Unai Emery says Arsenal have a great opportunity to prove their quality when they travel to Manchester City on Sunday but he admits his players face a tough challenge at the Etihad.
While Pep Guardiola’s side may have stuttered to defeat on Tuesday against Newcastle – a result that allowed Liverpool to open a five-point gap at the top of the table – the Gunners know that the Premier League’s top scorers are more than capable of inflicting serious damage on a backline ravaged with injury.
Facing the press on Friday, Emery did his best to sound optimistic while also labelling City as the division’s ‘best’ side.
“It will be a tough match,” Emery admitted in his pre-game press conference on Friday.
“Our challenge is [big] against every team, but on Sunday we are playing against the best – Sunday is against the best. I think with Liverpool, they are having a very big Premier League season.
“They are very hard [to beat]. They have lost some matches but I think that was an accident. In another moment, in another match, they could have won against Newcastle.
“They are playing at home and for us it will be very difficult. But we are looking forward to playing, to showing that we can [win] and want [to win].
“I think in Sunday’s match every player will be with a very big ambition to show their best performance and quality against them.”
It looks as though Laurent Koscielny will return from injury and new signing Denis Suarez, who spent two years earlier in his career at the Etihad, will also be included in the squad.
Emery says, he’s hoping his men can find a better balance between attack and defence, even though the club didn’t attempt to strengthen their options at the back during the transfer window.
“In the balance we are scoring very well with our players in attacking moments,” he reflected.
“Our statistics with goals are very big and we want to continue like that, and also finding the balance in not conceding a lot of chances. Our way is with timing, passion and progressing every time.
“This transfer window is not easy and it isn’t possible to change a lot of things to help us with a very big performance, and I am very happy with the players we have here. We have some players who are recovering after injuries and I think they can help us with the final three months of the season.
“We have a very big motivation in our competition in the Premier League and the Europa League, and I think for example that Sunday is a very big and tough match, but it’s a great match for us to show everybody how we are now against Manchester. It’s very difficult but I trust in my players.”