Emery: I think we’ll be more competitive

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Unai Emery says the options he has at his disposal this season should make Arsenal more competitive at key moments of the season.

Having kept his new signings on the bench for the opening game of the season at Newcastle, the Spaniard handed starts to Dani Ceballos and David Luiz against Burnley and gave 45 minutes to Nicolas Pepe as the Gunners recorded a second successive win.

After Saturday’s 2-1 win at the Emirates, the Spaniard drew attention to the depth of his squad taking a moment to name-check the players who are still working their way back from injury.

“One thing we wanted to improve is to be competitive in each position in the squad and also to take different possibilities,” he told his post-game press conference.

“For example, today Xhaka is out, also Mesut is out, Rob Holding is out and Hector Bellerin too.

“We had different options for a bigger performance. When every player is good to play, that’s perfect. But the way is long, the season is long, they are coming with different issues and different circumstances for each player, with injuries.

“Last year, for example, I think we lost some points in some moments when we didn’t have different possibilities for some matches. We lost in those moments.

“This year I prefer to have on the bench some important players but really, really with the possibility to be with a good impact after. I think the team is going to be more competitive. That’s my idea.”

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Top Gunner

I am starting to like this Ozil-less Arsenal.

Robert

Willock doing well in the position

Caligunner

Cool

Hopefully we play burnley and Newcastle 36 more times lol

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

No easy points given to other clubs. That’s what we need.

Jai

18 shots conceded at home to Burnley. Not much change from last season in that regard- it is ridiculous how many shots we give away at home to every team that comes, be it Burnley or Man City. Is it Emery?

Jai

For comparison’s sake, Liverpool conceded 14 shots to Southampton today, higher than they did in any league game last season

There’s a reason our defence is atrocious.

Flash

Liverpool played a 120 minutes long, tough Super Cup final 3 days ago in Turkey. As they had the best defense last season – I guess that journey had a serious effect on them.
(Not to mention that Salah, Firmino and Mane also played a lot in the summer)

kaius

This is incredible. We have fans who can see all the context when Liverpool concede 14 shots – they were tired, the last game went to extra-time etc.

But when Arsenal concede 18 shots to Burnley (most of which were off-target headers from balls crossed from free-kicks on the halfway line) there’s no context. It’s just “Emery”.

Absolutely pathetic agenda.

TCGNR

I agree with this and am always wondering aloud why we concede so many shots, regardless of who we are playing. People will argue “they weren’t quality shots,” but even shitty deflected shots eventually bounce the right way. It’s gotta be a matter of our defenders giving attackers way too much breathing room.

ReissJoeNiles

We now need to be dominant that’s all, if you remember the time we had Cesc – Song – Hleb – Rosicky, all we lacked was the clinical front line. With RVP on the sidelines we only had Adebayor after Eduardo broke his leg..
That time we would create numerous chances but still lose matches.
This front line just needs supply then we’re up there coz defence still our biggest problem though we expect some improvements

Robert

Willock,ceballos should be supplying more balls to our attack.we can do better as the season goes on

loose_cannon

Pretty sure we lacked an amazing defence as well, more than that we lacked strength in depth.

Daniel

You’re right that Flamini was on song that season:)
And we only lost 3 matches in the league in 07/08, it was the number of draws that cost us the title…

Chris O.

It’s not enough to simply count shots conceded, you have to also ask where they were taken. Some shots, especially the desperate long ones from outside the box, you WANT the opposing team to take because they’re low % shots and basically amount to a turnover of possession. There were in truth only a couple of dangerous moments created by Burnley, and even their goal relied heavily upon a deflection to come about.

Jai

They all add up. If you’re looking for reasons for Arsenal’s awful defending over the last few years (especially under Emery) then you can’t exactly ignore the fact that Arsenal give up 15/20 shots in most games. Those are laughable figures considering the squad we have and eventually they lead to defeats. It is down to the manager to reduce the number of shots we face. The best teams always face less shots because they control matches much better than Arsenal do under Emery.

iGooner

The season is long, and our key players (Bellerin, Holding, Tierney) aren’t back yet. As long as we out score our opponents until our full team squad plays together, I’ll take it

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

How is Thierney a key player without playing one second yet? AMN has done in the first two games as well as Bellerin would have. Chambers and Luis have done what is expected from Holding.

kaius

Glad you said the season is long, because reading all this stuff about the defense I got confused thinking the season had ended already

Caligunner

Exactly.

We played 2 of the worse attacking teams in the league. We are excited about how great hey looked.

Nordin

Tierney is definitely NOT a key player yet.

Santori

Completely right. No one thing is the reason we are poor in defense. Getting rid of Mustafi does not make us any stronger just as when we replaced Flamini with Coquelin and still leaked 14 goals in 7 matches. We still have to work on many persistant issues both systemic and individually. Midfield is key as much as defensive errors and positioning, decision making. Chambers made some errors pre-season but hopefully he has ironed it out. Midfield needs to provide energy to sustain through 90 minutes but also protect the ball better and work it out of midfield through congestion… Read more »

Santori

…not yet. Monreal had a very decent game.

Kolasinac may have something to say.

I suspect with iwobi gone, we could use Kolasinac in a more advance role at least till January window when if Monreal is sold, we could then have Tierny and Kolasinac rotating with Tierny more bias to a back 4 and Kola more wingback.

Or keep Monreal as well till next summer.

Caligunner

Like it or not holding doesn’t make a difference as out defense was shitty last season with him along with bellerin. Just comparatively looked better having on the pitch than having mustafi.

There is no telling what tierney can do.

Futsboller

I think you might be taking this a little far — conceding many shots is not advisable, but I’m sure Emery and every other coach out there aims to reduce those shots/chances. But the PL is competitive and every team creates chances — and every team gives up chances, too. And you can’t control a dingbat ref like Dean, for example, who’ll want to give Burnley every chance possible to get a good crack at our net. Moreover, City took 30 on Spurs today, and conceded 3 shots on their own net– the score ended 2-2. I personally don’t mind… Read more »

Santori

There will be shots conceded by any team. I think our issue is more organizational when we transition from attack back to defense. There is some improvement in cover this season with Guendouzi and Nelson particularly last match giving good effort. Other aspect like aerial cover may be more personnel related. We are not winning enough of the second ball. Also still positional issues particularly with the ball coming straight in over the top, the goal by Barnes also could be avoided. Closing down the crosses before they come in too another thing to continue to improve (there is some… Read more »

SantiComeHome

You can make a case for 1-3 first-choice defenders missing (Holding, Tierney, Bellerin)

1 of the defenders we did have was on debut (Luiz)

Our midfield was 1 debutant (Ceballos) and 2 x 19-year-olds (one of those, Willock on home debut, 2nd pl start ever)

I haven’t heard a single person arguing that this is the finished article and comparisons (based on 1 statistic) with last seasons European champions are unhelpful and short-sighted.

Santori

Yes, still work in progress.

Ozenal

One stat doesn’t give the whole picture.

Bielsa and Pep allow shots from certain areas. Some teams funnel shots into congested areas. I think the key to defence is the organisation of the two in front of the defence. That has been our soft spot for a while.

With Luiz bring experienced you would hope he will pull those infront of him into shape.

Especially Guendouzi who switches off to those running in behind him.

Hopefully the hairstyles allow some telepathic communication.

Okechukwu Jude

Great. I expect that Ceballos and Willock will bring the best out of Ozil cos he knows he is replaceable. A competitive environment with players breathing down your neck to take your place is best for us.

Mesut O’Neill

You think Ozil makes the starting 11 ??

The oxygen thief will finally be frozen out of the squad.

canadrian

Anyone who knows football knows that Mesut Ozil doesn’t not get into the Arsenal team. He’s going to play even more than last season, get your biases out of the way please. No matter how much you dislike him doesn’t take away from the fact that at this stage of his career he’s not sitting on the bench anywhere yet.

Mintoes

So uhm, not watched the team much last 5 seasons then? I’m constantly astounded by the Ozil fanboys…come on DC utd…

Alex

Haven’t watched the pre season?

Wilsheres Middle Finger

‘Fanboy’….. honestly, grow up mate.

Combined with the fact that they weren’t even saying positive things about him. Laughable.

Mintoes

Dude says Ozil “no way he doesn’t not get in the team”…quite a positive outlook, no? Hardly laughable.

Dan dan

Listen. … we have know about our defence for nearly 11 years… it is improving. We have spoken about our 3rd product in the attacking half… it has improved… you lot are just fans from the outside to be truthful because if you knew the impact we have had since 2008 you would understand why we are in the situation today. We are progressing… we are moving compared to other times eg… two years ago… we are showing strength and positivity so instead of compaining get behind the fucking team… be a supporter and not act like anyone hear ownes… Read more »

Mesut O’Neill

So who does he replace ?????

Boo

I dont understand all this ceballos-ozil arguement, the last time we played fluid entertaining sexy football was with the midfield trio of cazorla, ozil and coquelin, now we have that combination again in ceballos, ozil and toreira/xhaka/guendozi

I miss the good old sexy football..

Kampala goober ?

Just like Justin Timberlake we bringing sexy back ?

Nordin

I wish I can down vote your “oxygen thief” comment a million times over. Its just plain disgusting, insulting and full of hatred. He doesnt deserve people like you as an Arsenal fan.

Benriz

Go away

loose_cannon

I mean, if you say so but I feel that Ceballos and Willock simply have qualities that Emery likes and that Ozil lacks. Emery’s focus will be on getting the best out of those players, not shoehorning in Ozil if/when it’s not actually warranted. And it’s not as if, say, the manager’s clear preference for Ramsey last season brought the best out of Ozil either for the same reasons.

Anonymarse

Ozil will have to play well or he is on the bench. Same for Mkhi and everybody else.

This is what you want.

Let’s just wait and see how they all do.

Santori

Absolutely right.

We use Ozil to our benefit as and when.

AND no one has a right to be first choice. Performance is everything and competition is key.

The only area where I prefer a bit more stability in choice will prob be in the Cbacks just so we have a bit more of an intuitive level of understanding.

Rosicky7

I’ll probably get crucified for this, but Ceballos is a major upgrade on Ramsey. Also, I loved Iwobi, but I’m ready to redirect that love into our myriad other up and coming talents. And Pepe is going to make some opponents look really dumb. Excited for the new campaign. Could see 3rd place, good FA cup run, and hoping to see the kids do well in the EL. Let’s go boys!

ViennaGooner

I thought exactly the same. Energetic like Rambo but more composed.

loose_cannon

Like Ramsey and Santi combined (or like Wilshere at his absolute best?). Still early days of course but looks like one hell of a player.

David

Sad thing is… He isn’t ours, he’s just here on loan

Santori

Agree.

he is not as nimble as Santi but he has that quick and tidy Spanish feet.

he has Ramsey’s energy level but he can dribble and he has an appreciation for half spaces.

canadrian

People forget how often he made substitutions at half-time last season. And he was doing it from the start, consistently all year. Look for even more early substitutions this season as e have even more options to impact the game

Thierry Bergkamp

Be competitive….that’s all we ask for

Chiza

Good morning gunners
My last night was ceballous!

Gooner49

Match

Gooner49

Match of the day?

Robert

I will be happy to see Emerick,lacazete & Pepe start against Liverpool come next week

Santori

That’s a given.

Would be more interesting to see if we stick to a back 4 or go back 3 to contain them.

Z Gooner

First time to win the first two league games in 10 years,thank you very much.

Goonereality

We should all hope he’s right. Arsenal have invested heavily in the Summer transfer market – net spend was almost £120 million, albeit most deals are on instalments. Emery and the management team know that we can’t afford another season out of the CL, and the money that brings, without consequences for the club so a top four finish is the priority. It’s really far too early yet to draw any conclusions one way or another. Some Gooners are getting a little carried away on the basis of a couple of games (which happened to be against two of our… Read more »

Nick

Doesn’t hurt for the supporters to have positive vibes about the team as they transfer during matches to the team. Too often, last season, groans from the crowd would reinforce a negative vibe that became somewhat self fulfilling . Yesterday, from where I was sitting, the vibe was generally good and the team responded well. So different to the Crystal Palace match last season.

Goonereality

I agree entirely – but I wasn’t talking about the vibes at the ground (where I was, also). I was referring to some comments on this site where a few Gooners are taking two (narrow) wins against teams we usually beat as “proof” that we’re going to do well this season. A comparison to prove how daft that is at this point is to look at the opening two games last season. These were against teams we don’t often do well against – City and Chelsea. The result: nil points. We all hope the new look Arsenal will do well,… Read more »

Santori

Net spend is not as high but back loaded as you mention bc of installments. I think we’ve spent 64m and sold 62m so its even without touching 40m earmarked at start from transfer kitty. Arguably whether we should have to bring a better solution for Cback in first place is a key question. Of course we will be hoping to sell Mustafi and Elneny to generate more money to cover for subsequent 21m per next 4 summers for Saliba and Pepe. We haven’t been that different in terms of spending practise. We have still made band aid signings at… Read more »

Guendoezit!

I’m glad we won but this home game doesn’t fill me with confidence. Luiz was ball watching the goal we conceded, Burnley with little to no counter attack skills cut right through us too easily. I watched our lilly chicken neighbours play manshity after and i would be lying if I said I didn’t admire their play from the back. That’s not on the players, it’s the coach. He’s good but not great, perhaps with time.

Emyrates

This awful kind of negativity. Luiz was brilliant, strong and composed. Ball watching? It was a random deflection. He was on his man. We did good. We won against a brutish side with a new squad. Get your head out your arse because clearly the sun doesn’t shine there.

Goonereality

Yes, I think Luiz was good for a first appearance but, overall, we still mustn’t get too carried away. We’re two games in and have won against teams we almost always beat anyway. Let’s see how we do against Liverpool and Spu*s. It won’t be conclusive, either way, but it’s a better pointer than our first two games.

Alex

Mr Emery, I support your idea.

Santori

I’m not sure we will be more competitive. Defense still looks shaky. BUT further up the field, we have more tools at the gaffers disposal. Where Mslintat failed to deliver, Raul has had at very least closer ear to Unai’s requirements and has added for most parts what we needed for several seasons now in Cmidfield and wide area. In both cases, we have lacked technical ability rather than the media touted bottle. And we now have Cebellos who has those Spanish quick and tidy feet (I don’t think he is Santi level yet) but also the energy and adventure… Read more »

Santori

4-3-3 with fluid front 3 and rotating midfield triangle –

………………………….Laca………………………………..
Auba……………………………………………………..Pepe
…………………………Cebellos…………………………….
………………Willock……………Guendouzi……………….
Tierny………………………………………………….Bellerin
……………….holding………..Sokratis……………………..
………………………….Leno………………………………….

3-4-1-2 with playmaker releasing counter-attacking duo –

………………Auba………………..Pepe……………………..
………………………….Ozil…………………………………..
Kolasinac…………………………………………………AMN
………………….Granit………Torreira……………………..
…………..SSbob……………………….Chambers…………
…………………………Sokratis………………………………
………………………….Leno………………………………….

Traditional 4-2-3-1 with rotating triangle in midfield making 4-1-4-1
(Guenoudzi and Cebellos takes turn to sit and hold with Granit or push higher up together)-

……………………………..Laca………………………………..
Nelson…………………….Cebellos……………………..Pepe
………………..Guendouzi………….Granit………………….
Tierny……………………………………………………Bellerin
…………………Sokratis…………..Chambers……………….
……………………………Martinez…………………………….

Can’t wait for everyone to be fit.

Ozenal

I am really loving the balance in this formation process of the squad. It really does seem like we have some idea behind the squad which works well with our coach. From the outset we knew that Unai was into pressing teams and that he loves to work on individual improvements which work into his team based attacking patterns. What we didn’t know was his tactical flexibility. When he first started Pep said arsenal under Unai would 100% be 4231 But he has proved people he can do other systems when necessary and if not for some individual catastrophic errors… Read more »

Ozenal

Ceballos is a good case in point. Worked hard to bring him in. And not just because he is a quality player. The main thing is that he FITS into the system and is a good alternative to Ozil who cant play away games. Ceballos allows us to press, just as we did with Ramsey. Although a different player to Ramsey, he arguably gives us greater squad depth, as Ramsey as an 8 isn’t able to break a press as effectively. Ceballos is our answer to the Santi and also a brilliant number 10 when pressing teams high away from… Read more »

TR7

Depth is good for any ambitious team, it’s healthy if all players fight for a starting place. If all our players are fit only Leno n Auba have a guaranteed starting berth. Prove yourself take your chances and you get on the pitch,,, tell them Emery