Europa League

  • Azpilicueta: Europa League is not Chelse...

    The Europa League is not Chelsea's only route to Champions League qualification, according to Cesar Azpilicueta. Maurizio Sarri's side missed the chance to go level on points with Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday, falling to a 2-0 defeat against Everton at Goodison Park ...

    Azpilicueta: Europa League is not Chelsea's only route to the Champions League

    The Europa League is not Chelsea's only route to Champions League qualification, according to Cesar Azpilicueta. Maurizio Sarri's side missed the chance to go level on points with Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday, falling to a 2-0 defeat against Everton at Goodison Park . The Blues are sixth in the standings with only eight games of the 2018-19 campaign remaining, one point behind Manchester United and three behind the Gunners. A Europa League triumph in May would ultimately make up for their domestic failings and ensure their progress to the Champions League next season, but Azpilicueta has urged his team-mates not to put all their eggs in one basket. "We missed a chance to get points and every time you don't get the three points you put yourself in a more difficult position," he told reporters. "There is still a lot of games to play and we are going to fight because we cannot miss Champions League qualification. "I don't see just the Europa League as the only way of being in the Champions League, because Chelsea's place is not to be sixth in the Premier League so I cannot accept this." Chelsea have drawn Slavia Prague in the last eight of the Europa League and they have been installed as favourites to win the crown come May . In the Premier League, Sarri's men have away fixtures against Liverpool and Manchester United to negotiate in the coming months, but Azpilicueta still feels that they are in control of their own destiny. "There is a way of going into the Champions League, it is a trophy, and we will play until the end but we are not in a position in the league where you can say we are not going to reach the Champions League spots," he added. "If we had won the (last) two games we would be third going into the international break and we could have said we were already in the Champions League. "Obviously with five more points, we could have been much better." After the international break, Chelsea will resume their league campaign with a trip to Cardiff City on March 31, before hosting West Ham at Stamford Bridge eight days later.  

  • Napoli's Koulibaly anticipates 'very exc...

    Kalidou Koulibaly has described Napoli's Uefa Europa League quarter-final fixture against Arsenal as a 'very exciting' challenge. Despite bowing to a 3-1 loss against RB Salzburg on Thursday, the Partenopei overcame the Austrian champions to progress to the last-eight stage with...

    Napoli's Koulibaly anticipates 'very exciting' Arsenal challenge

    Kalidou Koulibaly has described Napoli's Uefa Europa League quarter-final fixture against Arsenal as a 'very exciting' challenge. Despite bowing to a 3-1 loss against RB Salzburg on Thursday, the Partenopei overcame the Austrian champions to progress to the last-eight stage with a 4-3 aggregate win. Koulibaly missed the match, serving a ban after picking three yellow cards in the European competition this season. On Friday, Napoli were paired against Unai Emery's side with the first leg scheduled for the Emirates Stadium on April 11 and the 27-year-old, a regular fixture in Carlo Ancelotti's squad this season, is anticipating the encounter. "Very exciting," Koulibaly tweeted. Very exciting

  • Napoli star Insigne facing race against ...

    Napoli star Lorenzo Insigne faces a race against time to be fit for his side's Europa League quarter-final first-leg clash with Arsenal. The Italy forward is one of three players who may struggle to feature, with centre-back Vlad Chiriches and holding midfielder Amadou Diawara a...

    Napoli star Insigne facing race against time to face Arsenal

    Napoli star Lorenzo Insigne faces a race against time to be fit for his side's Europa League quarter-final first-leg clash with Arsenal. The Italy forward is one of three players who may struggle to feature, with centre-back Vlad Chiriches and holding midfielder Amadou Diawara also sidelined with injury. Insigne strained a muscle in his right leg during the warm-up ahead of Thursday's defeat to Red Bull Salzburg, and is expected to take at least three weeks to recover. Chiriches, meanwhile, suffered a hamstring injury late on in Austria and has been given the same timeframe for recovery.  Diawara has a fracture in his right foot and will also be assessed in three weeks' time, but is the least likely to feature.  Of the three, only club captain Insigne is a guaranteed starter, pairing Belgium forward Dries Mertens or Polish striker Arkadiusz Milik in attack, while Chiriches is firmly behind first-choice pairing Kalidou Koulibaly and Nikola Maksimovic in the centre-back pecking order, with Raul Albiol also ahead of him, albeit sidelined with injury himself.  Diawara, 21, is an option in midfield alongside Allan, but Fabian Ruiz was most likely to get the nod. The news will be welcome for Arsenal fans, who may have feared the thought of Insigne wreaking havoc on the right-hand side of their defence, particularly with first-choice right-back Hector Bellerin a long-term absentee, alongside Rob Holding and Danny Welbeck.  Napoli arguably represented the toughest possible draw for the Gunners, and playing one leg against a side without their captain and second top scorer across all competitions will certainly come as a boost to Unai Emery's camp.  The Gunners, while sitting fourth in the Premier League, face a fierce fight for their top-four spot, and winning the Europa League would guarantee a Champions League place ahead of next season.  They recovered from a 3-1 deficit in France to progress 4-3 on aggregate against Rennes after a 3-0 win at the Emirates Stadium, with a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang brace and an Ainsley Maitland-Niles header sending them through. Napoli, meanwhile, survived a 3-1 second-leg defeat to Salzburg after an impressive 3-0 win in the first leg game them enough of a cushion in order to progress. Whoever progresses from their quarter-final will play either Villarreal or Valencia in the semi-finals. 

  • 'Our conversations have gone well' - Sev...

    Revered sporting director Monchi is in closing in on a return to his former club Sevilla after leaving Serie A side Roma, dealing a blow to Arsenal. As reported by Goal, Monchi, who left Sevilla in 2017 after 17 years as a director having inspired the most successful period in t...

    'Our conversations have gone well' - Sevilla president confirms positive Monchi talks

    Revered sporting director Monchi is in closing in on a return to his former club Sevilla after leaving Serie A side Roma, dealing a blow to Arsenal. As reported by Goal, Monchi, who left Sevilla in 2017 after 17 years as a director having inspired the most successful period in their history, has been in contact with the Liga outfit. The former Sevilla goalkeeper earned a formidable reputation for his work in the transfer market, becoming renowned for signing players on the cheap and then selling them – or academy products – at a massive profit, with Dani Alves, Sergio Ramos, Jose Antonio Reyes, Alberto Moreno and Ivan Rakitic among the biggest deals. He departed Sevilla in search of a new challenge, but things did not go entirely to plan at Roma, as his signings came in for criticism and he was reportedly against the idea of dismissing coach Eusebio Di Francesco. Arsenal – managed by his former Sevilla colleague Unai Emery – had been heavily linked with a move and reportedly thought they had the deal tied up, but the Spanish side appear to have stolen a march after sacking coach Pablo Machin and replacing him with previous sporting director Joaquin Caparros. Speaking at a news conference on Friday, president Jose Castro said: "The conclusion we have reached is that there is no one better than Caparros, a successful coach, who could take charge of the squad, which has been constructed by him. "He will no longer be a sporting director. Sevilla is already working for a new sporting director and we are looking for the best. We think Monchi is the best. "We have contacted him already and he has been very receptive. We have to agree on an idea of ​​the future and both parties are optimistic. "We do not need a sporting director for the end of the season, we need one for now, because Caparros is already with the first-team. Our conversations [with Monchi] have gone well and soon, possibly, Monchi could be our sporting director. "The club knows him perfectly. The team does, too. We have talked about everything, and I repeat that I am very optimistic. "I think I've explained it several times. The conversations with Monchi have been good and we see him very receptive to being part of the project for the next years. "I think we just need to finish talking about some things. There is no date, but from the moment that Caparros is no longer the sporting director, we need [a new] one as soon as possible. I cannot take long. "We've been talking for a few days now. He rescinded his contract with Roma and, from there, we talked. He is in favour of the projects we have in mind."

  • Kolasinac: Arsenal cannot afford another...

    Sead Kolasinac wants Arsenal to buck their recent trend of falling behind in the Europa League knockout phases, with Napoli up next in the last eight. Unai Emery's men secured their spot in the next round of the competition with a 3-0 home win against Rennes on Thursday night, t...

    Kolasinac: Arsenal cannot afford another first-leg loss against Napoli

    Sead Kolasinac wants Arsenal to buck their recent trend of falling behind in the Europa League knockout phases, with Napoli up next in the last eight. Unai Emery's men secured their spot in the next round of the competition with a 3-0 home win against Rennes on Thursday night, thanks to a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang double and an Ainsley Maitland-Niles header. The Gunners left themselves with a mountain to climb at the Emirates Stadium after losing 3-1 in the first leg in France, failing to learn their lesson after an away loss in the round of 32. BATE Borisov beat Arsenal 1-0 in Belarus before the Premier League giants once again managed to turn things around at home with a 3-0 triumph. The draw for the Europa League quarter-finals was completed on Friday, with Arsenal handed a tough draw against Serie A powerhouses Napoli. The first leg is set to take place at the Emirates on April 11, and Kolasinac has insisted that the Gunners must avoid another damaging defeat. “It’s always very difficult when you lose the first game,” the 25-year-old stated post-match. “We are aware of that, it’s not something we want to do of course. It is something we are going to work on in the next round. Of course, the key will be to start better than we have in these last two ties. “We didn’t put ourselves in a good position at the end of that first leg. Having said that, I think that away goal was crucial for us. “It was difficult for us because we had to play with 10 men for about 50 minutes of that first game as well. We made it difficult, but we knew how strong we are at home and we deservedly went through tonight.” Arsenal join Chelsea in the latter stages of the Europa League, while Manchester United, Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool have also progressed to the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Kolasinac believes the success of English sides in Europe's top competitions proves the Premier League is the strongest in the world, as he added: "I think it characterises us and it characterises this league at the moment as well that all six teams have got through to the quarter-finals,” he added. “It proves that when people say the Premier League is the best league around, they are not saying it for free. I think it makes the Premier League very interesting and we’re of course proud to have progressed in the Europa League.” Emery's side can now enjoy a well-earned break while the latest round of international fixtures takes place, with a crucial clash against Newcastle up next on April 1.

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