Nico Yennaris looks ahead to Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup tie against Chelsea
Brentford midfielder Nico Yennaris believes The Bees can go and play with freedom at Stamford Bridge on Saturday as they take on runaway Premier League leaders, Chelsea, in the Fourth Round of the Emirates FA Cup. The Blues are eight points clear at the top of the table and have won their last nine matches at home in all competitions. However, Nico, who admits he’s been getting good luck messages from North London due to his Arsenal connection, believes The Bees have nothing to lose as they look to cause an upset at Stamford Bridge.
Speaking to Bees Player ahead of the game, Nico said: “If you look at it on paper you wouldn’t see us as favourites to win the game. We just have to go and enjoy it, give it our all, and play with freedom. People will expect Chelsea to win the game but if we go there, enjoy it and play with freedom, then you’ve seen that the FA Cup is full of surprises. When I saw the draw and tweeted it, I did get a few Arsenal fans tweet me and say that I have to do Chelsea over to help them out.”
One of the players who could be lining up opposite Nico on Saturday is former Arsenal teammate Cesc Fabregas. The Spaniard left The Emirates in 2011 just as Nico was breaking through into the first-team squad with The Bees midfielder looking forward to testing himself against the former Gunner on Saturday.
“They have got some World Cup winners in there and players who have played at the highest level," said Nico. "Myself and Cesc Fabregas trained together at Arsenal a few times before he left for Barcelona. We all know the qualities that he has and how good a footballer he is. It will be a good test for myself. I will try and remember what he used to do in training but you see, week in week out, what he can produce. His passing range and vision is second to none. If you give him time he will pick a pass so I’ll have to try and stop that.”
Despite back-to-back league defeats against Newcastle United and Wigan Athletic following the win over Eastleigh, and against the backdrop of the Scott Hogan transfer saga, Nico hasn't noticed a dip in confidence with the players solely focussed on the job at hand.
“In recent weeks the atmosphere around the training ground has been good,” said Nico. “Even though results have gone against us the performances have been positive. Training in the last couple of weeks has been positive and good. We have been in this situation with players leaving and speculation about players. The players have just got on with things really as this happens in football all the time. The boys have just blocked that out and focussed on the game ahead.”