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Arsenal v Vitoria Guimaraes: Rob Holding takes up yoga after watching Ryan Giggs DVD

Holding has featured exclusively in cup competitions so far this season

Arsenal defender Rob Holding says a Ryan Giggs DVD inspired him to take up yoga in an attempt to lengthen his career.

The 24-year-old is likely to start Arsenal’s Europa League tie against Vitoria on Thursday as he continues his comeback from a serious knee injury.

“There is about six players plus assistant coach Freddie Ljungberg,” said Holding.

“If you want to do it [yoga], you can. We come in and do one session a week”.

He added: “When I was growing up, my mum actually got me a Ryan Giggs DVD about yoga.

“It lengthened his career, so I was like, you know what, if he’s doing it then I should be doing it.”

Arsenal go into the game top of Group F having won their opening two matches against Eintracht Frankfurt and Standard Liege.

Emery accepts fans’ criticism

Arsenal boss Unai Emery said he accepts fans’ criticism after his side’s defeat at Sheffield United on Monday saw them miss out on a chance to climb to third in the Premier League.

“In my career it’s normal to have difficult moments and criticism for our work and my job,” said Emery.

“We are in one point of view. The supporters’ opinion, we need to accept that.

“We lost a very big opportunity in the Premier League to (move up to) third in the table. We are fifth and have chances on Sunday. We have to get better but it’s one process. In that process I am happy.

“We need to think how we can progress and achieve our targets. Immediately, that’s to win tomorrow (against Vitoria). In this competition we won two matches and played very well with very good results.”

Team news

Forward Reiss Nelson is still out with the ligament injury he sustained in his left knee against Standard Liege on 3 October.

Otherwise Emery has a fully-fit squad to choose from.

Best of the stats

  • Arsenal are unbeaten in their last five home meetings with Portuguese opponents (W4 D1), scoring 17 goals and conceding none.
  • Vitoria Guimaraes are facing Arsenal for the very first time, and are facing English opponents for the first time since the 2008-09 Uefa Cup first round, where they were eliminated by Portsmouth (2-4 on aggregate).
  • Excluding qualifiers, Arsenal’s current six-game winning run at home is their longest in European competition since the Gunners won seven straight Champions League matches at Highbury between March 2001 and February 2002.
  • Vitoria Guimaraes remain winless in their seven away matches in the Europa League (D2 L5). Indeed, excluding qualifiers, they last tasted victory in any European competition on the road back in September 2005 at Wisla Kraków in the UEFA Cup first round.
  • Only Slovan Bratislava’s Andraz Sporar (4) has been directly involved in more goals in the Europa League this season than Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli, who scored twice and assisted on his European debut for the Gunners last time out.

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