Arsenal may have spent the big money on new signings but none of them made Unai Emery’s starting lineup for our opening game of the season at Newcastle.
While Nicolas Pepe, Dani Ceballos and Gabriel Martinelli did make their debuts in the second half, the boss was keen to explain why he felt they and David Luiz, who spent the whole game on the bench, weren’t ready to play from the off.
“David Luiz did pre-season with another team and he is okay to play physically but he only trained completely with us yesterday. On Friday he did 30 minutes with us.
“I was thinking to give them confidence to work together because they were working well together, Sokratis and Chambers.
“Nicolas Pepe came one week ago and physically he needs to get his best fitness to be ready to play 100 per cent for 90 minutes. I think that today 20 minutes is good for him.
“And Ceballos is in the middle because he came before Pepe but he got an injury and he stopped training. But he needs to know the Premier League, so today was important for him and for us.
“I also used Reiss Nelson and Willock because they deserved to be with us and to give them confidence can help us. It’s the same with Martinelli, he played the last 10 minutes because he deserved it.”
Nelson, who started on the left flank, and Willock, who played in the centre of midfield, both acquitted themselves well on a wet and windy afternoon on Tyneside. While their respective games were far from spotless, they’ll no doubt take lots from the occasion.
“They are young, they need to get confidence, to get experience,” said Emery.
“But we need to be winning. We are helping them but pushing them and our demand is a very big demand.
“They need to do one process and sometimes it’s playing like today and sometimes it’s maybe starting in the bench. But above all, they are going to be with us.”