Unai Emery says Arsenal are approaching their Premier League opener against champions Manchester City with ambition and optimism.
The Spaniard will take charge of his first competitive match as the Gunners’ head coach at Emirates Stadium on Sunday, in a game that officially signals the start of a new era at the Emirates Stadium following the departure of long-serving manager Arsene Wenger.
Arsenal were beaten by Pep Guardiola’s City three times last term, but Emery senses a good spirit in his squad and hopes to see that translated onto the pitch this weekend.
“We are excited. We have a lot of ambition to start [well] on Sunday against the last winners of the Premier League,” he told a news conference ahead of his side’s first fixture of the domestic campaign. “It’s a great match to start this season.
“We need to show our performance on the pitch, but we want to first be together with our supporters.
“It helps, if we’re together, for the players to show their best performance and to transmit with every supporter the quality, the energy and the spirit to go forward against Manchester City.
“We need to enjoy the challenges in each match. I can see each day in training, the players have a big collective spirit, working with smiles on their faces. That’s the best message I can give the supporters. The message is optimistic for Sunday and for the season.”
But Emery, who may line up with Ainsley Maitland-Niles at left-back in Sead Kolasinac’s absence, knows Arsenal face a City side full of confidence.
“After two years of working with Guardiola they have more stability, more security and, when you watch City’s matches, they are playing with a great confidence in themselves,” he said.
“Guardiola’s coaching is clear in this team. For that, we are working this week and preparing for this game and preparing for the opposition against City as a collective and as individual players.”
Following their game against City at home on August 12, Arsenal then make the short journey to Stamford Bridge to face derby rivals Chelsea six days later on August 18.