Both Arsenal and West Ham have started the new season with successive defeats, despite considerable investment in the summer as well as the arrival of a new manager.
Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham were thrashed 4-0 by Liverpool before Saturday’s disappointing 2-1 loss at home to Bournemouth, while Arsenal are yet to get off the mark following a nightmare start against top four rivals Manchester City and Chelsea.
But if the pressure was off in those two fixtures it will return this weekend, and anything less than a win for Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium will likely have the alarm bells ringing, as Emery is already all too aware.
“Yes the demand is very high,” he said. “We are going to prepare for [West Ham] like we did for Manchester City and like we did for Chelsea. And we will continue to improve on things for next week.
“Our performances are getting better. We will continue our process with the players, with our young players, also work on our system so that we do better on the pitch.”
Against Chelsea a sluggish Arsenal quickly fell 2-0 behind, although goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi drew them level before half-time and they might even have led at the interval, but for missed chances by Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
They eventually conceded a late winning goal to Marcos Alonso after second-half substitute Eden Hazard helped to turn the game around in Chelsea’s favour, but Arsenal were much improved from their opening weekend loss to Manchester City.
And Emery showed that he is not afraid to turn to his substitute’s bench. Granit Xhaka was hauled off for Lucas Torreira at half-time, while an ineffectual Ozil – so rarely substituted under Arsene Wenger – was withdrawn in the second-half for Aaron Ramsey.
“The decision to substitute Xhaka was because he had a yellow card and maybe it was a risk for him to continue out on the pitch in a match that was very demanding,” explained Emery.
“And then the other changes. First this was the first match Iwobi had played with us this season and I thought he was tired, and in that area of the pitch we needed the change.
“The other is Mesut. He was working very well but we needed to push a bit harder for the pressing to keep our positioning on the pitch. But I am happy with the players who started in the first 11. And I am happy with the players who then played as substitutions.”
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