Emery sweats on duo ahead of Napoli visit

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The Arsenal medical team have posted their latest fitness update and it sounds as though Granit Xhaka and Laurent Koscielny are still doubts for the clash with Napoli on Thursday.

Unai Emery touched on the status of the duo after Sunday’s defeat at Everton hinting that the Frenchman, who is suffering from a bruised left foot, looked closer to a return than the Swiss. 

Perhaps we’ll get more details later today when the Spaniard faces the cameras in his pre-game press conference.

Xhaka’s absence, the result of a groin injury picked up during the Interlull, could be offset by a return for Lucas Torreira who isn’t suspended in Europe.

In defence, Nacho Monreal, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis will likely make up a back three if our club captain isn’t able to play a part.

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Ponsonby Gooner
Ponsonby Gooner

💩

Gooneron
Gooneron

Despite his flaws, Xhaka is really important in our Midfield

PeteyB
PeteyB

Despite his age, Kos is really important in our defence

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

Exactly. He’s not quite a world beater but he’s on a different planet to Elneny, no offence to him. Don’t really have anyone else that can do his job effectively in the squad, bar arguably Torreira.

Alex
Alex

The past seasons the main flaw of Xhaka was having Ramsey “close” to him, living his own game without caring of his positioning.

Crash Fistfight
Crash Fistfight

Am I mad in thinking it might be better if Koscielny doesn’t play, considering it would be good to have him available for Watford? I just don’t think him playing 2 games in a week is a good thing at this point.

allezkev
allezkev

Good point…

Fatgooner
Fatgooner

Let’s hope that both are fit: we need them desperately.

It’s been an interesting few days, hasn’t it? On Sunday we stank the place out at Goodison Park and were lucky to only lose 1-0; and with the others around us all winning, suddenly a top-four finish is beginning to look less likely. Unless we sort out our away form we can kiss automatic qualification goodbye. Then yesterday Spuds beat City to give themselves a great chance of a semi-final place. Remember all those years when we couldn’t get past the last 16? It’s amazing how “financial doping” hasn’t stopped Spuds and Liverpool from progressing deep into the CL. Not snatching Klopp when he became available was the biggest mistake that the club has make in the last 20 years. Thank you, Stan.

Emery’s strategy in this run-in appears to be strange from where I’m standing: it looks like he’s prioritising the Europa League over the top-four race in the Premier League. Dropping Ramsey and Aubameyang for the trip to Merseyside was bizarre. The match against the Toffeemen was far more important that the EL game on Thursday. Even if we get past Napoli there’s no guarantee that we’ll win the competition. We should be totally focused on the remaining PL matches and treat the EL as a bonus. Watford away is now a massive game: we absolutely must win it.

I’m confident that we’ll beat the Italians tomorrow: our home form is excellent. The problem is what will happen in the away leg. The players need to summon up the spirit of Wembley last month. That is the kind of away performance that we need to repeat a few times before the end of the season.

midgunner
midgunner

Really hope the rest has done Lucas some good and he’s can replicate his early season form.

It’s vital that he destroys Napoli’s attacking threat. The last thing we need is them grabbing an away goal or worse, given how shite we are away from home.

Goonereality
Goonereality

I saw Napoli play at their ground a while ago and they’re a competent side, with fanatical support. Given our clearly awful defending record away from home (in both the EPL and Europe, worse luck), I wouldn’t be anywhere near confident without a two goal cushion in place for the away leg.

Goonereality
Goonereality

Napoli are likely to be tough, and I doubt the odds are very much better than 50/50 getting past them over two legs. We need as full a strength team as possible against them (in both legs), particularly as we don’t have the advantage of the second leg at home.

goonero
goonero

At least Torreira and Sokratis can play.

Goonereality
Goonereality

True. In the case of Sokratis, given his poor disciplinary record, I guess that the question is – for how long will he play? Anyway, hopefully they’ll be no silly bookings or, worse, red cards.

Mpls
Mpls

Let’s hope it helps in that regard that we’re not playing Barca.

Santori
Santori

I’d rest Koscielny for the league matches coming up when Sokratis is suspended. Make sure the old war horse is fully recovered.

These are wear and tear issues with age which is why it is ludicrous that some think we will retain him another season as much great as he has done for us.

With regard Granit, he will be critical against Napoli. He changes our focal point of attack very quickly and has been far more careful/robust in keeping the ball this season than some lazy (usual) Arsenal ‘critics’ care to give him credit.

AGAIN fitness is key though. We have an equally critical run in in the league.

IF Granit isn’t fully fit though, it will have to be Ramsey-Guendouzi again. If they can discover their own dynamic that led to the successful win at Newcastle, lets not fix what isn’t broken. Elneny just isn’t it. Diligent but average player.