Thursday 21 March 2019

Unai Emery leaps to defence of Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech

The Gunners’ 3-2 victory at Cardiff was only their second away from home in the Premier League in 2018.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has defended his team’s style of play (Nick Potts/PA)
Arsenal manager Unai Emery has defended his team’s style of play (Nick Potts/PA)

By Phil Blanche, Press Association Sport

Unai Emery insists Arsenal will continue “showing their personality” by asking Petr Cech to play out from the back.

Arsenal claimed only their second Premier League away win of 2018 – and their first under Emery – by edging a five-goal thriller at Cardiff.

Newly-promoted Cardiff scored their first league goals of the season as Arsenal demonstrated defensive vulnerability, and the Bluebirds might have taken an early lead when Cech was put under pressure and kicked the ball straight to Harry Arter.

But Emery defended Cech after the 3-2 win, saying: “He has experience and he is intelligent.

“He is doing what we want, to build up our job on the pitch. If you are playing long balls all the time, you are not showing your personality.

“It is clear you can do one mistake in one action, but we need to continue doing this.

“When you take a little risk it helps to create space and to attack.”

Arsenal twice led through Shkodran Mustafi and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but Victor Camarasa and Danny Ward equalised for Cardiff.

However, France striker Alexandre Lacazette, starting for the first time under Emery, came up with a rasping winner nine minutes from time.

“I know him (Lacazette) from Lyon,” Emery said. “He has a big capacity to score when he is in the box.

“We gave him good options to score, and he showed us what he could do, and it is good for his confidence. What happened on the pitch is good for the confidence of the team.”

Mesut Ozil returned to Arsenal’s starting line-up after missing the win over West Ham amid reports of a training ground bust-up with the manager.

Emery scotched those stories, saying the German midfielder had simply been ill, and said after the Cardiff victory: “He (Ozil) has quality for the team, and in the second half he played a good match.

“When we had more control in the second half, I think he feels better on the pitch.”

Cardiff’s defeat leaves them with two points from four games before the first international break of the season.

The Bluebirds had struggled to fashion chances in their opening three games, but Neil Warnock’s side adopted a more enterprising approach this time.

“We aren’t good enough to park the bus – we would have lost one, two or three-nil,” Warnock said.

“So we decided to have a go. It was old-fashioned stuff and we attacked when we could.

“I’d take 0-0 every time, but I would rather enjoy watching my team. That’s how football can be, it can be too negative at times.”

Press Association

The Left Wing: Why Irish fans shouldn't lose faith and how Joe Schmidt can turn things around for the World Cup

In association with Aldi

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport