Manchester City Manager, Pep Guardiola (left) and new Arsenal Manager Emery Unai
Arsenal face a daunting opening fixture against reigning champions Manchester City on Sunday afternoon. The much anticipated clash would also be a Premier League debut for the new Arsenal Manager, Emery Unai at the Emirates Stadium. In preparation, Arsenal have continued their preparations for the new Premier League season on Tuesday as Unai barked instructions at his players ahead of his competitive debut at his new club. The league however kicks off on Friday August 10, 2018 with a cracker between Manchester United and Leicester City.
Reports by Mail has it that Emery goes head-to-head against Pep Guardiola on Sunday and the Spaniard looked to be drilling his ideas into his players on a warm, sunny day in North London. Spirits looked to be high in the camp as the likes of Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette all took part in the session. The squad looked to be enjoying a light-hearted game of Kabaddi in the early stages of the practice, the activity made particularly famous by England during their World Cup campaign.
In Kabaddi, the team that goes first sends a player, known as a ‘raider’, across the midline and they are tasked with attempting to tag members of the opposing team. After enjoying some light-hearted fun, the players then got into some more tactical exercises as they look to start the post-Arsene Wenger era with a milestone victory on home soil. Despite the season starting in a matter of days, there was still enough time to get some fitness work done with midfielder Aaron Ramsey spotted working up a sweat in a sprint exercise.
The players also took part in a possession-based drill as they look to sharpen their footwork ahead of what will be a testing fixture against City. Ainsley Maitland-Niles took part as he continues to look likely to play against City at left-back after both Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac suffered injuries. Emery employed the 20-year-old in a four-man defence in the 2-0 victory over Lazio on Saturday evening in Stockholm, but it will be a major challenge for the youngster against City’s bright sparks. The session comes after a day of big boardroom news as Stan Kroenke made a cash offer to buy Arsenal in a deal that values the club at £1.8billion on Tuesday.
The American billionaire, who already owns 67 per cent of the Premier League club through Kroenke Sports Enterprise (KSE) UK, wants to buy the remainder of the shares after securing the backing of minority owner Alisher Usmanov. Kroenke said in a statement to the London stock exchange that he believed the club would benefit from being taken private, with his son Josh set to take on a more hands-on role. Usmanov, who has tried to buy out Kroenke’s majority stake in the past, will receive £550million for his 30 per cent stake based on the share price of £29,419.64.