Arsenal boss Unai Emery has called on his team to show “personality” ahead of their trip to face his compatriot Rafa Benitiez’s Newcastle.
The game at St. James’s Park will be the first meeting between the Spanish coaches since Emery’s Sevilla defeated Benitez’s Real Madrid in 2015, and the new Gunners boss is anticipating a stiff test against a “competitive” adversary.
Arsenal’s away form was a cause for consternation during the final six months of Arsene Wenger’s reign, but Emery’s new charges recovered from defeat at Chelsea last month to overcome Cardiff City on their last assignment before the international break.
“I know Benítez,” Emery told reporters. “He is a very competitive coach and his teams are usually also competitive.”
“He is the first of the Spanish coaches to be working here, he knows the Premier League. He got the best performance with a lot of teams and above all with Liverpool.
“We need to improve on the pitch with our personality and our ideas. We want to do better than the last match in Cardiff. We want the same result but we can be better on the pitch.”
After losing their opening two games of the Premier League season, Arsenal have moved up the table with back to back wins, and are looking to make it three from three against Newcastle before turning their attentions to the start of their Europa League campaign.
Emery, who won the competition twice during his spell as Sevilla boss, will send his team out to face FC Vorskla of Ukraine at the Emirates on Thursday, and the Spaniard was quick to play up the competition as a means of securing entry to next season’s Champions League.
“When we opened this possibility that when you win the Europa League you play in the Champions League, this is the key to improving the interest in this competition.
“Manchester United played in it also [in 2016-17] and reached the Champions League through this competition. The last year for Arsenal it was very, very important. We lost in the semi-finals to Atletico Madrid. The Europa League can help a lot.”