Wednesday 22 May 2019

Arsenal manager Unai Emery ready to ring the changes for Crystal Palace clash

Arsenal manager Unai Emery (Mike Egerton/PA)
Arsenal manager Unai Emery (Mike Egerton/PA)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has confirmed he will shake up his starting line-up for today's Premier League clash against Crystal Palace at Emirates Stadium.

Valencia will provide the final hurdle for Arsenal to navigate in their bid to secure a place in the Europa League final in Baku on May 29th, yet Emery admits their emphatic 3-0 aggregate win against Napoli came a physical cost for his in-form side.

"We will have to do some rotation on Sunday because after playing a tough game in Naples, we need players with new energy and new motivation," confirms the Arsenal boss. "The last 48 hours has been about resting and recovering and then we decide who plays against Palace on Sunday.

"First I ask the players how they are with injuries, second is how they are with physical circumstances, and third is the opposition and what they are demanding from us for the match. Also, how we can improve our ideas, style and capacity to beat them.

"We work with a lot of data about our players and the opposition players. After our tactical decisions for the next match we take the decisions for the line-up for the next match.

"It's very important that the players are ready to play. The first XI is very important, but also the players on the bench who can make a big impact. We need a big impact when we're losing or drawing.

"When we need to close a good result in the last minute, sometimes it can be defensive or offensive, but I am very happy and I remember a lot with the players when we decide the first XI which players can make an impact when they start on the bench. That's very important."

"Some players from the match on Thursday cannot play on Sunday, but we know how important this match will be for us. We need the three points to keep our ambitions of finishing in the top four."

Emery will head into this afternoon's game with the endorsement of his rival manager ringing in his ears, with the first anniversary of Arsene Wenger's announcement that he would be leaving Arsenal passing yesterday with little ceremony.

While most suspected the coach who succeeded Wenger would struggle to turn around the club's fortunes ahead of a troubled couple of years, Palace boss Roy Hodgson suggests Emery has achieved that task in impressive fashion.

"I commend him because he took on a very difficult job," states Hodgson. "To take over after someone like Arsene Wenger, who had been such an incredible figure and achieved such fantastic things at the club, for such a long period of time. Therefore, whoever comes in and steps into those shoes is filling enormous shoes and it is never going to be easy for him.

"Emery must be very, very pleased with the way things have gone there for him, he has been able to step into those shoes, he has been able to mould a team, play the football that I guess he wants his team to play and it has been very successful football.

"For us, this is another very tough game, coming on the back of a match against Manchester City last weekend. Arsenal present a very difficult problem for you in the sense that they are very, very good and have some very, very good players. They themselves are in excellent form."

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