Photo: Unai Emery reacts to Arsenal EPL fixtures

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Unai Emery insists he is ‘excited’ despite being handed the toughest possible start to his Arsenal tenure after the Premier League announced next season’s fixtures on Thursday. The Spaniard was appointed as Arsene Wenger’s successor last month and has immediately set about strengthening the squad he inherited from the long-serving Frenchman. Stephan Lichsteiner arrived on a free transfer from Juventus to provide competition for Hector Bellerin, while deals for Lucas Torreira, Bernd Leno and Sokratis Papastathopoulos are all in the pipeline.

All four are likely to be in contention to make their debuts on the opening weekend when the Gunners entertain last season’s runaway champions Manchester City at the Emirates. Emery, who has never won in 10 previous meetings with Pep Guardiola, will then take his new-look side to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea, where Arsenal haven’t won since 2011. Despite the daunting nature of those fixtures, Emery responded to a tweet from Arsenal’s official account, saying: ‘Thank you so much. A really exciting start for us at Arsenal!’







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