Emery: I’m very happy with the way we defended

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Unai Emery was full of praise for his players’ defensive performance after Arsenal reignited their challenge for a Champions League place with a 2-0 win over Chelsea at the Emirates.

Alex Lacazette beat Kepa Arrizabalaga with a clinical near post strike to break the deadlock on 14 minutes before Laurent Koscielny’s shoulder doubled the lead six minutes before the break.

Chelsea piled on the pressure in the second half but the Gunners held firm to claim the win and their first clean sheet in the league since early December. The gap on the Blues, still in fourth, is now down to a palatable three points.

“I’m very pleased with this victory and these three points,” he told the BBC. “After our defeat at West Ham we needed to show our supporters a strong moment.

“I think we can improve. We can be optimistic in the future but we need to find a good balance between when we’re playing away and when we’re playing at home. We can be optimistic because we are closer to a lot of teams like Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United.

“I’m very happy with the last 20 minutes and how we defended against them. The first half made the difference with the result, but in the second half we showed how we can defend together.”

In his post-game press conference, the Spaniard added: “Every player worked first. This attitude, to be together when we are with the ball, to find the space and also find the moments for attacking.

“But today, above all when we have the ball. They had the ball for more than 60 per cent, we needed to recover the ball with good pressure and we worked a lot. We ran more than them. This team ran a lot.

“For the first idea today, we were speaking. We needed to run to recover the ball and transition very quickly. The first half, the first 30 minutes, we did that.

“Then, in the second half, it’s very difficult to keep this pressing against them for 90 minutes. The match, tactically, changed. We worked very well defensively in deep when we needed that in the match.

“The clean sheet today was very important. It showed our supporters we are here and can continue being optimistic in our way.”

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yen
yen

Yes, also think that the, uhm, “isolated defensive actions,” such as interceptions, standing/sliding tackles etc., were on a great level tonight.

Still long way to go when it comes to us giving the ball away right after we win it though. Crazy how easily we sometimes let the opposition hold us under big pressure with the careless giveaways.

Chibs
Chibs

Hence Dennis Suarez. Carrasco

Buffy
Buffy

You gotta love a good shoulder!

Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts

Their keeper got the cold shoulder treatment from the boss.

Pkub
Pkub

Well done Unai, happy for you & the team. He did his homework well, A+ tactics for the opposition.
Still loads of work to do, but hopefully that loss against West Ham was a big wake up call. Let’s keep the momentum now & put ManU in their place.

Thierry Bergkamp
Thierry Bergkamp

Good win and performance, but the team isn’t ready for a real push for 4th spot. They won’t catch Chelsea and Utd will pass them.

martin
martin

Based on the way we played today I cannot see why not. If we can play to this level consistently we really stand a great chance of a top 4 place.

Max

Im am 20 years arsenal hardcore fan , but this arsenal is the weakest in this 30yrs and have no leaders at all, miss invincible era henry berkamp lungberg pires lauren veira where all of them looks like leader and can bring the game back at anytime,thats we call the big gun

Vonnie
Vonnie

Perhaps you should just sit in your room and play tapes of the Invincibles over and over, it would probably give you more pleasure than watching the current Arsenal team. Or perhaps you might realize that for all their undoubted talent, those Arsenal players were far from perfect, also played some boring football and lost plenty of cup games, in between the highlights and men to gods nonsense. I’m actually sick of the Invincibles being used as a stick to beat the current team. It was nice to win the league unbeaten but it was a long time ago when the league was very different. I don’t by any means belittle the achievement, but I wish we could move on now.

Thierry Bergkamp
Thierry Bergkamp

Consistency, that’s what it all comes down to. This team is anything but that.

btw
btw

Problem is, that’s what I thought after we beat Tottenham, and see how that turned out!

Dobby
Dobby

You witness that Chelsea performance and don’t think they’re catchable?

David C
David C

What exactly is this Sarri-ball we keep hearing about? Did they even get a shot on net the entire game?

Qwalasay Idris Luqman
Qwalasay Idris Luqman

No actually

Jack gunner
Jack gunner

I was surprised at the way the defence went about the job of marking Hazard. The latter was not isolated o r on a one to one whom he would sent floundering on his butt.As a result the defnce held firm and a clean sheet.More of this ,please.
Hopefully the guys will do the job against the rd. The rd have won 6/7 matches on the trot and this guy of run will inevitably have to grind to a stop.Why not the gunners end the run.
Oh. By the way the ref for this game has to be 100% no 120 % impartial.Alonso shd have seen red. Its this kind of inconsistency that enrages fans.

Aaron
Aaron

Well, we gift you the most impartial of the lot, Mike freakin Dean.
Good luck son.

LOL, I am kidding.. I couldn’t be arsed to check who is officiating against those red Manchester cunts.

Arsenala Vista Baby
Arsenala Vista Baby

Collectively we were solid at the back even some individual errors that gave the possession away. But Pogba does that too once in a while.

Nordin
Nordin

Of course Emery is happy with the defence. Coz after Lacazette and Ramsey were substituted and later Elneny came in, attack was ZERO!!
it was just our players chasing chasing chasing while Chelsea has a big share of possession during that period. Coz outlet for attack is left with Auba, who usually doesnt do much alone. The link to quickly counter after we break their attack is missing coz that guy is on the bench.
Im unimpressed with this Emery’s approach. Attack is a very good form of defence.

KosisBoz
KosisBoz

Elneny made 2 great passes that unlocked the Defence in quick succession. He may not be world class or the hottie of the week but he busts his butt, is versatile and has great hair!

santori
santori

He’s limited but he offers energy and work rate.

Good enough for me bc we needed that.

Ealing
Ealing

If we are 2 nil up, I don’t mind these subs to give fresh legs in the last half hour.

N10
N10

Just enjoy the win. The subs were planned.

santori
santori

Great defending today.

BUT it was the OVERALL defending which was most heartening.

Unai employed a diamond 4 in midfield with Ramsey attacking their defenders high up. Plus the two strikers we had on their Cbacks really unsettled them.

BUT the energy level and industry was also well sustained throughout.

The 4 in midfield also shielded the backline well providing immediate cover every time one of their players were in front of our box. We had a man step up to close the gap and a second close by to prevent one twos.

BUT critically, we also tracked their runners for most parts (with exception of when Kolasinac at one point early on went to sleep but he recovered and got better and better)

The two Cbacks were strong today as well using their experience to make no nonsense decisions.

Sokratis put in some thankfully well timed tackles in the box but Koscielny for me is MOTM.

He has been slowly regaining match sharpness and today he rolled back the years always there to offer a chest or shoulder or his testicles against Barkley.

And what a well crafted goal with his shoulder created by the other Cback.

I think if these are the two best suited for a back 4 contingency for us, we should play them together regularly from now.

BUT of course, there will be issues with sustainability considering both are older players so there will be need for rotation.

however the understanding between the Cbacks is key and if they strike a good chord covering each other, then we should keep it up as much as possible with the two.

We need to take this clean sheet against a quality team and build on it.

No point winning this and making a statement only to throw it away against lesser likes (Soton, BHA, West Ham) like we did after the Spurts win.

Devlin
Devlin

We won, which is a big positive and tactically, Emery set his side up to nullify the threat of the opposition. We took advantage of their weaknesses and performed really well against Chelsea. We have a good record against Chelsea in recent times, because Conte failed to beat Arsene at the Emirates or at a neutral venue.

I see we are a team that is going to put on good performances against the top sides, because our most coherent and organized performances have come against the top sides. We seem to do well when playing against opposition that actually deserves respect. We are a reactionary side, we play according to the opposition, which is far from being protagonists.

I loved what Philippe said on the Arsecast, in that we got a good manager. He is not like Klopp, Pep, Sarri, Bielsa and etc, and I have criticized him for not being such a manager or applying what they apply to their side. He is a cup manager, he is very good in one off games and that might just get us our first European title this season.

We will continue to have problems in games where we have to be protagonists, and the players he like lend themselves to playing reactionary rather than balanced, consistent and fluid football. We will not see the beautiful football we have associated with Arsenal for so long, we will not be that great in league play because there are only 5 big teams if we continue to perform well against those only.

I do not think he is going to be playing differently when he gets his players, we are just going to be better at what we currently are, which is a good cup team and not a good league team. Emery is too good to have wasted 6 months just to start applying his style of football when he gets his players, this is what we are now and will be a better version of, in the future.

Does this football deserve new players though? I don’t think so, the current players are good enough for it. I don’t think any new signings that he needs are going to be better players than we currently have, he just has to get rid of players who have been successfull while playing differently. Mourinho had the same problems at Madrid, his football lends itself well to players who have not tasted success with a different way of playing football yet. Players who have won playing more dominant footbal, while exerting minimal effort and playing their own style, will always question someone telling them that they can only succeed if they run a lot.

Red-Sky
Red-Sky

A lot of false assumptions generalizations there. you seem to just have taken a look at our results vs lower teams without consideration to certain circumstances, including our severe decline for the past years.
We struggle being protagonists vs lowest teams because we’re too concerned with ‘balance’ and our defensive record. When we play the likes of westham, it’s assumed we need to be able to win without an all-out intense performance. we can’t play like that all games for obvious reasons. But also note that we lack enough individual quality to control away games. Even with a possession based system of play, like our latest years, we were outright terrible and out of depth.
This season It becomes a struggle for a balance between attack and defense. Win, but don’t burn your players in mid table fixtures, in principle.
If we could solidify our defense play to deny lower teams the chance to threaten us, then we have achieved 70% of the job, and the rest lies in with our superior attacking strength. But we have been so successful at that, mainly at creating chance with a relatively low number of attacking players going forward. If we improved defensively, and brought top quality wide players, that’s would make us much much better.

Red-Sky
Red-Sky

*we haven’t been so successful….

Devlin
Devlin

I think we underestimate our players sometimes. When looking at the league and looking into the overall value of our squad and the wages we pay, this squad is not as bad as people make it out to be. It would be very difficult to get players better than those at the club right now, with a limited budget and this self sustaining method we are on.

I also think a lot of people are using last season as a definition of this squad’s quality, when last season was an anomaly. We are not that side, and context should come into play to show that last season we had off field issues, transfer problems, contract problems and a manager that the fans had given up on.

The true quality of this side was shown in our home performances last season. We were the second best side at home last season, and our play was convincing in how we won. The away performances were wierd because Arsene’s sides were usually better away since teams would not sit back as much.

Last season was our worst of Wenger’s tenure, and that’s what should define us as a team, quality wise? That is not fair on players like Ramsey, Ozil, Koscielny, Bellerin, Monreal, Xhaka, Cech, Iwobi, Elneny, Mustafi, Holding and etc. I am sorry, but our players are good enough to dominate smaller sides, and they have shown it before we were strengthened with Torreira, Lacazette, Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan, Sokratis, Guendouzi and Kolasinac. If Emery doesn’t play to dominate against smaller sides, then it’s also OK. But let’s not kid ourselves, or even blind ourselves from our history. We are capable of dominating Everton, Brighton, Huddersfield, West Ham, Wolves, Watford and all the sides outside of the top 6 with the players we have.

All I was saying was that I know Emery is not that type of manager and doesn’t favour that football, and I will support him accordingly and only judge him on what he does and who he is, rather than who he isn’t or what he doesn’t do. I won’t get mad that we are not dominating small sides or that we are not creating as many chances, because he doesn’t put his team out to do that. He is results orientated and has cup pedigree. That is what I will judge him on.

Kwame Ampadu Down
Kwame Ampadu Down

Devlin, sounds very much like what people were saying about Klopp’s his first 18 months at Liverpool.

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

For all his faults, using Mourinho’s time at Madrid is a bad example because he broke the Barca monopoly on La Liga, and he did it with Ronaldo and “you-know-who” playing attacking football for the most part.

I also don’t know if we can say that Emery will always do well against the top sides after we were badly beaten by City and Liverpool in the league, drew to one of the worst United teams in memory and lost to Spurs in the cup. Chelsea are a good side but flawed in a way the top 2/3 aren’t at the moment and we exploited that. And if Sarri is to be believed, their issues run very deep indeed.

Rather, I think Emery still needs, and is looking to bring in, top quality additions, to strengthen the squad and get us to play the way he wants against big and small teams alike. Top of his list will probably be a centre back, a winger and an Ozil upgrade. Whether he will get those remains to be seen.

Dobby
Dobby

Phillipe didn’t say emery was a “cup manager” he said he’s a very good manager but never going to be an orator like Wenger or have the personality of a Klopp. It’s a bit unfair to call him a cup manager, especially considering his Sevilla record

K9ine
K9ine

Chelsea didn’t have a shot on target. That says it all really

santori
santori

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2019/01/19/jose-mourinho-have-turned-three-job-offers-since-leaving-manchester/

Poignant points by Moanrinho.

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

People are already on the backs of Unai. They really need to take their heads out of their arse and get a reality check.

City and Liverpool spent tons of money revamping their squads. In the case of Liverpool they have won nothing (as yet) for that money. Only this season more than 3 seasons in are they threatening to win a title again after over a quarter century.

Don’t expect miracles from Emery. There will be limits in the current squad and the club does not have to be City or Liverpool but Mslintat and the money purse needs to back the gaffer up properly.

Sue

Brilliant 2nd goal from our CB’s combining! That was some performance from them both! Sokratis has been a good buy imo
I never thought we’d get a clean sheet… so take a bow Arsenal… and please can we do it again on Friday

Vonnie
Vonnie

That was a really good performance from everyone, including the manager. I loved that we had a functioning midfield and that our players were hunting in packs, it was a far better set up by the coach, helped the defense, and hopefully we see more of it. So sorry for Hector, I was thinking in the first half how much he adds to our game.

Qwalasay Idris Luqman
Qwalasay Idris Luqman

We all know it wasn’t an easy defeat but we secured three points. Thanks to every player and Unai for that good work.And we pray that all players on injury should recover in time #Gunners

Almunia4Pires
Almunia4Pires

On behalf of Unai Emery I would like to extend a big “F*ck you” to all the so-called Arsenal fans that have asked for his head, six months into the job. Likewise on behalf of Matteo Guenduzi. You know who you are. Put your Arsene pyjamas on and go cry in your söup.

N10
N10

LÖL

Dobby
Dobby

Love it

Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts

Put your hand up if like me you thought we weren’t going to see this level from the boss again…😄