on their travels, means the tie is far from a done deal.

The Italian Serie A side are a formidable force in front of their vociferous fans at the San Paolo Stadium.

Warning that it is going to be "very difficult there", Unai Emery admitted his squad's character will be tested as "sometimes away, we lose the spirit we have at home".

The Arsenal manager added: "The first leg was very important to take a good result.

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    Consecutive wins Arsenal have racked up at the Emirates.

"We deserved to win, but their performances at home are usually very strong. We will plan to win the match, but we need to have a lot of respect for them. It is still 50-50. Our challenge is to be competitive."

Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti talked up his side's chances, confident that it will be a "different environment" with the home crowd.

He added: "The result is difficult to change, but we have 90 minutes left."

At Slavia Prague, Chelsea's 1-0 win, courtesy of Marcos Alonso's late header, was overshadowed by a pre-match incident which saw three fans banned from the game in the Czech Republic.

The club's security team had identified the fans from a video posted on Twitter of them singing a derogatory song about Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah and calling him a bomber. Condemning the trio for their "abhorrent discriminatory behaviour", the Blues promised to "take the strongest possible action against them".

Manager Maurizio Sarri backed the "very strong and right decision" while the Reds also thanked Chelsea for their quick response.

In the other quarter-finals, Valencia triumphed 3-1 at Villarreal in a Spanish LaLiga battle while Portugal's Benfica ran out 4-2 winners over 10-man Eintracht Frankfurt of Germany.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2019, with the headline 'Emery wants team to seal the deal in Italy'. Print Edition | Subscribe