The Gunners were reeling from Saturday’s humiliation against Liverpool and simply had to beat a struggling Fulham team to stay in touch with the Top Four, and they did it in style and fully deserved the points, despite our ever-lengthening injury list.
It was an unlikely goal from Granit Xhaka that put Arsenal in front midway through the first half, and when Lacazette scored the second at the start of the second half with a beautiful team goal the result seemed beyond doubt. But of course our defence suffered a usual lack of concentration to give Fulham a lifeline through Kamara, and Emery admitted that we still have a lot of work to do with our defenders. “Our challenge now is to improve defensively.” He said on Arsenal.com.
“What’s the reason? Maybe different things. First, not with every player, we need to defend more than we did today with different injuries. Today’s the first time we could play with Koscielny, Sokratis and Mustafi – and the injury to Mustafi in the first half meant we had to change to four at the back in the second half. But we are very happy with the attacking players scoring lots of goals like today, but we need to take more balance defensively and to improve. It’s one thing for us to work on, to prepare for the second half of the season. We need to do it better in the second half of the season by working with every player in the team tactically – and that’s what we’re going to do.”
But, as usual we played better in the second half, and further goals in the last 15 minutes from Ramsey and Aubameyang gave us a more respectable scoreline. Ramsey had just replaced Lacazette before he scored, and the fans were clearly not pleased with the decision, but Emery was justified as the Welshman scred 4 minutes later. “I understand the supporters.” Emery explained. “I need to do my work. Tactically, we are thinking that in this moment we needed to change to get more balance. Above all else, we know Seri very well and we needed to get a player close to him, to not let him play with the ball very easily. When Aaron Ramsey came onto the pitch, he could do that and can also help us in attacking moments and he scored. The reason for the decision was this and I need to do my work. Every supporter can think different things tactically, but for me today, Lacazette worked very well today, scored and he helped us. His reaction was very positive.”
So the Gunners are back to winning ways, but with vital games against Chelsea and Man City coming up Emery really has to accelerate the defensive training, or we could easily drop away from the Top Four….
Onwards and Upwards!