Bournemouth v Arsenal

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Press conference

How will Emery ease Koscielny back into action?

After six months on the sidelines, Laurent Koscielny is nearing his return to the Arsenal team - but how will he be reintegrated into the side?

Unai Emery says our captain, who picked up a serious Achilles injury back in May, will be eased back into action over the coming weeks.

“He started to train with us, every day, one month ago,” our head coach said. “The process with him in this international break is to finish training with us every day to start playing, little by little.

“First, our idea is to start with the under-23s, but also, these two weeks training with us, I am looking at him. He is well, with good performances, good feeling and I think he, today, is close to also playing with us. 

“But the first idea is, and maybe on Monday, he can play with the under-23s. We are going to decide tomorrow the plan with him, but we are thinking for him to start to take minutes.”

Pre-Match Report

Bournemouth v Arsenal: The Brief

When you're 16 matches unbeaten, any brief pause in proceedings can feel frustrating, but the two-week hiatus for the last international break of the year has felt interminable.

Thankfully it's at an end, and as far as these things go, it all went very well from our perspective. Importantly, there were no new knocks picked up, while our players shone for their respective national teams.

Unai Emery could be forgiven for breathing a sigh of relief, but now the hard work begins all over again as we gear up for a hectic point of the season heading into Christmas and the New Year.

An away trip to the Vitality Stadium is a tough place to begin this run, and our head coach says he expects Bournemouth to demand a lot from us due to the "joy" that they play with.

Our task is to snuff that out and leave the south coast with the three points before a testing trip to the Ukraine, followed by a north London derby then a meeting with Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Read on for a comprehensive match preview, Emery's thoughts on the game, the latest team news, stats, and analysis of the opposition.

The Breakdown - Bournemouth
Emery quote - Bournemouth
Team News - Bournemouth
The Dangerman - Bournemouth
AN Live - Bournemouth


First-team squad gear up for Premier League return

Koscielny, Aubameyang, Lacazette and Guendouzi in training

The Premier League finally returns when we visit Bournemouth on Sunday lunchtime.

Our first-team squad continued to finalise their preparations for the game with a training session at London Colney on Saturday - and our club photographer sent back these pictures.


'We want Arsenal to convey energy and hunger'

With an unbeaten record stretching back 16 games, the Unai Emery era has started in very positive fashion.

But what is it that our head coach wants to achieve this season?

"The Premier League is our priority, and our objective in terms of the table is to finish in the top four," Emery said. "The club wants to return to Europe’s top club competition which is the Champions League, and we have two opportunities by which to do that - one is the Premier League, and the other is the Europa League, because obviously you qualify by winning that competition. Both are very difficult but we want to ensure we perform the best we can on both fronts.

"At the same time, every competition where there’s a title up for grabs is important and that counts for the two domestic cup competitions as well.

"We have a third objective however and that is that we want to garner feedback and create a connection with the fans. We want the team to transmit things.

"We want it to convey energy, desire about winning and also a sense of solidity. And within that we want to see individual footballers growing and developing. We want to create that kind of atmosphere so it’s about both how we finish in the table and also in terms of creating a team both individually and collectively that has motivation.

"We want Arsenal to convey energy and hunger."

Team news

Team news: Monreal, Lichtsteiner, Koscielny

Stephan Lichtsteiner

We're back in Premier League action on Sunday when we travel to the south coast to take on Bournemouth.

Ahead of the game, here is the latest team news update from our medical team:
Stephan Lichtsteiner
Right hamstring. Being assessed ahead of Bournemouth (a) on Sunday, November 25.
Nacho Monreal
Right hamstring. Expected to return to full training in two weeks.
Laurent Koscielny
Right Achilles. Currently being integrated back into full training.
Dinos Mavropanos
Groin injury. Expected to return to full training in December.
Danny Welbeck
Right ankle. Recovering after surgery.

Press conference

Emery press conference: every last word

Unai Emery held one of his lengthiest press conferences yet on Friday at London Colney.

Our head coach was asked about a range of subjects ahead of this weekend’s game against Bournemouth, and you can read every word of it below:

on his focus on returning to winning again…
Good afternoon. Yes, after the international break of two weeks, the last match here was a draw against Wolverhampton. We are okay, 16 matches where we haven't lost, but also, in the last three matches we've drawn. This is two situations. Our ambition is to take another victory, but we know it is very difficult in each match. We need to feel, to prepare for a big match on Sunday in Bournemouth.

on Bournemouth and what he thinks of them…
Now they are behind us by four points and we are playing there on Sunday. I think they are a good team, a young coach but a very good coach with his small experience but very big experience. I know Bournemouth and they are a very prepared team with tactically good movement on the pitch and with a big intensity with each player and when they are playing there, we know it is very difficult. But we need to prepare well, we need every player with a big mentality to fight strongly there against them, with our quality but above all, with a big intensity and a big mentality in the 90 minutes.

on the team news...
Today, we trained this morning with the players and they are okay. Only Danny Welbeck's injury. It is a big injury and Nacho Monreal is not okay for Sunday. Laurent Koscielny is close to start with the group and start, little by little, taking minutes. That is good news. I forget also, Stephan Lichtsteiner is beginning to train with us but he is maybe not okay for Sunday.

on the team before he took charge…
I spoke about one situation. It's two years where we lost to play in the Champions League and this is the first thing we want to recover. But we know also that now the Premier League is with a big level, with big teams and big demands for us. But our first idea is to recover our position in Europe and to play in the Champions League. We are conscious now that it will be difficult.

on if things didn't change whether it would've got worse...
I didn't say that. I said when I arrived here, with my characteristics and also with my personality, I changed things normally because I learned with an important Spanish coach in Deportivo La Coruna, Javi Irrureta, he said to me that when I need to change something, it is for change and thinking is better. But above all, it's my characteristic as a coach, my methodology for work every day, in each match and also with the players. I give them my energy, my spirit, my experience as a coach and a player. Here, they did a lot of things positive and in the past important, and then, I help them with my experience, my new ideas, but above all in football there is one idea, like this team has and had in the past and to create a new future, but a new future with good things in the past and good things I can help them and help us.

on his thoughts on Rob Holding...
I think in the pre-season, every player had chances to show us how they can play and little by little, with his work every day, I think Rob Holding is improving, he is taking confidence nada with confidence he is his best player. He is helping us like we want, but I say it with every player, we want every player to be okay, to be with good spirit in training, because his chances are coming in the matches and now, Koscielny also, is working with us every day and he is close to play in the next matches. Sokratis is working better every day also, I think his adaptation is better now than in the first two months. We need every player and Rob Holding for us is also very important with his spirit, with his commitment with us and with every player.

on Holding staying...
Yes, because in the pre-season we also had Mavropanos - but he is injured now - we had also Chambers and we decided to let him go on loan to Fulham and we decided that Rob Holding stayed here. But in the pre-season, every decision was looking at the matches with the players and finding the best performance in this moment. I think Rob Holding, we decided for him to stay here and when he had chances, he played well and he helped us with big performances. Every match is a test, another test for Rob to do that.

on whether he is surprised by Bournemouth's performances...
Watching their matches, I am not surprised. They are a very organised team, they work hard, they work tactically in every game and in their style, with their supporters, they feel they can win against every team. For us, Sunday is a very big test, a very high level test for how we can continue in our process and our progress. It's very important to show every supporter our mentality on Sunday. It's our demands, every day like every match, like Sunday, is very big. We need to have the habit to play in every match with this level of demand on ourselves.

on Vinai Venktatesham saying we are missing out on money due to not being in Europe - and if that makes him feel pressure...
I learned in my past that I am not pressure. Not playing, not working. I learned that I need, for me and for every player and people that work close with me, we need to have very big demands. Here, I want to transmit to every player, the high level we need to work, the high level we need to stay and it isn't under pressure. It is in our demands, our big demands every day.

on if we have to finish top four...
We want to. It's not easy. We can and we are going to work and we are going to find, in each training, each match, to be close to the top four.

on it being very competitive among the top six and if that concerns him...
But football is the next match. Now, we are fifth. We are going to play against sixth and we are at not a small distance with third and fourth position. We need to win.

on the Liverpool game an whether it was a chance missed...
Every match in the Premier League, we have three points to play for. And this is the same, three points against Liverpool, like against another team. I started this press conference saying to you we are well. Yes, we are well. Sixteen matches without a loss, it's good. I think it's good. But also, we have ambition and we want more. And we need more. The three last matches, we drew. It isn't enough. It's not enough. We need to win more.

on not leading at half-time in a game yet this season...
We can speak here about the statistics a lot of time, for a long time. We are scoring a lot, it's good? Yes, it's perfect. 26 goals is a very big statistic for goals, but also, we have received 15 goals. It is not good. We are playing sometimes with a very good possession. It's good, yes? But sometimes, we are playing with a very good possession, for example against Wolverhampton, but we didn't win. We need more, but we need more in some things being different tactically, individually, in the spirit, in the mentality. But we are in progress and we are in this process also. I am knowing the players better every day, I am knowing the competition better every day, I am knowing, better, my decisions on the answer of the players and the matches with how we are preparing. We are in progress, and in this process also, but I am conscious now that we need more.

on Koscielny and whether he might play in the U-23s...
He started to train with us, every day, one month ago. The process with him is that in this International break, it is to finish training with us every day to start playing, little by little. First, our idea is to start with the Under-23s, but also, these two weeks training with us, I am looking at him. He is well, with good performance, good feeling and I think he, today, is close to also play with us. But the first idea is, and maybe on Monday, he can play with the 23s. We are going to decide tomorrow the plan with him, but we are thinking for him to start to take minutes.

on fixture congestion and how it affects training and planning...
Yes, it's my first experience where we are going to play - starting on Sunday - and not stoping in the Christmas period. It's my first experience, but every person I know with experience here in the Premier League, as players and also people in the clubs, they say to me it's a big important moment in this period of two months, because we are going to play a lot of matches and important matches for how we can be in the table. But first, we need every player. The spirit of every player, the focus of every player, with us for each match. Then, our first thought is the Premier League. At the moment, in the Europa League, we are in the next phase but we want also to finish first. We are going to play two matches, against Vorskla and against Qarabag, and we want to be the first. But, at the moment, we are okay in this. We are playing also in the Carabao Cup against Tottenham. Good matches, but for us, these two months are very important. We are going to play a lot of matches, but the most important thing is to play, rest, prepare with different players each match and find the best performance in the most important matches.

on whether he will rotate...
Maybe, maybe we are going to do changes to give a lot of players the possibility to help us. But thinking that we can be a big performance with them, but at the moment, the young players like Nketiah, like Willock, like Emile and also Ainsley, they are working well and I think they need to be the focus in big moments for when they are in the pitch, to help us with their performance.


Emery - Bournemouth play with joy

Unai Emery says he is quickly rediscovering the competitive element of football since starting in the Premier League.

We travel to Bournemouth on Sunday, and our head coach says he is expecting another huge challenge on the south coast.

"I think one of the characteristics of the Premier League is the fact every game is very demanding and you need to overcome that if you want to finish in the top four," Emery said.

"In terms of the difficulty of the teams, it’s not just the top teams but all of the teams in the league are very difficult because they all have good players and I think that’s what makes the Premier League as far as I know the most competitive league around. 

"I think in comparison with the leagues in France and Spain, taking Spain for example, that was a league in which every team was very tricky and it made sure that you needed to know a lot about them. It meant that your preparation had to be spot on and it meant that your instructions to the team throughout all 90 minutes had to be very good.

"That was unlike France in a sense that PSG were so superior that the competitive aspect wasn’t so apparent, but it’s something I am rediscovering here in England and so in terms of my competitive level, I need that to be very high and I want to convey that to the players so that we get the best out of them.

"In terms of Bournemouth, that’s been my focus ever since the end of the Wolves game, I know that we are going to have to play at a very high level in order to get the three points because Bournemouth are doing some great work, they have some fantastic players. I think that most of all, they have that confidence at the moment which is making them a truly tough proposition."

Press conference

How Unai practises English... with Peaky Blinders!

Emery and Ozil

When Unai Emery was asked about life in London and learning English during his press conference on Friday, not many of us would have expected the answer he gave.

Our Spanish head coach has been working hard at getting up to speed with the language, and one TV show in particular has helped.

“Now I am watching English TV series to improve my English... Peaky Blinders is good but it is difficult, from Birmingham!" Emery said. "And it’s very aggressive. But it’s good, it’s good.”

Emery was also asked about his background in football, and whether the sport really is an "obsession" for him.

"In my home, when I was very young, all my family was in football – my grandfather, father played as a professional in Spain," he said. "I felt all the time football in my home.

"When I could not be a player, my focus was that I wanted to continue in this world and in this professional activity. I started like a coach and today I am here.

"I don’t know if [football is] an obsession. In each profession, you need to feel passion for that in order to give it your best performance. Football is my passion.

"It’s my work, but I don’t think every day that it is my work, it’s my best hobby. I feel very big the passion. I am doing my work with my desire."