Emery: We are improving defensively, but our mentality is to be offensive

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Unai Emery believes that Arsenal are improving defensively, and says that he’ll look to continue that improvement by using different systems and different players across the various competitions we’re involved in.

With fans upset that Kieran Tierney didn’t start against Sheffield United on Monday night, it was put to the Arsenal boss that along with Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding, a large part of his best back four is playing back-up right now.

Despite the 1-0 defeat to the Blades at Bramall Lane, the Spaniard insisted there has been an upturn in the team’s defensive performances, and once again insisted – as he did earlier this month – that his primary focus is to send out his team to attack.

Speaking at his press conference this afternoon, Emery said, “We are improving defensively, we are conceding less goals. That’s one objective we’re achieving.

“But I don’t want to achieve that best performance only with one system or with the same four players.

“In the Europa League we are using different players and they are also improving our defensive moment. It’s for all the players.

“Above all, I want to continue to be an offensive team, but improve defensively. Our mentality is to be offensive.

“I am going to get that balance little by little, but now we are becoming a more competitive team, we are improving defensively and we want for the next step to be to keep our offensive capacity.

“I think we are going to do that. After Monday, we can be disappointed but we’ve got another chance in 24 hours.”

In 24 hours we don’t have a chance to make up for a Premier League defeat, but hopefully we can turn in another enjoyable cup performance led by some of the exciting young players we have at the club right now.

So far, those have been the best displays of the season.

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Trolltaire
Trolltaire

Is he drunk?

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia
Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Plus Blogs used a picture showing him as a very happy man when we’re all depressed. Are you beating him in tactics Blogs?

Cacho
Cacho

If this part of his comments are any indication then yes, he is extremely drunk

“Above all, I want to continue to be an offensive team”

btw
btw

There are two meanings of “offensive”. I think he means a team that offends its own supporters.

Viva La Prof
Viva La Prof

So win every game 8-4 then you fucking Charlatan

James
James

Thank good we only shipped the one goal to newly promoted Sheffield United who were in the bottom half of the league. Praise be, we have tightened up.

Prince Gunneralaysia
Prince Gunneralaysia

Please replace either Sokratis or Luiz with Holding. He is experienced enough for PL. If Emery cannot be without Xhaka and Xhaka cannot be without Emery. Then both can go. We have Ljungberg and Steve Bould can replace him.

Danger Mouse
Danger Mouse

Replace Luiz with Holding. Luiz is not a good defender. Brought here just cause he can play out from the back. So f—king what! Can he defend ? Nope…. Also, how can any competent manager prefer kolasanic over Tierney? Kind of sick of Emery already unfortunately.

KingKolo
KingKolo

Think Luiz has been fine and would be even better with Holding and a coach with a plan. Luiz has played at a higher more competitive level than any other player we have. In that 30 sec clip of us playing out at Sheffield Utd he looks and plays fed up.

Cygan’sbaldspot
Cygan’sbaldspot

Luiz is far better than Sokratis

Arsenonymous
Arsenonymous

I would ditch Sokratis also, as Luiz is a proven winner and seems to be a real leader, but I don’t think Sokratis is that bad either, it’s just that the pair is by all means not complementary. Two robust, aggressive and not positional-disciplined defenders: it just can’t work.

Change either of these two for Holding, and you’ve solved half the problem – the other half being the system. Change the coach, and you’ve solved it whole.

Prakhar
Prakhar

They are not the biggest offenders. Nobody here acknowledges that Guendouzi is the real culprit behind out defensive woes. Statsbomb says: (long, but recommend this, eye opening stuff)
Unfortunately, defending is probably the pitfall of Guendouzi. The infrequency at which he scans the pitch, and his subsequent awareness, is at its worst during defensive phases. His non-existent scanning leads to all sorts of trouble when defending in any capacity.

Instead of being aware of his surroundings, he is overly aware of where the ball is and only the opponents he can easily spot in his periphery. As a result, he – throughout the whole of the season, not just at the start – was guilty of blocking one way into an obvious option whilst leaving the forward space completely open. This was particularly the case when an attacker was dribbling in from the flanks.

In addition to this, there was also the problem of his jockeying stance. Most often exposed when pressing high up the pitch in pursuit of the ball, Guendouzi would be far too heavy-footed, making it difficult for him to adjust when a ball passed him by. To make matters worse was that fact that he didn’t know when to step off in pursuit of the ball. In the same cases where he was vulnerable to dribbles inside, he was also susceptible to passes into players he was supposed to be closing down. In these situations, he rushed to get in front to intercept but, realistically, was never going to make it there in time, which just allowed his opponent to let the ball come across him before pushing it on past him.When he is beaten, he’s often very slow to recover, as well. He doesn’t bust a gut to get back to the box, nor is he ever prepared for the possibility of give-and-go exchanges.

In front of the box is also another place where his jockey stance can be easily exposed. He doesn’t keep low enough to the ground, but will instead form a rigid-like statue of a stance, which prevents him from dealing with attackers’ turns back against the grain of his press, as could be seen in the very first goal Arsenal conceded this season.

He is also easily manipulable when defending zonally, as he doesn’t spot movements behind him, so can be easily drawn out of position by short exchanges between players in front of and behind him as he looks to chase down the ball. On top of this, he rarely seems prepared to hunt the ball back towards his own goal. He never sets himself in a way that allows him to keep up with give-and-go exchanges which he is sometimes a victim to.

Just about the only redeemable aspect of his defending is his tackling. Guendouzi’s tackling approach involves nipping away at opposition players, using his long legs to do so, whilst he uses his body strength to help separate the ball from the man. This saw him run up an average of 1.7 possession adjusted tackles per ninety minutes, which is not too bad,, but still less than the rest of Arsenal’s midfielders. Xhaka, Torreira and Ramsey had 2.84, 2.56 and 2.33 respectively.

Wezza
Wezza

Youre having a go at the player that tries the most? Behave

Reality check
Reality check

Wezza

Guendouzi’s aimless running is not new, Sven also acknowledged it in one of his interviews. If you pay attention you’ll see him out of position a lot, just chasing the baĺl, which comprises our defensive compactness. He’s also very stubborn, fell out with his manager when he tried to tweak his game. Guendouzi is a great passer and has the attitude that is loved here in English football culture but it’s also costing us to in order to accommodate and develop his game. I hope it pays off.

Gooner Sam
Gooner Sam

You think our best player is to blame…..right….

Prakhar
Prakhar

That’s a poor assessment, friend. It’s another case of love too soon for the young kid. I have only recently changed my mind, seeing his feeble defending in the box when we concede at Sheffield. No quality deep lying playmaker can afford to be that unconcentrated off the ball.

Luke
Luke

Guendouzi is a long way off being our best player. Maybe he will be our best player in the future, but for now he should think himself lucky starting ahead of Torreira.

Phil E’Buster
Phil E’Buster

Sure, i guess losing 1-0 instead of 4-0 is improving defensively. But it still leaves us with 0 points.

And why isnt he furious that we lost to newly promoted Sheffield United? He’s talking like we’re the underdog.

anonarse
anonarse

Unais goal is to avoid relegation, based on the “we’re going to do something important this campaign”. Of course we’re the underdog. 😜

Gooner Sam
Gooner Sam

Or roll the dice on the Europa lottery, he’s a charleton

Man
Man

#ReadyForFreddie

Coq au Vin
Coq au Vin

Cause he’s got red hair!

Gooner Sam
Gooner Sam

If only…

karl
karl

Is he watching the same games as us? We are really not a naturally offensive side, unless he means offensive to watch.

Der32
Der32

His English seems to be stuck in the same way that his ideas for The Arsenal are stuck. Dull. Confusing. Incoherent. You have to be a masochist to keep hearing him speak or be hopeful for Emery’s Arsenal.

Dave
Dave

It really grinds you down how he speaks in riddles.

Vonnie
Vonnie

Imagine what the players must feel like, listening to that every day, and apparently he’s been giving poor Pepe one to one video training………….

Dave
Dave

I know it’s his second language and he’s reasonably new to English but listening to him speak/reading back the transcript is such a chore.

He should go back to using an interpreter.

Alex
Alex

Which Wenger never needed in England, Japan, Germany

Bob's Mexican Cousin
Bob's Mexican Cousin

And France lol

Spanish Gooner
Spanish Gooner

You have to wonder if the players understand it any better than we are – in the training videos he’s always shouting odd things and I’ve seen no sign of an interpreter in any of our media, which means he’s spent 18 months coaching in a language he doesn’t fully speak

Flavoured Rice

Of course they don’t. If I, as a a native English speaker cannot understand him then what chance do our players whose first language isn’t even English ?

Cyprus The Immortal Gooner
Cyprus The Immortal Gooner

I loved Wenger but I knew it was time for change. I was so positive about Emery (especially since he’s got better material than Wenger) but now I seriously have my doubts if he’s the right one to the point that I wouldn’t shed a tear if they replaced him right now. That’s how disappointed I am about the current situation…

Michael Bolton Wanderers
Michael Bolton Wanderers

I think there’s a lot of fans in the same boat as you

N10
N10

@Cyprus, I agree with every word, except that now I’ve officially gone to the dark side.

Kran Stoenke
Kran Stoenke

Is he taking the piss?

Kran Stoenke
Kran Stoenke

Make up for the pl loss in the europa league? With all due respect to vitoria, beating them means fuck all when almost everyone’s pessimistic going into the Premier league fixture vs palace. Same dross all over again.

AFL
AFL

My thoughts exactly!

The real measure of Raul and Edu will be shown in getting rid of him ASAP

Wild Turkey
Wild Turkey

I’m not sure ‘improving’ is a word I’d associate with Arsenal at the moment, apart from our injury list.

anonarse
anonarse

Arsenal is “improving” fans frustration.

The Kolkata Gooner
The Kolkata Gooner

They’re “improving” my mental health negatively.

Win,lose or draw Emery remains the wrong choice
Win,lose or draw Emery remains the wrong choice

Emery please it’s really time to move on… You have promised us alot but nothing is materializing….i know you would win some few games here and there but your philosophy right now gives me constipation

Please Raul get us Erik Ten Hag and save the future of our dear club.. That man is hungry to prove more to the world of football

The Mad Parson
The Mad Parson

Exactly right. Let Freddie finish out the season and court ten Hag to take over next year. He’s been great at Ajax and was solid at Bayern’s B team. Plays our kind of footy, too.

#tenhagin

Win,lose or draw Emery remains the wrong choice
Win,lose or draw Emery remains the wrong choice

I really don’t hate you like what my fellow fans feel right here.. But i hate the fact you are lacking ideas… Arsenal football club has been on a rough patch for some time…we don’t need more mediocrity….i always knew you weren’t the right one and it pains me to know that you are proving me right

Alex
Alex

For the the record, I don’t hate him. I just don’t think he’s doing it

Win,lose or draw Emery remains the wrong choice
Win,lose or draw Emery remains the wrong choice

These were his words when he arrived…
This team is a big team, with big players, and we think we need to change little things – a few players.” he said. “The target is to be a candidate and to challenge for the title. It is very important for the club, after two years outside the Champions League, to work this way, to be the best club, the best team in the Premier League and also in the world.”
Emery was asked about his style. “My idea is to be protagonists,” he said. “The history here is a team that love playing with possession and I like that personality. When you don’t have possession, I want a squad that are very, very intensive with the pressing. The two things are important for me to be protagonists – possession of the ball and pressing when you don’t have the ball.”
We can obviously see all the ceremonial lies
Remember when he talked about improving Maitland Niles…..this man was so desperate to get the arsenal job because he didn’t want to stay jobless after leaving psg… Gazidis sold us out!

Henrypiresberg
Henrypiresberg

Why don’t you go somewhere else and improve bit by bit. Arsenal is no place for that. You fraud Emery.

Oregoon

Caption: “if you guys believe this bullshit, I have some swamp land for sale.”

Ko Aunglinn
Ko Aunglinn

STUPID INSTRUCTOR

Ko Aunglinn
Ko Aunglinn

AS a fan i don’t believe you EMERY. I see nothing improve 😡😡😡

Ko Aunglinn
Ko Aunglinn

Sack this fucker before too late 😡😡😡

C.B.
C.B.

‘…improving our defensive moment.’

Could he aim for us to be good defensively for longer than a moment?

Or learn what ‘moment’ means?

Jack
Jack

Emery, thanks for Guendouzi but it’s time to say goodbye.

Ko Aunglinn
Ko Aunglinn

I only interest about next 3EPL games.Big 3 challenge await you Fucking EMERY 😁😁😁

Fatgooner
Fatgooner

“Emery: We are improving defensively, but our mentality is to be offensive.”

No, and no.

The goal we conceded on Monday was a joke, and we showed all the offensive mentality of a mouse that had just seen a hundred starving rottweilers charging at it.

We need a new mamager.

Fatgooner
Fatgooner

Or even a new manager.

TCGNR
TCGNR

but also a new mamager.

Win,lose or draw Emery remains the wrong choice
Win,lose or draw Emery remains the wrong choice

And very much a new manager

Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts

No other team has thought of getting a “mamager” you could be onto something here TCGR? 🙂

btw
btw

The wife’s my mamager.

Basswielder
Basswielder

I like where this discussion is heading towards…plis continue

mrugunner
mrugunner

well well well.. the more you talk..

Dave
Dave

Wait, what? Is he serious?

I’m sorry Unai, but we haven’t improved defensively, and if our mentality is to be offensive, then start playing offensive football for a change! Instead of that timid, shy, boring football we’re playing. This guy makes no sense

MonkeyJoe
MonkeyJoe

He is still employed??? I am boycotting Arsenal games and merchandise while this clown is around. Get rid of him! #EmeryOut or riots.

Jumanne
Jumanne

I think this guy sleeps on the job! I so no improvement whatsoever! He’s made me a very depressed person!

TonyPerkis
TonyPerkis

Does he actually understand what he’s saying? You can’t just go about spouting “we’re an offensive team” and then go out and set up every game with an underdog mentality and a horrific playing style (or complete lack of)

Alex
Alex

What a privilege being Arsenal manager is Unai an you’ve squandered it without taking the time to understand who we are, what this club is in footballing terms and connecting to a fan base essentially in pain.

Any out of work managers would kill for this job and squad.

Tim
Tim

No. No. No. Now he’s taking about club strategy, hiding behind it really. He’s playing the “a lot of new players” card. Talking about “difficult EL games” when really, the club sees them as little more than friendly games – used to give a run out to players coming back from injury (Bellerin, nowhere to be seen on a PL game bench). And now this “above all to be offensive” stuff again. Adding insult to injury is what this is.

George
George

Oh, were offensive alright.

George
George

we’re, even. 😉

St.macca
St.macca

Maybe something has been lost in translation but that sounds like a crock of shit to me.

Duno
Duno

Anytime I remember Xhaka is my captain I become depressed. Seeing him on the team sheet bothers every fibre of my body. Now I feel exactly the same way with Emery. Never felt like this before. It’s painful.

Duno
Duno

What irks me the most about getting stuck with this lunatic is that I sincerely believe we’re missing a trick this season. A bit like the season Leicester won the league. I’d rather finish a comfortable third playing good football than scrapping for fourth while breaking the Geneva Accords.

CJay
CJay

Unpopular opinion:

Rebuilding a team takes time. This is only his second year, and his first year with his own players. We as fans have become so reactionary, we need to have a bit of perspective and give the man some time. I have a lot of respect for Wenger, but we all know how defensively shambolic we were in his final years, even though we still played attacking football. Playing attacking football without addressing the defensive aspect of the team is pointless, and I think if you look at the statistics, we have objectively gotten better defensively.

My thinking is that Emery’s first objective is to improve the defensive side of the team as a whole, with everyone contributing defensively and putting in a solid shift, and then build the attacking side of the game on top of that foundation. This would also explain the Ozil situation, because as talented as Ozil is, the nitty-gritty defensive aspect of the game is not his strong suit.

I understand there is a lot to be frustrated about – the goal we conceded on Monday was laughable – but there are also a lot of positives. Give the guy till the end of the season and then judge him, call for his head then or whatever. But asking for him to be sacked now, with less than a year with his assembled team, is not going to solve any of our current problems, on the contrary it will just plunge us into further chaos and misery.

George
George

I might agree with you, but as others have pointed out, everywhere Emery’s been his defense has sucked big time. And I really don’t see any evidence of a newfound defensive mentality throughout the team. As for Ozil, we’ll disagree on that.

Second, I can’t see any progress of any sort or a plan that we’re working towards. That might be on me, but I really don’t understand what we’re trying to do out there.

CJay
CJay

I appreciate your perspective. You do bring up valid points. In terms of progress, I have observed that as a team we do press opposing teams’ back-line with more urgency to try and win the ball back in their half. Our defending of set-pieces is better but still leaves a lot to be desired. Our playing out of the back is still complete shit though and that to me is actually one of the most frustrating things. We’ll agree to disagree on Ozil; I will say that despite his flaws, he’s still a phenomenal player.

I see some progress, but the annoying thing is that we seem to take one step forward then two steps back, but that’s part of my point in that rebuilding takes time, takes mistakes, takes frustrations, it’s a gradual process, and they’re growing pains. We’re not going to become Barcelona overnight and we don’t have any god-given right to automatically win the league, things are more difficult now and we need to exercise more patience.

Wezza
Wezza

Yeah, thats a good idea. Wait till the end of the season and if we’re out of the top 4 then sack him. Get a new manager who’ll be without Laca, Auba and Torreira.
Yeah, thats a good plan CJay

The Mad Parson
The Mad Parson

Complete codswallop. Emery has done nothing to improve the team in a year and a half, and he’s shown nothing to indicate he can turn it around now. Chelsea are resurgent and Leicester are looking steady–that’s already enough competition for places three and four. United and Sp*rs won’t struggle forever.

Starting this process over again at the beginning of next season will be too late.

GoonerN16

Cjay I couldn’t disagree with you more. I don’t want to endure his “management abilities” any longer. He is styfflng the players, and confusing them as he dithers and lurches from one abject display to the excruciating next. Enough already….get Freddie in at least for now, PLEASE

N10
N10

Have a sinking feeling Emery’s tenure will drag on through the end of his contract.
If that’s the case, no need to follow on social media or watch til then.
Upside, I’ll have more free time!
Plus, I won’t have to look on whilst we get relegated for the first time ever….

Thierry Bergkamp
Thierry Bergkamp

Fuck off Emery

SantaClausola
SantaClausola

Personally, I think it was a safe decision to not play Tierney. I’m desperate for him to play and think he will be awesome for us. But, after months out, I could have just seen him get clattered by John Fleck v Sheff United and see him out again. Let’s not pin all our hopes on Tierney making everything better. But yes when Bellerin, Tierney and Holding can play all together in the prem, we should be a lot stronger defensively.

UpNorth
UpNorth

Emery is the Spanish David Moyes. When you’ve based your career being a underdog, you attitude and tactics are those of an underdog. He’ll try to adapt to whoever we’re playing and analyzing the game to death.
I remember last year when we played som mediocre PL team away and Emery made a substitution out of the blue in second half. He explained that sub with that the other team got a new midfielder in and we needed to counter his qualities with our own substitution. Already then I began to doubt Emery, we are Arsenal and shall never bother with the subs mid and lower placed teams does. If you think small, you act small..

Muckamore
Muckamore

Actually in Basque, Emery translates as Pardew.

Arse-head
Arse-head

Good grief, we’re becoming a more competitive team!? I’d hate to see us go through a slump in form if that’s the case. Bye bye unai

GoonerNJ
GoonerNJ

He’s correct about one thing. The mentality has definitely been offensive. Sigh.

Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts

I worry that Emery is not a good communicator for the players or the fans. I am also starting to think that it may actually be a good thing?? He needs to go in my opinion. The team could do with a new manager boost.

Bodie CI5
Bodie CI5

He he thinks we’re improving defensivley then he aint the right man for the job, plus he needs sacking for sticking with xhaka every week they both need their P45

onenil
onenil

Personally I have found it quite refreshing.

On Tuesday, went into work head held high. When someone asked me ‘What happened to the Arsenal?’
I look them in the eye and said ‘We were utter shit, and the manager has no idea what he is doing.’

There was no point trying to be defensive.

laudgunner
laudgunner

Confirmed : Our manager is a troll.
No need to waste your time pointing out the facts to him. Our focus should be on Raul and Vini, no NEW contract for this guy. Emery is a MESS.

Billy
Billy

Ah he wants all the players to play and not a regular group to get acquainted and familiar as in a… um what’s that called a… team starting lineup? Is that it? This latest interview is just the end for me. I actually am starting to despise him.

SFGiants
SFGiants

I hate to inject the faintest whiff of politics in this, but he reminds me of a certain president who will remain unnamed. Whenever Emery says something I scratch my head and go WTF! My remembrance of what happens is 180 degrees from you say happens.

Oregoon

Right. One expects this kind of bs from a politician but not from a football manager. Quit talking and start making the requisite changes before we lose the season!

Mattdred
Mattdred

He’s off his nut !! He continually leaves our best defence on the bench…..Tierney, Bellerin, Holding should start every game and going forward we are far too cautious !!

Small
Small

What is Unai smoking or rather what has he been smoking? He calls this team improvement! Even in the last days of Wenger we still enjoyed watching arsenal but now he has taken us to 1935! His team selection is pathetic.