It is fair to say that there was not very many Arsenal fans feeling confident going into last night’s game against Chelsea, especially after getting beaten by West Ham last week, but everything seemed to come together for Unai Emery’s men.
It was a very interesting team selection, with the boss leaving Mesut Ozil on the bench again, but the starters carried out Emery’s instructions perfectly. The Spaniard explained the tactics after the game. “Good evening. When we are playing Chelsea or us, at home [or] away, maybe we can speak about this mentality. Every team wants to play [with] the same speed or the same mentality at home and away. I think the circumstance in the match is doing the way in 90 minutes. We started at the beginning very strongly with the high pressing. But when you are playing against one team who start [attacks] with long balls, you cannot press. But today, the [structure] was very clear – build up with possession and the centre backs and Jorginho.
“We worked to do the pressing and the reason is that it can be closer to their box and transition very quickly to control the match when they have the ball, with our pressing. But also, they can break your pressing and then take chances to score. The circumstance is leaving you this way for better or worse. Today, I think every circumstance was going and coming with us. The mentality is good, the atmosphere today was very good with our supporters. I think they helped us a lot and we want to find the same performance, the same ideas and mentality when we are playing here and when we are playing away. But also at the moment, we cannot find [that].
“I think every player contributed with their work. First is the attitude to be together when we are with the ball, to find the space and also to find the moments to attack against them. Today, above all, is when we are not with the ball, the possession I think was more than 60 per cent for them, is when we need to recover with good pressing. I think every player worked a lot. We spoke before the game today to say we needed to run more than them. This team run a lot. For the first idea, we were speaking that we need to run to recover the ball and transition very quickly. In the first half, the first 30 minutes, we did that. In the second half it was very difficult to keep this pressing for 90 minutes and the match changed tactically. We worked very well defensively in deep areas when we needed to in the match. The clean sheet today is really important for us to show our supporters that we are here and we can continue being a team for our way.”
The team certainly have improved in the pressing game since we first lost to Chelsea at the beginning of the season, and I was very happy to see the boss change the tactics in the last half hour as the players got tired, but they all did their jobs magnificently, and now maybe we can still make the Top Four. If only we coud start playing like that in away games….