Sunday, July 14, 2024

Emery: We needed an extra midfielder in the second half

Somewhat surprisingly, Unai Emery changed his formation for last night’s 3-0 win over Qarabag in the Europa League, going with three at the back.

And not for the first time, the Arsenal boss decided to make a half-time change to try and change the course of the game, this time bringing on Lucas Torreira for Nacho Monreal and reverting to a back four.

Initially it was suggested that the Spanish international was injured, but afterwards Emery explained his thinking and said the substitution was made because he wanted more control in the centre of the park.

“No, first I changed Monreal because we wanted to play with a back four in the second half,” he said.

“Also, we needed to put one midfielder more on the pitch. I think we suffered in the match. But I want to suffer.

“I want to not find easy matches, like today. Then, in our moments, to show you and show them our possibilities, our quality and our organised moments.

“I think in the 90 minutes today, the team worked very well.”

And the Spaniard wasn’t surprised that Qarabag proved testing opposition for the Gunners, who had Bernd Leno to thank for a string of impressive saves.

“When I saw different matches in their domestic competition and in Europe against Sheriff and Sporting Lisbon, for us their best performance was against Sporting Lisbon with a good match,” he said.

“Our respect is thinking here, for example, Atletico Madrid didn’t win. They played very well in the Champions League.

“That’s the reason, today also, we analysed and worked with the respect against them.

“On the pitch we were thinking that we need also to take the best performance to win today.”

It’s six points from six in the Europa League thus far, and early qualification would give Emery the chance to rest players for important Premier League games around the time of our final two European fixtures.

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Qarabag have always lost versus English teams, every time. So it would have been a surprise if we hadn’t won, especially with all the first teamers involved.

Hopefully we are ironing out the faults in the defence ahead of harder challenges, a better side would have got some goals against us.


Love the picture btw, it shows that he is trying to have an effect on the game. Whether it means anything (the players should be concentrating on the ball/opposition rather than looking at the sidelines all the time) is another matter.


Glenn Hoddle was talking about that before the match. He said it’s often for the manager to relieve his own tension, but it can help players if they’ve missed something


No disrespect to Qarabag but I do feel the way we play depends on the opposition. We would have raised our game had we played a better team. Might have still kept a clean sheet.


True, we would also have had a stronger team eg Auba playing plus some others that we rested. However when we play Liverpool at the start of November I’d be worried about giving them so many chances (as we have seen in this match and recently). We aren’t going to keep getting away with it and will have the pressure of chasing matches.

But let’s hope we are improving defensively in time for stronger oppo.


To be honest, a heavily rotated side with some players who have barely featured and some teenagers… I’m not that bothered if we didn’t play too well last night

Jean Ralphio

El neny and guendozi were poor yesterday. Hopefully they improve. We need our midfielders to play penetrative passes, though I am enjoying this safety first approach.


Not very poor but certainly not the best we have as a pairing. Elneny is limited. He would look equally comfortable in a team in lower half of PL. Next to him, there would always be a sharp fall in our ability to control. (certain)People like to slate Granit but he switches point of attack for us very quickly and has got much better and solid defensively (not to say of course like any other player he won’t be prone to mistakes here and there) Also Granit is very strong defending crosses for us these days. There is something extra… Read more »

Crash Fistfight

According to the TV graphics we brought on our new signing Tarreira at half-time. How on Earth do they get it wrong, considering squads have to be registered with UEFA prior to the start of the competition? I found it laughable tbh.


Someone at the TV company has to type it in to their system. It’s called a typo and we’ve all done it, maybe just not quite so publicly.


Torreira means little terror in Uruguayan tell them.


You mean in Spanish?


It is because he tarried before he came on, ie waited until the second half.

TV people were just trying to entertain.


Someone pressed a single wrong key on a keyboard. Clearly, the world is ending soon. Surprised it hasn’t made the headlines.

Charlie George

Why can’t commentators pronounce players’ names properly? That bland bloke on BT Sport who sounded like Alan Partridge (“Why is the referee allowed to wear a necklace when the players aren’t? Seems inconsistent!”) Kept calling our left-back “Ko-lashy-natz” when a quick Google finds him telling us it’s “Ko-lassi-nack” (exactly the way it’s spelt).

Not the most important thing but irritating to a pedant like me – and there’s not much to commentating besides saying what’s happening and getting the players names right

Crash Fistfight

I think he only pronounces it like that to make it easier for non-native speakers. He was brought up in Germany, so maybe he got tired of having to correct everyone who pronounced it wrong and just went with it. As someone with the same issue, I can sympathise.

Charlie George

Ah c’mon, “Fistfight” isn’t *that* hard to say!! ?

Crash Fistfight

Everybody assumes the “gh” is silent.


I think it’s because a lot of the commentators aren’t all that bright. Others are obviously not so inclined to respect internationally correct pronunciations.

Irrational Gunner

So a prat, in English terms.


Emery switched back to a flat 4 and added Torreira to allow Elneny to push higher and put pressure earlier. But there were still too many gaps between our attack and midfield and midfield and defense. The 3 at the back often saw us sit 5 deep and deprive ourselves of ability to assert control in midfield with lesser numbers. I’m not sure Unai will be convinced with 3-4-3 at the moment. Its a bit of a liability bc we don’t have fast assets to recover to areas behind the fullbacks should the ball get turned over albeit we have… Read more »

Randy Auba

Has anyone seen this Ndombele guy play. He moves the ball around in midfield with such beauty.


Great to see the boys keeping another clean sheet
There were alot of lapses with the defence but we’re
Improving as a team game after game.COYG

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