Unai Emery has described Monday night’s encounter with Manchester United as ‘a key moment’ for his Arsenal side, and is trying to prepare his players for ‘a perfect match’.
It is undoubtedly the most high-profile game of the weekend as the two Premier League sides renew their historic rivalry, although it’s safe to say that the game doesn’t quite carry as much significance and bite as when the likes of Messrs Keane, Vieira, Henry and Van Nistelrooy were among the star attractions.
Manchester United and Arsenal have fallen a long way since those fierce battles of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, though it’s still a hugely significant fixture in the English footballing calendar, with both looking to get back toward their former glories, both having missed out on Champions League football thanks to their sixth and fifth-placed finishes last season respectively.
Speaking ahead of the tie, Arsenal boss Unai Emery said that he was ‘excited’ for the clash at ‘amazing’ Old Trafford, describing the game as ‘a key moment’, and outlined his side’s preparations for the game.
“Our challenge is to be competitive in each match, and to improve and to achieve the best performance and the best result in a key moment,” Emery said at his pre-match press conference.
“Tomorrow, a key moment is coming. We really want to play matches where we can do something important and we are preparing well.
“The players are all hoping to play the next match.
“We know it’s a very big opportunity for us to get three points, but above all, it is to enjoy each moment training to prepare for this match.
“I am excited waiting for this moment. But also I know we need to prepare a perfect match because the three points are very important for both.
“Each match when I watched in Spain – Arsenal versus Manchester United, Manchester United versus Arsenal – was a special moment.
“And tomorrow at 8pm, in all the world, if someone wants to watch a football match, it’s this one. I’m looking forward to seeing our response. It’s amazing to play in Manchester with that atmosphere.
“My experience with Arsenal last year in Old Trafford was we drew 2-2. I had more experience there as well with Sevilla and Valencia.
“For all coaches, all players, to play in a stadium like Old Trafford is amazing.”
See also – Manchester United v Arsenal Combined XI