Unai Emery reflects on start to season

Unai Emery reflects on start to season

The Arsenal boss gave his take on the opening four games of the season.

Leanne Prescott

After four games of the 2019/20 Premier League season, Arsenal find themselves in fifth place, with two wins, one draw and one defeat tying them with four-placed Crystal Palace. 

Albeit ending in a draw, their most recent fixtures against rivals Tottenham Hotspur contained plenty of positives, particularly the continued form of Matteo Guendouzi and returning partnership of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who spearheaded a double-headed threat. 

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Emery pleased with start to the season

While defensive issues remain clear for all to see, inhibiting the Gunners thus far, Unai Emery spoke of his content at the club’s start to the campaign, especially in light of a busy summer of signings and departures.

“I think we’re positive because we changed some players [but have played well],”Emery said when speaking to Arsenal Player on the club’s official website“We’ve lost some important players, for example Nacho Monreal and Koscielny, and in the last moment Mkhitaryan and Iwobi.”

“We are getting young players and giving them chances to do one step more with us, getting that performance in the way we demand. I think with the young players and also the experienced players we have, plus we’ve signed some new players.”

“I think we are building a very important squad with different characteristics. We’re being demanding in our objectives.”

“Every player is very important for me. Really, we need a good mix of everybody and take care to create a new ambition, new motivation and also create our way with them. 

“I want to have the same level of excitement for Pepe or Ceballos, David Luiz or Martinelli as I am with Reiss Nelson, Willock, with Emile Smith Rowe. Also, with the players working with us last year like Mesut Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette, Bellerin, Holding, Leno…everybody. We can be excited about every player.”

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Defensive balance the key going forward, says Emery

Emery highlighted the importance of instilling balance to the side as the season wears on. Albeit pleased with the strong offensive play on display, with his team able to express themselves in the final third, his acknowledgement of weaknesses in the defensive third suggests training will now focus on developments at the other end of the field.

“I think we can continue being very offensive with a lot of important offensive players. We also want to take the balance defensively to be strong and I think the first four matches allowed us to show our first characteristic: to be offensive.”

“Maybe we need to continue working to create a balance defensively in some moments, and also tactically when making some decisions. Really, the most important thing is how we can show our support, energy and spirit.” 

Arsenal play Watford following the end of the international break before their first Europa League Group Stage fixture against Eintracht.