Mikel Arteta says Arsenal’s Irish staff have warned him about “passionate underdogs” Dundalk ahead of their Europa League meeting.
The 14-time Republic of Ireland champions make the short trip to the Emirates to face an Arsenal side that lost at home to Leicester on Sunday, although did win their European opener against Rapid Vienna as Dundalk lost to Molde.
The gap between the two sides is enormous in terms of quality, finances and resources but Arteta knows that his team will be in for a tricky fixture against a side that has nothing to lose.
“We’ve got some Irish staff here,” Arteta said. “I’ve heard some really positive things about Dundalk. What I’ve seen is a really determined coach, how united they are, they are really well organised and they fight really hard.
“They will come here with an incredible passion. They are the underdogs. That will give them a lot of energy and I expect them at full gas tomorrow trying to beat us here.
“This is football. I have seen a lot of things in this game and I never take anything for granted. I always expect the opponent to be at their best. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
Arteta confirmed that centre-back David Luiz will not be fit for Thursday’s clash and is a “big doubt” for Sunday’s trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United – live on Sky Sports Premier League – while Willian may face Dundalk.
“There is no chance [David Luiz will face Dundalk],” Arteta added. “He’s a big doubt for the weekend too. Willian is back in training, tomorrow he might be involved at some stage.
More to follow…