Getty Images

Emery: I no longer win just to survive

1 Comment

Soccer is a cut-throat world for both players and coaches, but it appears that finally, Unai Emery has found a landing spot where he doesn’t feel he’s constantly on the hot seat.

In his first season, Emery has led Arsenal to the UEFA Europa League final, an impressive feat considering the side has battled injuries and tough defeats in the Premier League, especially down the closing stretch of the season. In a wide-ranging interview with El Mundo, Emery said that for the first time in his career, he feels pressure to win not just to stay in a job, but to grow Arsenal back into the title-winning side of old.

[READ: Aston Villa is heading back to the Premier League]

“At Arsenal, I have the feeling, for the first time, of winning to build, not to survive,” Emery said. “I feel the respect towards me even when we lose, but I want the defeats to hurt more, because it is a step to improve competitively. I want the mourning for losing to be greater than two hours.”

Earlier in the interview, Emery also mentioned his appreciation for everyone at Arsenal and in England in general, being more welcoming than his time at Paris Saint-Germain. Emery said that he was instantly respected by all the staff, and thanked for working on his English all year.

“When I arrived in Paris, I tried to speak French and the answer, sarcastically, was that I did not speak it well,” Emery demurred. “In London I use very basic English and everyone smiles at me and they thank me for trying.”

In the interview, which touched on many topics including Brexit, the dominance of the Premier League in Europe and Pep Guardiola, Emery spoke of how Arsenal would contain Chelsea, especially Eden Hazard. Emery called the Belgian international star one of the top five players in the world, coming off a season with 16 goals and 15 assists in the Premier League.

Arsenal faces Chelsea on Saturday in Baku, Azerbaijan, in a game overshadowed by the political conflict that has cost Henrikh Mikhtaryan the chance to play there safely.

“Hazard is a player of instants, but decisive instants,” Emery said. “It is what we have to avoid. Chelsea is capable of winning thanks to him, and that ability I have only seen in (Lionel) Messi, Cristiano (Ronaldo), Neymar or (Mohamed) Salah. For me, it is in the quintet of the best in the world. Manchester City, for example, has won its second Premier League, but it has done more from the collective. It is a team more like a chorus, like Tottenham, despite the contribution of Harry Kane and (Heung-min) Son.”

Watford chasing Rennes, Senegal star Sarr

Photo by Ulrik Pedersen/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Watford may capture one of the rising stars of the game.

Ismaila Sarr would cost the Hornets a club transfer record fee, and Sky Sports says that Watford and Rennes are about $10 million apart.

The Ligue 1 side reportedly wants $34 million for the Senegal national team right wing.

[ VIDEO: Nketiah leads Arsenal win ]

Sarr, 21, scored a goal and an assist in Senegal’s run to the Africa Cup of Nations final, playing opposite Sadio Mane of Liverpool.

He posted 13 goals with 14 assists last season between Ligue 1, the French Cup, and the Europa League. He was the lone Rennes player to score against Arsenal in the UEL Round of 16.

Watford has held onto Abdoulaye Doucoure and Dodi Lukebakio this offseason. Lukebakio is also a 21-year-old right wing, and had a sensational loan season with Fortuna Dusseldorf in 2019-20.

Nketiah leads Arsenal past Fiorentina (video)

Photo by Streeter Lecka/International Champions Cup/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Eddie Nketiah scored twice as Arsenal beat Fiorentina 3-0 in Charlotte on Saturday.

Joe Willock also scored for the Gunners, which beat Colorado Rapids and Bayern Munich in their first two matches of the preseason and meet Real Madrid in Maryland on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Guardiola hails KDB ]

Fiorentina took 18 of the match’s 30 shots, though Arsenal had nearly 60 percent of the ball.

Nketiah, 20, scored against Burnley in last season’s Premier League finale and then late against Bayern Munich earlier this week.

He was deft in a high-pressure spot for this one.

Premier League friendlies: Watford beats Bayer, Man Utd over Inter

Photo by PictoBank/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Arsenal and Fiorentina are set to kickoff in Charlotte tonight, with the Gunners the last of a bevy of Premier League sides to engage in preseason friendlies this muggy Saturday.

[ MORE: Guardiola hails KDB ]


Girona 1-2 Bournemouth

Juanpe’s late header pushed La Liga’s hosts past Eddie Howe and his 10-man Cherries, playing down after VAR deemed Jack Simpson‘s foul worthy of a sending off. Ryan Fraser scored Bournemouth’s goal, assisted by Jordon Ibe.

Northampton Town 0-4 Sheffield United

Oliver Norwood converted two penalties in an easy win for Chris Wilder in his return to a club he played for and managed.

Fulham 2-1 Brighton and Hove Albion

Pascal Gross scored with an early free kick — a Megan Rapinoe special — but Tom Cairney scored twice after halftime for the Championship side.

Cheltenham Town 1-2 Leicester City

The Foxes collected a second win over a lower league side this week, with Jamie Vardy and Marc Albrighton on the board.

Newcastle United 1-0 West Ham United (Shanghai)

New manager Steve Bruce watched from the crowd as the Magpies made amends for a 4-0 loss to Wolves by blanking West Ham. Jamie Sterry‘s cross for Yoshinori Muto was delightful, and the Japanese striker’s finish was well-taken.

Port Vale 1-3 Burnley; Crewe Alexandra 0-1 Burnley

Chris Wood, Matej Vydra and Robbie Brady scored as the Clarets overcame an early Nick Pope goal to beat Port Vale, but the Premier League side couldn’t do much in a simultaneous friendly at Crewe.

Inter Milan 0-1 Manchester United (Singapore)

Substitute forward Mason Greenwood, just 17, scored the late goal in a match United controlled, outshooting Inter 21-8.

Preston North End 1-3 Southampton

Brace-bagging Danny Ings doesn’t usually have a problem with finish, so passing the ball directly to him is not something we’d recommend to goalkeepers. Jake Vokins also scored for Saints at Deepdale.

Watford 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen (Austria)

Will Hughes and Andre Gray scored as the Hornets collected a win over Champions League competition.

Man City (0-0, 2-3 pens) Wolves (Shanghai)

Rui Patricio was very good over 90 minutes, and stopped City’s first two penalty attempts as Wolves continue to perplex the PL champions.

WATCH: Marco Fabian smashes set piece goal

AP Photo / Derik Hamilton
Leave a comment

Marco Fabian sent a missile toward goal, and perhaps it’s good the goalkeeper didn’t get to the hand-breaking shot.

Philadelphia took a 1-0 lead over Chicago on Saturday in Chester, Pennsylvania, thanks to the Mexican midfielder.

[ REPORT: Man Utd locks up De Gea ]

It was a pretty set piece from Jim Curtin’s men, a backwards played free kick was laid off to Fabian for his audacious rip.

Fabian hasn’t had a wonderful 2019 season, but his fourth goal of the season will give Union supporters hope that he’ll pick up his form and make the already East-leading side all the more dangerous.