'Napoli are favourites for the Europa League' claims Arsenal legend, Arsenal defender believes away form is not a mental hurdle for team, and more | April 8, 2019

Everton FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League
Everton FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League
Varun Nair

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Robert Pires claims Napoli are the favourites to win the Europa League

Robert Pires
Robert Pires

Arsenal legend and Invincible Robert Pires, while speaking to Italian radio CRC ahead of Arsenal's match against Napoli in the quarterfinals of the Europa League, claimed that Napoli were the favourites to win the Europa League this year.

When Napoli came out of the Champions League, I immediately informed my colleagues at the club that a new favourite would now arrive in the Europa League.

The former Gunner was also sceptical about his former employers' chances

On the other hand, with a coach like Ancelotti, who is one of the best, you can't not be favourites. The most dangerous players in Napoli are Mertens, Insigne, Callejon and Koulibaly, elements that raise the value of the rose and an opponent, the difference will be in closing the game at the Emirates Stadium, "A lot of qualifying will be played there.

He also spoke about the Gunners moving for Ancelotti last year before deciding on Emery and his desire to play for Ancelotti if he had a chance

Who would not like to have Ancelotti as coach; last summer there were contacts but then, I don't know what happened and nothing came of it. Emery is doing well and has adapted quickly.
For me the best way to play soccer is 4-4-2 so yes. It is a module that allows you to attack and defend with balance. In midfield they have Allan who is one of the best in Europe in his role. And then I would have liked to be coached by Ancelotti because I would have learned so much from him. He is one of the best coaches in world football.

Sokratis bemused by away form but insists its not a mental issue

Sokratis will miss the next two matches due to suspension
Sokratis will miss the next two matches due to suspension

Arsenal was once again beaten on the road as Everton held on to secure all three points at Goodison Park after Phil Jagielka scored his first goal of the season.

Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos was speaking to the media after the defeat that saw the Gunners still looking for their first away clean sheet in the league this season. The away form has been so poor that Arsenal has just won once in their previous 14 fixtures away from home in the league.

The Greek international though insisted that the problem was not a mental issue but stressed that the Gunners needed to get some more points on their travels.

I don't think so because if you see big teams like United and Chelsea they also lost a lot of points.
It is very difficult. We are in the Premier League and the other teams are strong.
I don't have a reason. Other teams are the same, some days good, some days bad. We have to improve and look towards the next game.
But I think we didn't have the same fight (as Everton) so we didn't win a lot of battles and we conceded a goal which was a little bit easy.

Unai Emery upbeat despite losing to Everton in the weekend

The Arsenal manager was in high hopes despite failing to keep an away clean sheet in the league for their 15th successive match, the first time since 1985. The loss also means Emery's team has won just one of their last 14 away league matches.

With four of their remaining six fixtures away from home, Emery and his men will need to find some points away from home if they are to finish in the top four.

I think generally we are well. I don’t think we are very bad. It is a bad result, not a good performance but we are fourth. Our opportunity was to leave here being in the third position but we are fourth.
We are going to think about the next match and the next match in the Premier League is Watford away. I am in my mind the same as before the match: we know it is going to be difficult.
This was a very good opportunity to take the three points and go third but after the result we are fourth and we need to be consistent. We are going to have chances also in the next matches and it depends on us and on other teams.
After the result we can be negative because three points less (to be won) but it is in our hands to continue taking chances to be in the top four.

Edited by Tobi Amoo
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