Unai Emery names north London derby the best match in the world, The Arsenal manager has described Sunday’s clash with Tottenham as the “best match in the world for football supporters” this weekend.
Sunday’s game at the Emirates, live on Sky Sports Premier League, is arguably the capital’s standout fixture and one of the most passionately-contested of the league season.
Having experienced a thrilling 4-2 home win last season, Emery is anticipating another must-watch clash this weekend.
“Matches like last week against Liverpool, this week against Tottenham, they are the two teams who played the final of the Champions League. It’s amazing and is the best test,” he said.
“Every time is a good time to play against them with our supporters. Maybe this match on Sunday is the best match in the world for all football supporters.
“We can remember some positives and some less positive from each derby match. Overall I want to create a new derby, a new match, a new moment for us.
“We want to have a special day with our supporters at our home.”
Ozil not leaving before Monday deadline
The Arsenal head coach confirmed Mesut Ozil is available for selection for the first time this season for Sunday’s game against Spurs, and ruled out the possibility of the midfielder leaving the Emirates before Monday’s European transfer deadline.
“This week he is training well, he is doing better physically. He will be closer and is going to be available for Sunday I think,” Emery said.
“We finish the transfer window here and in Europe it finishes Monday. We cannot sign another player but we have some players with the possibility to leave in this four days. The club is working, some players know their situation, my focus and the team’s focus is to prepare for Sunday.
“We are not speaking about the possibility of Mesut to leave.”
The Spaniard did confirm Nacho Monreal could leave the club before then, saying: “Monreal is one possibility”.
Emery on David Luiz’s mistakes at Liverpool
“It is not easy for him with the adaptation to us so quickly, but I am happy with him,” Emery said. “He made an ambitious decision to come here. He wants to do us something important with us and help us.
We can speak about faults with players but we can also speak about very good decisions and actions in each match.
“The penalty last Sunday and action with (Mohamed) Salah – we can speak a lot about that. He was on a yellow card after the penalty, if he makes a foul on Salah he gets a second. He was intelligent. We can speak about positive decisions. I want his mentality and ambition and it to transmit to other players.”
Emery defends his diamond formation
The Spaniard launched a defence of his tactics in the 3-1 loss at Liverpoollast week, saying that while he understands the criticism, the system itself was not the reason why his side left Anfield with nothing.
“I understand [criticism]. We won with the diamond last year, we lost with the diamond last year. We can play, win and lose with the diamond. I do not really think that the consequence of our result on Sunday was because of the diamond.
“Really, we are ready to play with different tactical decisions. Last year we worked and used different [formations] with good performances because the players had the habit to play with different systems. We are more rich tactically with each moment. For Sunday we will decide the best possible system for us to adapt against Tottenham.”
Bellerin and Tierney to begin full training
Arsenal confirmed both Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney are expected back in full first-team training in September.
Bellerin is continuing his on-field rehabilitation and is “progressing well” while summer signing Tierney could soon be available for selection having arrived at Arsenal with an existing groin injury.
Meanwhile, centre-back Rob Holding completed 90 minutes for Arsenal U23s on Friday and is set to rejoin first-team action after the upcoming international break.
“[Holding] is training with us but he is not 100 per cent to play for us. We are playing him with the U23 and testing his performance, He is getting better, he can play but not with the intensity we want for Sunday.
“We have to calm [with Bellerin and Tierney] but also we have to be demanding with their recovery, because we need them. The international break will give us two weeks to test them better than before.
“Our focus now is with the team that will be available to play on Sunday. After the match we will test different players with how they can be closer to us.”