Unai Emery believes that Matteo Guendouzi is ‘improving a lot’ after his arrival at the club in the summer.
Guendouzi was a surprise addition in the summer. When he arrived at the club, many expected to see him play only in the Europa League and Carabao Cup.
But Emery has trusted his young charge in 15 Premier League matches this season, 10 of which he has started. To compare, Aaron Ramsey, so long an automatic first-team starter when fit, has played over 300 minutes fewer than the teenager in the league and has started just seven games.
“I am very happy with Matteo and he is improving a lot,” Emery said. “He is helping us and he gives a lot of moments with the combinations, the quality and the possibility to play with our style. He needs to continue his progress with us, but I think he’s very young.”
Guendouzi, like Lucas Torreira, is just one yellow away from a suspension against Liverpool and with Mike Dean in charge at the Amex on Boxing Day it would be a brave Gooner who suggests we will get through this game without losing at least one of them for the trip to Anfield.
That won’t affect Emery’s selection against the Seagulls, however. “In my career, I never made these decisions,” the head coach said. “We are going to play the next match in Brighton and we are going to play full, not with considered options or playing with more caution.
“The same three points are in Brighton that are in Liverpool and we are going to play first in Brighton. It’s a tough match and we will need every player with 100 per cent focus.
“I don’t want him to think about the possibility of a suspension for one yellow card.”