As Arsenal prepare to take on their neighbours Tottenham Hotspur in what will be the first North-London Derby this season, Unai Emery spoke to the press to give a little preview.
The manager revealed how impressed he has been with Emile Smith Rowe and Joe Willock. The two youngsters were both on target in Arsenal’s Europa League win over Vorskla on Thursday in Kiev. They have been given a chance to train with the first team this season and they’ve taken it with both hands. The Vorskla game represented a big step in their development while their presence helped the team achieve a good result.
Emery spoke about the defence and the need for improvements in that area. He said the team have their own way of improving, and at the moment he is very happy with how the players are responding in training. He also pointed out the clean sheet against Vorskla as a sign of improvement.
The Spaniard expects every seat at the Emirates Stadium to be filled on Sunday. He expects people to contact him for a ticket, but he won’t be able to help them because there aren’t any available. The atmosphere will be good, and while every game at the Emirates is big, the Derby adds certain amount of responsibility for him towards the fans. But the game is also important in terms of points as the Gunners aim to catch up with the teams above, including Spurs.
Mauricio Pochettino said Emery is a unbelievable manager, and Emery responded by pointing out the indisputable fact that Pochettino has earned huge respect from his peers over his time in the Premier League. The relationship between them is good. He admitted there were things for him (Emery) to learn when watching Spurs play, and that their team is now one of the best in the league.
However, the boss also expressed optimism ahead of the clash, saying the only possibility for the Gunners on Sunday is to win.
It remains unclear whether Mesut Ozil will play this game. Emery only said he would be preparing for the match with every player, and he pointed out that every player is important.
The best performance possible will be imperative if Arsenal are to win, and they can be backed at 13/8 to do so.