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.”