Emery: We weren’t efficient enough up front

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Unai Emery says Arsenal paid the price for not taking their chances as they were beaten 2-0 by Sp*rs in the Carabao Cup.

On a night when the Gunners were far from their best we still managed to manufacture gilt-edged opportunities that were missed either side of the break by Henrikh Mkhitaryan and substitute Alex Lacazette.

To make matters worse, Mauricio Pochettino’s men, who lost at the Emirates earlier this month, were clinical on the break with goals by Son Heung-Min and Deli Alli killing the game inside an hour.

“I think we worked like we wanted to, like we’d prepared for this match,”reflected Emery in his post-game press conference.

“We created chances in the first half to score, but today the efficiency was not good for us.

“We didn’t concede a lot of chances, but they have good players with quality who scored.

“We worked for 90 minutes and in our moments we didn’t take our chances. They scored theirs.

“Only the first half, I think we were good on the pitch but then sometimes we needed a bit more of the ball to keep possession longer.

“But that’s not easy against them because they press really well. Our planned game, we worked on that. It was poor finishing.”

He added: “We had Micki with the one on one [chance early on] and they scored with their first one-on-one. but this is football.

“Today I am happy with our performance, but not happy with our result. But also I think we are doing our process.

“They are ahead of us in this process. We need to continue creating our identity, our strong ideas to be more consistent in the games.

“But this is our way. Now we’ve finished in this competition and are thinking about Saturday because we have another three very important competitions, the first is the Premier League, then the Europa League and also the FA Cup. Today we finished this competition.”

Without a number of defenders, Emery once again had little choice but to utilise midfielder Granit Xhaka in defence. Neither blessed with pace nor someone you’d necessarily pinpoint as a great tackler, he, like the rest of the backline which also featured Ainsley Maitland-Niles at right-back had a tough night.

Arsenal 0-2 Sp*rs – player ratings

Despite the result, the boss was pleased with the commitment of his players.

“Every player is helping us with big commitments, playing in different positions, because sometimes the team needs them there.

“Laurent Koscielny played on Sunday and after coming back from his injury, starting against Tottenham would have been a lot of minutes on the pitch.

“Granit is helping and I am happy with him and his performance. His commitment to help us is very important.”

After the game Sp*rs were drawn against Chelsea in the semi-final, while Manchester City, who won the competition last year, were handed a tie with Burton Albion.

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BigArse
BigArse

More Possession. More Shots. Out of this shit competition. Less January fixtures for us. More for Spurs and Chelsea. I’m OK with this. Yes, I’d rather have won, but this loss is not without it’s benefits.

Bob
Bob

Agreed Tbh, it was disappointing but I’m not worried about us when we get players back from injury. Big job for Sven and Raul in January too, I think we need a “Torreira” out wide or in defence.

ricky rick
ricky rick

Agreed^2. We weren’t outplayed or ‘spineless’, they took their chances we didn’t.

gooner of Oz
gooner of Oz

Possession or tame shots never win games, I believe years of wengerball showed us just that…

Bobby Falck
Bobby Falck

I agree, it felt like watching an old tape but with a new manager. I like our pressing tough…

Bob
Bob

Tame shots? We had great chances to win the game, it wasn’t like sterile possession on the edge of the area

Mpls
Mpls

Now let’s get some defenders back and get Xhaka back into the midfield, please!

I want Xhakeira back!

Maxin In The Shade
Maxin In The Shade

In a game like this, where losing isn’t the end of the world, why not play a young CB and give him some experience?

If you’re gonna play Xhaka anyway, leave him in midfield.

Kartik Iyer
Kartik Iyer

Exactly! I thought we were about giving chances to young players. Maybe Julio pleguezuelo or zech medley could have done a better job than Granit at the back. I think this is one that the boss missed.

Bob
Bob

Maybe, but it’s also a real baptism of a fire for a young defender. He’s played them in Europa league games because it’s a good introduction to senior football and they can gain experience in that environment. They could play well, but they could also get torn to pieces by Kane and Son and their confidence take a huge hit they struggle to recover from for a while. If he’d played medley and we got thrashed we’d be saying it was irresponsible and medleys confidence would be on the floor.

George
George

It’s idiotic playing Xhaka in central defence.

Goonerink

Yeah guys, this is the same xhaka that’s needed a full on dm in torreria to hold his hand or he will lose us possession. (still managed 2 passes to opposition players)

Thierry Walcott
Thierry Walcott

I hear it was a tactical decision to play Xhaka there…

Ya gooner
Ya gooner

Maybe emery is thinking playing him at cb will improve him defensively. A midfield xhaka with better defensive awareness will make our midfield a bit stronger.

Thierry Walcott
Thierry Walcott

No, that’s not what he was thinking…

Gervinho
Gervinho

You just can’t miss chances like that at this level…

Not too disappointed to be out of this though. Given our injuries, I’m happy to get healthy and take as many points in the league as possible. We could do with two fewer matches in January. This competition would be better suited if it were exclusively for the Championship and lower leagues.

Amusa
Amusa

Bring back Özil!

myrtle
myrtle

Ozil and Laca is a top combination – they must start on Sunday. Auba needs a rest.

A Fleeting Glimpse
A Fleeting Glimpse

I think emery is showing a massive weakness in attempting to show strength. How you could play micki iwobi or Ramsey ahead of Ozil is unbelievable. To then say it’s tactical is an insult. I have lost some of respect I had for emery.

afan
afan

at this moment in time, you have to say that, micki, iwobi, are better than ozil, and ramsey has always been better than ozil

Bob
Bob

Who says he’s trying to show strength? He’s not a mourinho like manager who makes examples of players to make a point. There’s clearly more to it.

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

Mkhi, Iwobi and Ramsey are better for what Emery wants. Emery has never said that Ozil isn’t a class player.

Rich
Rich

Why??? His performances have been stinking the place out for a very long time.

afan
afan

Nooo, we want GOOD players, not lame ducks

Nketibag
Nketibag

I really think Emery’s dropped the ball recently. Seems to be scratching around for a formula while all he seems to trust is Guendouzi. The players looked worryingly clueless in the second half today.

gooner of Oz
gooner of Oz

he was not to blame for the concerned goals nor the missed opportunities, he wasnt best on the pitch but far from the worst

Gus Caesar
Gus Caesar

His booking aside, I thought Guendouzi was one of the better players last night. I thought he tried some genuinely brave passes and got around the pitch whilst most of the others were afraid to take responsibility.

Rich
Rich

A new manager who’s still learning about his players, is dropping the ball by trying to learn about his players?
Come back to the real world, It took Guardiola who took over a much stronger group a season to get his house in order, it took both Klopp and Pochettinho a few seasons.

We’ve lost two games…. one of them which whilst painful, could in the cold light of day, prove to be a blessing.

Anyone who thinks Ozil deserves a starting spot based on his form since last February? Clearly isn’t paying attention.

Devlin
Devlin

I think the ain problem is that, he has not really fully looked into what works for him or not. When you have players who have performed a certain way previously, you should decide whether their attributes are needed or not. Elneny has not seen the light of day as an Arsenal player and yet Ozil gets some games, pulls up better stats than Iwobi and Mkhi combined, then gets dropped.

If he was not a fit for Emery, he should have treated him like he has Elneny. If he was trying to fit him in, why has he now given up on him. I do not need convincing of Mesut’s ability to succeed in a physical game. He has been at Arsenal for 5 years, if he wasn’t strong enough he would have had so few games in this league. The guy helped us to our first win at Stoke for Christ sake.

If he can’t press, I would understand him being left out. But I don’t see any press going on up front. The press is less than we pressed under Arsene, it just gets more intense when it gets into our half.

I get that he is new, but 6 months with a team is enough to have at least some structure of what the future is gonna be like under your management. All I see is overlapping fullbacks and hard running, which doesn’t replace good defending. We only look like we are doing more, while actually doing less.

afan
afan

he hasn,t got any players, what do you expect him to do

Bob
Bob

Dropped the ball how? We’ve struggled during an injury crisis at the back, what a surprise.

Jeremy
Jeremy

Granted I’m on holiday in the us with different time zones, but i genuinely forgot this game was even being played until I checked on arseblog for some daily news. That’s how much I care about this shit cup. And guess what? It’s never nice to lose to that lot, but I still couldn’t give less of a shit if I tried. Spurs fans can crow when they beat us at something that matters, or better still…when they win something.

Critic
Critic

The spirit of Arsene Wenger lives on. Take that haters.

Fatgooner
Fatgooner

Emery is dead right about us not being clinical enough up front, but it looks like he’s got a huge blind spot about our defending. As we’ve been brutally taught over and over again this season, there’s no point in scoring goals unless you keep them out at the other end. We have by far the worst defensive record of the top six teams right now (and I’m not including Man U).

When Emery first came to Arsenal I said that my big worry about him was his defensive record. It looks like my concerns were justified. At Sevilla his teams conceded on average 50 league goals per season. Not good enough – neither in Spain or England. While both goals we conceded today were not terrible, they were preventable. At the moment our problem isn’t that we don’t score enough; it’s that we let in too many soft goals. To win big games you have to be rock solid and miserly at the back; we are not. We are far too generous.

Yes, I know we have an injury crisis with the defenders, but I also believe that the problem is to do with coaching too. Can you see us being so fragile under a George Graham-coached side of 30 years ago? Me neither. If Emery is going to save our season then he MUST bring in a couple of decent-quality defenders next month AND THEN COACH THEM PROPERLY. He has Steve Bould at the club; for goodness sake use him.

Next summer is going to be massively important for the club. We need to offload about a dozen players who are either not good enough or too old. And then we need to sign at least six quality players to bring the squad up to the level where it can seriously challenge for major honours. The Ozil situation has to be resolved: I suspect that the only practical solution is to send him out on loan somewhere in order to recoup some of his ridiculous wages. But he’ll be a burden on the club until his contract expires.

A title-winning team looks years away. It’s a shame we’ve wasted the last five years going backwards with the previous manager.

gooner of Oz
gooner of Oz

Emery isnt as critical as he needs to be on his conferences but doesn’t mean he’s blind to it, we’ve been soft on marking forwards in recent weeks mostly due to injuries fitness and likes of Xhaka Lichtensteiner covering a position that needs most experience in, BUT anything is better that post-Highbury-Wenger nightmare. future does look brighter than it used to

Gus Caesar
Gus Caesar

The game has moved on a lot since the days of George. As much as I loved the fella and the kind of defending his teams displayed, i’m really not sure that he would be successful with his style of play today. Clearly part of the brief given to Emery is to continue to play entertaining football and i’m just not sure that you can play good football and be massively efficient defensively. The 91 team was the closest George got to great football and great defence, but it still wasn’t ‘that’ exciting. Also, Tony Adams-type defenders are one in a million – who do you think is genuinely in his league out there right now? From what i can see, the modern centre-back is expected to be very different.

On the other points, we’re in a mess and it’s not a mess of Emery’s making. Yes, the squad is too old, overpaid and unbalanced. But turning that mess around will not be an overnight thing. As you say, we’re miles away from being a title-competing team, we’re going to have to accept that nights like last night and days like Sunday will be part and parcel of the journey for a while yet. But that journey will be made a whole lot easier if we’re all united and supportive.

Kwame Ampadu Down
Kwame Ampadu Down

Gus Caesar, your 2nd paragraph is the most sensible post on here in a long time.

Gus Caesar
Gus Caesar

Cheers Kwame (what a player you were!) – I blame it on the sugar in the mince pies i’ve already eaten today – my regular service of stupidity back after Xmas.

Lord Bendnter
Lord Bendnter

Why didn’t we play Emery as CB? If I’m not mistaken, Wenger has played him there before

Mpls
Mpls

Has Arsenal ever had a player / manager?

I’m assuming you meant Mo Elneny?

Lord Bendnter
Lord Bendnter

Oh God! Yes, ELNENNNNNNYYYYY!!!!!!!

Hashim
Hashim

For Emery – losing is also tactical.
come on – you might not like to play Ozil- it is ok but not to include him against Spurs -:ridiculous
Anyway – just sell him if he is not up to your liking / std.

gooner of Oz
gooner of Oz

this team lacks a tiny trickster so bad, with Wenger letting go of all we had in Walcott AOC Gnabry Alexis in his final season, it’s rather odd we haven’t brought at least one in.

Francesc
Francesc

Didn’t understand why we had to play sucha strong XI in such a shit competition. Probably Emery is respecting the NLD too much. Poor game management.

Goontang
Goontang

We either need to buy a center back or get our acadamy coach back in the Jersey asap. It’s only been 6 months! Bring back the sack!

Santori
Santori

Spot on.

The key difference is they took their chances and we wasted ours.

First half, we had more shots on goal and created more chances but we conspired not o finish ours.

Iwobi responsible for at least two gilt edge chances. But the front men, Aubameyang in particular don’t deserve to be called “world class” if they don’t put away these sort of opportunities.

Still feel there is room for one more attacking asset. Nketiah looked wet behind the ears tonight against Danny Rose.

Mhkitaryan’s effort was the most tame. He did alright tonight overall with plenty of turn overs and moving the ball quickly for us, you feel he is regaining some fluency now being picked in the triangle alongside Iwobi in support of Auba further up.

BUT very poor effort from a seasoned professional who should really tuck it away.

Going into an inverted triangle following switch to a back 3 (something I have mentioned in recent weeks as now a common go to for the gaffer at least for the moment), we tried to throw more bodies into the box and Auba was influential on left side particularly finding Laca for the effort that skimmed past Rambo and hit the post.

But thereafter into a front 3 chasing a 2 goal deficit, we dissipated in effort with Nketiah less effective and the energy of Guendouzi from midfield gone.

Dissapointing not to throw out the shadows and have a shot at the mighty Burton Albion.

BUT we have more significant cups ahead and a wee bit of catching up to do over the weekend.

We need to sharpen up significantly up top. We are getting slightly complacent there.

An added attacking asset to compete for a spot (beside Nketiah) may also help this January.

Ram
Ram

In the second half Arsenal missed creativity, 3 strikers up front (Auba, Laca, Nketiah) they are goal scorers not creaters, so in second half we missed that creativity to score goals. Iwobi should have been played for full 90 minutes, he creates chances and help the defense well. The only problem with Iwobi is he loses the ball too often.

A Fleeting Glimpse
A Fleeting Glimpse

But we had Ramsey to create 😂😂

Lee knight
Lee knight

We always still try and walk the ball in the net, take your chances at any angle boys, and tighten up at the back!!!

Fart Overjars
Fart Overjars

It’s wrong to brush this off as a game of no consequence. There was clearly a gap in quality between the two teams.

Our “Ill overlap you overlap everybody do the overlap” attacking strategy is so bait and one dimensional, Im so tired of seeing Iwobi getting marshalled into the corner flag before getting dumped on his arse, or auba doing one of his his no look crosses into the keepers arms.

There is a problem with efficiency, but in the absence of ozil there’s also an real lack of attacking imagination. We need to spend to keep pace, we need upgrades everywhere. Including up front.

Gus Caesar
Gus Caesar

And yet we have very little money. So it’s going to take some time.

Fiers d'être Bleus
Fiers d'être Bleus

Koscielny again lost track of his man for the 2-0 goal, just as he did against Southampton. I know, I know, he just got back from a major injury and lacks “match fitness”, but come on! He’s 33, has played at top level and been awesome for years – you don’t just forgot how to do basic defending ’cause you’ve been out of the game for 6 months. We only missed Bellerin and Mustafi in defence today and they’ve been criticized for most of the season for being liabilities at the back. So if Kosc and Monreal being back in the side is not going to help strengthen our defence, then we seriously need to invest in January. And competing with United for top quality defenders, we won’t find it easy.
Also, do we know if Bould and Emery even get along? Commentators last night pointed out that we rarely see them talking during games – Bould sits on the bench scowling, Emery stands on the edge of his area, constantly speculating. Do they even talk during games, discuss tactics?

Shank

This is a brilliant manager……..squad is small.
He has to position people out of position to manage the defensive situation.

Lichsteiner: LB/RB/CB
AMN: RB/LB
Monreal: CB/LB
Xhaka: LB/CB/DM
Bellerin: LB/RB
Then there’s a back 4 , followed by a back 5.
I’m seriously getting dizzy!

Man doesn’t have a lot of choice so I’m not for blaming.
We’re top 6 this year, with a serious chance of lifting the Europa league.
But the signs into the future are very good.

Hantal
Hantal

Not too fussed. He’s right, overall the difference between the two sides was composure.
We can do without the two semi final games against Chelsea for sure, though maybe we’d think differently if we’d drawn burton

Mother
Mother

Aubameyang with yet another vanishing act. I don’t understand how someone so prolific in front of goal can have such poor performances. For every great goal he gets, he seems to miss about 3 far easier chances. Baffling.

As for Mhiki, his confidence was low anyway but after his dreadful miss and general performance, it’s probably shot to pieces now…

Bob
Bob

Auba has always been like that, he gets in to a lot of scoring positions, he’s never been a one chance one goal guy