Emery: My first critic is myself

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Unai Emery admits that away games have proved to be a challenge for Arsenal recently but is backing his side to rediscover the confidence they built during their early season 22-game unbeaten run.

The Gunners have the Premier League’s third-best record at home this season, on a par points-wise with Liverpool, but have won just four of their 12 away games collecting just 15 of 36 available points.

On the road, our form this season is actually worse than Wolves, Leicester and Watford, as well as the fives teams currently above us in the Premier League table, and has led to frustration on the terraces.

Channelling his inner Arsene Wenger, the boss made clear that when it comes to criticism, no matter how bad it gets online or in the stadium, he’ll always be his own biggest detractor.

“My first critic is always myself,” Emery told his pre-Huddersfield press conference.

“I work over the criticisms of me because I know that work in the present can change our way. How we are doing at home and away, we are with the possibility and the opportunity of taking the top four. But we know it’s not easy.

“One month ago, we were in the same situation and I think we are strong at home. I think we need to do better away. We started very well away, changing also our mentality to get more points away, but now we need to recover this confidence, to recover this performance and the next opportunity is Saturday against Huddersfield.

“We know that defensively we need to do better and it’s for all, the combinations, our best possibility with the defensive combinations. We’ve tried playing with three centre-backs and two centre-backs. We’ve won with three centre-backs and two centre-backs.

“We have to continue in our way with passion and also stay calm, but above all we must work hard and take a good feeling in training and then show it in the match.

“This week for example, we’ve had good days of training because the feeling of the players and their wish to work every day is good. I want to do the same on Saturday against Huddersfield. After that, we know we can win but if we cannot win it’s different. We need to be confident and take more confidence and continue working.”

Looking ahead to the challenge posed by Huddersfield, who are currently bottom of the league, Emery went on:

“These matches are difficult and they are playing for the possibility to continue in the Premier League. Their last results have not been good but with their new coach, I am sure that they are going to play with a big ambition and a big performance on Saturday.

“I think they have good players with a good organisation. They push a lot and I know it will be difficult. For us as well, away games have been a challenge and each match is a new challenge.

“Each match is also a very big opportunity for us to fight for the possibility to take three points and continue in our way better than how we are doing in away games now.”

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Red-Sky
Red-Sky

Those ugly away wins during the 22 unbeaten run need to come back.
People called it ‘riding the luck train’ but they weren’t. They were a good showing of character and mentality before the overall confidence dipped. We were creating just enough dangerous chances to win, we were efficient, and less conservative than now. Unfortunately the second half of december destroyed our momentum.

Tas_Gunner
Tas_Gunner

🐸🐸🐸

Pkub
Pkub

Not sure why you’re getting ‘thumbs down’. I completely agree with you. December killed our momentum & took some of that determined character out of our players. Next three games could be decisive to our season. They’re 3 winnable games & could get us back on track.
As our defence is in shambles at the moment, let’s hope our lads up front are sharp & switched on for next fixtures (or preferably for the rest of the season)

Alex
Alex

Bournemouth away. All changed in Bournemouth: no more Özil, 5 defenders, 7 defending players, 3 attacking players and everybody praising the strikers when they come down to defend. Heavy team, no creation, boring game. Done.

Sue

And that crappy green kit… 😁

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

I’m prepared to cut that kit some slack. The women can win in it and the youngsters too. The first team also won in that strip. I think our real problems started long before Bournemouth. Crystal Palace was the first time Unai started playing players out of position. Generally that hasn’t really worked and I hope he stops doing it.

Sue

I’m not! Yes we beat Bournemouth in it, but have had some really poor performances in it… can’t wait to see the back of it

PeteyB
PeteyB

Talking of luck I feel like some has gone against us recently in terms of coming up against teams under new management. Happened at Southampton and again here. Of course we should still be taking the points but these things do have an impact.

Vonnie
Vonnie

Those early games were won because our players were fitter than the opposition, could wear them down and then beat them late in the game. That strategy, and all the competing in training, and all the hard work, have resulted in our players being knackered by Christmas. Now they can’t do that anymore there doesn’t seem to be much else of a gameplan.

Mother
Mother

@Vonnie You might have had a point if we saw a similar trend in the other teams who also play at a high intensity…

I think the reason for the slump over December could be attributed to the fact that Leno, Sokratis, Torreira, Guendouzi, Aubameyang and Emery himself are ALL used to having winter breaks. The festive fixture list for the Premier League is insanely difficult to navigate and it could be argued that Emery probably fluffed it this season but he’ll hopefully learn to cope better next season.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia
Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Our players perform better at home because of the amazing support they get from the fans.

Frog
Frog

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Tas_Gunner
Tas_Gunner

Yeap.nowadays you can’t even here the sound of pin drops.Best in the league mate 🤙

Jack
Jack

If he doesn’t want to be criticised he should stop playing Lichsteiner at RB.

Yours sincerely,
The world

Red-Sky
Red-Sky

Because he has so many choices better than him to pick from?

Alex
Alex

He had several weeks to search for a defender, but didn’t and preferred loaning a darling in a position where we have already Mki, Ramsey and Özil.

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

It’s not Emery’s job to search for anyone that’s down to the scouting team.

Gutbukkit Deffrolla
Gutbukkit Deffrolla

Multiple thumbs down? Must be an awful lot of people who don’t understand Emery’s job at Arsenal. He is the coach. He is not a manager in the way that Wenger was. He has no control over who we buy. We were lucky that he was able to talk the Club into borrowing Suarez. If he hadn’t had experience coaching him before then it seems pretty certain that we would have made no move for anybody at all in January.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia
Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Both Ozil and Mikhi are 30 years old. In two years, it will cost 100 millions to buy a creative player. Buying a 25-year-old guy who can play on both wings and as an offensive midfielder is a good investment for the future. We don’t know his real potential but Emery knows. Alex, I suggest you go on hunger strike until Ozil plays every week.

Tas_Gunner
Tas_Gunner

Jenks doesn’t play for a reason.Apart from that who else is there? I suppose Xhaka…😂

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

I love Jenks and was quite happy to jump on the “play him play him!” bandwagon. Then I watched the Cardiff game again and felt that his movement was probably more dynamic than Licht’s but that was it. Against lower opposition then he is probably fine to play.

Gutbukkit Deffrolla
Gutbukkit Deffrolla

So we should play Jenks against Huddersfield then. He is an upgrade for Lichtsteiner on the pitch. Obviously not an upgrade in terms of experience and sneakiness, but sometimes you just need to choose the guy who can run a yard faster.

Anyway, if Leno gets injured, and Cech falls off his chair with the shock of having to come on and injures himself, then Jenks is the natural choice to take over in goal. He has a perfect record as a keeper. He’s never conceded a single goal.

karl
karl

I would move Mustafi across to right back. It would keep him out of the centre and might just be an option while he is still here.

Red-Sky
Red-Sky

Not a bad idea.

Anonymarse
Anonymarse

If we moved him across to the bench that would also help

PeteyB
PeteyB

I’d be very surprised. Much as I don’t like him we don’t have enough actual CBs to risk playing an extra one. I’d be pleased to see Jenkinson.

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

Apparently the Mystical Magical Sven thought Lichtsteiner was good enough to play for Emery in the Prem…or did I miss something?

Tas_Gunner
Tas_Gunner

Apparently that was a free transfer and as bellerin played 50 games last season was made to give him a break in cups and stuff plus vital exp.Made sense at the time.Given its a 1 year deal still makes sense.

Gutbukkit Deffrolla
Gutbukkit Deffrolla

You know it was Lichtsteiner or nobody don’t you?

The New Arsenal decides on player acquisitions based primarily on cost. We must only spend what we make, and since that rule was laid down on us by Kroenke we haven’t made any money. We’ve been a CHEAP team since the day Wenger was pushed out. Our status as a Premier League team must now be considered endangered because we don’t get to spend the TV income on players any more. That is now Kroenke’s money. We are the New Newcastle.

Richie

Those ugly away wins during the unbeaten run; Cardiff, Fulham, Newcastle (all fighting relegation), Vorskla, Quarbag (not even Premier League standard) and average Lisbon and Bournemouth. Winning these games is the bare minimum expected considering the salary the players earn and the fact everyone at the club thinks we should be in the Champions League.

Kinghenrythe14th
Kinghenrythe14th

Smae Bournemouth who trashed Chelsea, ruined Higuain’s debut and almost got Sari the sack?
Average indeed

Kinghenrythe14th
Kinghenrythe14th

*Same

Richie

Look at the table, Bournemouth are 10th, they’re average. The Chelsea win was clearly an anomaly, they lost to Cardiff 3 days later.

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

Any team can beat any other team in the League, that’s how it works. It’s how it’s worked since football began I should imagine. Perhaps Bournemouth lost to Cardiff because of the emotion connected to that game. Indeed even our performance against Cardiff was subdued in light of the emotion surrounding the disappearance of Sala and David Ibbottson and how the club tried to pay tribute to those men.

At the beginning of the season Bournemouth were higher up the table than us and were playing well. Over the season form will rise and fall. We had a purple patch and now we’re off the pace slightly.

Also Chelsea mainly lost to Bournemouth because they had no striker. In fairness it was probably the reason we managed to give them a kicking too. Teams that have survived in the PL for as long as Bournemouth have are not average…and they play attractive football too.

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

I got into a massive Twitter argument the other day that resulted in mutual blocking lol. Essentially I disagreed that we had any right to pick up extra points from the West Ham and Southampton game. The person I was arguing with obviously disagreed and tried to suggest that we should easily have beaten West Ham and Southampton who were fighting relegation. I tried to point out that West Ham are not a terrible team (cue brilliant performance against Liverpool where they really should have won) and have a PL winning manager leading them. Southampton have “Not Mark Hughes” which is enough to give any team momentum.

We are where we are in the League because we are inconsistent. Some of the inconsistency is a result of injuries to key players. Some inconsistency is due to some of the personnel just not being good enough and some certainly falls on Unai’s shoulders. It’s clear that he is a pragmatic manager and that has positive and negative aspects to it. He doesn’t have that panache that AW had and which led to his teams playing with a swagger. Hopefully when Unai gets the players he really wants we will see that.

I guess my point is that we don’t have a right to beat any team. Who actually thought we could beat Man City on Sunday? We don’t have the right mentality to turn up and know we can beat any team no matter how high or low they are in the League. I’m hoping this will change in the Summer. Until then I’m buckling up and trying to avoid the rollercoaster ride that is the rest of the season.

Red-Sky
Red-Sky

‘member how City got beat at Newcastle? ‘member how Chelsea got thrashed 4-0 at Bournemouth? ‘member how we lost both games last season? Not so easy, is it?

Us winning was an improvement, specially mentality wise. I bet if we face Brighton, Soton or Westham during the run we could’ve won. We faced them in a difficult time, injury stricken and tired. Yes we should have beaten them nonetheless, but it shows that we can produce at least the minium of expectations when there is confidence and a full squad.

Richie

We won games that a team who wants to be in the Champions League are expected to win. No big deal. The draw at Old Trafford was impressive. I’m tired of reading about mentally and character. When you play for The Arsenal, mentally and character goes without saying.

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

I want to agree with you Richie, but clearly it’s become apparent that those things do not go without saying. We do want to be a team in the Champions League but we are not a Champions League team and have not been for many years. We have to walk before we can run and a long rebuilding process is what we are witnessing right now.

Sue

The draw at OT was impressive?! 4.freaky goals…. playing once again against a ‘poor’ United & we still couldn’t win… I was absolutely gutted

Richie

The performance was impressive. Yeah we were unlucky to only draw that game.

Sue

Sorry Richie I don’t agree… Auba missing a sitter… the way we let the lead slip – felt like a loss to me…. and they still continue to be a bogey team

Billy Bob
Billy Bob

This 100 million time over

Pkub
Pkub

Same ‘average’ Lisbon who outplayed Athletico Madrid second leg at home in Europa Leauge?
Their home record is quite impressive also. But hey, what do I know.

Richie

No, a different Lisbon. That match was a year ago, before half the squad tore up their own contracts. Different squad now.

HelderHughes
HelderHughes

I like that you’re all so clearly googling random past results. Please continue. May all your points be made!

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

Save your breath Pkub…Richie only wants to see negativity unfortunately. He has a right to be negative but sometimes I do wonder why people prefer to see only the bad in our team and none of the good things? It makes me wonder if people even enjoy it when we win?

Richie

I think you’re confusing me with another poster, I haven’t said anything negative. I merely pointed out that during the 22 match unbeaten run, we won the away games that we were expected to win. If you wanna see negative, look how much stick Mustafi and Leitchsteiner get every day around here.

Sue

With all these crazy results recently just goes to show no game in the PL is easy! No team should just assume by turning up they’re going to win that game (hey Klopp!) And no team should be underestimated just because they’re not in the ‘big six’
So we really need to up our game on Saturday.. banish the away game hoodoo & pick up those desperately needed 3 points! COYG

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

Well said Sue. It’s strange after all these years that some people cannot appreciate the fact that any team can beat any team and it’s what makes the PL the most exciting league around.

Rich
Rich

Last season we got 63 points, 12 behind Liverpool in 4th, who had superior goal difference, and who also got to a CL final.

I’m not sure what ppl were expecting this season? Even if we stay in touching distance of the top 4 until the last few games? then we’ve improved.

It’s not going to get any easier either, if our budget is £40million? Then you can pretty much guarantee that next season is unlikely to be any easier either.

We’ve got a seriously unbalanced squad, with plenty of players who just aren’t up to standard.

Gutbukkit Deffrolla
Gutbukkit Deffrolla

The problem is that our standard is exactly what our squad can manage and nothing more. You cannot base our standard on anything that happened before Kroenke became sole owner and decreed that we shall spend only what money that we make (and he didn’t mean we can have everything the Club brings in. He meant we can buy players with the money we make from selling players.

The Arsenal Squad we’ve got now is The Arsenal Squad. We need to spend a lot of money very wisely to improve our Squad. However, we do not have a lot of money. This means our general trajectory is almost certainly downwards from this point unless Emery can get this exact squad playing better than it does now.

There is not going to be a 2019 summer of spending to bring us back to where we all believe we should be. We just lost the man who might have pulled that rabbit out of the hat. We must now become a Southampton to survive, and somehow we have to avoid becoming a Newcastle instead. Losing Ramsey for nothing and alienating Ozil are what a Newcastle-class club does. Things don’t look bright to me.

Twatsloch
Twatsloch

I have started following Valencia and I get a sense of fight when watching them. They may be behind but they don’t give a fuck, they just keep coming and surprisingly often they get something from it. They aren’t a top team either but the football is exciting.

Arsenal? It’s not just that the players aren’t up to scratch, some are top notch and some aren’t. We all know this and although we need to upgrade I really don’t think this is our biggest problem. There’s just no spark anymore.

I love Arsenal but I feel less and less interest in watching the games week in week out. I don’t say this out of a sense of entitlement based on our past greatness either. I say it from a sense of lack of spirit. I want fight, I want unity, I want the sense of decline to be dealt with and us back on a better more consistent path again. We’re far from there right now.

Kwame Ampadu Down
Kwame Ampadu Down

I feel your pain twatsloch, that’s how I’ve felt last 3/4 seasons…..but do you not think we have started on the road back this season ? I really do. We are still desperately short on quality in some areas but I think the spirit & fight is much better. I’m enjoying watching far more now than the end of Arsène’s time.

Twatsloch
Twatsloch

I did. The arrival of Mislintat and Emery was the right move to set us on that path. But then Mislintat leaving and this business of “only on loan players” with the one arrival being a Barca reject that I’ve yet to see anyone rate. Benefit of the doubt, he might turn out alright, but it highlights how our problems are higher up and out of anyone’s but the owners control and he doesn’t care if we’re top or bottom because he gets his money anyway. I fear those issues will continue to stifle us on the pitch until they are resolved and I see no solution in sight.

Emery is a great coach but he’s expected to create magic with even less than Wenger had. But the biggest sign for me is Mislintat going. I think that is the really bad news of the season.

Kwame Ampadu Down
Kwame Ampadu Down

Fair enough. For now, my heart is going to believe what Emery said about the Board telling him the summer will be different.
(my head probably thinks you’re right though sadly)

Gutbukkit Deffrolla
Gutbukkit Deffrolla

It felt like there was a chance for that after a few games. We seemed to have a hardworking, keep plugging away attitude. Then we found out exactly how sole owner sees us and I think the players also reacted the way many of us did…

“Oh Sh**. Now we’re f****d”.

The results fell away as the players realised just how sticky the sh*t Kroenke dropped us in really is.

Kroenke has broken the Club to make a few extra bucks, and he has NEVER been the sort of person to worry about minor details like that.

DAF
DAF

We must continue in our way

Santori
Santori

I’m a critic of yor assessment of Mustafi.

Not bc I think he is a good defender (give me the rumored Ginter anytime) but bc it’s so heavily skewered into the imaginary.

You are looking for fault in the player and ignoring his positives

When he puts in game saving blocks not a mention.

Consider this, Mustafi did not feature prominently or at all against BHA, Soton and Liverpool or West Ham.

We dropped 11 points in these matches.

How has Mustafi cost us?

I appreciate this blog for being inclusive in ALL opinions unlike some other ones.

And I think you need a bit more levity with your assessment of Mustafi.