Following the 1-0 win over Bournemouth at the Emirates this afternoon, Unai Emery says his team lacked confidence in the second half which prevented them from putting the visitors to the sword.
After a truly dismal first half, Eddie Howe’s team were better in the second period, causing Arsenal problems at the back and coping well with what we had to offer from an attacking point of view.
We created very little to threaten Bournemouth, and afterwards the Arsenal boss put that down to a loss of confidence – suggesting the fact that we had young players was the root cause.
Bukayo Saka was the only inexperienced starter, although Emery did bring on Willock and Martinelli, which does make you wonder if the issue was inexperience, why add more?
“In the first half, we controlled it with very good organisation, defensively very strong, we didn’t concede chances to them,” he said.
“We scored one goal and had possibilities to score the second goal. We were speaking about wanting to improve and we could improve.
“The second half was a very good opportunity to keep our confidence, getting better with the ball, the combinations, the control, and also stopping their actions with the ball.
“We did that in the first half but, in the second half, maybe because the first chances arrived very early, we lost a bit of that confidence. We have a lot of young players and we need also to take experience, take minutes and to know that difficulty inside the pitch.
“It’s like that against every team in the Premier League because I think It’s the most important and most difficult domestic competition.
“We are very happy with that result and proud of our work in the first half, and we are very critical of ourselves and myself to improve the second-half.”
Emery also talked up the quality of today’s opposition after the win – something that might surprise anyone who actually watched the game.
“Bournemouth are a very good team, they have 11 points and won against Aston Villa and Southampton,” he said.
“They have good, international players – very big quality. We will play teams with more quality, some yes, some with less quality, but we are also playing with young players, giving them chances, minutes, experiences.
“I think every match for them is important.”