Emery: It’s a great opportunity

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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.”

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PartyPalour
PartyPalour

City’s home form vs our defence. Strap in people.

Lord Bendnter
Lord Bendnter

Add to it Pep’s anger after their previous result. And their winning mentality to chase the title

Tiny
Tiny

I think Strap-on may be a more accurate term of phrase

Rayk 47

Oh god, please no

IamaGoober

Here is an interesting question – I appreciate that we will never know the actual answer to it, as ultimately it pretty much just boils down to opinion and subjectivity.

But with our game against City on the horizon, and with Newcastle’s shock win over them earlier on this week; do people think that Rafa Benitez could have done a better job managing Arsenal, than the job that Emery has done so far?

The reason why I chose Rafa, is because I genuinely think he was a realistic option that we could’ve got in to take over from Arsene last year. I am not looking to start a fire here, I’m just interested with peoples opinions.

Santori
Santori

Nah.

One swallow does not a summer make.

Unai is the right man for the job at Arsenal.

martin
martin

Crystal Palace also beat them so would you prefer Roy Hodgson?

IamaGoober

This wasn’t about preferring anyone – I was just interested in peoples opinions

Artro
Artro

Even his best sides have played a repulsive style of non football. (see the 2007 Champions League semi final vs Chelsea)

Our commitment to playing the “beautiful game” is one of the last solid tenants of our identity… I’d rather not abandon that and finish worse off.

Mick Malthouse
Mick Malthouse

Could think of nothing worse than Rafa managing Arsenal (Mourinho aside). He’s just not Arsenal. Boring, negative, no personality. Bit of a mercenary. No one was going to inherit our squad and suddenly push Liverpool and Man City. Im happy to back Unai and see what he can do after a couple more transfer windows.

SLC Gooner
SLC Gooner

Tony Pulis would also be worse 😀

Mesut O'Neill
Mesut O'Neill

Neil Warnock even worse still

Parisian Weetabix
Parisian Weetabix

It is an interesting question but also an impossible and pointless one, and because of that I’m confident in answering knowing that whatever I say is almost certainly bullshit. But I doubt it’d be markedly different. Benitez has always struck me as fairly pragmatic and looks to change his team depending on the opposition, so in that regard he’s probably similar to Emery. Emery’s a younger, more progressive manager, and his career’s on more of an upward trajectory. Rafa’s gone from a tough time at Madrid to Newcastle, and Emery came here having won a title (even though it was the French one with PSG). And while it’s massively unfair to compare what Emery’s doing here to what Rafa’s doing at Newcastle, we’ve scored some brilliant goals and put together a formidable unbeaten run. I also think Emery’s done a very good job of handling the Ozil situation, which while not satisfactorily resolved is nonetheless about as good as it could be.

I know the fans at Newcastle love Rafa, and I think he’s a solid and dependable manager. But Emery’s more progressive and more exciting, and there’s a sense that while he’s not perhaps a trendsetter like Guardiola, Klopp and (to a less successful extent) Sarri are, he is more willing and able to move with these trends and create a team that is modern as well as being pragmatic. I think Rafa would have been considered a boring and backwards choice if he’d taken over, dooming him from the start, whereas Emery’s freshness and energy has taken him this far without too much negativity – the only fans really calling for his head so far are those who I think just really enjoy calling for managers’ heads.

Fuck knows why I answered this, I’m very bored.

clins
clins

I agree with you. There are a lot of similarities between benitez and emery. Both of them are very pragmatic. But as you’ve said emery is younger and has new ideas regarding how his team should play unlike rafa whose team always plays only one way(basically another version of Simone). Also emery is bit more forward thinking and another very important thing is that emery gives chances to young players. At the end of the day i think we appointed the right guy for the right moment

IamaGoober

Some great points being made, I just thought it was an interesting question to ask to see what people come up with.

Parisian Weetabix
Parisian Weetabix

Yeah lol you got downvoted to fuck for it but I wish more people asked questions like this. We’re all so angry all the time, always so desperate to take everything as a slight and defend our opinion about what’s best for the club. Whereas this just felt like genuine unloaded curiosity to trigger debate which is refreshing.

Dave Cee
Dave Cee

I see u got a lot of down comments..and i am one of them..mostly because i agree with MM below.
There is winning amd then there is winning like a bell end.
Believe me I have had the same intwrnal debate. But ultimately. No

Rich
Rich

I think we’ll be on the wrong end of a big score on Sunday…. City have far superior players, and with their attack against our defence, I think the writing’s on the wall.

Losing heavily on Sunday won’t be the end of the world though, if someone had offered me being 4th after 24 games back in August, I’d have snapped their arm off.

Matt P
Matt P

Yeah I will surprised if city don’t put at least 3 or 4 in our net

Santori
Santori

Hard to predict how Unai will line us up with.

Do we go back 3 and caution considering Cbacks we have – Monreal -Koscielny-Mustafi.

PLUS if AMN isn’t passed completely fit, we will be carrying an obvious weakness at RBack with the limits of either Lichsteiner or Jenkinson.

In such case, Mustafi may be at very least able to offer a bit more cover to the Rback.

But if we go too negative, we may not impose the shock factor like we did against Chelsea remembering that they are a team that will come at us and will open enough space behind them for our forwards to exploit.

Without Bellerin, right side is a problem albeit we do have possibility of throwing Dennis straight in for impact.

If we line up 3 at the back, it may affect our pressing further forward where we were so successful with a midfield diamond 4 against Chelsea plus the 2 up top.

Also going into a diamond 4 in the middle of the park may negate Iwobi. I’m not sure what some people have been drinking but he has been one of our most effective outlets so far.

When he plays out left, its night and day with our attack. He sparks Kolasinac to life and in last two matches has provided the critical pass for goals.

I think considering our limits at fullback, the 3 at the back does seem sensible but how we manage in the middle then will be key.

Likely we will have variation between two up top and a more traditional 3 behind the main striker if we should go to a flat 4 chasing goals. But a 3-4-3 cannot also be ruled out with Iwobi-Auba- Lacazette right up there pressing.

This particularly as Laca was highly effective second half against Cardiff carving his goal from the right side.

Plenty of options.

Unai is a man who uses all the tools in the tool box (even Ozil) and effectively for most parts so good to have.

Santori
Santori

I’m leaning toward Jenkinson at Rback for us if should AMN not be passed fit.

Lichsteiner is prob more experienced but we are facing frightening pace from (Sane) and City. If Jenko can be less ambitious going forward and strictly no nonsense covering prob the slightly better option.

Mustafi, Laca and Torreira will have to be mindful and support the Rb regardless. They will come at us there.

baz00r
baz00r

Oh yeh I’m looking forward to seeing your team sheet on Sunday, oh wait yeh you don’t pick the team.

Arsenala Vista Baby
Arsenala Vista Baby

Ok let’s win and make it looks like accident

Red-Sky
Red-Sky

Jenko will hit-and-run Sane to ground.

Pkub
Pkub

Would Pep even know how to set up his team tactically against Jenko? I think not.
Our secret weapon.

HelderHughes
HelderHughes

If you took the bracketed words out which infer what he means, he would make less sense than a drunk puppy.

Scott P
Scott P

Often, bracketed words like that are used in place of pronouns or other ambiguous terms that are only clear when you hear the whole context of the press conference exchange. They aren’t just chosen randomly or to fit any narrative.

renaissancerosicky
renaissancerosicky

Man, I love this guy’s attitude.

Jelvis
Jelvis

Does anyone feel a little bit sick that city might not be champions this year?

Ronny
Ronny

I feel good actually. Better Liverpool than them team made from money.

Hector’s business partner
Hector’s business partner

Wait. Why do people prefer Coty to win the league than Liverpool?

Jelvis
Jelvis

The last time they were champions was in between us stuffing them at anfield and our nearly unbeaten side under George Graham. That’s as funny as spuds not winning since before the Beatles were famous.
Also see the Gent’s column.

Wolfgang
Wolfgang

A great opportunity? It can work both ways. Arsenal could lose by a big margin or win narrowly. Remember 8-2. Wenger was naïve to go on the attack.
If you fight a gangster you are bound to be punched blue.
Hopefully Emery being flexible tactically than wenger will flood the md.Then hit on
the break . I say cut out the passes and shoot on sight.

Gutbukkit Deffrolla
Gutbukkit Deffrolla

We may “flood” the midfield but Citeh will be scoring against us by passing the ball over and through our midfield and defence to some scarily fast forwards who jut love timing their runs to make teams with dodgy defences look f***ing stupid. How could they not when half our “goals against” are scored that way?

The other half of our conceded goal tally were all preceded by the phrase “[Arsenal player’s name] loses the ball on the edge of our area”, which suggests to me that Citeh could actually beat us by taking the ball up to 25 yards from our goal line and then simply passing the ball to any one of our defenders and waiting for the f*** up.