Cyprus Mail
Europa League

Emery warns Arsenal about Napoli threat, Sarri in good spirits

Arsenal manager Unai Emery during training

ARSENAL captain Laurent Koscielny and Granit Xhaka face late fitness tests ahead of Thursday night’s Europa League quarter-final first-leg clash with Napoli.

Defender Koscielny and midfielder Xhaka have been struggling with respective foot and groin injuries.

Gunners boss Unai Emery told his pre-match press conference: “We are going to assess tomorrow, they are improving and trained today with us.”
Meanwhile, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who started on the bench in Arsenal’s last two fixtures – Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at Everton and the April 1 2-0 victory over Newcastle – has been struggling with illness.

Emery explained: “He had a small problem and he has been taking antibiotics because he is sick.

“That is the reason he didn’t start the last two matches.”

Emery warned his side not to underestimate their last-eight opponents, who are managed by former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti.

He added: “They are playing very well, they come from the Champions League and are a strong group.

“I have respect for every coach and I think Anceotti is top, he has experience in all countries and his career as a coach is amazing.”

Meanwhile, Chelsea head to Slavia Prague for their quarter-final first leg in good spirits after Eden Hazard inspired a vital Premier League win over West Ham on Monday.

Hazard scored a sublime solo effort and a produced a clinical late strike to clinch a 2-0 success that lifted the Blues into third place, above London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham.

After a turbulent debut season for Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri, Hazard’s fine form has come at the ideal moment as they battle to qualify for the Champions League.

Hazard, strongly-linked with a close-season move to Real Madrid, holds the key to Chelsea’s bid to finish on a high.

And the Belgian playmaker offered hope that he might stick around for the second season of Sarri’s reign when he said: “Statistically it’s my best season.

“I like to be able to say that, because the way he’s thinking about football is the same way I think about football.

“We showed in the last two or three weeks we’re adapting well with this manager, and now we want to finish the season well.”

In the other quarter-final first legs, Portuguese side Benfica host Germany’s Eintracht Frankfurt and Villarreal entertain Valencia in an all-Spanish encounter.

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