Emery wants aggression and organisation as he targets Arsenal improvement

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On the eve of the new season, Unai Emery has reiterated his plan to get Arsenal playing in a more organised and aggressive fashion although he admits he’ll need time.

Having conceded 51 goals in Arsene Wenger’s final Premier League campaign, it’s no secret that the Gunners need to improve at the back.

The recruitment of a new keeper, Bernd Leno, experienced defenders, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Sokratis and a specialist defensive midfielder, Lucas Torreira, has set the tone, but for Emery, it’s about instilling a collective attitude towards defending that starts with his attackers.

Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of Sunday’s opener with champions Manchester City, he outlined his philosophy.

“Our style with the ball is to be protagonists, to do things with combinations, to control the match with the positioning of the ball. And then when we have the space, to be aggressive going forward.

“Defensively: first it is to be organised, recover the ball quickly. But in these two moments in the match we need to work. To say it here is easier than doing it on the pitch. We also need time, but now I am happy because I think the players are improving.

“We need two things: quality players, which we have, and then organisation. Together I think we can improve, to win in our way. I repeat: organised, then play.”

He added: “When we are thinking in an attacking moment, I want the goalkeeper thinking for that, he is the first. The same when we are thinking defensively, I want our strikers to be thinking: ‘We need to protect the goalkeepers’. I want those two moments to feel the same for all players.

“Each player has this quality, this characteristic to help the team as a collective. For me, that is very important.”

Much like the man he replaced, Emery’s desire is to deliver entertaining victories. When he arrived in May, he declared, “I prefer to win 5-4 than win 1-0.” For all the emphasis on organisation and defence, a narrative the club have been happy to back across their media channels, it seems unlikely we’ll be returning to uber-discipline of the George Graham era.

More than anything, Emery wants everybody to enjoy themselves. “I want the players and supporters to feel that together, and also enjoy each match, each moment in our stadium, and in this way the team transmits to the supporters the passion.

“Success is to improve, grow up, build one team with personality, and then I want to win. I want to do it one way with this personality, enjoying with our supporters. We are looking in this way, one team with a passion, with a quality, organised, and in this way we are near to winning in the future.”

It’s over to him now…let’s see what happens.

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gooner
gooner

Hopefully all that comes sooner than later. It all sounds good but it takes time to adjust.

Was eager to see the pressing in pre season but Atletico pressed us more and the PSG kids pressing was on an even higher level. We couldn’t play out from the back comfortably or at all most times.
Then Chelsea looked more organized and held a good shape defensively while we looked as open as ever.

Am I worried? Yes, for now. But we saw Liverpool and especially city take a full season to transition to their new managers’ styles. Hopefully we do it quicker but I’ll take points over style for now.

Dutch
Dutch

I do think it will take some time before to adjust the “the Emery” way of play, but I don’t agree with your verdict about the Ateltico and PSG games.

There were moments in those games where we played out of their press fairly easily, especially in the PSG game! The PSG kids only pressed for about 20 minutes in the second half, the rest of the game we dominated.

Our defense in the Chelsea game is what worried me most. Especially the space we gave away at the Wings.

Looking forward to see the game on Sunday and what improvements Emery has facilitated!

GMR
GMR

The worry for me is that certain sections of the fan base will not give Unai any time. If we lose to City (a very settled team that know how their manager wants them to play) you’ll have supposed fans criticising him and the team straight away.

Also it’s taken Klopp 3 years to get his team the way he wants it and to play the style he wants and they still aren’t perfect. Man City only took a year but they could afford to go and buy 3-5 players at 50 million+ in one transfer window. I’m sure Emery could do it in the same time if he had unlimited funds.

I think for Emery it will be about finding out which players are up to it between now and January, then the next 2 transfer windows will be about trying to get the squad the way he wants it.

I couldn’t agree more that it’s about points over style for the time being.

Sànde Class
Sànde Class

Fuggit. This is MY/OUR Arsenal. We’ll create history by winning everything despite/because of a new manager, new boardroom, new team, new abdomen guard, new Goonersaurus etc etc etc.

New season is almost upon us! I really really want my giddy excitement to percolate through to all you lovely Gooners even with this virtual medium!

Donald's Trump
Donald's Trump

Roll on Sunday.

But before that let’s hope Harry Maguire scores a last minute winner tonight.

Laca-Sead
Laca-Sead

“Uber-discipline of the George era…” if it is because you’re not parking the bus that you’re not ultra discipline I must totally disagree with you. A would consider a Guardiola or a Klopp team ultra disciplined and I believe Emery’s team have been the same.

SG_Gooner
SG_Gooner

we parked the bus first 🙂
when jose was just an assistant in barca

mc1892
mc1892

Having come to terms with that shit Kroenke, my excitement for Sunday has returned. Bar Sanchez and Ozil, I think Torreira is the most excited I’ve been about a player signing in a good 10 years, think he could really change our style of play.
Also, having read the blog today, I find the point about more players running down their contracts interesting. I wonder if as the transfer fees inflate to more and more ridiculous levels (Villa turning down £25m for Jack Grealish?!) we’ll see a move towards more swap deals, akin to the US?

Rich
Rich

End of last August I suggested that we should put word out to Isco that should he run his contract down?
Then we would be prepared to offer £200,000 p/w and a £40mil signing on fee on a 6 year contract in Jan.
As I believed that with top players, this will likely become the norm in the very near future, with transfer fees out of control.
The vast majority of power is with the elite players in these situations.

I got nothing but the usual 100+ thumbs down and a lot of comments telling me how stupid I was.
Really….. It’s not my fault if you lot ate too thick to understand my genius and foresight.

Mikhi's Mickey
Mikhi's Mickey

Oh boy, that’s rich!

Ourchildrensworld

The points around contracts running down are valid. You are right when you say elite players (and clubs and agents) have all the control. I think it will become the norm, big fees forced by big players demanding big moves. High wages making average players comfortable.

If you got 100 people disagreeing it was probably with the idea that we would send word to Isco and negotiate an incentive for him to run his contract down.

Many would think this is ridiculous and unrealistic.

Many others realise that we would probably only be one of many clubs in the background, sliding into his DMs with promises. If we wanted Isco in August, we would have told him.

As much as we think the club operates in plain sight and updates us on the back pages, agents have a full time job and we, and everyone else are reaching out to players all year round.

BURN!! BURN!! LENO!!!
BURN!! BURN!! LENO!!!

Don’t worry keep going until the next transfer window

OneBeatOff
OneBeatOff

No pressure at all. All do respect, who says Torreira will start. Unproven in the PL and young, I think he will be eased in. Is it his fee that you assume he is a world class game changer from the get go? If remember correctly he started one, but was mostly used as a sub in the WC.

mc1892
mc1892

Noone says he will start. But I’m still excited about him. I saw enough of him in the World Cup to know what kind of player he is- how good he is we’ll obviously have to wait and see, but he’s the kind of player I don’t think we’ve had in a long, long time. Coquelin came closest but didn’t work out. Also you’re using the term world class, I think it’s stupid and pointless. Godin looks world class in Atletico but he’d probably look godawful in our set up- at least under Wenger.

SeryxMe

He started the last 3 games they played (out of 5). His best, obviously, was against Portugal where he made CR7 look ordinary. He’s potentially world class, if you ask me.

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

Not expecting miracles in his first season, tbh I’d be bloody chuffed with 4th. Like City and Liverpool it’ll take time to adapt to this new style, weed out the players that dont fit and bring in new ones that do.

Uhtred
Uhtred

It’s still strange reading these reports, I still have wengers voice in my head

Arse-Head
Arse-Head

Was thinking the exact same thing, was waiting for the “look, huh!” Arsene would start most sentences with. Will just have to start reading in a Tony Montana style now

afan
afan

I think emery is finding out that his job is harder than he thought it would be, I sometimes wonder if he knows what he is doing, the team is the same as last season, apart from a new midfielder and a bunch of old defenders, so I think it will be a lottery as to where we end up this season, we could end up bottom or fourth, we will just have to wait and season

Heavenly Chapecoense
Heavenly Chapecoense

Because Wenger already did the critical transfers. Problems is the erratic performances of the team and guys like Mustafi and Bellerin in particular.
During a recent interview with the press after a match, Laca turned to a teammate and asked in French : How do you say we should have fought for the fourth place in English? The diplomatic teammate gave him the translation : We should fight.
You see, what was missing was the fiight and players knew it.

Man Manny
Man Manny

Although testing a new system against City and Chelsea is as difficult as it could ever be, I am sure they won’t be the one-sided games they’ve been sometimes in recent memory.
Beyond those two,:we can really put a run together.
One thing I am certain of is that Arsenal under Unai Emery won’t roll over for anybody!
The ers of 6-0s, 5-0s, 10-1s, losing 3-0 leads, are well and truly gone.
Arsene’s attempts at explaining away those heavy defeats annoyed me more than the defeats themselves.
The Bayern whitewash in a CL knock-out round was particularly embarrassing. (It caused us Sanchez’ signature if reports are to be believed). That was when I knew Arsene’s time was over. He watched helplessly as an aging team tore us a new one.
I am cautiously optimistic with Emery.
Let the games begin!!!
COYG.

Heavenly Chapecoense
Heavenly Chapecoense

We lost Sanchez because of greed, end of story. Sanchez like to earn big and not paying taxes.

Thierry Walcott
Thierry Walcott

No one-sided games against Chelsea in recent times. Those went either way…

Trez
Trez

Not expecting miracles. Not even Jesus Christ can perform miracles with the average CB we have.

Chidi
Chidi

Quite sure you’ve no clue

Trez
Trez

Yeah and I bet you and the positive fans brigade did? Defence is weaker than last season. Face it!

leroy
leroy

yeah, damn those positive fans! bunch of jerks with their optimism and good looks.

89 was fine
89 was fine

Not sure what to expect and that’s great. The players and Emery are bound to need a few games to gel. Maybe being thrown in at the deep end in the first few games is a good thing. We’ll all get to see the good the bad and the ugly, hopefully Emery will work out any issues quickly. Coyg

Heavenly Chapecoense
Heavenly Chapecoense

Where has the optimism that most of our players didn’t go to WC and we were going to be superior to other top teams at the beginning of season, gone ?

SeryxMe

I still think the first two games are coming a bit too early for the Emery Era. However, it’s two ways – win both, or even 4pts from both games and we could build an unbreakable confidence OR lose both and we sink for a while, taking some time to rebuild confidence again.

I think the middle ground is getting draws from both games, or a win and a loss, and we’ll probably just be on course steadily putting things together and going at a regular pace while we find our feet.

Regardless of what happens – new problems, old problems, best of the old, best of the new, average performances, exhilarating wins, sinking losses – I feel that the fans need to be realistic and stay grounded. We have to support this team through this first Emery season, no matter what. Hopefully, there’ll be improvements across board to keep us going.

Let’s do it, guys! COYG!!!

Rezatron
Rezatron

Reading between the lines, I think he wants the team to be organised.

Sànde Class
Sànde Class

Maaan! Enough with the caveats, disclaimers and other pragmatic approaches to an amazingly subjective topic – OUR LOVELY FOOTBALL TEAM!

With that said, I will be disappointed if we didn’t ATLEAST challenge for the title/4th-place “trophy” (giving due and totally unwarranted respect to our competitors) AND win ATLEAST….ONE Cup. COME ON YOU MOFU GUNNERS! Boooyaa! 😀

Chidi
Chidi

Start attacks from the goalkeeper and start defence from the strikers! I like the sound of that!

Santori
Santori

Its the transition play that is the problem.

When we are without the ball, we need to be like a wound spring ready to pounce.

Every defensive measure is an opportunity for an attack.

BUT we don’t have the right asset yet IMO to effectively play this type of game. We still need a wide player with pace and skill.

Iwobi and Nelson will be providing this this season so hopefully they can step it up.

BUT not the best summer window.

Some hit and some misses.

Dial square
Dial square

I’ve lumped £50 on us to beat Man City….the excitement of a new manager, new signings, new season……will I ever fucking learn.

Ya gooner
Ya gooner

As long as there are improvements on the pitch I don’t care.

Rich
Rich

Five real positives this Summer:
1. I think we got the right guy in Unai Emery
2. We finally signed a defensive midfielder
3. Guendouzi looks like a baller
4. Emery seems to rate Maitland Niles as much as I do
5. The weather’s been great

afan
afan

well you got number five right

MrT
MrT

I can not believe we missed out on Caglar Soyuncu 19million !!!! Same old #Afc.

Granit (e) hard!
Granit (e) hard!

I am all for it Unai, so lets go for it. We have been talking the talk for a few weeks now, so its crunch time!. Realistically, I am not expecting any miracles this season because we are a team in transition, ….but if it comes?, i wont say no!. The fact is it took City and Liverpool at least 2 seasons to transform into the fearsome team they are now, playing a ‘new’ way under their respective new managers. For me, Sunday’s game though not crucial to defining our season is nevertheless in my opinion important. If we get a decent result, it will do the players confidence, and belief in the new way of playing a world of good, which will help in subsequent matches….but if city were to somehow manage to tear us one?…well, i dont think it will be the end of the world yet, but it would certainly be damaging to player’s confidence, no doubt. Lets hope we tear THEM one on Sunday. If Liverpool can do it, so can we! COYG!!!!

Fatgooner
Fatgooner

Sunday’s game is great chance for Emery to immediately show that he’s really going to make a difference.

I don’t think that we lacked aggression under Wenger, but we did lack organisation – especially at the back. If Emery is really going to improve the team then most of all he has to make us harder to beat. Under Wenger we were like a boxer with a glass jaw: over-and-over again we got taken out with a sucker punch. We were soft and naive. The problem is, and I’ve mentioned this before, is that Emery’s defensive record in Spain actually isn’t that great. It is no better than Wenger’s over here. I would love to see the team adopt the George Graham miserly approach to playing: not conceding goals is how you win games. We should set a target of no more than 30 goals to be conceded in the PL this season: that’s how you win titles.

Against City I want to see a team that is organised, pragmatic and tough to beat. I don’t want to see a bunch of Wenger-like headless chickens chasing after a game and then getting picked off on the break. Even if we don’t win what really matters is a good performance. That would be a statement that change really has come.

afan
afan

I agree with what you say, but I think it will take a season to get to where emery wants us to be, with the players he wants and not wengers left overs, I don’t tink the players we have at the mo are not what emery wants, so im not expecting much this season, but next years transfer window could be very interesting indeed

Berlingoon
Berlingoon

Buzzing for Sunday! And hope Leicester starts well tonight 😎

Red-Sky
Red-Sky

I say if Licht is fit, then let him start sunday.

Santori
Santori

Its the details he is trying to improve.

Contrary to what some people imagine, we are not trying anything terribly new.

We were dropping the holding player in between the Cbacks last season already.

We also did high press with Wenger. Whether we sustained it beyond 20 minutes was the issue.

What Emery is (prob correctly) doing is working with what he has on hand.

It limits what he can do so he has to stick to what is familiar with the bulk of the squad, not radically change the system.

BUT he is concentrating on details.

AND he is willing to use the length and breath of options/tactical set ups at disposal where Wenger tended to let things go and nominally intervened 10 minutes too late.

But I don’t see anything terribly different which would suggest a departure from what we did last season.

Defensive organization and awareness is clearly still an issue regardless of new personnel.

It will take time to iron out the kinks.

A discipline aggressive performance tomorrow will give us the chance of snatching something against City. If we go all out gung ho bc we think we can go toe to toe, we will be picked apart.