Emery on Koscielny’s return and his teenage contingent

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Unai Emery says he was pleased with his mix-and-match side’s performance as the Gunners completed their Europa League group stage campaign with a 1-0 win against Qarabag at the Emirates.

Alex Lacazette broke the deadlock on 16 minutes as the Gunners started brightly but with nothing at stake the game quickly descended into a low key affair that struggled to excite a small crowd at the Emirates.

Teenagers Bukayo Saka, Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah showed flashes of their talent with Emery explaining afterwards that he selected established players to bring out the best in the next generation.

“We need to do the mix in the first 11 between young players and players with experience,” he told his post-game press conference. 

“You can play better with players to help you on the pitch.”

He added: “We give young players the chance to train with us, we give chance like today when we can and they show us positive things. Saka played with a good performance with big personality.

“His personality is very important to try and do one to ones in the second half and trying to break lines.”

The big positive on a cold night was the return of Laurent Koscielny from his long-term Achilles problem. The Frenchman came through 70 minutes unscathed before receiving a standing ovation from fans and a helping hand with his jacket from Alex Lacazette and Matteo Guendouzi.

In the absence of the suspended Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis, Emery now hopes Koscielny will be fit to play against Southampton on Sunday.

“We are doing with him our process after the big injury,” the Spaniard told his post-game press conference.

“Today is another step for him, for us. We need to know tomorrow and Saturday how he is going to feel after this match to see if he can help us on the pitch on Sunday.

He added: “For Koscielny, it is good he has recovered. When he is coming back like today every supporter is happy, as are the players.

“He can take confidence again, take rhythm and then we are going to continue our process, maybe Sunday. But I want to wait to see how he will feel.”

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Naked cygan
Naked cygan

Win+no injuries+cleansheet+kos/ozil back+youngsters getting a run = good day

leroy
leroy

i love that photo. and i love that arsenal players seem to get along ever so well. maybe i’m biased, but i don’t see that at clubs like united or chelski.

Lettra
Lettra

Love it but , I dunno.
I’ve seen some scenes from O’l Trafford and I think they seem pretty United against “Not so special after all”.

Mayor McCheese
Mayor McCheese

Ramsey, is that you?

Maxin In The Shade
Maxin In The Shade

Don’t follow the other big clubs and their academies, but would they possess a more promising group of young players loaded with potential like we do?

Also, do they even get the chances and opportunities like Emery has given to ours?

clins
clins

chelsea city and arsenal have the best academy in england i believe. other teams like united tottenham are not that far behind. so its not like we have better players but the fact that arsenal gives yougsters a chance is the reason our young players continually shine. as an example medley and nketiah were former chelsea youth players, but for different reasons ended up at arsenal and are playing in the first team while there compatriots are going on season long loans every year. matty willock, brother of chris never even got a sniff of first team with united, but his youonger brothers including the youngest one played with arsenal first team. i hope we keep giving these yougsters a chance in the future as well

Caught in two minds
Caught in two minds

On another note, none of the “big teams” and english teams from UCL dropped to Europa leage except for Napoli. Specially the likes of Manure and Spu*ds would have taken this cup seriously for the UCL spot next year. Makes it a lot easier for us and gives us a second option for the UCL spot.

Deep

Inter too can be considered a ‘big team’, I guess.

Rochester
Rochester

Might just be me, but I like Emery a bit more every time he talks about this team. Wouldn’t trade him for any manager in the league. Not sure Pep could manage a team without $$$ for 2 good/great players in every position.

santori
santori

No injuries is my main takeaway.

Koscielny a welcome return. ANY feature by Le boss is a bonus this season. And it starts against Soton this weekend which could be crucial.

We were rarely threatened by a poor side so this was a very good way to ease him in.

Also as expected, Monreal got a run out.

Likely this weekend it will be Lichsteiner-Koscielny-Monreal in a back 3.

santori
santori

Saka still raw but a bag of talent waiting to be unleashed. Fearlessness of youth. Had a golden opportunity to cap a great performance at the end but was in a bit too much of a rush. Great learning experience for him.

Pity no Smith-Rowe today.

AMN did OK. Interesting that Emery prefers to switch jenkinson to cover Rback rather than play AMN on his more natural side. I remember he made one particular errant pass in field from the left. Not sure why we don’t try him at Rback.

Willock did decent today but difficult to judge overall bc Qarabag (and frankly Azerbaijan) should not be in “Europe” (with all due respects)

Also good to see Medley get a run out albeit not central defense

Gudang Pelor
Gudang Pelor

What you were saying about Azerbaijan, is condescending, confirmed by you saying “with all due respect ‘.

Fart Overjars
Fart Overjars

Saka is a live wire. Late in the game after he got power bombed by their full back he dusted himself down and beat 3/4 other players. Such a shame he couldn’t tuck that chance away, but at least now he has a focal point for improvement in training.

Medley looks like a young man who could have a huge impact in the years to come. What an elegant player.

Francesc
Francesc

More than the injury, I think Kos is hurting coz of not being able to be a part of France’s WC squad.

Nope
Nope

Koscielny seems to have really aged in the last few months! The injury must have taken a lot of strain on him.

Berlingoon
Berlingoon

Love how Matteo helps him into his coat like he’s the fucking godfather. ❤️