Arsenal will face Napoli on Thursday night without Granit Xhaka or Laurent Koscielny after Unai Emery gave updates on the fitness of the two players.
Against Everton, Arsenal clearly suffered from Granit Xhaka’s absence in the middle of the park while Laurent Koscielny was missed for his ability to organise the defence and not be Shkodran Mustafi.
It had been hoped that Xhaka, who picked up his injury during the international break, would be fit enough to return for the crunch Europa League tie, but it seems he will not.
“I don’t know,” Unai Emery said when asked about the pair post-Everton.
“Maybe Laurent could’ve come back to play today but yesterday we knew it wasn’t possible. I want to be positive for Thursday but it depends how he’s progressing.
“Xhaka is the same. They are doubts for Thursday. We have players and we know we can produce the performance with all the players.
“When you lose a match, maybe you can look at the players who didn’t play, but it’s rarely the consequence. We’ve won matches with other players, other systems, and we need to be efficient in each moment.
“We need to be consistent like we are a lot of the time, but sometimes we can lose.”
Unai might tell us that not having Xhaka available makes little difference, but the stats – along with our own eyes – tell a very different story.
Arsenal’s PL record when Xhaka has completed 90 minutes in midfield this season vs without.
With: 15-4-1. 75% win rate. 2.25 scored per game. 1.0 conceded per game.
Without: 4-2-6. 33% win rate. 1.67 scored per game. 1.67 conceded per game.
Like him or not, he’s vital.
— Patrick Timmons (@PatrickTimmons1) April 7, 2019