Arsenal v Manchester United

1 of 7
Press conference

'Bellerin is mature and can come back stronger'

The sight of Hector Bellerin being stretchered off the pitch against Chelsea was a hard one to take for everyone connected to the club.

It has since been confirmed that the Spain international will miss between six and nine months after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee.

But Unai Emery is backing Bellerin to come back stronger.

"Yes, we were sad and we are sad now after his injury," Emery said. "I think this year is very difficult for big injuries like Hector, Rob Holding and Welbeck.

"But football is like that. We need to treat these injuries like a normality in football, but we are very sad for that.

"Hector Bellerin is very mature and I think he received this injury like a football professional can take and he is already preparing to come back stronger than before."

Pre-Match Report

Arsenal v Manchester United: The Brief

Arsenal v Manchester United in the FA Cup is a fixture that evokes memories that are indelibly written into both clubs' histories.

From the sheer unadulterated joy of the 'three-minute final' in 1979, to the searing pain of that 1999 semi-final replay at Villa Park, it is a game that has consistently delivered in the world's oldest cup competition.

Now we have the inviting prospect of a Friday night heavyweight clash between an Arsenal side riding high after last week's victory against Chelsea, and a Manchester United side rejuvenated under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

It is one to get the pulses racing, and you can get in the mood for it by reading our comprehensive match preview, including Unai Emery's thoughts on the game, the latest team news, stats, and analysis of the opposition.

The Breakdown - Manchester United
Emery quote - Manchester United
Team News - Manchester United
Dangerman - Manchester United
AN Live - Manchester United


‘It was the happiest day of my life’

Dinos Mavropanos will never forget April 29, 2018.

Just three months after joining the club from PAS Giannina, the Greece Under-21 international was handed his first start, against Manchester United in the Premier League.
It was a huge test but the 21-year-old relished facing off with Romelu Lukaku at Old Trafford.
“I prepared myself well from the moment the manager announced I was going to play,” Mavropanos told Arsenal Player. “This happened on the day of the game before leaving the hotel when he told us the starting XI and I was one of them. Since hearing that, the only thing that was in my mind was to get on the pitch and do what I know best.
“Of course I was a bit anxious and stressed because it was going to be my first game with Arsenal but I coped with it. I was focused on the instructions of my manager and was very happy with my performance. I just looked at the pitch and said, ‘This is what I’ve been dreaming of all these years’. The only thing I wanted to do was enjoy it.
“I can remember the entire game, in fact, even the moments before we arrived there. For me, it was probably the happiest day I’ve had so far in my life. We conceded a goal in injury time and we were very unlucky in that moment but I think we had a good game as a team. Me individually? I think I played well.
“I’m looking forward to coming back on to the pitch [now]. I believe it will be a fresh start, but I will come back stronger and give my best efforts to join the starting XI.”


Koscielny My battle with Rashford

Laurent Koscielny is back.

After 225 days on the sidelines and seven months in injury rehabilitation, the 33-year-old returned to his best form to produce a man-of-the-match performance against Chelsea last Saturday.
Next up for Koscielny is Friday’s Emirates FA Cup clash with Manchester United, featuring a revitalised Marcus Rashford, and our captain knows he’s in for a tricky test against the in-form England striker.
“I think he’s progressed a lot,” Koscielny said. “He’s gone forward in every year and he’s getting better in his career. He’s still young and he’s still learning about the top level, and has the quality as well to progress in different parts of his game.
“I think they have a lot of good strikers at their club with Martial, Lingard, Lukaku and so on. I think their danger can come from any side. You need to be careful of everyone on the pitch.
“Their results show the difference with the new manager. After that, I don’t know what he’s changed in the squad but I think they play more together, with more freedom maybe, and you can see that with Martial or Pogba. They have more freedom on the pitch. When you play with this freedom, you have more confidence in your quality and you can show that on the pitch.
“For a football player, this is a typical game that you want to play in. Afterwards, the result is another thing, but you are very excited to play against big teams, big clubs, with lots of history in the competition. It’s very important to be focused on this.”


‘You respect them but you want to win’

Gilberto knows all about the significance of our rivalry with Manchester United.

We faced the Red Devils 19 times during the Brazilian’s six-season stay in north London, but there is one particular encounter which will always stand out.
“It has to be the day of Van Nistelrooy’s penalty [in 2003],” Gilberto told Arsenal Player. “I laugh because when you see it afterwards it’s quite funny, but of course the reaction is not something that we want from football.
“It’s not an example football players must give to the fans, especially young kids, but also you don’t send a good message around the world. When I see after I laugh because it’s crazy, but when you are there sometimes it’s hard to control your emotions and with the circumstances of the rivalry, sometimes it’s also part of the game.
“You cannot play against one of your biggest rivals thinking ‘I cannot tackle you’, no, it’s part of the game. You respect them but you want to win, it doesn’t matter where you play.
“Of course when you have a kind of fight on the pitch, it’s not nice, but considering all that happens before, I think in the end we controlled the situation. That was the most important thing.”


Light display before kick off on Friday night

Emirates Stadium

A special light display will welcome players to the pitch for our Emirates FA Cup match against Manchester United on Friday night.

We’d like to encourage supporters to take to their seats in time for the display, to help us create the best possible atmosphere ahead of the match. As a reminder, Friday’s match is a 7.55pm kick off. 
We thank all our fans for your support.
Please note: The light show may not be suitable for supporters who suffer from epilepsy.

Press conference

Emery on Man United, Bellerin, Sala: every word

Unai Emery was in relaxed mood at London Colney as he faced the media ahead of our Emirates FA Cup fourth-round clash with Manchester United.

Our head coach discussed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's impact, Laurent Koscielny and the latest on the transfer window.

Read on for a full transcript of his press conference:

on what he’s expecting from Solskjaer’s United…
Good afternoon. It’s a different team. It’s the same players but they’re playing with a big performance now. I was watching their last matches and and each player has a lot of confidence, with big performances, and now they are very dangerous. For us, it’s good because it’s a very big test for us in this competition. Manchester United and us have played 20 finals in the FA Cup, and we’ve won 13 and they’ve won 12. For this competition, it’s the best match to play. We are looking forward to playing this match on Friday because it’s at our stadium, the Emirates, in front of our supporters. We feel very well in front of them and we want to create a new atmosphere over 90 minutes on Friday, together with our supporters.

on Laurent Koscielny’s performances…
In the last matches, I think we are looking at a Koscielny with a big performance like he is used to producing. After these injuries, it's also necessary to take matches, to take confidence again and then physically, for him to be well enough to play with this level of performance. I think in the last two matches, at West Ham and against Chelsea, I think this year and after his injuries, they are the performances we want.

on Emiliano Sala and his reaction…
The first reaction is that it’s terrible. It's terrible. We are with his family and with also the supporters of Nantes and from Cardiff. If we have a small chance to find him alive, we are waiting for that news. But it's terrible to know of this accident.

on what type of player he is…
He’s a striker who fights for each ball and fights with each action in the duels and a very humble player. But he’s a player who can make big performances and this year was giving the best performances in his career. That meant he signed for Cardiff and I want to play against him, if there is a small chance that we can see him alive.

on transfers…
The club continues to work on that. It's difficult, you know, but I am working with our players and I think we need - and we can - sign some players to help after our injuries like Rob Holding, like Welbeck, like Hector Bellerin. But we can play with the players we have now and the same message is to you and every supporter, we only want to sign one or two players who can really help us with good performances. The club is working. They know our intentions, our possibilities for signing players that can help us, but they work and also with communication to us.

on Denis Suarez being left out of Barcelona’s squad…
I don't want to speak about each player. I know the club is working with different players.

on which type of player he’s looking for…
The idea is firstly to find the quality and this quality can help us. We need, if he can come here, a winger for the right or left or some players also at centre back. But now, Dinos Mavropanos is coming back after his injuries and I think I can use him in the next matches.

on whether Sven Mislintat’s departure affects our January plans…
It's a very short time that I worked with him but I worked well and pleasantly with him. I think he has big experience in Germany and here, and it's one issue in the club and the club is working on that. I can only say to you that my experience with him is positive and is good.

on whether there were any disputes between the two of them…

on Monchi…
Now, I can only say to you that he's working in Roma. I worked very well with him in Sevilla for three and a half years, and very well too. My relationship with him is good but this work is for the club and the issue is the club's responsibility. I can say to you only that he is a good person and a good professional.

on the importance of making quick appointments...
But maybe if you do this recruitment very quickly, maybe you can make a mistake. I think it's better to do without that, being calm and also finding the best possible person to do this job like we want. I think the club is working on that. It's not my issue. I can say the same: if the club decided to sign one Sporting Director, then I will agree with them.

on Koscielny saying that United have more freedom...
I don't know.

on picking up a clean sheet against Chelsea...
Yes, it was very important. It’s our challenge in every match. But I think against West Ham we can work better defensively also and we conceded one goal but we still didn't concede a lot of chances. The last two matches I think we have been better defensively. Against Manchester United against big and great players, we do the same work. We can be defensively strong and I think we need every player to defend, not only the defensive players, the attacking players can help us too. Defensively in the last match against Chelsea every player worked hard offensively and defensively with good spirit. We pressed against them and I think we can do the same on Friday and our objective on Friday is to keep another clean sheet against Manchester United.

on Hector and his determination...
Yes, we were sad and we are sad now after his injury. I think this year is very difficult for big injuries like Hector, Rob Holding and Welbeck. But football is like that. We need to treat these injuries like a normality in football, but we are very sad for that. Hector Bellerin is very mature and I think he received this injury like a football professional can take and he is already preparing to come back stronger than before.