Brighton vs Arsenal: Unai Emery wants Gunners to gift him the ‘perfect Christmas’

Emery, who has previously managed in Spain, France and Russia, is experiencing his first season without a winter break

Wednesday 26 December 2018 11:34
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Arsenal: A look back at 2018

Unai Emery wants his Arsenal players to gift him the “perfect Christmas” as the Spaniard enters his first season in management without a break over the festive period.

Emery, who has previously managed Spain, France and Russia spent Christmas morning analysing match footage ahead of Arsenal’s Boxing Day fixture against Brighton but insisted he is enjoying the constant workload, and is relishing a crucial series of fixtures.

“Usually the holidays come around perfectly for us every time, but I am still going to enjoy it working,” Emery said.

“I think it’s very important for the supporters [to see teams play over Christmas]. Playing against Brighton is perfect, Liverpool is perfect and playing on January 1 against Fulham is perfect. We are going to enjoy it... but only if we win.’

“In my career I never made these decisions. We are going to play the next match in Brighton and we are going to play full, not with considered options or playing with more caution.

“The same three points are in Brighton that are in Liverpool and we are going to play first in Brighton. It’s a tough match and we will need every player with 100 per cent focus to do everything on the pitch to win.”

Arsenal are severely hampered by injuries with Henrikh Mkhitaryan added to their hoard of sidelined players after breaking his foot in last week’s Carabao Cup quarter-final defeat to Tottenham.

In defence, Hector Bellerin, Nacho Monreal and Rob Holding are all certain to miss out against Brighton, however, Emery did reveal that Laurent Koscielny is expected to start having been rested for Arsenal’s win over Burnley.

“I was speaking with Koscielny about the possibility of playing against Burnley and he said “not today” because he was very tired after two matches in a week, so I decided for him not to be with the group. He said, ‘I’m not Matteo Guendouzi, Matteo is 19 and I’m 33!’.”

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