Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of Thursday night’s clash with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti has stated that this match will be a “different story” to the last time he faced the Gunners.
The year was 2017 and the Italian was manager of the Bayern Munich side that faced Arsene Wenger’s men in the round of 16 of that season’s UEFA Champions League.
What was to follow was the biggest margin of defeat inflicted on an English team in European football history, a 10-2 aggregate score.
However, when asked about the famous encounter, Ancelotti had the following to say:
“If I say I forgot [this match] it is not true. I did not forget but each game is a different story, imagine every season different clubs, different manager so it will be a totally different story. That game with Bayern is only a good memory.”
Although seven players who featured in that Champions League tie could play for Unai Emery’s boys on Thursday evening in the first leg of this UEFA Europa League quarter-final, things have changed massively in north London in two years – the 59-year-old is absolutely correct in his big statement.
Towards the end of the Wenger reign, things had turned sour at the Emirates and this was leading to disharmony on and off the pitch.
Now, the Premier League’s fifth-placed team have installed a boss who knows how to win in Europe from his three consecutive Europa League triumphs at Sevilla and Ancelotti is in charge of a group of players far inferior to that of Bayern at the time. Expect things to be very different indeed.