Arsenal began today’s 2-2 draw with Southampton playing a 3-5-2 formation, reverted to a back four at half-time, and by the end were set up in a way which would have confused Pythagoras as we sought a goal to get something from the game.
It arrived via Alexandre Lacazette, but Arsenal’s best spell of the game came immediately after half-time, which led many to wonder why Unai Emery hadn’t set his team out in that formation in the first place.
Inevitably, there were post-match questions about his constant tinkering, and the under pressure Arsenal head coach did his best to explain his thinking.
“That’s a decision I’ve made because I need to find a solution,” he said of the half-time change.
“We play with three centre backs to feel stronger defensively, but also because in the first half, we were better defensively.
“But it wasn’t enough. We needed to attack more in the second half so I changed it. Then when we were attacking more, we had 20 or 25 minutes where we were better offensively but then defensively we lost a little bit of that balance and conceded more chances than we wanted.
“That is the issue. I need to work, I need to analyse, I need to find a solution. Today I tried that, starting with the centre backs, changing in the first half when we were drawing because we wanted to win.
“We wanted to achieve more risks to attack and to get more players in the attacking third. But then we struggled defensively then with their transition.
“Now we are going to analyse it and find solutions as to whether we are better with three or two centre backs, the balance, and then work out how we can be stronger defensively and offensively. We lost that balance.
“We had a strong start to the second half in the first 20 or 25 minutes, but then we lost that balance and defensively we struggled more than we needed. At the end we drew and it’s not enough.
“We’re frustrated and disappointed, so are the supporters. Now we are speaking in the dressing room, the coaches, the club, and we need to work and analyse to find a solution.
“We can be disappointed at the moment but we need to keep on moving for the next match, to prepare and improve on the issues.”