Unai Emery has travelled with a strong squad to face Napoli as Arsenal eye progression to the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League.
Arsenal manager, Unai Emery has every intention of progressing to the semi-finals of the Europa League, having travelled with a strong squad to face Napoli. The second leg of this quarter-final tie looks every bit interesting, with Carlo Ancelotti confident his side will overcome the first leg deficit of two goals.
The projection of Arsenal ahead of this clash is not so good, considering their ill-fated away form. The Gunners did exorcise some of those demons when they beat Watford on Monday, although they have lost their last two away games in the Europa League. From the looks of it, Emery is set to name his best possible starting lineup as they face a formidable Napoli side.
We out ‘ere in Italy – and here’s who’s travelled 🇮🇹
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 17, 2019
Against Watford, rather surprisingly, Emery changed the shape of his team, benching some key players. Sokratis, who is suspended for two domestic games, will undoubtedly take his place in central defence, while Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal should partner him in the three-man backline.
During his pre-match press conference, Emery was quizzed about having Sokratis back at his disposal on Thursday, to which he replied by saying that he has faith in all his players to do the job against Napoli.
“I have the confidence in every player. In this moment, every player wants to play, wants to help us, the behaviour is very good every day, the commitment to work and to be ready is fantastic. All the players that we have ready to play, like Papa because he was suspended in the Premier League, their commitment is fantastic.”
Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Sead Kolasinac, who were also among the substitutes on Monday, are likely to start in Italy, while Petr Cech is expected to take over goalkeeping duties from Bernd Leno, as has been the case in the Europa League this season.
Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka are the likely midfield pairing Emery might opt for, although he does have Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi fit and a available for the clash, with the former recovering from a knock sustained against Watford.
Mesut Ozil could take his place in his favoured no. 10 role. Alternatively, Emery could place Ramsey further ahead, and opt for a solid base with Torreira and Xhaka. But, considering that Arsenal will be looking for an early goal in Naples, Ozil certainly fits the bill.
Up ahead, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who played the full 90 minutes on Monday should start again. This time, however, he will have his strike partner, Alexandre Lacazette starting alongside him, after the Frenchman played no part during Arsenal’s excursions at Watford. Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi will be options from the bench, while Denis Suarez misses out entirely through injury.