Napoli vs Arsenal - Papastathopoulos: Watford win sets Arsenal up perfectly for Napoli tie



Posted Thursday, April 18, 2019 by PA

Napoli vs Arsenal - Papastathopoulos: Watford win sets Arsenal up perfectly for Napoli tie

Sokratis Papastathopoulos believes Arsenal’s win at Watford on Monday night has prepared them to repeat the feat in Naples and secure a place in the Europa League semi-finals.

The Gunners have struggled on the road this season and an unconvincing 1-0 victory against a Watford side which played for 79 minutes with 10 men was only their sixth Premier League win away from the Emirates Stadium.

While the challenge of facing Napoli, second only to Juventus in Serie A, poses a different challenge Arsenal do head to Naples defending a 2-0 lead from last week’s first leg.

And Sokratis, who was banned for Monday’s game at Vicarage Road, feels Arsenal can take something from a rare away win as they look to reach the last four of the Europa League for the second successive season.

“Of course,” Sokratis replied when asked if the Watford success can spread confidence among the squad.

“It was an important win for us and an important three points for the Premier League. The Europa League is a different competition. We want to go even further in this competition.

“Tomorrow will be difficult for us but we have to be focused for 90 minutes and to do our work, our style of the game. Tomorrow we have to play like the game is 0-0.”

Arsenal boss Unai Emery, meanwhile, insists he will set his team out to score – knowing one away goal would leave Napoli needing to net four times to get through.

“We know 90 minutes here can be long, but we want to play this match not thinking about the first leg,” he said.

“We want to play tomorrow thinking to win, thinking to score, thinking to push, thinking to stop them.

“Thinking also tactically to be together and thinking when we have the space to attack the space. And also respecting the tactical structure and individual work.

“They have a lot of players with a big quality to push against us and give us a lot of problems but we also have the players to fight against them with our quality.”

Kalidou Koulibaly claims the Napoli players are “angry” with the performance in losing to Arsenal last week but insists they can progress.

Emery’s side have so far lost both of their away knockout games in this season’s Europa League, slipping to defeat at BATE Borisov and Rennes before turning both ties around at home.

Koulibaly, the subject of racial abuse on a Snapchat video shot during the game in north London, believes Napoli can improve on their previous display and secure a semi-final date against either Valencia or Villarreal.

“We’re angry about the performance in London,” he told Napoli’s official website.

“We know we messed up and we’re aware we didn’t show our true quality. We want to do so in the return leg.

“There’s still a chance we’ll go through if we play as we can do, at the height of our ability. It’s still open. We need to be aggressive and put pressure on Arsenal. We’ll be ready on Thursday.”

Midfielder Jose Callejon revealed the Napoli players held a meeting after the first leg and, like Koulibaly, still feels the club can make it to the last four.

“We will give everything we have inside us to get through,” he said.

“After the first leg we got together and spoke between ourselves. We spoke openly about everything. We’ve got a solid and united dressing room, which is something we’ve shown over the years.

“We’ve very optimistic. We got our approach wrong in the first leg. There was a feeling of disappointment after the game in London.

“But now we’ve got a chance to turn it around and put in a great performance to get to the semi-final.”



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