Emery: It’s a big frustration

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Unai Emery admits Arsenal’s 3-2 defeat to Crystal Palace was very frustrating but he tried to sound an optimistic note ahead of Wednesday’s game with Wolves.

The Gunners starting lineup, heavily rotated by the Spaniard, struggled to cope with the visitors from the off and found themselves 1-0 down when Christian Benteke scored for the first time since fire was invented.

The Gunners reacted well after the break and equalised through Mesut Ozil, but dumb-arsed defending (yeah, I’m looking at you Shkodran) saw Roy Hodgson’s men steal two more goals just as momentum seemed to be swinging our way.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang did his best to lead a comeback, but it failed to materialise, in part due to some pretty shoddy finishing and a lot of bad decision-making in the final third.

While we remain in the top four on goal difference, it’s obviously galling that we could have tightened the screw on Chelsea, Sp*rs and Manchester United, especially as the latter two also lost this weekend.

“Yes, it’s a big frustration because it was a big opportunity,” Emery told his post-game press conference.

“But we can say we had a big opportunity in the matches before today and we took a lot of points, a lot of key moments to give us the opportunity to be, now, in our way with the possibility to achieve our first target, which is to play Champions League next year.

“We can do that through the Premier League or the Europa League. Today, we lost a very big opportunity but I don’t think it changes our idea.

“We need to prepare for the next match against Wolverhampton. It’s in our hands because we can continue with the possibility of being in the top four if we win.”

On the way the defeat played out, Emery added, “First it’s because they have very good players. Second, it’s because today in the set pieces, we didn’t work and we weren’t strong like we were in the rest of the season.

“The first goal came from a free-kick, the third from a corner. Today we struggled more than we wanted in these two situations and really the result can come, this result, through it.

He added: “It’s very difficult to win and to repeat to win and again to win and again to win. One day like today can happen.

“First, because they have very good players and an experienced coach and away they won at Manchester City, they won at Newcastle, they won at Leicester.

“We knew it was going to be difficult and we respect them a lot. But on the pitch we could not impose our gameplay today.”

So there we go. A first league defeat at the Emirates since the opening day of the season and certainly one that stings. There was already little room for manoeuvre in our quest to secure a Champions League spot, now the situation is even more complicated.

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Jai
Jai

Weak.

Futsboller
Futsboller

Very.

SheffieldGooner
SheffieldGooner

How I laughed when Utd lost at Everton. Not now. This is worse.

Georgeycharles
Georgeycharles

You “respected them a lot” did you Unai ? – I’m not sure that’s entirely true is it ? at least, not from the look of that starting lineup…..

Jack gunner
Jack gunner

When Arsenal conceded the first goal,I was already nervous.Why did nt Emery played like they did against Chelsea and MU and whose strikers were
better? These danger men were shackled and rendered impotent. Zaha was given free rein until another added gunner was deployed to shadow him.
Furthermore his possession game plan reminds me of Wenger leaving the barn door open to quick breakaway by Cp.
Hopefully Emery will know better to go back to Plan A against Wolves and the Foxes
whose marauding strikers could hit gold/goal and deal a fatal blow to the cl
aspirations

santori
santori

We need to be playing close to plan A as much as possible to end of season.

Its only 6 matches total so we should have mental strength to push through the pain barrier.

Plus we need to play to whistle. Several times today our players (not just Mustafi or GUendouzi) were looking for decisions During play. This has to be stamped out.

Jack gunner
Jack gunner

The problem with possession based football is good if you win.At the risk of being castigated by goner fans ,watch how Everton beat MU. They don’t have a
slow build up . Instead its fast passing giving defenders little time to regroup like CP.
If Emery continues to play like Wenger trying to thread the ball in the box,its a recipe
for afast counter attack.
No wonder Drogba nad Rooney scored dozens of goals.

Futsboller
Futsboller

There is nothing wrong with possession-based football; it is what the top teams play against the bottom half clubs by necessity, as the latter just sit back with 2 banks of 4 or 5 and defend. You have to pass your way through that. MU were attacking Everton, which is why they were able to turn the ball over and give them a good Leicester. Wolves are enjoying a similar narrative this season against the top teams. Rarely does another club outside the top four arrive at the Emirates and carry out an attack-minded gameplan, which is what makes Emery’s team selection and tactical approach so utterly bewildering sometimes, as if he just started watching Arsenal and the PL this season.

Savage
Savage

I respect that he’s trying to keep the morale up. After that complete blunder, our heads dropped, which was a mistake, when there was still plenty of game left to play. We need to chin up and get back on our horses.

Goo-nerd
Goo-nerd

The big frustrations are that Mustafi and Elneny are still in Arsenal shirts.

We’ve shown endless patience with Mustafi with zero progress from the player. I want to throw my glass through the television every time he puts his hands up and moans to blame another player or the referee for a conceded goal. Garbage attitude.

Elneny is almost incapable of playing a forward pass. He should’ve been the first player hooked today. We couldn’t get the ball in the final third because he didn’t have the courage to look up, position himself with adequate space to receive the ball and look for a braver option.

Iwobi desperately needs double sessions with a sport psychologist. I don’t have the stats, but I’d bet he has close to the lowest goal conversion rate from shots on frame in the premier league. After a few slick shimmies and beat defenders he inexplicably passed to an opposition man under zero pressure.

Lastly, we could’ve made so much more of those last 15 mins if Kolasinaç and Koscielny had been half as concerned with getting the ball up the field as they were with punishing Zaha.

Laughable excuse for a performance today. Not fit for the shirt.

Tungor_Adams
Tungor_Adams

Thats the thing with mustafi, if atleast he took his mistakes on the shin, his body language is kindergarten lvl, I can accept players making mistakes , but his crappy attitude takes that acceptance away.

Jason daniels
Jason daniels

Mustafi wss poor, dino is not playing like he started at arsenal, elneney must get sold, guendouzi needs serious coaching, auba needs to start earning his price tag. Leno is the man. He has earned us at least 15 points. OZIL REALLY NEEDS TO F..K OFF

santori
santori

Ozil scored us a goal today, moved the ball around well enough, did his bit off the ball.

Guendouzi was combative today and carries the ball well.

I did not think Elneny for his capacity played particularly badly.

Jenkinson is one dimensional and we should not play him. Not sure why but Unai chose to rest AMN.

Mavropanos made a number of errors but also some positive tackles and one good run going forward but that’s what you get playing a novice.

Mustafi was poor today but last match against Everton he was good.

There are positives per player as well.

Stephen
Stephen

Ozil worked his ass off that first half trying to cover where the rest of the midfield had left massive holes. He put in a shift

Alex
Alex

Ah, Özil… this dear Mesut. You’ll miss him, i tell you.

santori
santori

I mentioned mid week we should try not to tinker too much as we head towards the end.

Particularly in defense (regardless of Mustafi) we need to keep a semblance of familiarity with the backline.

Also in midfield, it is going to be a challenge to keep the right relation between the engine room and the attack working.

Today, the midfield worked hard enough. I didn’t think Elneny was particularly poor but there was a gap in relation with the strikers particularly with Palace sitting deep. INsufficient movement forward (or from the frontline) caused us to be too static.

We were much better second half with (Unai spot on) the intro of Iwobi. I felt we need to play him particularly in these sort of games with the defense packed deep. He is intuitive to Kolasinac and about the only player we have who can take on and pull defenses out of position (His finishing of course another issue)

santori
santori

To put things into perspective, not the result we needed.

And we are our own worse enemies.

But we are a point off Spurts still and ahead of Chelsea and United.

We cannot afford to drop ANY more points.

This is really work in progress as there are severe deficiencies in quality of squad beyond a certain number of starters.

So Emery has to address this in the summer.

Until then we need to find the right mentality to push through with as least change to squad as possible.

We ONLY have 6 matches left (cup and league). Leicester went the entire season when they won the title with far less options in hand. We should be able to power through to the end.

We need Spurts to slip up one more time. Until then, we need to worry about our own issues and grind those results out.

That is not restricted to just Mustafi. Thinking we are where we are bc of him is the BIGGEST falacy.

Last match against Everton, he made the most clearances and intercepts plus won the most duels and aerial duels. So clearly he is not the consistent disaster some like to point him out to be.

Instead we need to focus on being far more lethal everytime we go forward.

The sterile possession that we had is an illusion. We need to be in control of the psychological direction of the game by killing off any chance of hope to the other side. Instead we consistently invite them to test our defense. This has been an equal if not bigger problem than defensive lapse. All players have had defensive lapses.

bdotm
bdotm

Can we just buy Zaha?

Vonnie
Vonnie

Ugh, no. We have better young players coming through the academy.

George
George

We really do. Zaha flatters to deceive, doesn’t score, and is a diving prick to boot. He should realise he’s at his level and enjoy.

Fredrick
Fredrick

Personally I think we need a sober defense then the coach should stop mixing up the team over and over when will he come up with the first 11.The striking is always mixed up.let every part of the team bond.On the side of the players they don’t show some discipline at all let them fight for the team aggressively.

Jean Ralphio
Jean Ralphio

Our under 21s would have got a result. Our squad is just not good enough. Our wingers don’t score.

Futsboller
Futsboller

Our squad is good enough for top-four football in the PL, but it is not good enough to win the league (obviously). Yesterday’s match should have been a solid 3 points in the pocket, but Emery got the whole thing wrong. One less defender and one more attacker would have made a significant difference from kickoff yesterday, as it did in the second half; rather than chasing the game in the end, we should have been bringing on that extra defender to close it out. Emery’s conservative approach has cost us points this year, but he’s learning, and that can be forgiven in his first season in the PL.

Jack gunner
Jack gunner

Most fans blame Mustaphi.I wont assign complete blame. I would say
why did nt Emery assign another gunner to mark the CP forward like
he did against Chelsea and MU?
I am afraid his all day passing is easy for the foxes and wolves.
If Emery aint careful 4th spot would be out

Tungor_Adams
Tungor_Adams

Considering how well paid Mustafi he must truly be in deep trouble having to sell himself to Albanian gambling Maffia.

Cacho
Cacho

Just to echo what Blogs and James were saying on the Arsecast extra, we need more potent goal scorers in the team. I had the exact same thought yesterday. Aside from Laca and Auba (and let’s be honest Auba has been missing loads of chances) you don’t see where the goals are coming from. To compete at the top you need a talismanic striker PLUS players capable of getting 15 odd goals from the wide areas.

As much as I love Iwobi he will never be that player. He has a lot of talent and he should definitely be kept as a back up player, but we need goals in the team, especially with Rambo going. Xhaka, Torreira, Guendouzi, Ozil, Iwobi, Mkhi.. right now those are the players who need to fill out our scoring numbers. It’s just not good enough.

I say all this knowing full well we’re up there in terms of goals scored. That’s a misleading statistic when it’s only shared between 2 players and then a smattering spread across the rest of the team.

Futsboller
Futsboller

There are goals to be found in Ozil and Mhki, for sure, and Iwobi just needs to sharpen the pencil, but the way Emery has the team set up we aren’t creating much regularly beyond the low-cross and cut-back chances (which mostly go to our strikers). Wingers and wide-scoring players are a great asset on teams designed to use them that way, but we are filled with players designed to play quick-passes in close-quarters which requires more attackers on the pitch than defenders. If true wingers are wanted, then it will take some serious investment to get good ones and I don’t think the club are going to be big spenders any time soon. Emery has done well, but he has to make more adjustments to get the best out of this team in this league.