Unai Emery says Manchester City’s 3-1 win against Arsenal underlined the superiority of the Premier League reigning champions on an afternoon that saw the Gunners drop to sixth in the table.
Sergio Aguero set the tone for the afternoon with a goal after 48 seconds and although Laurent Koscielny found a leveller ten minutes later, the Spaniard’s side never looked like securing a surprise victory as they tired in the second half.
Aguero completed his hat-trick with strikes either side of the break, the second seemingly off his arm, as the visitors were made to pay for their defensive lapses.
“They showed their superiority today over 90 minutes,” Emery reflected in his post-game press conference.
“Above all, the second half cost us. In two different times in the first half we struggled, but together we were defensively strong in some moments. We gave ourselves a chance so that we could hopefully take the chance in the attacking third against them.
“We also needed to work hard and not concede chances inside our box. In the first half, we can look at it with some optimism but in the second half we tried to do something different to go up against them by creating more chances, more opportunities, with more players and possibilities on the pitch.
“But the second half was different. We were more open than we were in the first half and they have very fast players in the transition. I think they showed today, with the possession against us when our defensive position was very deep, they can score like they did in the first half.
“When we needed to attack a little more against them, opening the space in the transition, they showed they were better than us at the moment. The result is the difference between Manchester City and Arsenal today.”
It’s now over four years since Arsenal beat a top-six side away from home; an appalling record that suggests the players have a mental problem away from the comfort of the Emirates. Asked for his assessment, the Spaniard tried to put an optimistic spin on things.
“The mentality is the same with superiority or not having superiority in a game,” he said.
“When you are on the pitch, playing one team and in general they are better, the players feel that and we need to also be stronger little-by-little and when we can feel stronger with the ball, without the ball and together that our confidence is coming.
“Also the mentality is coming. But I think our players have mentality. But also, when we are worse than the opposition, we feel that and it’s negative on the pitch.
“For example, I said to you, there are good things with some players. I think we have players with a good present and future, who need time, need to take experience and need to play matches like today and lose and struggle. I think we can be optimists, but with this result it’s not easy.”