Emery takes responsibility for collective mistakes
Photo: Julian Finney

Emery takes responsibility for collective mistakes

Arsenal threw away a two-goal lead before having to settle for a point against a rejuvenated Watford.

jordan-owusu-adu
Jordan Owusu-Adu

Arsenal boss Unai Emery was more concerned with collective mistakes rather than individual errors after the second-half collapse against Watford on Sunday.

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Arsenal squander two points in another defensive horror show

The Gunners were in the ascendency in the first half, benefitting from a quick-fire double by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Dani Ceballos cutely intercepted Will Hughes' loose ball on the halfway line, with the subsequent ball falling to Kolasinac. His short pass to Aubameyang was expertly controlled before a swivel and shot breezed past Ben Foster.

The away side doubled their lead in the 31st minute after Aubameyang again proved how ruthless he can be in front of goal. A move perfectly carved out by Mesut Ozil on his first start of the season, the German's ball sliced the Watford defence open, finding Maitland-Niles on the right. The youngster's cross made it impossible for Aubameyang to miss, leaving Watford in a precarious position at half-time. 

However, the second half would see a complete switch of momentum, with Arsenal again undone by their own poor defending. Albeit a side who have always enjoyed playing out from the back, The Gunners took matters a little too far as Bernd Leno's short goal kick to Sokratis inside the six-yard box allowed Watford to press high up the pitch. Attempting to find Matteo Guendouzi on the edge of the area, Gerard Deulofeu was on hand to easily intercept, diverting possession into the path of Tom Cleverley to make it 1-2. 

David Luiz failed to cover himself in glory at Vicarage Road, acting as the culprit and gifting Watford the chance to equalise after a rash challenge inside the box. It was another erratic performance from the former-Chelsea defender, similar to recent games against Liverpool and Tottenham, and Unai Emery was quick to take ownership for the club's collective mistakes as they squandered two precious points.

"When we are analysing inside about the mistakes, I prefer to speak about the mistake collectively", Emery told the official club website.

"Also I have the responsibility for all decisions we are taking as a team and individually also, I don't want to do or to say it's for one player or another."

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Playing out from the back lands Arsenal in trouble

Arsenal persisted with playing out from the back after the first Watford goal, and when asked whether he would have to change how they restart from goal kicks, Emery said: "Yes but after their goal we tried once more and we broke their lines and we get into the attacking third with space.

"We didn't achieve good chances in less moments we did that, but we need to repeat and we need also to have the capacity and to improve with be able to break when the teams want to press us like today."

The boss was also asked whether the mistakes on the day were down to a lack of character or courage, however he reiterated his view that they must continue to play this way to improve.

"The key was to impose and we are going to work for have and make better our build-up with the goalkeeper, with the defenders and the midfielders and also, being well when we are doing long balls for breaking their lines with long ball for taking more chances."

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Granit Xhaka admits the players needed a stronger mentality at Vicarage Road

The Spaniard was questioned for his view after captain on the day Granit Xhaka said the players were 'scared' after half-time.

"Maybe it's a very individual feeling. I think in football you never need to have scared, you need to take that moment as an experience for you and us.

"But we need to be strong in our mentality, but not for the players, for us, and to create our way, working and improving the things like today that happened in the second half."

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