Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has called for a “very big performance” from his players on Sunday as they face a Manchester United team brimming with confidence.
While the Gunners slipped to a humbling 3-1 Europa League defeat at Rennes on Thursday, United’s celebrations were still ongoing after they had beaten Paris Saint-Germain by the same scoreline a day earlier.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have now won their last nine away games, including an FA Cup victory at the Emirates Stadium in January.
The two teams are involved in a keenly contested battle for a place in the Premier League top four, with United currently a point clear of their weekend hosts in the final Champions League qualification spot.
Emery conceded Arsenal will be coming up against a team enjoying a fine run of form and knows his players will have to deliver a strong display to inflict just a second defeat on Solskjaer since he was appointed caretaker manager in December.
“They are in a very good moment but we are together in the table,” said Emery.
“We played against them one month ago in the FA Cup, we lost 3-1 but I remember we did very good things, created chances.
“We know Sunday is a tough match and it is for everybody an amazing match with very good players and we are going to play at home with our supporters.
“We need to have a very big performance from each player and tactically like a team but I am looking forward also to playing against a team like Manchester United and how they are in this moment with each player – very big confidence after the PSG match.
“But with our supporters, I want to create a big atmosphere, a positive atmosphere for us and help us to give us the best and strongest support for the match.”
Lucas Torreira will be forced to sit out the United game after being handed a three-match ban for his red card against Tottenham in the 1-1 draw at Wembley last week.
After defeat in Rennes, Emery played down any suggestion of a lack of discipline in his squad – with Sokratis Papastathopoulos sent off and Alexandre Lacazette having missed the tie through suspension.
Arsenal had started the game well in north-west France but – once Sokratis was dismissed four minutes before the break – the game swung in favour of the hosts.
Emery is hopeful his players will not be negatively affected by having to toil for so long with only 10 men.
“We are finding for each match fresh players and different energy and for Sunday I think it is going to be the same,” he added.
“After the match in Rennes I think every player worked a lot and we are going to look for the next match how we can be with every player.
“I am positive for Sunday that we can take the first XI with fresh players, with energy, quality and the possibility to do a very big performance against Manchester United for an opportunity to win against them.”
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