Emery: We have a lot of work to do


Unai Emery says his players must learn to defend better after a harrowing 5-1 defeat to Liverpool further underlined the gap between Arsenal and the Premier League leaders.

Despite striking first through Ainsley Maitland-Niles, the Gunners fourth league defeat of the campaign was all but settled by half time as the Reds hit back via Roberto Firmino’s brace, Sadio Mane’s close-range strike and Mohamed Salah’s penalty.

Comically bad defending, reminiscent of the worst of the Arsene Wenger era, was a feature throughout with Sead Kolasinac giving away a second penalty after the break that Firmino converted for his hat-trick.

After the match, Emery, often an optimist in his post-match press conferences, was quick to accept that the balance of his side was wrong.

“I think we started well, but after our goal, they pushed, and when they push here, they play with great determination and with players who can make a difference all over the pitch,” said the Spaniard.

“They scored three quick goals and it was a difficult moment for us. We spoke in the dressing room – it’s another experience for us. A bad experience but an experience to learn from.

“In the second half we needed to stand up, to keep our position individually and collectively on the game. The two last goals, two penalties, I think it’s a lot for us. I think VAR is important – it’s coming next year, because I think it’s going to help the referees to take better decisions.

“We only can think now of the match on Tuesday and know the difference between Liverpool and us was not like today’s result.

“Maybe we can do one balance, one mix between our draw and this result today. We have a lot of work to do, defensively also, we know we need to get better.”

While the referee generously awarded two spot-kicks to the home team and dismissed an obvious trip on Lacazette in the Liverpool box, Emery made clear that the officiating was not to blame for the defeat.

“The result is clear,” he added. “It’s not for the referee.

“There were some positives on the pitch – for example Ainsley played as right winger and scored, working well. Also Iwobi, after some matches not playing very well, today he played 90 minutes with a good performance.

“But defensively we need to be stronger, to work. Our defensive moments in our box, it’s my responsibility and then we need the balance.

“We need to keep the balance in the middle. We lost today 5-1, we need to keep the balance in the middle, be serious and continue on Tuesday with a big match at the Emirates.

“We need to show our supporters there we are standing up after the result.”

Should Chelsea win their game in hand, a match away at Crystal Palace tomorrow evening, Arsenal will be five points adrift of the top four and a place in next season’s Champions League.

We have to pick ourselves up quickly, which means three points against Fulham on New Year’s Day. By that point, the transfer window will be open. Perhaps Sven and Raul might have the cheque book ready and waiting.

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But let’s hope for the best.


Spending on CBs is important, but more importantly, in my opinion, is changing the defensive system. With this system, no matter how big we spend on CB, it will not solve the defensive problems.


What system? Having a back 3 or back 4? We use both, have used different personnel all season..


I think it’s more of where our midfielders are off the ball. There’s always huge spaces in between the lines. Maybe that’s the balance Unai is talking about.

Emery in Aubalaca wonderland

Yesterday our midfield was always giving the ball away. Yes the defence was a disaster but the midfield was very very bad as well.


Hope Kroenke DHL’ed a signed, blank check over there. ?


A blank cheque might be better


If you’re going to do that, at least get a full stop on the end.

Make Arsenal Great Again

Kroenke is American sos blank check may be in order


Defense is an utter shambles. Bottom half quality. We need to invest. Heavily.


Agreed. Bar sokratis and bellerin the whole remaining lot need to be moved on.


if there is any positive for the last game, its that the players we thought were shit remains utter shit. lichsteiner mustafi and to an extent kola and sokratis were disastrous yesterday. and with yesterdays confirmation we know that we have to invest and move them on one by one. its just a matter of time before we improve our defence after we add quality personnel to the team. meanwhile i really hope we end up in top four , else its gonna really difficult to attract the best possible players to the club. meanwhile one other positive was that… Read more »


No shit !!


This result was disappointing but not a surprise. We had this coming after our abysmal performance against Brighton. Hopefully it will pinpoint the exact deficiencies for Mislintat and co to target, starting with a proper CB. People really need to lay off Emery. It’s his first ever season in the PL, and he has to contend with having Wenger’s leftovers. If there was anything positive that we could take from this game, it’s that with the right signings and patience from the fans, we will be playing the same level of football that Liverpool showcased this season in next to… Read more »


If you ask me lower teams have defensive line ups assembled with worse players and we are still stuck with the same issues after six months not a good sign if you ask me!


Because lower teams aren’t trying to play progressive football. Emery is trying to build a team to compete for major trophies not avoid relegation.


A protagonist.


You kind of stole my thunder but I’m glad you did. Also there is an argument that we could do worse than look to some of the lower teams for defenders who can actually defend. We may have paid top dollar for some of the guys in our defence but they haven’t been value for money!


klopp’s liverpool had some pretty shite defensive performances wheh he took over, and look at them now, I have faith Emery can do something with this team if he gets the same backing Klopp did


We didn’t have much of a transfer budget to buy big during the summer. Also, we were having a new manager coming in. Because of this, 2 things could happen: either the players respond to the new manager and his tactics and we wouldn’t be needing to make any more defensive signings, or the players don’t change and we end up conceding alot of goals (which is what’s happening right now). Sure, we didn’t get in world class players. But given the budget we had in that transfer window, we did target the deficiencies that were evident in the previous… Read more »

The Charma

What Wenger left overs? Count them and you will realize that it’s Emery’s team . It’s just that he is Europa league material and clueless in defense formations .


Either you’re having a laugh or just trying to get people to bite. Emery hasn’t really brought in anyone because some of the players were linked with the club before he was even appointed…Guendouzi and Torreira are the real exceptions.

SB Still

If ManUre win their game in hand, they will be just 3 points behind us!

They were supposed to be having a bad 1st half and we were on a unbeaten 22, level on points with the Tots at one stage.

We have to be active during the Jan transfer window both in and out. Hopefully the guys have it all planned.


We might as well finish 8th or 9th if we cannot break into the top 4, enough of the Thursday night nonsense.

That was a shit performance. I hope to feck mustafi and the Swiss bloke have played their way out of Emery’s team – they both need to go. Also getting annoyed with Aubameyang, is he this decade’s Andy Cole? Try and score FFS, that’s your job. Emery has a big job on his hands with the squad we have. Some big decisions need to be made, and quickly.

To quote Alan Partridge, “I wasn’t expecting that, Lynn. That was a negative and right now I need two positives.”


I actually thought Xhaka was having a good season before Emery shipped him off to LB and CB.


Think he means Lichtsteiner

Maxin In The Shade

What exactly do you expect of Aubemayang?

Did he receive one decent ball to feet?

Any proper service to speak of?


He didn’t get much service but the case against Aubemayang is that Lacazette came on and made much more of an impact immediately, simply by coming for the ball. In games like this, when the opposition won’t give you time on the ball, service may be poor and you’ve got to impose yourself on the game a different way. That’s what we really needed, a focal point up top that could bring others into play and make chances for themselves, but that’s not really Aubemayang’s style.


Poor of Emery to not know the strengths and weaknesses of his only class players.

Paul Roberts

Bit harsh on Aubs mate?

Northern Gooner

Agree on Mustafi and Lichsteiner.

If Lichsteiner had any decency. he should be donating his wages to charity then making his excuses and retire.

Way out of line on Auba though.


Virgil Van Dyke, think we can let auba off this game.




I wonder which poor sod they will roll out to do the ‘we must bounce back’ interview


On the upside, I got some nice new Adidas socks for Xmas, which meant I could throw out all my old socks that had holes in them.
Every cloud…..


Here’s a revolutionary idea or two:

1st, play your three best players together for fuck sake. Ozil, laca, Pea.

2Nd, buy a proper center halve or two.


Other than one performance against Leicester, when has Ozil been one of our best player?
He’s not playing because his form is awful, and he seems to pick up mysterious injuries every time he gets benched or dropped because of his poor performances.

Our two best players today were Iwobi+Niles so I’m not sure Lacazette would made much of a difference.
I think we just had to accept this squad of players has major flaws, it’s very unbalanced and Liverpool regrettably are much better than us at this point in time


If you don’t think Mesut Ozil is our best player I don’t know what to say. Like the saying goes, form is temporary, class is permanent. Play the guy through the slump. He is an assist machine and PEA and laca get goals. Not playing them is insane.


If he’s an assist machine then he needs to be taken in for repairs badly, he’s made one all season and it was a scoffed shot that fell to Iwobi against Burnley at home. Ramsey has six! Form maybe temporary but he hasn’t been good enough for long enough since he signed that contract. Finally, it’s not like he was available anyway! Or are you suggesting that you think he’s not really injured?


Liverpool at home. Recently he created 2 of our 3 goals against Burnley.


I don’t get why people think that the reason we shipped 5 goals today is because we didn’t play Ozil and Lacazette. Are they actually centre backs? If we defend like we did today we’ll lose to anyone, that has to be the focus.


Never said that mate. But come on, we surely would have a better chance at having a go with a proper attacking 3.


I know you didn’t say that, and yes we would have potentially looked better with them in the line up. But I just don’t think our big issue was with our attack. Iwobi, AMN and to an extent Ramsey were the only players that emerged from that game with any credit for us. Meanwhile Ozil, Laca and PEA all played against them at home and we were only able to put one past them. All three started against Brighton as well and again, only got one goal. So, not sure how much of a difference they’d have helped us at… Read more »


We had prime Ozil and Sanchez in these games in recent years and got embarrassed. Ozil needs to be sold. Laca and auba would both play if welbeck was fit, I think. We need cover for them so the manager can field them both.


Agreed about playing Auba and Laca if we had a spare 3rd striker. Also agree that despite having class players we have still been made to look ordinary against Liverpool over the years.


Is S.Bould still the man in charge for our defensive training? I don’t want to blame anybody but our own players, still, maybe we should find another man to handle the job, i think it’s something worth to try


I’ve been harbouring same thought for some time and I don’t think it’s far from the mark.


If Wenger had brought in top coaches & let them coach he would still be here.


Fair enough comments and Emery owned it for the most part.

On VAR, neither of those penalties would have been overturned and I’m not certain ours would have been given even though I’d like to think it would have.

Lord Bendnter

Pretty sure we won’t be buying so quickly in this transfer market. On paper we technically have 5 CB, 3 RB, and 2 LB. Pretty sure the club will refuse to buy until at least one or two players are sold off first… Unfortunately, that could mean a late buy..


If we sell Mustafi I will cry with joy, what an absolutely atrocious defender


We are shit, and we know we are, we are shit and we know we are…

Tony Hall

Well that was a shame, couldn’t see us winning, hoped we might scrape a draw but oh well not really a surprise. However to put things in perspective it has taken Klopp three seasons to get his team like that not 20 games, Rome was not built in a day ! Mr Emery has inherited a pretty poor defence with our three best defenders either past their best, Kos and Nacho or out injured Bellerin. No offence to the others (jury out on Holding at the moment) but the rest not at the same standard. The team has several players… Read more »


A world class playmaker costs a f**** lots of money. Make the count with Özil 20 M per year for 3 years, it’s 60 M. Try to find a world class playmaker for that price…. good luck or well, we’ve got, his name is Mesut Özil.


Ild rather Madison at Leicester to ozil

I'm 14 again

I keep reading that Emery has inherited poor players, I struggle to see why that is even an argument.

Paul Roberts

I like his honesty “Also Iwobi, after some matches not playing very well, today he played 90 minutes with a good performance.” it’s a long road ahead good luck Unai.


We be fucked. The issues we have are going to take more than a season to fix.


Perhaps they won’t …


I ain’t even mad. Lichensteiner, Mustafi, Sokratis vs Firmino, Salah, Mane. There’s no contest there. All we can do is look at how Liverpool have invested in their squad over the last couple of years and use it as a model.


Difference is they’ve sold players for huge fees at the right time. Through our own shambolic actions we keep throwing money away by allowing contracts to expire and renewing deals way over the odds on players we should move on

Pool pulled in 200m for Suarez and coutinho, we’re nowhere near that, and stan ain’t investing


The crazy thing is that if they really needed to retool they can probably do it again. Salah and VVD will be worth well over 100m now with Mane and Firmino not far behind.

Us? Our most sellable asset is walking out on a free and our “best player” is a gifted but somewhat flaky, 30 year old pure 10 on massive fuck-off wages and apparently no one wants him either. We could have got at least 60m for Sanchez from City as he approached the last year of his contract but instead we got Mhkytarian…

Dave Cee

1 million thumbs up!


I’m actually worried by Emery declaration : the gap between us and Liverpool is just alarming. Just look at how many goals they conceded vs us this season.

The point about finding a balance will probably see us continuing to play less attackers and more defenders ; which means no Ozil and a back three with Lichtsteiner in it.

I even expect no one to come on January. I’m actually pissed.


The actual system with no 10 is slow, heavy and inefficient. With 7 defending players we managed to get goals after goals. Take offensive players, they bring pace and threat AND a maestro to conduct them. UE was doing this until he lost it at Bournemouth to show his muscles to the media and to Özil who had never put his leadership in question.


So who are the names we should consider for a new and improved defence? What’s out there that isn’t bargain bin 30 something’s or promising but inexperienced 18 year olds?

Anyone who knows the Bundesliga, Ligue 1, Spain or Italy? Any of the lesser leagues with good future prospects we could buy from?


Idk really ; we may feel stuck for a couple of years since quality centerbacks are expensive, and te board didn’t declare wanting to splash the money while C1 seems out of reach.

The best we could hope is better wingers to be more of a threat on the counter. The defensive situation won’t change and we’ll maintain the high defensive line.


I know the Bundesliga quite well but I don’t see any top class defenders there other than Süle at Bayern who is obviously going to stay there. Tah at Leverkusen is a big prospect but still very raw and no leader yet.
Koulibaly from Naples would be perfect but I don’t see how we could get him even if we payed the reported 80 mill.
But I’m not the handsomely paid head of recruitement either…


De Ligt is also highly unlikely.
We are not a top team and therefore need to be creative in our scouting..


Let’s not kid ourselves. I expected more pain earlier in the season tbh, the run was fantastic but the limits of this squad are showing themselves and some old habits are dying hard. Good to hear the manager accept some responsibility too but, ultimately, this will be on the owners and recruitment team.


All that Video analysis and you still have shit fbs playing high and wide getting long balls clipped over them and being countered constantly. We are the ‘top’ team you will see getting countered consistenly alway scrambling back never dealing with danget at source or by reading the game.


Why the hell does mustafi pull out of the challenge on firminio for the second goal. Bring him down and take a booking.

89 was fine

Its not Emery’s fault and no surprise we took a beating we’ve been taking this gutless type of collapse for years now and not always against the top teams. We haven’t added any real quality to the cb position for years, potential maybe but not quality. When the pressure is on our defence will continue to bleed goals with comic defending. Major overhaul needed so hopefully we buy quality and give the potential time to grow.
no more mr average/fillers please we need QUALITY


We have to learn from this experience blah blah blah, heard it all before, got the T-shirt but is seems rather worn out like an old record. Now I don’t mind loosing to Pool by all means but in this manner just reopened the old wounds that were carved open by Wenger philosophy towards the end of his tenure. Ever changing lineups, tactics (Laca and Kosser on the bench) really high line, AMN for his goal all over the pitch and fucking Xhaka….Christ almighty what does that prick have to do to be subbed his body language made Ozil look… Read more »


In addition to a new CD we need a new left back with pace that knows how to and is willing to defend.


Liverpool turned themselves around by backing a good manager with a string of SERIOUS and BOLD purchases

we have a good manager in place yes

but Sokratis and Lichsteiner are NOT the calibre of signings required to get us to the top


and how are Liverpool spending more cash on players than us?

we were in the CL for 20 years!

where did the money go?!?


They get money for their prize assets and we don’t


They, luckily got silly money for Coutinho & spent it well, good on them for that. Also Klopp & Liverpool were made for each other, just like Arsenal & Wenger were 22 years ago.

Teryima Adi

Our defending was comical and shambolic. A very forgettable on night

Teryima Adi

A very forgettable night***


I would welcome Martin Keown replacing Steve Bould in the coaching set up. Think we had our best champions league defence with Keown helping out.


Keown is a bitter, nasty person who shouldn’t be let anywhere near our players. He’s always slagging off the team on the telly, trying to be ‘ard, our players probably detest him, I know I do.


Should Steve Bould still be our defensive coach? I’m not sure, think it’s time he went too.

Malaysian gunner

The way Arsenal attack is predictable. Its like the Wenger era.Even other teams have passed the ball from the defence/back to the forwards with devastating effect.Problem is by the time the gunners get to the final 3rd,they are face dby a great wall of defenders and still they want to thread the ball . So when the ball is nicked away from our little terrier,the Pool goal rush is on. Of course one bad game doesn’t make Abu a bad player. Believe me he will come back. Its back to the drawing board tactically. Before the game I had hoped… Read more »


Does Mustafi deserve a break? 1st game back after injury lay off. Or he is just shit?

Dave Cee

VVD would look crap in this team


true…people forget (or don’t) that VVD came from Southampton…I don’t remember them setting the world alight when he was there…one thing is certain though, if we had VVD he would be kicking some serious arse!


I see many saying we need to spend big money on top players in the transfer market in Jan and of course over the Summer. What many fail to remember is that we spent big money on Mustafi (who everyone wants gone), Xhaka (who has his ups and downs), Lacazette (who rarely starts), etc. that are not the answer alone. What we need to do is to be able to find the right players that will fit what our manager wants to do. Players like Holding and Torreira were not expensive players, but both have been keys this season (of… Read more »


Before you want Mustafi gone get rid of Jenksinosn and Elneny.

Sokratis was shit today too and so was Torreira who was robbed of the ball 3 times at least in the first half, one leading to the Firmino goal.

Shocking you can’t see that.


Also 30m isn’t spending big these days. Wolves spent that on a player in the championship last season.


The upside is that I don’t think it’ll get worse than this the second half of the season. But I would be pleasantly stunned if we make the defensive signing we need next month. Barring that, guess what: I’m not convinced more “hard work” is going to get us to where we need to be. I think a new defensive coach is needed badly, and a new central defender of the first rank, not whipping the mule harder. Bellerin needs to return. Laca needs to be starting. Ozil situ appears damaging, hopeless. The guys need a break. Then it’s back… Read more »


Have a lot of work to do in market. It will be difficult bc many top targets will be cup tied but the fact remains that Mslintat has NOT been any better than Dick Law or Wenger (They brought us Santi Carzola just to remind some people, and Koscielny) Mhkitaryan was the wrong player to get last January when Mahrez was available and before City interest hiked his asking price late in window. Nothing resolved in defense. Sokratis is OK but an aging asset. Lichsteiner I never understood, a good player past his prime which isn’t his fault but hardly… Read more »


At least he says the truth like it is and accepts responsibility.. I am all in for Emery!


Nobody mwntiomed anything about Leno. I used read lots of criticism of Ospina before…but that “short” guy has many qualities that this new guy doesnt have. Ospima one to one situations handling is very good, and his penalty saves are up there. But Leno has been beaten on ine to one situatioms too easily. And penalty saves….expect a goal when one awarded againat us. And talking about crosses, is he any better than Ospina? Im not so sure from what Ive seen the howlers so far.

John Gruffiths

Sad to say, apart from Bellerin, none of our defenders would get anywhere near the first teams of any of the other top 6 sides.
There will not be any quality players to buy in January so we have to get the best out of a sub standard bunch till the end of the season. Over to you Unai!


Emery has been getting a lot of credit when the team have won or drawn even though defensively Arsenal have been very open all season. He should get the blame when things go wrong, especially when he can’t find a place for one of our best players (on his day) in Ozil. It’s worth mentioning that Arsenal are only one point better at this stage of the season than they were last year when the mobs were beating for Wenger to leave. New manager and DM has earned us one point more than in one of Wenger’s worst ever seasons.


People are criticising Emery and even he accepts he has to take responsibility. The fact that a manager of 6 months is 1 pt better than a manager of 22 years should be praised shouldn’t it?