Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 July 2019

Arsenal to use Al Nasr friendly as preparation for business end of Premier League season

Unai Emery hopes his side can remain competitive even as manager hopes to try out different players

Arsenal will use Tuesday’s friendly with Al Nasr in Dubai to help towards their final push for the season, according to manager Unai Emery.

The Premier League club have been in the UAE since Thursday for a warm-weather camp, and conclude their stay with the match at Al Maktoum Stadium. The game will celebrate the official opening of the refurbished ground.

Fourth in the Premier League and chasing an Uefa Champions League spot, Arsenal resume their domestic campaign against Newcastle United on April 1. They have the quarter-finals of the Europa League to come as well, when they take on Italy’s Napoli across two legs next month.

On Sunday, Emery and his squad were granted an audience with Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, who is also the long-standing president of Nasr, at his palace in Zabeel.

Speaking afterwards, Emery said the club have been enjoying their stay in Dubai thus far.

“We are happy to see our fans and happy with our work here with the big facilities," the Spaniard said. "And in preparing also for the match on Tuesday with Al Nasr and enjoying the city. We are also very happy with all the people who are giving us everything to make it easy to work and to stay here.

“For us it’s very important to continue being competitive in each match. It’s a friendly against Al Nasr, but we can use different players and take more confidence and rhythm for the next matches that are coming. And the first of that is against Newcastle.

“The atmosphere is continuing like in London and we’re also enjoying a big city and the very kind people with us. They’re giving us all the good things to continue our work.”

Forward Alexandre Lacazette added: “It’s interesting for the club. We have to say thank you. For us, it’s a pleasure to play in this match.”

Meanwhile, Nasr vice-chairman Ahmed Al Khoory announced that Arsenal will return to Dubai next February to take part in the Hamdan bin Rashid Challenge Cup.

Updated: March 24, 2019 08:03 PM

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