Emery reveals team news ahead of Premier League opener

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In his first pre-game press conference for the Premier League, Unai Emery has provided the latest team news ahead of Sunday’s clash with Man City.

It’s a tough opener for the Spaniard and the Gunners, but there has been a fitness boost with the return of Aaron Ramsey to full training after he suffered a small calf strain during the pre-season preparations.

With Sead Kolasinac ruled out for around 2 months with a knee injury, there was also an issue with Nacho Monreal who returned from World Cup duty with a knee problem of his own. Although the Spaniard returned to full training this week, it’s too soon for him to play on Sunday and Ainsley Maitland-Niles will deputise in the back four.

Beyond that, there don’t appear to be any new issues and the only thing we’ll have to wait and see is if the new boss includes the likes of Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira who arrived back late for pre-season training.

With City set to include Belgian World Cup star Kevin de Bruyne as well as Raheem Sterling, John Stones and Kyle Walker, we’d be at a bigger disadvantage if we didn’t.

Check out today’s season preview Arsecasts – yes, two of them!

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Rossi88
Rossi88

I

Public Elneny
Public Elneny

love

Papyrus
Papyrus

Kiki

Rossi88
Rossi88

i personally just want us to be competitive with the top 3 or 4 teams, and not get dicked by 3 or 4 goals. If we can stay in these games long enough by being switched on from the start, defend as a team, not get caught out in our half with the ball and clinical when we do create we can defo get more points this year. Looking forward to the season, regardless of the city result. Just want a performance….set the tone!

gooner1981
gooner1981

Quite right, competitiveness is what we have been missing of late. If you had a 50-50 chance and lost by a wondergoal or good set piece drill, you could digest it. Not by losing pitifully though, and we have looked out of our league a bit toof often especially in the infamous round of 16s. Let’s hope we play well, compete and get a positive result on Sunday

gooner1981
gooner1981

Out of our depth rather…

Mootilated
Mootilated

What was that about them having their squad out for the WC thus being easier to play?

That didn’t last very long did it.

Stuart_Ten
Stuart_Ten

Not long at all.
This news has somewhat dented my optimism. Oh well!

Mootilated
Mootilated

This should mean that we have no excuses for not starting our players who were away at the world cup. It’s one of the biggest games of the season and a lot is resting on this opener. We have to try and field the strongest XI possible.

afan
afan

the result of this game wont have any bearing on our season

George
George

Ooh, I do love riddles.

Here’s another one: when is a fan not a fan?

Cycs
Cycs

When “he” blows hot air…hehehe

Homer
Homer

Preseason. I wouldn’t worry.
Arsenal played really well and won the community shield at the start of last season. And then went completely to hell thereafter.

Preseason means nothing. And the Community Shield is basically preseason.

A Different George
A Different George

Yeah, I was hoping we only had to face Sane and Mahrez as wingers with Aguero in the middle. Easy.

Gunner fan
Gunner fan

Nobody’s talking about who’s going to be the captain of the team… Are we having a deputy captain until December or a permanent captain for the season?

Ourchildrensworld

Completely forgot about the captaincy.
I’m guessing it’s Kos and the others will rotate.
Emery seems to put emphasis on everyone being a ‘protagonist’ and even if he’s overused that word slightly, I love the idea of 11 players stepping up, every game.

The real decisions are the centre back pairing and the midfield pairing. Mustafi and Sokratis are too similar in their strengths and weaknesses. Holding and Mavropanos are both inexperienced and risky. Making that work between now and January is key for this game and all the others to come.

Our midfield options look decent, alot of players with different attributes. One of the main reasons I cannot see us beating City is that our midfield pairings need to have a real understanding and that simply won’t have developed yet.

Ramsey and Xhaka were nowhere as good together as Cazorla and Coquelin but the first two are the players we have retained.

This proves that the system is key and working our the compatibility of our options will be important for us to control play, get the ball quickly forward and protect our defence.

Martin
Martin

Ramsey and Xhaka have never played as a midfield pairing. Now we have Torreira as a DM we can now see how it works

Merteslacker
Merteslacker

My guess would be Cech leading out the team on Sunday

Yellow Ribbon
Yellow Ribbon

Is Joel Campbell still with us?😮

Public Elneny
Public Elneny

Yeah but there’s still time to sell him to non English clubs

Goonerink

Non pl

Polderific
Polderific

He tried to leave while he could, but he couldn’t.

Chrispy
Chrispy

Glad this is the first game of season. Get this defeat out of the way and win the next 37

Gooner McGoonFace
Gooner McGoonFace

Was really hoping KDB wouldn’t be ready to go yet. Oh well, to be the best you’ve got to beat the best I suppose. COYG!

Man Manny
Man Manny

It’s one thing to play, it’s anothere to be at the peak of your powers. Our boys have been together longer in the pre-season, and it should show later in the second half.
I mean, if you are chuffing about having a great season, these are the kind of games you make a statement with. Imagine what a win on Sunday would do to the morale: absolutely insane feeling of exhilaration and belief would follow.
We have nothing to lose; the boys should go out there and give their best.
After all, the word “upset” was coined for days like this.
I am optimistic.

Hantal
Hantal

We can probably pick the starting XI from 13/14 players. The makeup of the rest of the bench will be an interesting look at the preferences within the squad that emery has

Lee
Lee

I just hope the optimism, hard work and new-ness of this team gets us through the first couple of games relatively unscathed. Man City are a really good team, I’m not expecting us to hammer them, but as long as we compete and we look like we’re going somewhere – that’s all I want.

Something in the vein of that Man Utd game away last season where our team was a mess, but we fought.

afan
afan

oh dear, niles in defence, that’s just made a hard job even harder

Barnacle
Barnacle

By the way, Who’s going to be our captain? With the series of changes at the club, hope we have a captain who plays regularly.

Mpls
Mpls

Probably one of Ozil, Ramsey, or Xhaka.
If it turned out to be Cech would that be an indicator of GK preferences?

Skinnyarse
Skinnyarse

I would play the late comers
If they play theirs, why can’t we?

420Goonerblayzeit
420Goonerblayzeit

Agreed, these first 2 games are very important to set the tone of the season. 2 defeats, or one defeat and a draw simply isn’t good enough. Not if we have top 4/title challenge aspirations. If players are iffy fitness wise then you can rest them for 3rd and 4th games. But we have to meet City strength against strength.

Yagaru
Yagaru

Just hope we don’t get dicked.

Homer
Homer

Have a rec for that comment.
Not totally sure what you mean, but I kinda know what you mean!

Jack
Jack

Front three of Auba, Laca and Mkhi I reckon, with Ozil, Elneny and Xhaka in midfield.

PeteyB
PeteyB

I feel that both auba and laca will not start. Emery has a history of being cautius in big games so I’d be surprised to see such an attacking group… that said were a bit short of left sided defensive options!

Mpls
Mpls

Formation will be a big question. If 4-3-3 one wonders if he’d prefer to have a little more defensive assistance for AMN on the left. Auba has shown he’s up for working hard when asked but not so sure that’s his best use.

I’d be tempted to start Auba up top to keep them honest, and later either sub him for Laca, or add Laca as the situation dictates.

Anonymarse
Anonymarse

For me it would be better to leave out one of Ozil or Mkhi. Laca and Auba link up well and we will likely be playing on the break.

afan
afan

he must drop ozil

Martin
Martin

Afan we know you don’t like our most creative player. Gals you don’t have to chose the te

Martin
Martin

Glad not gals

Mpls
Mpls

I’ve always thought Ozil is our best outlet on the counter.

afan
afan

ha, were a bit short all over our defence

VAgooner
VAgooner

don’t ask me why, but i have a sneaky suspicion we’re going to see torreira

Martin
Martin

Why wouldn’t he start?

Gunner fan
Gunner fan

If Welbeck is fit Emery might play him from the left to help the defence from the left… Welbeck on his day can be effective defensively and deadly going forward, always short in his finishing in front of goal though…

Viv
Viv

Just don’t concede
Point in the bag and we are good

santori
santori

……………………………..Auba………………………………
Iwobi……………………Ozil……………………………..Mhki
……………Guendouzi…………Torreira…………………….
AMN………….Papas………………Mustafi………….Bellerin
………………………….Cech………………………………….

IMHO.

Auba to put pressure high up against their Cbacks and capitalise with his speed on turnovers and mistakes up near their box or hit on the break.

Iwobi wide left to help cover AMN but also bc against Chelsea both AMN/Iwobi seem to have an innate understanding going forward and Iwobi is about the quickest we have to a wide player (save Nelson on the right) which will help Auba on the break.

Ozil. Ramsey isn’t quite ready. The German will have to be at his best to help Auba and the wide players put pressure and drop to orchestrate or release players on the break.

Mhki over Nelson (albeit Nelson maybe later in second half). Mhki has been good pre-season and can add his innate understanding with Auba from the right. He will also be good diligent insurance covering Bellerin against Sane. BUT he may tire and the young Nelson could be useful later on.

Guendouzi over Granit. I just think this is going to be a very mobile game and the Swiss could get caught out playing a link role. Guendouzi still has some rough edges and has to be very careful playing out from the back but he will have the better energy and his passing is a s good as Xhaka’s from deep. I think he’s done enough to warrant a selection against City. Granit could feature later should Guendouzi struggle or just to help shut shop.

Torreira. I don’t see anyone with enough discipline and bite. We will need him to positionally cover runs into the box and the three quarter areas. We paid good money for him so may as well start him.

AMN. No brainer here. He will have to be careful with either Sterling or Mahrez and will have a busy day. How he works with Iwobi further forward is key. Guendouzi should also be available to support.

Bellerin just gets the nod for me over Lichsteiner but I’m 50-50 on this one. The Swiss may be a bit less impulsive. BUT Bellerin has the pace to keep up with Sane.

Mustafi – He leads the teamsin intercepts. Prone to one rash moment every game but others are hardly better. He should start.

Papas No pace but maybe we need the experience over Holding or Mavropanos for this one. Not ideal but it depends how he and Mustafi cover. Watch that high line. There isn’t so much height in the City attack so not so worried about aerial threat.

Cech. Its on the onus of Leno or Martinez to displace him and this is a big game which will benefit from the Czech’s greater experience in the PL.

IMHO.

Of course the gaffer may have other better solutions. Will be interesting to say the least.

Viv
Viv

Great analysis,

I think laca will start at cf ,auba to rw,xhaka for guendouzi
There is a small matter of showing our might ,this match – the new era thing,so I think we will try to show ourselves big

Courtney Waite
Courtney Waite

interesting discussion ……ramsey for iwobi..leno for cech…..ramsey is a ball handler,,,,,can help out in the middle,,he is goal hungry and a box to box midf……leno is sharper,,,cech have experience but plays off his line toomuch…..i hope arsenal buy a pacy defen,,,papas n musty too slow

santori
santori

Thanks.

I will be most worried about the highline against City with this one.

I don’t know how Emery will set it up.

It will be interesting. Our Cbacks as usual are key but those around them also need to protect them more.

We work to their strength in their experience but I think we will have to be very careful with City’ speed on the transition. Which is probably why 2 in midfield will be more secure for us.

I don’t know we have deficiencies but we’ve produced results before with seemingly weaker assets.

Remember Flamini and Ramsey presided over a good run with wins against City AND a high pressure match in Athens against Olympiakos.

We were out of some of our main assets then with Alexis out etc but we got it done when people said we would fail.

Focus and discipline is key. If we try to match City, we will be beat.

Stay solid, compact and like a wound spring hit them on the break with their own game.

There’s a role for Lacazette later as well I think if we switch Aubameyang to left side when the fullbacks tire.

The exciting team about Emery is he isn’t allergic to switching the team within the game so he will react to weaknesses that come up both with our own team and with City.

Will be a real interesting game and since we are already predicted not to win, we have nothing to lose.

Stephen
Stephen

How are we starting the season with Mustafi?

He was the single player that everyone agreed must go in the summer. Maybe it’s jitters, but I started the summer with confidence and now I’m nervous. We all assumed that Emery was focusing on defense, but he never actually solved the issue at the center of the wall.

It very much feels like when we started Squillaci and we all knew there’d be ill-timed howlers every game. I really want Mustafi to prove us wrong, that would be great – but there were times in pre-season where familiar patterns emerged. All that firepower up front counts for nothing if we can’t get the ball out of our end.