Arsenal set to face tough Anfield test
Gunners boss Emery expects ‘difficult’ challenge at Anfield – as midfield ace reflects on eye-catching debut
22 August, 2019 — By Steve Barnett
Unai Emery: ‘It is going to be difficult, and it’s going to be a very good match’
UNAI Emery has found a fail-safe formula to stop his team losing away at Liverpool on Saturday – not to play the fixture in the first place.
It’s unsurprising that the Spaniard would rather close his eyes, put his fingers in his ears and pretend the match didn’t happen considering his first trip to Anfield as Arsenal’s head coach ended in a 5-1 thrashing.
“For us, we don’t want to play against Liverpool, ever,” joked Emery. “We’d prefer not to play against them.”
Switching to the more serious, the Gunners gaffer said his side will be positive when they face the European champions in the 5.30pm kick-off.
“Our target is to reduce the distance to Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham and Chelsea,” he added. “That is really our challenge, and this will be a really good test.
“It is going to be difficult, and it’s going to be a very good match.
“We want to be competitive and consistent in our way, and at the moment we did that in the two matches. But we know we need everybody to be competitive individually and improve in each match and in each training session.
“Let’s be positive and realistic – it’s going to be difficult. Let’s enjoy each moment.”
Arsenal have got one secret weapon in their ranks that could help change their fortunes against Liverpool.
Real Madrid loanee Dani Ceballos marked his full debut with a man-of-the-match display in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Burnley, laying on both the goals for Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The 23-year-old midfielder described his first Premier League experience as “one of the most special days” of his life, and promised more eye-catching performances as he attempts to earn a starting berth with Real.
“I really want this year to truly demonstrate the football that I have inside,” Ceballos told the Arsenal website.
“I have a lot of enthusiasm for this season and to be able to give a lot of joy to this club. The confidence Arsenal have in me, I want to return it to them with my performances.”
Reflecting on his debut at the Emirates, Ceballos added: “The most important thing in football is to win. When you have a great game and can help the team to get the victory, you feel satisfaction to know that you’re going home calmly and with the work done.
“Starting at home with a win, and with this passion shown at the end of the match, I think it will be hard for me to forget this day.”