Emery will not change despite Ancelotti questioning Arsenal fitness levels

Before the first leg of the Europa League clash between Arsenal and Napoli both managers had nothing but respect and kind words for each other, however, the signs are there that the gloves will be coming off ahead of the second leg next week in Italy.

Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti kicked it off with comments about our lad’s fitness levels at the end of the game on Thursday evening saying

“I think that the second half was completely different.

“The fact we push a lot at the end and we were physically a lot better as some of their players had cramps.

“This is another thing that we can use in Naples.”

But Unai Emery is having none of it, he knows his tactics worked out perfectly in the first leg and is intent on approaching the return leg in the exact same way

He said: “I think we’re OK. The players finished tired because they worked a lot. But I prefer to finish like that and not finish matches with the possibility to continue playing.

“I know, and the players also, that we need every player to be ready to play and help. On Monday, I am sure we are going to play different players but [try] to find the same performance.

“Some players after playing with this demanding performance physically, maybe we need something different. Next week it will be the same in Naples.

“We’re going to prepare for Monday first, and also recover the players after the game today thinking that we are going to play a lot of matches [every] three days.

“We need every player with the commitment, with the behaviour and the performances.”

This is just silly little mind games from Ancelotti, he knows that when a team does the vast majority of the attacking they will slow down at the end of the game, it was obvious our players put in more effort and the roles will be completely reversed next week.

The Napoli players will be the ones doing the bulk of the running and the former Chelsea boss knows that the English Premier League is played at a far more intense pace and that our boys will be more than fit enough to handle whatever the Napoli players throw at them.

Emery is right to focus on the Watford game, there will be time after that to engage the Napoli boss in mind games if that is the road he chooses to go down.


  1. Personally I believe we need to rotate and save energy…

    Therefore I think we need to be cautious with Tansey considering his small injury and also considering his history as well as wing backs that normally have to run a lot.

    Also need physical presence with Somratis out…

    My team therefore…
    Lichsteiner Mustafi Kosch Monreal
    Mhick Torreira Goundouzi Iwobi
    Laca Auba

    With that in mind I would start with Auba up from against Napoli with Laca on the bench…

  2. The second half was different because Arsenal became defensive after leading by two goals:

    – Emery used only one striker that allowed Napoli to create short distributions from the back
    – He lowered the defensive line which allowed Napoli’s attackers to break Arsenal’s offside traps much easier

    Emery likes to play safe with 3-4-2-1 at away, probably because our defenders are erratic. But he has to press Watford with two forwards instead of using one striker only, otherwise Watford can easily build their attack from the back

  3. I think UE knows exactly what he is doing and will leave it completely up to him.
    He got it spot on Thursday and the players, as a team, were superb.

    As far as fitness goes, the only player I noticed with cramp was the boss and he had just returned from an injury.

    What I saw, was The Arsenal completely outplay Napoli in the first half and, in the second, defend well against a team that had to attack being two goals down and looking for the away goal.

    The Arsenal know now (and so do Napoli) that they can beat this team and I fully expect to be in the semi-final draw after witnessing UE and his team show Napoli that we are a better side than them, both in attack and defence.

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