Influential Arsenal duo emerge as injury doubts for Europa League clash with Napoli

By on April 8, 2019

granit xhaka arsenal

Arsenal are sweating over the fitness of Granit Xhaka and Laurent Koscielny ahead of Thursday night’s Europa League quarter-final first leg against Napoli.

Xhaka missed last week’s win over Newcastle United after picking up a groin injury while playing for Switzerland during the international break and he failed a late fitness test prior to Sunday’s disappointing defeat at Everton.

The midfielder was photographed taking part in individual training with the physio’s away from the main group at London Colney on Saturday but was deemed unable to make the trip to Goodison Park.

Koscielny has also sat out our last two matches due to a foot injury. The Frenchman was initially expected to return against Everton but he was ruled out on Saturday morning by the medical team.

The injured pair will be monitored over the coming days but Unai Emery has confirmed that both Xhaka and Koscielny are currently doubtful to face Napoli in the first leg of our Europa League quarter-final at the Emirates on Thursday night.

Speaking after our 1-0 defeat on Sunday, the Arsenal boss told Arsenal.com:

on Koscielny and Xhaka for Thursday…
I don’t know. 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 desperately missed Xhaka in the middle of the park yesterday. Lucas Torreira was suspended so fortunately he’ll be available on Thursday and Aaron Ramsey will be back in contention after not being risked from the start against the Toffees.

However, Xhaka’s ability to pass between the lines and link-up with the forwards was sorely missed on Sunday so let’s hope the Swiss international manages to prove his fitness over the coming days.

I also hope Koscielny is able to return as the defence was all over the place against Everton at times. Shkodran Mustafi is an accident waiting to happen to fingers crossed Koscielny can come back in alongside Sokratis and Nacho Monreal against Napoli.