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Gunners cannot afford to be playing catch-up: Emery

Arsenal v Napoli, Europa League quarter-final, first leg: Emirates Stadium, Tonight, 8pm

Unai Emery
Unai Emery

By Mark Mann-Bryans

Unai Emery admits Arsenal "need to win" their Europa League quarter-final first-leg meeting with Napoli at the Emirates tonight given their poor record away from home.

The Gunners have won five Premier League away games all season, losing 1-0 at Everton last weekend.

Emery's side have also fallen to defeat in their last two away Europa League knockout games, having to turn around ties against BATE Borisov and Rennes to set up a last-eight meeting with Carlo Ancelotti's Napoli.

This time, Arsenal are at home first and their form at the Emirates could not be in more stark contrast to their away day blues.

A run of 14 wins from their last 15 matches at home, and just one home league defeat all season, has helped Arsenal not only reach the quarter-finals but also rebuild their challenge for a top-four Premier League finish.

Now Emery knows the pressure will be on to secure a positive result to take to Italy for the second leg next week.

"We are going to play at home with our supporters and we know we need to win," he said. "Our first target is to win, but also we don't want to concede chances for them to score. That's important. We know they have good players and also have had good performances.

"In the last matches there may have been some doubts, but they will play with the best performance. I am sure.

"We need to be very competitive in the 90 minutes. We want to win and not concede.

"We will play two matches, 90 minutes here and 90 minutes away, and we are prepared for if it's decided on extra time or penalties."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in line for a recall to the starting line-up having been used off the bench in the last two games.

Emery, who also confirmed Granit Xhaka and captain Laurent Koscielny will undergo fitness tests ahead of the game, revealed why Aubameyang has been restricted to cameos.

"The first reason is because he had a small problem and he has taken antibiotics for his illness," explained Emery. "That's the main reason he didn't start those two matches. He's getting better and can start.

"We are going to assess Granit and Laurent, they are improving and they trained today with us."

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