- The Gunners knocked out CSKA Moscow at this stage of the Europa League last season (6-3 on aggregate) before falling to Atletico Madrid in the semi finals.
- The stage doesn’t matter because, to us, this is the same as the Atletico game – just at a different stage. Their games in this competition won’t get much harder than this one on paper, and they need to remain focused.
- Arsenal have been beaten just once in their last 17 home games in the UEFA Cup/Europa League (W12 D4) – losing 1-2 to Ostersunds FK in the last 32 in 2017-18.
It’s game day folks, as Arsenal gear up to take on a Napoli side that are going to pose them more issues than most teams have throughout the course of the season so far. The Gunners are in a prime position to make a solid run all the way through to the Europa League final, but of course, the Italian side shouldn’t be taken lightly by any stretch of the imagination. It’s going to be a pretty back and forth affair based on the last few encounters these two teams have shared with one another, and generally, it’s pretty easy to predict that given how both teams play.
Arsenal’s season has been a long and complicated one, and that’s putting it lightly. The Gunners have enjoyed the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, and it feels like there are plenty more of both to come in the last few weeks. The club are still competing on two different fronts in both the Europa League and the Premier League, and let’s face it, the one and only end goal is going to be Champions League qualification.
Arsenal have arrived to France where they are set to face Rennes in the first leg of the Europa League round of 16. The players who made the trip are: Petr Cech, Bernd Leno; Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi, Nacho Monreal, Sead Kolašinac, Ainsley Maitland-Niles; Lucas Torreira, Granit Xhaka, Matteo Guendouzi, Aaron Ramsey, Denis Suarez, Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan; Alex Iwobi, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Eddie Nketiah.
Joined by midfielder Matteo Guendouzi, manager Unai Emery spoke to the press, giving his thoughts ahead of the clash.
On Lacazette ban
There was a great deal of speculation as to whether or not Arsenal could handle the pressure of heading to a country like Azerbaijan, mainly due to the travel involved as well as the fact that they’re probably enjoying a spell of confidence stemming from their ability to win seven straight games. Well, as we now know, that run has been extended to eight after the Gunners were able to walk through Qarabag last night.
The main objective tonight is going to be defeating Qarabag and continuing Arsenal’s great winning run that they’re on right now. That, in itself, is the simple way of looking at things, and that makes a lot of sense. Alas, some fans seem to think that the Gunners are just going to walk into Baku and stroll towards a convincing victory, and that just isn’t going to be the case. In fact, we’d argue that this is going to be one of their more difficult games in their upcoming stretch – and no, we aren’t being sarcastic about that.
The search for Arsenal’s new manager continues to rage on and in a lot of ways, it’s already becoming a little bit exhausting for Arsenal fans. While there’s obviously a great deal of excitement in the air, there are just too many names being thrown around to keep count at this stage. It’s not like when David Moyes replaced Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford because, in that instance, it seemed as if the Everton boss was always going to be the clear favourite to take over.
Rumours in football can either create excitement or dread, depending on the nature of the specific rumour. Thankfully for Arsenal fans, this specific ‘rumour’ is a little bit more substantial than most, with Daily Mirror reporting that Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa may not be fit for their UEFA Europa League semi-final first-leg game against Arsenal. Yes, it’s the same Diego Costa that once played for Chelsea and was vilified for being the sport’s equivalent of a supervillain.
Arsenal’s draw against CSKA Moscow in Russia last night ensured their passage into the UEFA Europa League semi-finals, although it wasn’t as straightforward as many fans were expecting. They went behind on the night, the Russian side were piling on the pressure, and for a while, it looked like the Gunners may follow in the footsteps of Barcelona earlier in the week. Thankfully for Arsenal fans, Wenger’s side were able to show some serious growth for the first time in what feels like forever.
As we approach Arsenal’s big-time showdown with CSKA Moscow on Thursday night, it’s time to take a look at some of the best bets and odds available to Gunners fans out there courtesy of bet365. The game, which will be a UEFA Europa League quarter-final first-leg tie, holds a massive amount of potential for Arsene Wenger’s men as they’ll be attempting to really lay down a marker prior to the second leg over in Russia.
It’s no secret that they’re making this competition their priority, and that’s the smartest possible thing they can do right now. Manchester United did the same thing, which is the reason why they were able to compete in the Champions League throughout the 2017/18 season.