EPL

Emery wants Arsenal to play on the front foot

By Sports Desk August 10, 2018

New Arsenal head coach Unai Emery says organisation will be key as the Gunners look to control matches in the Premier League this season.

Emery is attempting to impose his own style on a club that has been under the stewardship of Arsene Wenger for two decades and faces his first test when Manchester City visit Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

And the former Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla coach has stressed the importance of Arsenal being on the front foot.

"Our style with the ball is to be protagonists, to do things with combinations, to control the match with the positioning of the ball," he told Sky Sports. "And then when we have the space, to be aggressive going forward.

"Defensively: first it is to be organised, recover the ball quickly. But in these two moments in the match we need to work.

"To say it here is easier than doing it on the pitch. We also need time, but now I am happy because I think the players are improving.

"We need two things: quality players, which we have, and then organisation. Together I think we can improve, to win in our way. I repeat: organised, then play.

"When we are thinking in an attacking moment, I want the goalkeeper thinking for that, he is the first.

"The same when we are thinking defensively, I want our strikers to be thinking: 'We need to protect the goalkeepers.' I want those two moments to feel the same for all players.

"Each player has this quality, this characteristic to help the team as a collective. For me, that is very important."

Emery's ultimate goal is to win the Premier League, but he wants to see his players do it in style.

"The aim for the club is to arrive as champions, play for titles," he added. "But for me, I want to enjoy the way [we do it].

"I want the players and supporters to feel that together, and also enjoy each match, each moment in our stadium, and in this way the team transmits to the supporters the passion."

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    Aguero has not featured since City's 2-2 draw with Lyon last month, missing the past four matches in all competitions with an abductor problem.

    De Bruyne was named player of the year for the Premier League champions last season but has barely been involved this time around on account of two medial knee ligament injuries.

    Pep Guardiola's squad was stretched by a number of fitness issues ahead of Wednesday's 2-1 Champions League win over Hoffenheim but he told a news conference to preview the Everton match that two of his star men might be ready to return.

    "He did the last two training sessions with the team. He has no pain with his injury." Guardiola said of Aguero, 

    "After we are going to decide. Kevin is the same case as Sergio. Yesterday he trained, he trained quite well. We will see."

    Key midfielders David Silva and Fernandinho sat out the Hoffenheim match, with full-backs Benjamin Mendy and Danilo also sidelined.

    The latter's absence in midweek saw John Stones deployed at full-back but the England defender made way at half-time with a knee complaint, meaning he is a doubt to face his former club.

    "Yesterday he was in treatment, today he is training," Guardiola explained.

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    This cluster of injury concerns at a busy time of the season will not be enough, however, to persuade Guardiola to stray from his previously stated intentions for the January transfer window.

    "No, no, no. We are not going to sign anyone," he insisted.

    City are back in Premier League action for the first time since Chelsea handed them the maiden defeat of their title defence last weekend.

    "Last season one of the secrets was that, after we dropped points, immediately we were able to make another big run winning games," Guardiola recalled.

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    "The Christmas time is here. It is the toughest part of the season in terms of the opponents, results and so on. We must try to keep focused."

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