Emery on Ozil’s role, team pressing and how he wants that to improve

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From hard work to pressing, this is where the methods employed by Unai Emery are coming under the microscope.

After the 5-1 win over PSG in Singapore today, the Spaniard gave some real insight into what he wants from his team, and how he set things up to try and get the best out of Mesut Ozil.

The German opened the scoring in the first half, and the new boss expanded in some detail as to what he was thinking.

“We want to give him and our players the position they feel most comfortable in on the pitch,” he said of the German.

“He started today at No 10 with Matteo and Mohamed behind him. The first one would go up and then find him between the lines, or sometimes Mkhitaryan.

“When we do have the ball, we can press with the striker and a No 10 almost like a 4-4-2 in a press. It depends because Mesut can play on the right and go inside, driving in to open up space for the right back.

“We want to find a space for him and the other players where they can use their qualities through good positioning. I think in the first half today we played good with quality players, but I want to improve this pressing.

“In the second half they were tired, but the young players gave us the pressing back and allowed us to change our positions and play with three in midfield.

“Tactically, we’ve been working all week in training and watching movies. The first idea we are working on is without the ball and the right place to be pressing.

“I am happy with how the players played for the first time for these three players [Iwboi, Elneny, Ozil].”

It’s certainly interesting to hear the head coach lift the lid on his tactics in that way. It’s unusual for managers in England to do that in any great detail, so let’s hope he continues this throughout the season.

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Mark
Mark

So glad that we are becoming a team that presses and looks to win the ball back higher up the pitch. That was one of the more frustrating things to me about Wenger’s tactics in that he preferred to sit back too often. You certainly can’t press all match, but doing it early and at different times can certainly set the tone for the team. Plus it gets the crowd behind you and forces the opponent to feel uncomfortable leading to mistakes.

Fatgooner
Fatgooner

I remember a game at the Middleastlands last season where two Arsenal players were pressing and the rest of the team were falling back! It’s going to be very interesting to see how Ozil fits in with this new pressing style: he may have to do more running than he’s used to. I wonder what the Wenger-worshipers will say when we finally look like a world-class team under Emery?

A very impressive result today against one of the top sides in Europe. I can’t wait for the start of the season!

John
John

Might find it hard to believe but he already is one of the guys who runs the most in the team.
And yes, pressing is sexy!

Santi's Thigh Grab
Santi's Thigh Grab

Not one of the best sides in Europe without their best players.

Paul
Paul

Still not moved on then Fats? Sad.

George
George

Throughout (and post) this whole Wenger-In-Out saga/endeavour, many supporters from both ‘sides’ have emerged with a large measure of class and dignity intact.

Fatgooner is not one of them.

Basswielder
Basswielder

I on the other hand always eager to read a fatgooner comment daily. He has his strong points and views.

Sànde Class
Sànde Class

Likewise. And it really is quite entertaining. 😀

Speaking of entertaining, what ever in the world happened to Rambling Pete? 🙁

Red-Sky
Red-Sky

+1
This.

Jonno
Jonno

The Wenger years are over. Time to look back with some respect. Invincibles.

Confused
Confused

Give it a rest will you…

Thierry bergkamp
Thierry bergkamp

I’m glad that it seems like he actually knows what he wants from the team. I’m excited.

Olivije Žirod
Olivije Žirod

It is not like we never pressed under Wenger. There were games even last season when we pressed a lot and those were great games. The problem was why we didn’t do that in all games.

Heavenly Chapecoense
Heavenly Chapecoense

Lot of information given by Unai that Pep was waiting for to prepare that first game.

Product of a leaking condom

That’s the kind of fear Wenger got us accustomed to in his final 8 years at the club… It is a brave new world buddy. Time to start believing again… #UnaiLoading…

The_Kolkata_Gooner
The_Kolkata_Gooner

I’m loving this kind of talk!

chuffy
chuffy

I hope Torreira helps with this defence, because even with nearly our first choice back 5, we looked vulnerable against a third choice team of kids. I know it’s pre-season, but we didn’t look any different when defending.

Geoff
Geoff

Yeah, agreed, obvs ridiculously early to make any real judgement, but it’s not there yet, certainly not like watching the blue samurai press Belgium out the game (for 70 minutes at least). Took klopp and poco a year and a lot of changes to get theirs working, so will be impressive if Emery can get it working effectively this season.

Bob Dobbery
Bob Dobbery

It’s not going to be an instant fix to be fair, and never was

Hantal
Hantal

I’m a bit concerned he said the players were tired in the second half, fitness levels should be creeping up now

goongot
goongot

to be honest,it was warm and humid.

Dave
Dave

Warm and humid AND only 2 days since the last game. I think we are on track for the start of the season.

Crash Fistfight
Crash Fistfight

On that point, props to Bellerin and Kolasinac for the amount of time they were out there over the two games – they must’ve been knackered.

George
George

Yes.

And we’d be right to be a bit concerned if they were stuffed after 15 minutes.

Players generally tire in the second half.

Lone Toro Massie
Lone Toro Massie

They played a game 2 days before

Wengerballz
Wengerballz

We did press under Wenger. Get the ball within 3 seconds or fall back was the rule.

And don’t forget constant pressing comes at a cost. That energy spent is less energy available for attacking and everything else.

Papoose
Papoose

Shhh Unai, don’t tell them

Cliff Bastin
Cliff Bastin

The concern is the (so called) smaller teams are just going to give us possession and sit back which kind of nullifies the press. Anyway let’s see how Emery reacts to that.

Hantal
Hantal

Agreed, in the first half hour of this game it was PSG pressing us and we looked a little unprepared for that

santori
santori

And this is a youth PSG side.

Ayleym
Ayleym

So refreshing to see a manager so passionate. I already have a very good feeling about this guy!

Antontio
Antontio

Ah yeah, Wenger was well known for not being passionate. Very astute point.

Sànde Class
Sànde Class

😀 😀

Gooners & Roses
Gooners & Roses

Last two seasons, it became obvious that we were disjointed in pressing the opponent higher up the pitch and very poor as well when being pressed by opponent! I hope he also is working with the team on the latter.

santori
santori

We need to avoid their press by being able to release wingers quickly down their flanks in the space they vacate. This particularly so as to catch the other team before they can reorganize and sit deep.

This has been the trend in recent years but we have been always too ponderous in the development of our attack.

We no longer have Alexis (in particular) but also Gnabry, the Ox and Walcott to some extent.

So unless its Bellerin (which carries its own vulnerabilities for us), we need to wait for players to come up to support and our attack bogs down.

We need wingers who have the pace to exploit the quick release ability Wenger obviously envisioned when he bought Granit and now reinforced with Torreira and Guendouzi (surely not coincidence), even to some extent an improved Elneny (in passing range)

We need the players who can naturally take on and beat a player or two on their own and who can complement Aubameyang higher up on apex in a counter.

If the world cup showed us anything, its that you need your team to act like a coiled spring these days. Any defensive measure is an opportunity to attack but when we turn over the ball, we need to pull the trigger quick…as illustrated by Dechamp and France with Giroud being able to hold the ball and feed runners like Greizzmand and Mbappe both able to beat players for pace or technically.

That’s where this team is still fundamentally lacking in make up. I believe Nelson can provide one piece of the puzzle but we need another slightly more experienced wide man to fully give us a transformation.

Otherwise our players (Bc they cannot beat a man for pace or skill) will inevitably wait on support to come up and we will end up passing side to side again.

Berlingoon
Berlingoon

I know we don’t have a bunch of classic wingers but it’s not like we have no one able to play there. I think when you play Lacazette up front and Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang on the wings you have that speed as well as the ability to beat opponents 1v1, to deliver the final pass or even to finish.
Iwobi, Nelson and to some extent even Mesut and Aaron are capable of doing a job there.
Eddie didn’t look too bad on the left too in the friendlies.
And even Lacazette came through as a winger at Lyon.
I know many are against playing Aubameyang on the left but a he seems to enjoy it, b he scored for fun from there too and c by playing him there you ensure that the actual striker always has a bit more space because one of the center backs will always have to keep an eye on Auba. So if you then play a player with Lacazette‘s quality there, you would get more goals out of these 2 combined than you would from Aubameyang playing through the middle and whoever you’d play on the left then.
Unless we really buy a Dembele I think this would be the best for the team. And one of the best things about Aubameyang for me is that he really seems to be a team player.

Ricardo
Ricardo

Not completely sure about your closing statement. It’s not clear why him telling everyone this information is a good thing. There’s an obvious reason for not having to give this information out that I do not need to state here.

…maybe he should save it for his retirement book. Incidentally, still waiting on Arsene’s

santori
santori

This is the preferable tactic for most teams.

BUT it is nothing new nor the be all and end all.

Wenger tried to have his team press high before and it worked …for short spells.

The issue is more how to sustain it and how to press together better.

Still, should it not work out, we should also do well to remember that many teams (including France) this world cup proved that surrendering possession is not necessarily detrimental.

They adopted the coiled spring approach and had assets to complement the ability of their back line to exploit space created by teams pressing high or encamped/laying siege.

Whether we of course have sufficient nous out wide to provide similar is up for debate.

BUT pressing needs to be conducted as a unit.

Atletico illustrated this well.

I’m not sure this game is sufficiently in our make up yet.

Last season, we were caught out many times because the fullbacks were fully employed high up to make width in absence of natural wingers.

Mhkitryan, Ramsey, Jack, Ozil even Iwobi (in diamond 4) were players more comfortable tucking in field (and frankly into congestion)

MOnreal and Bellerin wer caught many times high up and teams exploited the space behind them. This meant Mustafi (or Koscielny) were committed and pulled wide to cover (particularly if Granit got his position wrong) and we paid consequence.

How Torreira covers this season (in conjunction likely with Granit) is going to be key but if we continue to have to rely on Bellerin pushing up to provide width, we will still get caught.

The bright side is in Nelson, we have an asset that can both give some cover and also push forward, provide that natural winger ability. I hope we see more feature of him, he was responsible for the last 2 goals against PSG (albeit with caveat of course they were strictly a youth rendition of the team)

An alternative on right maybe to employ two Rbacks as what Wenger use to with Gibbs on left side to secure certain games. In this case, perhaps the power and pace of AMN just ahead of Bellerin acting as a tag team can reap some rewards both with more defensive solidity but also in taking turns to foray forward.

BUT we should also balance out with equal threat on left as BOTH Kolasinac and MOnreal lack pace.

Aubameyang (and Welbeck) of course can be shuffled to a wider position to provide this but frankly I think Auba is best kept up front on apex and hunting down (high press or what have you) against the Cbacks to exploit any mistakes by the central pair of the opponents.

In which case, an additional winger out left Like Hirving Lozano (PSV) may be a useful weapon to have to complement what we can build more organically on right side.

BUT we will have to wait and see how the market develops with Neymar and Mbappe final destinations still not yet concrete. Until some bigger fish feed, as per usual with market, some signings naturally HAVE TO come late. BUT patience has its reward as we know all too well with the Ozil coup.

Plenty of twist and turns still in the market to come.

santori
santori

Still ambivalent about Ozil as das Kapitan.

I suppose there are 5 captains so its more a motivational thing to show the love to the German and contract to Ramsey.

Frankly we need someone to be held accountable for performances on the pitch.

All this new age many heads approach merely affords players more space to hide from responsibility.

Ozil by nature (and he is not going to change) is not the sort of player to grab you by the gruff of the neck and haul you forward when the chips are down.

Its all fine and dandy when things are going swimmingly well against a youth PSG side.

BUT when you are down to goals against the horrid Spurts and Adebayor is gloating in front of the fans, you need character to pull you out of the rut much like what (the immeasurable) Sagna did for us. Legend.

Much as like Rosicky conducting the fight back. Even Jack despite his failings possesses that bite and you know he truly wore the club on his sleeves.

I’m not sure who we have at the moment in senior role with the sort of fight we need.

I would gravitate toward Mustafi. He has some deficiencies in his play but he seems a big character bc it never seems to faze him and he always seems to try to pull those around him up as much as he can, much like the limited but fearless Flamini did.

We don’t need the best technical player to be the leader, we need the best fighter to lead us when the going gets tough.

The other choice could be one of the senior defenders. Sokratis and Lichsteiner have bags of experience but its too soon for them. Koscielny of course is the natural on field leader if he wasn’t knocked. Maybe Monreal. Then we’re looking at the keepers. Cech maybe, bit early for Leno.

Out in midfield, Mhkitaryan has had a good half season. Maybe he can impart some belief and fight.

5 captains is a weird number. Maybe Emery is thinking of Koscielny + 2 sets of Captain/Technical Captain on the pitch.

I dunno. I feel a Captain and an asst Captain will do for me. BUT someone with a bit of gumption please.

Crash Fistfight
Crash Fistfight

Flamini, limited?!?