Loss to Liverpool showed Arsenal’s defensive issues — Emery

By Daily Sports on December 30, 2018

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Arsenal coach Unai Emery admitted his team still has a lot of work to do defensively, but insisted the difference between the Gunners and Liverpool isn’t as big as Saturday’s 5-1 scoreline would suggest.

Liverpool tore Arsenal apart in the first half at Arsenal to take a 4-1 lead at the break despite going down to an early goal, with Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah taking turns slicing through the Gunners’ back line. It was a humbling defeat for Emery’s side, who held Liverpool to a 1-1 home draw at the Emirates during a 22-game unbeaten run but were handed a harsh reality check at Anfield.

“We have a lot of work to do, defensively also, we know we need to get better,” Emery said. “We spoke in the dressing room – it’s another experience for us. A bad experience but an experience to learn from. In the second half we needed to stand up, to keep our position individually and collectively on the game. ... We only can think now of the match on Tuesday [against Fulham] and know that the difference between Liverpool and us was not like today’s result. Maybe we can do one balance, one mix between [the previous] draw and this result today.”

The loss – the heaviest defeat under Emery this season – could see Arsenal fall five points outside the top four if Chelsea win on Sunday. “The two last goals, two penalties, I think it's a lot for us. I think VAR is important – it’s coming next year, because I think it’s going to help the referees to take better decisions,” Emery said. “The result is clear. It’s not for the referee. There were some positives on the pitch – for example Ainsley [Maitland-Niles] played as right winger and scored, working well. Also [Alex] Iwobi, after some matches not playing very well, today he played 90 minutes with a good performance. But defensively we need to be stronger, to work. Our defensive moments in our box, it’s my responsibility and then we need the balance.”

Emery also confirmed that Mesut Ozil was left at home because of a knee problem, but said he didn’t know if it was a serious injury.

“I don’t know if it’s big or not big, but it’s his knee,” he said. (ESPN)

 •Photo shows Arsenal coach, Unai Emery

Source Daily Sports

Posted December 30, 2018


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