Arsenal: Unai Emery responds to transfer speculation, As expected, questions surrounding potential signings were a common theme in Unai Emery’s post-Emirates Cup press conference.
on Nicolas Pepe and if he is close to signing…
We are working, the club, and also thinking about how we can improve. There are different players on the table with the possibility that we can achieve their signature.
Pepe is a very good player and also we are thinking only of players who can really, really improve this squad and also give us some different conditions to improve.
The same, we are working for the last few weeks and before starting the season in the first match in Newcastle, our aim is to get the best team with the best players in our squad.
on if Arsenal should buy more defenders instead of attacking players…
We are deciding how we can improve. At the beginning we were thinking to do one player to achieve the possibility to sign, but only if we can really, really improve this position.
It’s one centre back, one midfielder and one winger and we are going to [try] to do that. We are thinking the same.
I want a team that is better than last year, so the players can achieve a lot being with us this season. Also we have a very good team.
Only the players that can improve and help the squad will be brought in.
There were worrying signs at Emirates Stadium on Sunday, when Alex Lacazette was substituted just 12 minutes into our Emirates Cup fixture against Lyon.
on Lacazette’s injury…
Good evening. We are thinking it’s not important, he decided with the doctor and with me that it is better to take no more risk.
He tried to continue playing but I think it was better in the pre-season to take patience. The doctor said to me he is going to check tomorrow but the thinking is that it is not important.
on if Lacazette will have a scan
It’s in his ankle. [A sprained ankle. He will probably be assessed over the next few days – but it’s not serious].
Despite a promising first-half performance with a clinical finish from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, we were beaten 2-1 in the Emirates Cup on Sunday, following two second-half strikes from Moussa Dembélé.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang converted a first-half Henrikh Mkhitaryan cross to put us ahead, only for the French visitors to take the spoils thanks to a second-half brace from Moussa Dembele.
New signing Dani Ceballos was introduced for the final 20 minutes, as was fellow summer transfer Gabriel Martinelli, for their first taste of action at Emirates Stadium.
Here are the three things we noticed…
Anyone who followed our USA Tour will already be aware of the positive impact Joe Willock has been making in midfield in recent weeks, and he shone again today in front of the Emirates Stadium faithful.
Having been talked up in glowing terms by Zinedine Zidane after our most recent friendly against Real Madrid, the Hale End graduate continued his promising pre-season with a fine all-round showing, especially in the first half.
Playing in an advanced position ahead of Granit Xhaka and Matteo Guendouzi in a 4-2-3-1 formation, he saw plenty of the ball in the opening half, breaking into the area to get on the end of some nice moves, and only being let down by his finishing.
Willock, who turns 20 later this month, moved into central midfield in a 4-4-2 after the break, and set up a great chance for Eddie Nketiah with a right-wing cross.
He made his Premier League debut away to Newcastle back in April 2018, and the teenager has already staked a strong claim to be involved there again when we kick off the new season away to Newcastle in two weeks’ time.
The game was flipped on its head inside two second-half minutes.
There were 20 minutes remaining when Unai Emery introduced Dani Ceballos and Gabriel Martinelli for their first Emirates Stadium outing, and within moments, the latter had the ball in the net.
While the Brazilian teenager was celebrating with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang though, referee Jon Moss disallowed the goal, apparently for handball.
Lyon wasted no time in springing forward themselves, and with Shkodran Mustafi – who had also just entered the pitch – appealing for offside, Moussa Dembele tucked the ball past Bernd Leno to make it 2-1.
We were never able to recover from that position, though both Martinelli and Dani showed some nice touches, as we continued to push for the equaliser that would have taken the game to penalties.
AUBA FIRING AGAIN
He’s netted 26 goals at Emirates in the past year and a half, and it was like he had never been away as last year’s Golden Boot winner netted again back at home during the first half.
Starting from a left-wing position, he was moved to centre forward early on after Alexandre Lacazette was taken off with an ankle injury, and his positioning was perfect to superbly finish Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s right wing cross and put us ahead.
The cross was fired in at pace at waist height near the penalty spot, and Aubameyang adjusted his body to divert the ball, right-footed, past Anthony Lopes and into the far corner.
It was the Gabon striker’s second goal in pre-season, following his strike against Real Madrid last week – it looks like he’s slipping into gear nicely as the new season approaches, Despite rumors that he’s leaving Arsenal.