Unai Emery says he is prepared to rotate his Arsenal side as fixtures pile up
Arsenal boss praises improvement shown by Alex Iwobi and discusses potential playing opportunities for Denis Saurez and Mesut Ozil
By Husmukh Kerai
Last Updated: 26/02/19 3:33pm
Arsenal manager Unai Emery is not worried about demanding too much from his players as they face the prospect of three Premier League games in a week.
The Gunners host Bournemouth at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday evening, and Emery says he is prepared to rotate his starting line-up if his players cannot match his demands.
"I want the performance in each match," Emery said.
"Some players played on Sunday with a lot of energy and intensity. Maybe they can't give us the same intensity, I will find players who have the energy, freshness and quality.
"Above all the balance between all the individual qualities and their freshness to find the best performance for tomorrow."
The Spanish boss was full of praise for winger Alex Iwobi who, despite criticism from sections of Arsenal fans, has shown signs of improvement in recent weeks and especially impressed in Sunday's 2-0 win over Southampton.
"I am very happy. He is working a lot to improve," Emery said of the Nigeria international.
"He has energy, quality and he has a lot of things to improve. We are very demanding of him and he is very demanding of himself.
"He can get better in his quality. When he is in the attacking third, the box, he needs to be calm with his last action to assist and score more.
"He is giving us a lot of attacking moments and he opens up space for other players. They can arrive and get the ball (because of him)."
Denis Suarez, however, is yet to hit the ground running since his loan move from Barcelona but Emery is remaining patient with the Spaniard as he adapts to the demands of English football.
He added: "I am very demanding to find the best performance from him.
"Denis is improving with his adaptation every day and then his quality can give us a lot on the pitch.
"He is not okay yet to play 90 minutes because of (a lack of) rhythm but one possibility is for him to start tomorrow. Otherwise he will stay on the bench and then he can help us."
Another constant debating point at Arsenal is the future of playmaker Mesut Ozil.
Emery says he was pleased with the former Germany international's application in his cameo appearance against Southampton on Sunday and says he still has an important role to play at the club.
"We have to respect Bournemouth, they have a good coach and players with a lot of quality and organisation. We have to play thinking we have to push for 90 minutes," he said,
"It's important to be available, not only the first eleven, but on the bench also. We need help in the second half or if we have injuries.
"Sunday was a good challenge for Mesut Ozil for him to help us like he was doing in the last 30 minutes. (He showed) a good performance with good speed and we need this. His quality and skill, his combination in the attacking third for us is important."
Arsenal confirmed both Iwobi and Stephan Lichtsteiner will have short-term injuries assessed ahead team selection for Wednesday's game, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles is back in full training after illness.