Press conference

Who could feature at Blackpool on Saturday?

Blackpool proved tricky opposition when we faced them in the Carabao Cup round of 16 back in October.

Stephan Lichtsteiner and Emile Smith Rowe scored to give us a 2-1 win over Terry McPhillips’ side, who ensured a nervous finale when Paudie O’Connor pulled a goal back midway through the second half.

Unai Emery was impressed with the Seasiders, and is expecting a similarly tough fixture at the weekend.

on if he’ll play a full strength squad v Blackpool…
We are going to be competitive. The priority is the next match, and that’s Blackpool. I am going to play with the players to be competitive. If we need some young players to do one mix, but finding this power to be stronger with them, we will do it. The priority now is Blackpool.

on team news…
This morning Dinos Mavropanos started to train after I think five months. That’s good news. Emile Smith Rowe trained with us this morning. Continuing with his injury and not OK to train with us is Mustafi, he has to recover from his small injury and continue working alone. Bellerin and Nacho Monreal, Mkhitaryan and also Mesut didn’t train this morning. Tomorrow is the last day, we are going to wait for tomorrow, for how we can be for Saturday.

on what he’s expecting from Blackpool…
Good afternoon. It’s a new competition we are going to start, the FA Cup. In the history, it’s been very important for us. Arsenal is the team that has won this competition 13 times, more than anyone else. It’s a title and it’s a possibility for us to do something important. We are going to start that at Blackpool. We know them because we played against them and we have the respect. We’ll prepare for the match with this respect for them, but also respect for this competition. It’s a way to [win] a title. We want to play and have positive things with our supporters in this way.

on the sort of side he could pick at Blackpool…
We trained this morning and tomorrow we are going to do the last training before this match. Tomorrow we will know how we can be with the players [and who could feature] but [we’ll play] with respect for this competition. I want to take a team with the players being competitive. The team for Saturday is the same, maybe we can share with some players who are playing less, or some young players, but thinking above all of finding a big performance there with our players. This is our idea at the beginning.

on when he first became aware of the FA Cup when growing up…
I know it’s very important for every English team. It’s a different competition, with a chance for a lot of teams. The first idea when I arrived here was to play for all the titles. Arsenal is in the history the best team in this competition, played 20 finals, won 13 times. This respect for our supporters and the competition I took quickly. I want to do something important and this is a big opportunity for us. It will be very difficult but we’re excited for this competition and are looking forward to starting on Saturday.

on if he’s been to Blackpool before…
No. I know it’s 90km from Liverpool and I know they’ve played in the Premier League.

on if he’s prepared for an unusual atmosphere with Blackpool fans allegedly in dispute with the owners…
When we played here against them in the Carabao Cup, we knew this history of this club. They aren’t in the best moment for that. But here against us at the Emirates they played very competitively and gave us a lot of difficult moments. I have a big respect for each team and I know they are one team now not in the best moment but the respect is there because it’s a very big opportunity for them to play against us with their supporters and live this important moment, finding the chances against us.

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