Disappointed Emery laments early missed chances

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Unai Emery admits Arsenal paid the price for their first half profligacy as his side stumbled to a frustrating 1-1 draw against Brighton at the AMEX Stadium.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang continued his hot scoring streak with a clinical finish to break the deadlock on seven minutes but the Gabon international later squandered a glorious opportunity to double the Gunners lead when put through one-on-one with Seagulls keeper Mat Ryan.

Within five minutes, Jurgen Locadia took advantage of wretched defending by Stephan Lichsteiner to equalise and with their confidence stemmed, the visitors struggled to create any other chances of note.

“I’m a little disappointed,” Emery admitted afterwards to the BBC. “I think the first half was key in the match. We started winning and had another two chances, and they saved from [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang.

“We didn’t concede [many] chances for them but they drew level. Second half we could not impose our game plan. We did not make more clear chances to win the match.

“It’s our process, we are leaving one process with the team. We can continue in our way with this point. It would be better if we won but I think the team worked well.

“If we scored our chances in the first half we could have won. In the second half we couldn’t impose our game.”

Desperate to engineer a change in his side’s fortunes, Emery took off Mesut Ozil at half time and later removed Alex Lacazette and Laurent Koscielny, the latter’s exit leading to a change in formation. Having enjoyed success making game-changing decisions earlier in the season, it wasn’t to be today.

Explaining his decision to remove Ozil, Emery explained: “It was tactical. It’s the same every match. Sometimes I change it tactically when I need something to change.”

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Jack
Jack

Lichsteiner was terrible today. Everything he does he looks like he has two lead weights attached to his legs.

Also terrible tactics taking off our only creative player at half time to put on a guy who did even less

Goonerink

They were lucky to be level at half time, I love when emery makes game changing subs when we need them, but today the team should have been unchanged.
Laca should have stayed on, and rambo on for guendouzi.

Goonerink

Emery got it wrong, but the players should have been enough to win.

Richie

Lacazette looked incredibly frustrated for the second game in a row to be subbed off. He won’t be here next season if his patience continues to deteriorate. At this rate, in the summer, we’ll be losing Ramsey, Welbeck, Lacazette, and Ozil.

Bob
Bob

Honestly, I think he hooked Ozil at half time but when we made the Lacazette sub I guess it was because we were getting overrun and there seemed more logic to it, but it was a mistake. I’m not wanting to be too harsh on him though as I think he’s struggling a bit to manage us through what is, at this point, a full blown injury crisis and he knows our defence is just not up to it

Bertieme
Bertieme

Lichsteiner is terrible but then what is the alternative? Why play three defensive minded midfielders from the start? For me Xhaka / Torreira is good but playing all three against Brighton (sorry Seagulls fans) is just too conservative.

MateKiddleton
MateKiddleton

Jenko has played well this season when called upon. More stamina, more pace. Also has a mistake in him, but then so does Lichsteiner.

clins
clins

i think emery had one eye on the liverpool game before fixing on the first eleven against brighton. lets be honest ozil did next to nothing the whole time he was on the field. ramsey and iwobi as well. part of the reason were lichsteiner was so bad today that the brighton could concentrate on the other wing and suffocate kolasinac and iwobi who has been the most creative duo for arsenal for last few games for us. when maitland niles came on for lichsteiner the game opened a bit more, but by that point it was too late. i thought brighton defended well and made the game difficult for us. and even some of our players looked jaded or out of form lke laca and torreira .

Sad Gooner
Sad Gooner

Emery is not the right guy for us , he was awful with PSG , Arsenal’s XG this year has been way worse than last year which means an attacking decline and considering our attacking talents it shouldn’t be like that and it is Emery’s fault , Leonard Jardim is without a job and we should get him before it’s too late.

Deano

Very harsh, I think Emery needs time and a couple more transfer before judging him.

Pires4life
Pires4life

I think it is probably too early for that conclusion but I’m actually wondering how well we are doing relative to last season. Seems that Emery is going too much for control and less for effervescence. That’s the opposite of Wenger or at least the rumored wenger style. I am disappointed with Emery’s decision making so far though. I also suspect we are not better defensively. I’d like to see xGs against us. Also, how many big chances did we make last season relative to this season. Certainly something to analyze on the blog.

Bob
Bob

Only a few weeks a go we were lauding his decision making. Don’t be so reactionary.. it’s not surprising that a new coach is having some teething issues getting what is still primarily another managers squad to adapt fully to his ideas. This isn’t really emery’s team yet and there’s only so much a manager can change when the squad is so unbalanced and with many weak links in the chain

Martin
Martin

So a man who achieved a treble and a double with PSG was awful? The toxicity of supporters like you is sickening. Emery has done a fantastic job and 1 defeat in the past 7 league matches showed what an improvement he has made and if we can strengthen the team I can see a top 4 place this season and have hopes in the competitions. Personally I cannot think of any coach who could have done a better job

Pires4life
Pires4life

Excuse me– when people state their opinion, you may present a counter argument but it is counter productive to call their views sickening.

Martin
Martin

I did provide a counter argument by mentioning the improvement shown by the team since Emery took over.

Martin
Martin

17 league matches I meant

Tony Hall
Tony Hall

Are you for fucking real ?

Lettra
Lettra

Not a fan of Emerys subs today.

AMN for Lichsteiner was the only sub we needed to make. Add some pace on the right hand side with Özil still on field and we could have broken through behind Brighton who were not an offensive threat huge enough to keep Lichsteiners experience on. I thought both him and Kola had bad games.

Goonerink

Kola was soo deep all game, back 4 means he was told to do this and it practically nullified any attacking movements he made.

Albioff
Albioff

I really like Emery but sometimes maybe you don’t need so much tactics but just your best players to stay on the pitch. With Iwobi and Maitland-Niles instead of Ozil and Lacazette we were not able to put three passes together.

chuffy
chuffy

You’re getting it wrong tactically Emery. As much as I like Guendouzi he’s being overly relied on and never mind Ozil, I would suggest Emery doesn’t fancy Lacazette either. At the moment and know it’s early days, but we’re not improving defensively, we’re actually getting worse. I’m also not sure how we are setting up, it’s a different attacking set up each game. We absolutely lack wide players and we must sign a centre back.

Bob
Bob

I imagine Guendouzi started because of the formation. I think he’s also trying to protect a very threadbare defence with a more solid midfield. I don’t think it’s so much a case of him getting it “tactically wrong” as trying to cope with the injury issues we have and the squad imbalances and that’s forcing him to take a few gambles or make decisions he probably wouldn’t otherwise. He got some things wrong today, but I don’t envy his squad situation right now

Rich
Rich

We may still finish today inside the top4…. and at worst we’ll only be 3 points off, if someone had offered me that in August? I’d have snapped their arm off.
Performance wasn’t great today, but the result is not the end of the world.

goonershk
goonershk

why took off Ozil instead of Guendouzi. Obviously, Xhaka is a much better playmaker than him but in this match, we see Guendouzi holding and passing the ball most of the time but can’t help anything… Just can’t expect Ozil to make any threats in the first half as both Guendouzi (and Xhaka) prefer to play long passes directly to the strikers

Tim
Tim

Guendouzi can’t do anything? I don’t get where this is coming from.. It only took Guendouzi 2minutes to put Aubameyang through on goal with a lovely chipped through ball. Auba to his credit almost managed to to lob the keeper from it too.

I get the frustration but let’s direct it at the right target.. Ultimately today Emery made a few tactical mistakes which cost us the win.

Bob
Bob

Probably because Koscielny is struggling to get back match fit and Lichtsteiner ended up at centre back. I can see the logic of keeping Guendouzi on to help protect that back line and maybe he knew he’d have to move Xhaka to centre back some point. Didn’t work, but I doubt he thinks it’s ideal either

Devlin
Devlin

Something that a lot of people do not realise is that, the players also recognise the quality of their teammates. They know what each player is capable of and they know who they enjoy playing with. If a team is missing a certain characteristic and there is a player in the squad who can give you that characteristic, they will question your choice to leave that guy out. They will question either your ability to spot what is missing and also your determination to win at all costs.

Certain players give their teammates belief and allow them to not just do more, but to believe in their own ability. Kolasinac said that he made a particular run because he knew Ozil would find him, that goes away when Ozil goes out. We have 3 world class players and the other players know it, so if you don’t want to use them for the sake of results then by all means the team, the fans and the staff will be happy if it works out. But if you are playing badly and what’s missing is what those world class players bring in training everyday, the team will start questioning you.

I hope we can give these great players the platform to perform to their max because it feels like they are being restricted. Ozil, Lacazette and Aubameyang are amazing players in their prime, probably the best front three in the league, ability and success potential wise. But if we are asking them to go out of their comfort zones, which is wrong. These are not youngsters, we know what they are capable of and we signed those capabilities, so why aren’t we doing our best to bring all that they do well out of them.

What’s the point of having Ozil when we don’t try to dominate a game, even against small sides. Why do we keep Lacazette and Aubameyang apart when they play so well together. These three just need a foundation like Liverpool has for their front three. Its not good to just run around and that’s all we are doing. We are bad on both sides of the ball besides when those three do something special, imagine how much better they could get if they are given a solid platform.

That first half wasn’t great, but that second half showed the difference in quality coming on and quality going off. The players looked dejected as well when they saw the subs. Because if Ozil and Lacazette were ineffective, there must be a new word to describe what the players who came on were.

Tony Hall
Tony Hall

Should be playing Auba, Laca and Ozil every game if possible so the three of them can form the formidable partnership we know they are capable of.

Niran
Niran

Who the hell thumbed this down ?… Totally nailed it !

Possession
Possession

Far too many knee jerk substitutions from Emery. Get it right to begin with man.

Martin
Martin

Far too many knee jerk reactions from some of our fans.

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

We played a strange game today. First half I wasn’t sure if it was meant to be a 4-3-3 or 3-4-1-2, Xhaka seemed to be constantly changing positions, leaving our other CBs exposed. Then second half we almost seemed to be playing 5 at the back and we lost all fluency. And taking Ozil and Lacazette off was a bit baffling really.

Rosa Pires castle
Rosa Pires castle

I think everyone could see they were looking to expose Kos with long balls into the left channel when sead attacked and they hit us on counter.
Left hand side was their only option.

Shame he chooses to take off Ozil. Torreira or even Guendouzi were the men to come off I think. We didn’t need so many of the one type in that midfield but Sead did need more help on his side so no issues with Iwobi coming on but should have being for either of the Cms.

Bob
Bob

It’s tough though, take off Guendouzi and that defense probably gets even more exposed

Fatgooner
Fatgooner

Apparently, Emery allowd the players to enjoy Christmas at home yesterday instead of traveling down to Brighton last night.

Maybe not such a good idea.

Irrational Gunner

Have to agree with Emery on the chances in the first half. If PEA gets any of those two nicely saved shots in, Brighton may have just wilted. But the second half substitutions are a bit confusing in light of his statements about “imposing our gameplay”. Not sure if I saw any “game plan” beside a pretty conservative approach that looked to be relying on snatching a goal through a Brighton mistake.

Monkey G
Monkey G

Emery have lost the dressing room and it will only get worse. He needs to be replaced asap. He is playing silly games with Ozil and Lacazette, our top players. It is a dangerous game and clearly it is affecting all team. Players will back players. Only solution is to get rid of Emery before we become laughing stock. #EmeryOut

Martin
Martin

How you can get any support for your moronic comment astounds me. There is a spirit about the team that we haven’t seen for along time. We weren’t great today but after just 2 defeats in 26 matches you want Emery out. You’re a complete idiot

Bob
Bob

What the actual fuck? What evidence do you have to support any of that? Lost the dressing room and EmeryOut… fucking baffling. Get it together mate.

Tony Hall
Tony Hall

You really are a prize twat #justsayin

Vonnie
Vonnie

Horrible subs today, Emery is really starting to irritate me with his tinkering and rubbish subs. The players are starting to look tired and confused, he’s pissing off our best players and I have no idea what this process is but it seems to have ground to a halt. We seem to have gone from the Arsene extreme where the players didn’t seem to know what they were supposed to be doing to the opposite extreme where there are so many systems and instructions their heads have exploded. Why the hell was Lichtsteiner left on the pitch when he was dreadful from minute one, but Laca and Mesut were taken off when they were our best chance of creating a goal? Unai needs to sort himself out, I know we are short of players, but the management is far from blameless at the moment.

Kolasinac
Kolasinac

I wonder whether Maitland-Niles wasn’t in starting 11 because of Liverpool game (hopefully he will start on saturday). Also maybe the reason why AMN didn’t come on for second half was that he was an option for Kolasinac if needed otherwise i cannot understand why Lichtsteiner stayed on the pitch after that first half (that pass in the first half near the corner flag in opp. half when he just gave the ball away was maddening, hopefully he will get better …) That lack of cover of adequate quality in our defense is becoming quite a problem.

Ali Kamal
Ali Kamal

If you have coached any game, you will know that as a coach you make decisions that may not go in your favour; however, you do make the call , that makes you a better coach then the fellow who let it ride. Today Emery’s calls did not go his way, but he made the call, we should respect that.

MrT
MrT

Nothing changed Mr Emery, got really bad… Why rush to take the most creative player in the team. Getting fed up with the word ‘ Tactical ‘

Albert48
Albert48

Bit worried. If you think bringing Özil off improves our team! If we had same 11 in second half I think we would have won! Is this man a bit too clever for his own good? Probably best top 3 in the Premiership – might be an idea to give them.
90 mins?

Arseditup
Arseditup

Arseball
Like Wengerball
but different.

AJK
AJK

Emery has no vision for Arsenal, his attitude towards the best players is killing the arsenal’s natural game. The players are frustrated and so the fans. He is responsible for today’s bad game as he took off Ozil and Laca. Iwobi is good for nothing. I hope he would not repeat the same stupidity in the name of ‘tactical decision’ against Liverpool…

Martyn
Martyn

What about a cheeky bid to get Fabregas back? Arsenal lack creativity in midfield and he may be able to do a job in the short term.

PTAFC
PTAFC

Yesterday evening was utter Shite, poor tactics – why do we take the lead and think we’ve won!? Poor substitutions – why replace Ozil with iwobi? Both ineffective and the latters early season improvement has stalled. That second half was as bad as I’ve seen for a long time. I think the team thought the season ended when they beat spurs as there’s been no desire since. Interesting to see what signings we get if any