Arsenal go head to head with Bournemouth later on today, but ahead of the game itself, Gunners boss Unai Emery took the time to speak to the media as noted by Arsenal.com.
On injuries from the Standard Liege clash:
Good afternoon, it’s a very short time to know how we are going to be with the players on Sunday. Tomorrow’s training is going to be very important because some players who played yesterday will be tired. But above all, at the beginning it’s only Lacazette who is continuing away from the team. I am waiting on the other players to be ready.
On Bellerin, Tierney and Holding:
They are three different circumstances with the injuries and with the timings. But really now they are very close for us, the closest is maybe Rob Holding. He has played two matches with us and also for the under-23s. And Kieran Tierney is the same. I think Hector Bellerin needs more time to be 100 per cent, but I think all the minutes he played yesterday were very good to achieve a rhythm and above all confidence to play when we need him in future.
On starting slowly in games:
Really it’s very difficult to play for 90 minutes with the same rhythm, with the same control and with the same possession that we want. And also to achieve a very good position on the pitch to perform the best pressing against the opposition. But yesterday I think we did that for a lot of minutes. We started with a very, very strong pace, with and without the ball, and we scored three goals in the first 20 minutes. But really we were consistent over the 90 minutes. We only scored one goal in the second half, but in the last 15 minutes we had a lot of chances to score and we pushed a lot. That spirit is good and also because we were players who didn’t play on Monday, so they were fresh, But above all I want to prepare each player to be ready for every match. If we are going to play three matches in a week, I want him in his mind to be ready for all three matches. All through the season, with a lot of important matches, it was important yesterday to add players to our spirit and our confidence with them.
On top four chances:
Our challenge in the season is to play for the opportunity to win titles. The mentality is to go to the Champions League next year, but we spoke about that one day in the dressing room and now we are working and improving our things to be stronger for the next matches. I think we are improving that, but we need more. Last year we finished outside the top four, but we were closer to them. This year we want to achieve one step more ahead.
On the state of the squad:
We’re this year also changing some or more players than the last years made here. We need some adaptation with those players and to do that squad with a strong mentality and also with the combinations with those players to achieve that confidence to progress with them. But really, I am happy above all in the last matches, with those news players and with the ideas and the style we can take and we can get to be stronger in our matches. That is our work and every day for me is one challenge to analyse our team after each match, look at how we can improve for every game, for Sunday against Bournemouth with that difficulty and really, to be consistent and progressively getting better for each match.
On needing to beat Bournemouth:
Bournemouth is not now a surprise. They are working very well, last year they played very well and I have a lot of respect for them because they deserve it. Really, for Sunday, we are now with 12 points and they are with 11 points, only one point difference and this is important. It’s a key moment against a team that are at the moment closer to us and fighting for the same position, to see how we can impose ourselves, how we can respond and how we can show our stronger moments against them. But we are with a big respect for them because they are working well, they are a very offensive team, they have good individuals and I think their coach also is improving, he has experience and he is a very good coach.
VAR is very important and it’s positive for us, for the referees and for football. I think here we are starting this season to use it and it needs some time for adaptation between the VAR and us, but I think it is going to be clearly positive for us.
Will Arsenal get the three points against Bournemouth?