Emery wary of old allies Gracia and Deulofeu

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Unai Emery says he expects Watford to demand a lot from Arsenal on Monday as he goes head-to-head with former teammate Javi Gracia.

The two Spaniards played together for a year at Real Sociedad in the mid-90s and have stayed in touch ever since, crossing swords as managers on numerous occasions in La Liga.

The Hornets have enjoyed a solid campaign in the Premier League – they currently sit tenth in the table – and last weekend beat Wolves to reach the FA Cup final.

Given Arsenal’s poor form away from home, Emery knows his players have their work cut out if they’re to take the three points.

“I know Javi Gracia and above all his teams are very organised with a big commitment to helping each other,” he told his pre-game press conference.

“They are very difficult teams to battle because defensively they are very strong and this is now at Watford.

“They are a very organised team, with a big capacity offensively because they create a good movement and a good idea, a good style to take that.

“They are going to demand a lot from us on Monday but it is a good match and I appreciate it a lot, and I want to play matches against Javi Gracia and Watford because I think they are doing a big season.”

Emery also faces a reunion with Gerard Deulofeu, a player he had on loan at Sevilla. The 25-year-old midfielder grabbed the headlines on Sunday when he came off the bench to bag a brace.

Given his form, he’s likely to be a big threat for the home side and he may well have a point to prove; Emery once called into question his ‘maturity and capability for sacrifice’. 

“He is playing also now very well,” said Emery. “He made the difference last week against Wolves in the FA Cup semi-final, with an amazing two goals.

“I like this player a lot. I think Javi Gracia is doing big work with him and he is showing now a big performance and also I think Watford supporters are enjoying him.

“He played at Milan, he played at Barcelona, he played at Sevilla, he needs his process also and he is finding a good team, a good atmosphere, a good coach with him [who is] developing him. His career continues in this process to improve and to grow up.”

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Wetdog
Wetdog

I like Emery.
He’s big!! He’s good!!

Ram
Ram

Tomorrow’s win against Watford confirms Arsenal’s champions league qualification.

Kwame Ampadu Down
Kwame Ampadu Down

I wouldn’t go that far but with Chelsea losing today, the Totts at Man City next week, Chelsea v Man Utd & the Manchester derby still to come it would put us in a really strong position. Another away loss though & hard.to see us getting enough wins in the remaining games. It is a HUGE game. Come on u Reds.

Ram
Ram

So many dislikes👎🤔… They (dislikers) didn’t understand what I have said… A win against Watford means out of remaining 3 away games and 2 home games we can get at least 10 points + win against Watford 3 points = 13 points from these 6 games

So 63+13=76 points, I think that’s enough to secure us champions league place. May even goal difference will matter if Chelsea or MANU get same points, in that case Arsenal will be superior.

COYG… I hate dislikers

Goonereality
Goonereality

Not haters, just a tad more realistic…?

Goonereality
Goonereality

Given we have the worst away record of any top six team, and are one of only two teams across all four divisions not to have kept an away clean sheet, there’s a lot to get right, very quickly, against Watford.

Ram
Ram

Totally agreed

Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts

Watford have lost 3 out of the last 4. It’s an away game but not much more than a bus ride and hardly in a scary arena? Let’s do this! 🙂

Goonereality
Goonereality

If we were half decent away from home, you’d be right, but we’re not, so far anyway. I really hope we can win tonight but most of us have been saying that about our away games since November – when we last won one. The key question for our the run-in is: if the players can’t do it now, for themselves, for Emery and for Arsenal, when will they? We’ll see whether they can over the coming games. Fingers crossed.

Chiza
Chiza

Emery will go after deulofeu next season…it looks that way already

Tungor_Adams
Tungor_Adams

A big big win is required tonight, 3 points and we are in a very very competive position to with our big performances make very big money, to but very competitive and big players

Goonereality
Goonereality

Didn’t we all say the same thing about prior the Everton game? It’s probably going to very tricky to get much from the Watford game tonight. We’ve a good recent record there, except for last season, but it was the same at Everton. Possibly Watford will have an eye on the FA Cup, but we’re so bad away from home – no win since November, worst record in top six, no clean sheets etc. – that we can’t rely upon that. Several Arsenal players have been very positive in the media but what counts is what they do on the pitch, not what they say to journalists (if only!). So far, there’s nothing to suggest that our performances away from The Emirates are improving enough to take maximum points anywhere away from The Emirates. That has to change now, tonight, or we can kiss a top four place goodbye.

Santori
Santori

Deulofeo I mentioned last summer one of the potentials we could have attempted to secure.

Today’s performance once again stark highlight of the need for a Rwinger.

All the productivity from the left even if Iwobi was not making all the right decisions (nor were others)

But Mhkitaryan (but for a few moments) largely anonymous plus awful shooting and passes.

We should have got Mahrez last summer instead Mslintat boxed us into a corner with United and Raiolla.

Last summer there were a number of options to address the situation- David Neres at Ajax for instance or Hirving Lozano at PSV. I even mentioned wild card Belgian in Chinese league.

Deulofeo was another potential for us a dark horse to say the least but one with requisite skills (if not consistency) which might have been coaxed into better asset for us by fellow Spaniard Unai.

Instead, Mslintat did not address this issue.

And we sent Nelson out on loan. Hardly the gaffers decision since he was only getting to know the squad at that point.

Hopefully this summer we get Nelson into squad because we lack players who can take on and beat their men either for pace or trickery. Iwobi provides some of this on Lwing. Arguably even with Nelson in, we could well do with one more winger PLUS in midfield Torreira is hardly Santi Carzola.

We need a player there who can receive the ball with back to goal with eyes in the back of his head and who can turn on a dime, retain the ball for us.

But Rwing decidedly lacking for a LONG time now.