Monday 10 December 2018

Unai Emery calls on all of his Arsenal players to help improve defensive record

The head coach has seen his side concede in every match so far this season.

Unai Emery has overseen victory in his last four matches as Arsenal head coach. (Owen Humphreys/PA)
Unai Emery has overseen victory in his last four matches as Arsenal head coach. (Owen Humphreys/PA)

By Mark Mann-Bryans, Press Association Sport

Unai Emery has called on his entire Arsenal team to improve defensively and keep their first clean sheet of the season this weekend.

The Gunners welcome Everton to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, having won their last four matches in all competitions.

A 4-2 Europa League victory over Vorskla Poltava on Thursday added to Premier League successes against West Ham, Cardiff and Newcastle.

But, after starting life as Arsenal head coach with back-to-back defeats against Manchester City and Chelsea, Emery’s side have yet to keep a clean sheet since he took charge.

They conceded a last-gasp consolation goal at Newcastle last weekend, while Europa League minnows Vorskla struck twice late on to ruin goalkeeper Bernd Leno’s debut.

Now Emery is targeting defensive improvement and the Spaniard insists everyone has a part to play in making that happen.

Asked what he will be looking for against the Toffees, Emery said: “First, the confidence with our defensive players. Second, working tactically to be more compact.

“But not only for the defensive players but for the whole team, the whole 11.

“With this process I think we also need time, but it’s our first disappointment from the first games of the season. We need to improve this.”

Emery made eight changes for the first European match of his tenure as the likes of Petr Cech, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette dropped out of the starting line-up.

But the 43-year-old, who won three successive Europa League titles during his time as Sevilla boss, maintains he will not have one team for the Premier League and one for continental competition.

“My first idea is to find the best performance in each match. Every competition for us is very important,” he said.

“Thursday is Europa League, Sunday is Premier League, Wednesday is Carabao Cup. I am then going to choose the best first 11.

“We need not 11, we need 20 or 22 players to find this performance. We are going to continue in thinking that each match is like the best first 11.

“We need also to do the mix for each match, changing players to give them the minutes and give them confidence, but I am thinking of the performance.”

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