Monday, July 15, 2024

Emery hints at tweaks to his style to counter high pressing

The news that Petr Cech will keep his place against Chelsea raised some eyebrows in certain quarters because of elements of the veteran’s performance against Man City.

He looked uncomfortable with the ball at his feet at times, and almost scored an own goal with a miskick that went just beyond his post. He countered that with some top class saves though, and right now Unai Emery believes the 35 year old is the best man for the job ahead of £22.5m summer signing Bernd Leno.

The Spaniard isn’t going to change his system after one game though, but did suggest that his players need to vary it a bit to deal with pressure when it comes from the opposition.

“Goalkeepers can play like a player, to start short with the centre back or the right or left back,” he said.

“It is not compulsory to start each action that way. Maybe if the opposition is doing high pressing against us, then we need also to find another option and to play the ball long in the second action.

“We are training for each situation. I want in each moment to know what is our best action to do in the match. This is our creative style and idea.

“We need with security, with confidence, to build in each match and training session. We are in this process.”

And he insisted that the defeat to Man City would be something he and his players will take lessons from.

“We didn’t lose because of our personality, our idea, our style,” he said. “We didn’t lose for that.

“We lost on other things, we can improve on other things, tactics, improve for our learning on the next match. But also, we are building our style because we think it’s the best way, to have the control on each match, and to find the best way to win.”

It does sound like we might vary it a little more against Chelsea on Saturday. Let’s see.

In the meantime, check out a brand new Arsecast, talking Guendouzi, Cech’s social media interactions this week, and lots more. Listen below.

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We created numerous attacking opportunities through our pressing of City yet not a single ‘expert’ pundit has mentioned this in the past 5 days. My issue was that our attack wasn’t coherent or decisive enough and our fullbacks (especially Bellerin) had no wide player tracking back to help out against Sterling, Mendy or Walker. Mhiki was particularly guilty of this. I think maybe Laca and Torreira instead of Xhaka and Mhiki. Ramsey gets another chance but a more disciplined, not as the most advanced presser. City were better but they weren’t as great and we weren’t as bad as a… Read more »

Man Manny

Great observation. The average pundit sticks to the facts that support his narrative. Truth be told, Man City made as many errors as we did at the back. The difference is they were not punished.


Most pundits are average.


You’re right, the attack was worse than the defence. But it’s all interlinked, the attacked lacked fluency because forward players were asked to adopt different positions to usual. Criticism after one game is absurd – the coach and players are working towards something that cannot be emulated in training alone. Judge them in 20 or 30 games… at least.


Agree about xhaka and mhiki being benched. I’d like to see Bellerin on the bench too , and Lich at RB assuming nacho can resume at LB


I also wondered about RB. May do Bellerin some good to feel like he can be dropped, but I’d be surprised to see given how few LB we have fit, we need to keep at least one in reserve to cover options


I disagree about Xhaka being benched. If we start with Torreira then he can plY as a deep lying midfielder as he plays successfully for Switzerland.


i completely disagree on the teory that xhaka is somehow gonna become a better player by playing as a deep lying mid, is that gonna cure his ball watching, and concentration lapses? something needs to change in his head, not position. i certainly hope it will

Caught in two minds

What will be the purpose of this deep lying midfielder really? U have to deal with Kante, Jorginho and Fabregas. i would feel more comforttable with two speedy mobile midfielders in The douzy and Torreira to cancel out their threats. We have enough creative options in Ozil and Laca while Auba providing the pace upfront and Ramsey can make his run from the deep or do whatever he likes to do. For Emery’s pressing game, we need mobility and tenacity and defensive awareness in the midfield…Xhaka doesn’t provide that unfortunately.

A Different George

In the first half, whenever City were in possession, Mendy played in the center, as an extra midfielder; much of their attack resulted from this midfield overload. If Bellerin had simply followed him in, that would leave Sterling (or Mahrez, if they switched sides) free. I think this was Guardiola exploiting the inexperience of Guendouzi (and to a lesser extent, Xhaka’s lack of pace).

Much better in the second half.


We have been made the laughing stock of the Premier league for years by these so called pundits which have made a living off of slagging us off so we can’t expect them to change straight away. It would take back to back trebles before they even start to take us seriously. They don’t want us to do well, if we do then they won’t have anyone to talk shit about. I’m behind the team and I can see the positives on the pitch. COYG


Pundits are by-and-large nitwits. Railing on Arsenal has been the soup de jour for a couple seasons now (despite the FA cup wins and the Comm Shield wins). Its just what pundits do because they are: 1) former footballers and not very bright 2) not very bright so original thought isn’t really their thing 3) being told by producers how to fill time, and 4) aren’t very bright. Pundits are flies: best ignored. To hell with all of them. (And yes, Henry was – key word WAS – and Arsenal great, but he’s a total twat pundit. Lee Dixon is… Read more »


I’ll wait and see to make a judgement call but I’d bench Ozil right now. £300k a week are totally unjustified, I want to see more from him, after 3 years my opinion is he doesn’t have the shoulders for it #pleaseOzilprovemewrong

canon fodder

Do we have any actual evidence to prove that Ozil is on circa £300k a week? This figure keeps getting bounded around but no one has yet confirmed if it is true or not


What exactly does “doesn’t have the shoulders for it” mean?

Sorry, but silly comment. If you watched last weekend, Ozil was involved in nearly everything good that happened in the midfield and attacking third.

Maybe use evidence and actual logic before wrongly scapegoating a player, eh?


He’s a bright manager and thinking a lot. Seems a lot like Wenger but more thought on the defensive and organisation.


Why is there no download link for the podcast?


There is one…


Please add the link to your updates as you used to do before, it comes handy (especially when you make reference to it). Thanks


To be honest, I think I’m sick and tired of the constant scrutiny and moaning of every single thing this coach does
. Dude is just 1 match into his job, it practically sounds like it’s his 3rd year of trying to evolve a new pattern of play.


Meanwhile I don’t even think he should be disclosing every little detail of his tactics and plans for games. I don’t see any other manager discuss how they intend to setup and play BEFORE a game.


You’re right but he’s not disclosing anything really. He’s just stating the obvious stuff and if you think he’s giving away all his plans it’s only a sign of your own limitations (nothing personal). Of course Emery thinks on a much deeper level and so does every other manager at any top league, even Harry Redknapp. So he knows he’s not giving anything away (except lots of headlines). My theory is that he is actually a psychology PhD and wants to change the team’s persona as quickly as possible by repeatedly telling how we will play to media and to… Read more »


Nice take really.


I completely agree that Unai shouldn’t be disclosing too much about his game plans for matches, especially before they’ve actually been played.

However – being new to the premier league & Arsenal – perhaps he’s trying to be helpful in communicating his thoughts, and it’s simply his way of attempting to build relationships with both the media and Arsenal fans too.

It may also just be a reflection of his personality, and he can’t help himself in this regard.

We shall see how this pans out.


I actually thought Cech was older than 35

Evang. Simon

He is 35 until he turns 36


Petr Cech’s date of birth is listed as My 20, 1982. That makes him 36 years old. He turned 36 in May this year. So he is no longer 35 as he has already turned 36, but is still 36 until he turns 37 on May 20, 2019.




Even this early in the season the Chelsea game is a massively important one. We looked a million miles behind City last Sunday and were lucky to only lose 2-0. We have to put up a better performance against the Chavs, even if we lose. The aim this season is a top-four finish and a heavy defeat would badly hurt confidence. The goalkeeping situation is bizarre. Why spend all that money on a new keeper if you don’t think he’s better than the one you’ve already got? And it’s obvious that Cech’s footwork doesn’t suit the passing-out-from-the-back style that Emery… Read more »


I kind-of agree with your sentiment, but if you have a look at the By the numbers article, the odds were actually (slightly) more than 50% that we get a BETTER result than 2-0.

A Different George

We were certainly not as good as City, and they deserved to win. But it would not have been surprising for us to have equalized–we had as many good chances as they (beyond their two goals, they had two other chances–Cech’s double-save, and Aguero alone against Cech). I saw no possibility of that in the League Cup final, for example, so I am optimistic.


Cech will get better with the passing. Its early days and a huge change for him. Unheralded are two massive saves a double stop from the Mahrez free kick and a critical stop against Aguero following GUendouzi’s error. Passing out of the back was fairly effective for us. The issue most have is it can slow our attack down and let them get back into shape. Emery himself pointed out that he was also looking to releasing the ball quicker further up the pitch so clearly the approach will be a mixture eventually. IT is just the first game of… Read more »


I really do hope we are not discussing or exposing our tactics at these briefings.


They already know what we are about. Its not a big deal.

Whether we can execute it is more the issue.


1. Talk of varying things reminds me of the common refrain against Wenger leaving the players to decide best solution in-match. For me, it’s just logical that the players deal with the different situations they face in a match rather that be treated like computer game objects where the manager is constantly directing their play.
2. Emery’s constant reference to having and showing personality is akin to Wenger’s constant reference to our spirit and character. Lol.


You can’t micromanage. BUT sometimes the players cannot see what’s going on or need tactical intervention that can only come from the bench with a change of personel and different approach Wenger was already setting the team up to play a combination of a 4-3-3 to 4-2-3-1 baseline to 4-1-3-2. He was already playing Aubameyang wide and in tandem with Lacazette at times. BUT he wasn’t fully utilising the flexibility he was building and he was certainly not making changes within a match quickly enough. Part of it was down to his philosophy to let the players work it out.… Read more »


Media pundits fat Sam and all blowing hot air out of their arse as usual. It was necessary for the team to work on moving the ball around in the defense. Sure we could go more direct but we don’t have a player like Giroud to hoof it to long. In any case I thought considering it was City, we worked out of defense very well several times. BUT Emery has himself explained that it is not the only way to work out of defense and he will also want the team to look for opportunities to hit it up… Read more »

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