Unai Emery sat with the media in his pre-match press conference of Arsenal’s second leg against Rennes in Europa League last 16 tie at the Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners lost the first leg in France 3-1 and are without Sokratis who was sent off during the game. It is not going to be easy to turn this deficit around, considering that the opponents look a dangerous attacking unit.
However, the Londoners did well against Manchester United on Sunday to keep a clean sheet and score two goals, something that will certainly give them the boost ahead of this game.
In the press conference, Emery talks about Arsenal’s French opponents, Alexandre Lacazette’s reduced ban, the possibility of playing two up front, the club’s home form and much more.
He also commented on Hatem Ben Arfa’s actions after the latter appeared to laugh at the Arsenal boss after the first leg.
Here’s all what the Spaniard has had to say in an interesting press conference:
Alexandre Lacazette was banned for both legs of this tie, but that has since been reduced, meaning he is available for the home game.
“We are happy we can take to play with all players. This news is positive for us.”
Rennes surprised many with a clinical performance in the first leg. They are in the driver’s seat after a two-goal advantage. Here’s what Emery said when asked whether he was surprised with the French side:
“I’m not surprised. They are a good team in a good moment and they have quality with different players. They have fresh spirit and fresh players playing offensively and they are organised defensively.”
On the possibility of playing two up front
Emery played Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Lacazette together up front in the United game. Now, with the latter back from suspension, he was asked about the possibility of a front two:
“We are playing with different systems, with different players. We can play with two strikers, we can play with one.
“Tomorrow I am thinking not only of the first 11 because I think we are going to need different situations, maybe different systems and maybe different players.
“All players are very important. We can play with Lacazette and Auba, or we could play with one. I think we are going to need different possibilities if the match is going one way or another.”
On Ben Arfa's comments
Hatem Ben Arfa passed a comment regarding Unai Emery after the first leg. The pair were said to endure a rocky relationship during their respective stints at Paris Saint-Germain. Here’s what the Arsenal boss said when he was asked about that:
“He’s a very good player and we respect him a lot.
“My focus is on preparing for the match against Rennes and on each player with his quality. We respect them and him a lot.”
On Arsenal's home form being a factor
Arsenal’s home form has been sublime, especially since the turn of the year. Emery explained why it’s a factor for them.
“We need to [focus] on tomorrow and create a very emotional moment in 90 minutes with our supporters.
“We need to be clear in our minds in this 90 minutes, very fresh and very cool to take the best decisions.”