Arsenal play away to Newcastle United on Saturday afternoon, and as usual, manager Unai Emery held a press conference yesterday where spoke about the upcoming game, but he also addressed a few issues which could go under the ‘general current affairs’ category.
Return from international duty
The manager revealed that four players – Granit Xhaka, Stephan Lichsteiner, Danny Welbeck and Sokratis Papastathopoulos had only just returned to camp and that they need to work now to prepare for Saturday, having played for their national teams as recently as Tuesday.
Emery pointed out the obvious, saying that the main goal is to win the game, and added that it’s very important that the last game (against Cardiff) resulted with a victory. It is important to continue to create the idea, to continue developing spirit, both as a team and individually. All these things are just parts of a single process.
It will be important for the team to impose that spirit and personality over the opposition on Saturday in order to find a way to win.
Every player who is a part of an international team has to work very hard during international breaks, defend his identity in another scenery, and that is now out of the way when Mesut Ozil is concerned. He was focused during training practices and then enjoyed three days off at the weekend. Emery is now looking at a player fully focused on Arsenal. Maybe it felt different for Ozil not to be a part of the Germany team the first time, but working at the club has made things easier for him and he is now completely happy.
Emery revealed that his relationship with the attacking midfielder is very good. They work together nicely and the manager is trying to push the player forward professionally, with the goal being Ozil producing his best on the pitch.
The manager was asked about the frequent reports that Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis is on his way to AC Milan. His answer did little to satisfy the hunger of the press as he said he speaks with Gazidis only about Arsenal and the things they still do together here. As for the CEO’s future, he said it was a question for Gazidis himself.
A deal for Monreal?
Emery says he knew Nacho Monreal back in Spain in his Osasuna and Malaga days, and that this Monreal here is a different player. He is now 32, but in terms of physicality he is still able to play at the top level. The manager believes the club need to agree a new deal for the left back.
Aubameyang and Lacazette together?
The former Sevilla and PSG coach was very elusive in his answer to this question. Instead of a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, he simply stated he expects every player to be committed to the cause and be ready to help the team, whether it’s for one minute, half an hour, half of the game or the entire 90 minutes.
Arsenal can be backed at 10/11 to win at St. James Park on Saturday.