Unai Emery gives his thoughts on Liverpool v Arsenal game and much more

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has been talking about the upcoming game against Liverpool on Saturday and has dropped a few little hints.

Emery disclosed that new signing Nicolas Pepe is very likely to get more minutes than the 45 he enjoyed against Burnley which could be interpreted that the Arsenal record signing will be on at the start.

He talked about Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka and whether they will be fit to play as well as the sort of tactics he may employ and what sort of game he is expecting.

But the boss did not just discuss the game, he also touched on VAR and whether Matteo Guendouzi will be offered a new contract.

Another subject Emery was asked about was abuse on social media and whether it is currently having a positive or negative effect.

There were no surprising disclosures, managers do not tend to do that in the pre-match press conferences but there is enough there for one to read between the lines and draw their own conclusion.

This is the full transcript of the press conference.

on whether this weekend’s game will show where the team is at…
Good afternoon, it’s a big challenge. Each match is a big challenge and each match is for us to prepare best as possible. The idea is to continue creating in our way and style. We need to be strong and also we can recover some players to be fit. I think we are closer to achieving everyone being ready to play, but we need some more time. For Saturday we are in a good spirit and our players are ready to play with big ambition to do something important.

on if his team will need to be more reserved at Anfield…
It’s a big stadium with a big atmosphere and I want to play every match in our amazing stadium with our amazing supporters in our home. But we need to play away and face big teams with big supporters. I think the motivation for us is very big on Saturday. We are going to have some Arsenal supporters helping us and it’s a big challenge. It’s going to be a different game to Burnley because the team is different. They are going to demand different tactical issues, but we want to play and show how we are now. It’s a big test to show their capacity and our capacity.

on Xhaka and Ozil’s availability…
Tomorrow is the last training and we are going to decide tomorrow. Today they trained, but really, I need tomorrow to have the last training, to be really sure how we can be better there. I know some players need to be fit and to improve 100 per cent to be in their best fitness. But tomorrow is the day. Really I am positive with some players for Saturday but I don’t want to decide today or to say to you today how we are because tomorrow can change.

on if Mesut is back from illness…
I think he needs to be fit and also he is training as normal with the team. I think this is the first way to achieve that fitness. After that, to help us with his capacity.

on what we will learn this weekend about the team…
We really are in a very good position but we only played two matches in the Premier League. We are going to play 38 in total, so really to be in this moment with the possibility on Saturday to achieve first position is amazing and a really big possibility. We know it’s only the beginning but we can be positive and optimistic for that match and wishing to show our moment against them, but knowing that it is going to be difficult but it is a very big challenge and a very big opportunity for us to do something.

on how he makes sure what happened last season doesn’t happen again…
Each match, each moment, each season is different. We can use last year, two years ago, three years ago, four years ago. But really it’s about our moment and this moment. Anfield is a big atmosphere with their supporters, they are a very good team and they advantage for us in their progress and in the last years. In Anfield they have one step more in feeling strong, but it’s not for us, it’s for all. We need to take our best performance and to go there with a good feeling and also thinking we can achieve that performance individually and collectively to be strong and to have our chances. We are looking forward to going there and showing that.

on whether Matteo Guendouzi will sign a new deal and how impressed he has been by him…
We have a lot of young players and they can develop a lot. We are going to help them, to push them and also they need to break different levels and achieve individually in their performance. We are here to help them and give them chances. Matteo is very young but he has talent and his talent is also to adapt to what we need or what is needed in the Premier League. It’s also to be physically strong. We are working tactically and individually to improve, we are working with him on the videos and on the pitch and we are speaking to him because it’s a big challenge for me, for our coaches and for him to achieve a big level here. He is in this process. Last year, for me he was very good in his process but he missed a lot to achieve in his career the big performances and big moments for him and to help us. But really I am very, very optimistic with him because he has this talent and I think we can also improve him on other things, like physically we are working with him in the gym, and mentally. He’s a young player with potential who can now help us to achieve the best performances.

on issues of abuse on social media…
I have them because it’s important to be closer to the supporters and the people, to give them information, individual and collective, from me and from the club, to be closer to them. The [social media] is you – [if you can’t] control it if you don’t use it positively, it can be negative. I only use it when I think it can give me some good information or help me in some opinion. But really, when people cannot control the social media, it’s not positive for us.

on VAR…
For me, VAR is positive. It’s coming to help us, to help the referees and to be fair in different circumstances in one game. After this, I think it’s also right to think to not stop the intensity and the rhythm in the matches and not to stop for a lot of minutes. At the moment, sometimes it’s going to be positive for us, sometimes it’s going to be negative. But really, now, in my mind, it’s positive for everybody, for every team and for the Premier League to help them. Sometimes it’s helping us, sometimes it’s not helping us, but it’s fair.

on Nicolas Pepe…
The most important thing is, like a person, to help him and his family to feel comfortable here. Now he is three weeks into working here with us. He didn’t do the pre-season here but he’s progressively feeling better. For example, in the first match, he played 15 minutes in Newcastle, then he played 45 minutes against Burnley. I think his individual performances are progressively getting better. For Saturday, he is maybe ready to have more minutes. I am going to decide tomorrow, but really his progress has been positive and has been good for the team and for him. The most important piece of the adaptation is to help him to feel easy and be comfortable with us.


  1. Guendouzi deserves a new contract. At a very young age (just 20) he has played remarkably well for his age and has several years to improve. I hope he stays for years to come

    1. I hope Arsenal wait till the end of this season

      If the players can bring Arsenal back to the CL, then Arsenal can reward them with new contracts

    2. This boy is good i think awarding him with a new contract will give him morale and he will know that the club has hope and confident in him,he will work harder

      1. I agree Henry..I think they need to get him in the weight room asap..once his upper body gets stronger and he puts on a out 10-15 lbs he will be a force to be reckoned with

  2. If I were Emery, I would start the game with the young midfielders that won the Burnley game

    Better gamble with Ceballos, Willock and Guendouzi, because Xhaka/ Ozil have been tried several times at Anfield and they always failed there

    Ceballos, Willock and Guendouzi are better technically than our old midfielders, hence I expect them to handle Wijnaldum, Henderson and Fabinho

    1. I’d go with Torreira over Wilock due to lack of experience. Guendouzi lacks experience but has more than Wilock

      My central midfielders would be Torreira, Guendouzi and Ceballos
      With Pepe, Aubameyang and Lacazette in front.

      Something Like


      Niles.. Luiz..Sokratis.. Monreal

      …Torreira….. Guendouzi


          1. Sean.. Sok does worry me.. especially now VAR has come in.. as we all know he’s partial to the odd wrestling move.. having said that, I’m sorry but I’m still not sold on Chambers.. but no, I don’t think you’re alone in that way of thinking!

      1. You got it right, but Guendouzi needs to be strong at times, he’s very weak that’s one of the major problems i have with him. Liverpool mildfield is a bit physical for him.

      2. I perfectly concur with your lineup Innit. Toreira if fit would be OK with Guendousi and Cebalos. Wilock will be another good option in place of Toreria bcos he can fight for ball. But someday, I would want to see Ozil and Cebalos together.?

    1. Well seeing as he only played about 10 minutes against Burnley, probably not..but you never know with that little beast, he might surprise us!!

  3. What I got from this interview, was the way UE seems to be much more comfortable in his squad of players and what they can do.

    He said that they is working with each individual, both in terms of fitness, physique and skill levels, not just Guendouzi.

    I also feel that we won’t see Ozil against pool, because of what he said regarding match fitness, but Xhaka seemed to be more of a choice regarding availability.
    My opinion is that he will rotate and use his squad on a regular basis, making it impossible for others (even the fans) to guess his first eleven each game.

    I love the way he must have sown doubt into klopp regarding the team, formation, tactics etc, this coach is certainly “talking the talk” and I believe that, if (that’s the big question) we can silence the crowd and not concede early on, we will come away undefeated – meaning we can then “walk the walk”.

    The squad of players he now has is looking awesome and when all are fully fit, a match for anyone in my opinion.
    pool are the first test for UE, the players and us, the fans.

  4. I would play three at the back and stick to those who are match fit and exprienced. So my formation would be something like:
    Niles Chambers Luiz Sokratis Monreal
    Matteo G. Ceballos
    Willock(pepe on the rightwing)
    Lacazette Auba

    1. I predict he’s going to use the same line up as yours, I just don’t want to see nelson start because the boy offers nothing am also scared of Niles against mane.

  5. But in that game,we need some physicality in the middle of the park,so prefer xhaka to start ahead of willock

  6. If Torreria who has not been playing regularly since the season begun is suddenly started for Liverpool, it could backfire in the Arsenal midfield trio that have established rhymes and cohesion in the Arsenal midfield that are seemingly now being forged together by Guandouzi, Ceballos and Willock. But Martin Kewon, the ex Arsenal Gunner and erstwhile defence coach to Arsene Wenger has preferred to see Torreria start the match alongside Guandouzi and Ceballos in the Arsenal midfield against Liverpool on Saturday in the PL at Anfield. But would Torreria starting not cause a disruption to Arsenal midfield rhymes and cohesion that have already been forged together? Personally, I prefer to see Emery start the trio midfielders of Guandouzi, Ceballos and Willock for the match who all played very well against Burnley at the Ems last week in the PL and contributed immensely towards Arsenal winning the match.

    I did not have Pepe starting the Liverpool away match in the PL for Arsenal on Saturday in my Arsenal starting lineup for the match that I posted on this website yesterday in my comment posting. But since from all indications, Emery could have him start the match if his view on him in his press conference today is considered. Therefore, I have to do some changes to my Arsenal match playing formation and the Arsenal starting XI and bench for the match.

    My exclusive reviewed Arsenal 4231 playing formation and starting XI Gunners and the 7 Gunners on the bench I have for the Liverpool match are as below.

    AMN Luiz Sokratis Monreal;
    Guandouzi Willock;
    Pepe Ceballos Aubameyang;

    Martinez Chambers Kolasinac Torreria Mkhitaryan Martinelli Nelson.

    If the popular opinions of the Gooners are to be reckoned with, then Emery should not start Nelson for the Liverpool match as a starter but start him from the bench. And even if Ozil and Xhaka, the Arsenal captain have both recovered to play in the Liverpool game, Emery should keep them waiting to start in the Spurs game at the Ems next week or have them play in it.

  7. It is even now quite frustrating to listen to UE. His English is still poor and it is difficult to take much that is specific from his rambling. I do not blame him for being difficult to understand but merely say I could take very little from this mess of words that meant very much at all.

    More important though and by far, is the faith I retain in him as a manager. He may not yet be much good at English but his vague English masks a fine and keen brain . Irrespective of the Anfield result, which I expect to be a disappointing one for us, our team’s future looks to be in good hands. If only we had an owner who matched his talent, his dedication and his passion. Sigh!

      1. jon, I think his English is progressing well, considering the level he started at. After all Emery speaks Spanish, Basque and French, so how many of us can communicate in four languages?

  8. Sean, that’s what Jon was getting at …He didn’t even mention the kronkies or shirt sales did he?

    1. @Ken1945-Stip being naughty.Its all one big love-in from now on when on this site!!!!
      Yeah-like that will last long

      1. Phil, your typing error makes you sound like that guy from “allo allo” so when are you going to produce your article about arsulo whiner with the bigbobbies you keep threatening us with?

  9. Why can’t we start Torrera, Xhaka, Ceballos in midfield and Laka, Auba, Pepe on top as well as Nile, Luis and Moreal in defence while Leno in goal

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs