Arsenal news: Unai Emery insists he remains calm despite loss to Chelsea

Emery is the  first Arsenal boss to lose his first two matches in charge since Steve Burtenshaw, who suffered defeat in his first three games as a caretaker in March and April 1986

Luke Brown
Stamford Bridge
Saturday 18 August 2018 21:33
Arsenal 2018/19 Premier League profile

Unai Emery has insisted he remains “calm” after losing his first two competitive games in charge of Arsenal, although he has acknowledged his team must make improvements ahead of next week’s London derby with winless West Ham.

Arsenal trailed Chelsea 2-0 after just 20 minutes through goals from Pedro and Alvaro Morata, before Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi drew the Gunners level shortly before half-time.

But a late goal from Marcos Alonso ensured that Maurizio Sarri’s side stole all three points, with Emery becoming the first Arsenal boss to lose his first two matches in charge since Steve Burtenshaw, who suffered defeat in his first three games as a caretaker in March and April 1986.

When asked how he feels after Arsenal’s slow start to the new season, Emery replied: “Calm. I think we need to give that calm to the players and continue working.

“I know we need to improve things. I know we need to push the players to work, but for me, there were many things positive in the first match against Manchester City. It's clear we are a big difference from them.

“I think, today, already the team after 2-0, the reaction was a very good reaction. Also the first half we created more chances to score. The 2-2 is maybe also short for us because we created more chances to score.

“The second half, our moment were less frequent and we conceded for Chelsea more moments to score their third goal. We need to do better for that. But our process is continuing to improve things, doing more the balance from the offensive and defensive moments, and also with young players with passion.”

Ahead of the match Emery had spoken about how central Ozil was to the style of play he wishes to implement at Arsenal, stressing that he wants the German to be the focal point of his attack.

But Ozil had a largely anonymous game, with only one player on either side — the sub-par Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang — having fewer touches of the ball.

Unai Emery is still waiting for his first win

“Yeah, we need him to help with his quality, and also I want to push him to be competitive in every match,” Emery said of Ozil’s performance. “But today I'm happy with him because he worked hard.

“I decided to change because, in the middle, we needed a bit more to push and not let Chelsea progress easily with the ball. We were defending very deep. But I'm happy with Mesut. We are going to do with him the same work and helping him, demanding also work every day.

“At the moment, he is doing that and I'm happy. In the process, I'm sure he is going to have a good game.”

Mesut Ozil had a poor game

However there was less praise for Granit Xhaka, who was withdrawn at half-time for summer signing Lucas Torreira after picking up a relatively unnecessary yellow card.

“Yes, it was a tactical decision because he had also the yellow card,” Emery said of the early substitution.

“We don't take risks with this yellow card and, also, to give the chance to another player we have in the match.”

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments