The new Arsenal manager is truly in a state of transition after taking over a team that lacked talent, confidence and ambition in the summer, and his options have been limited much further by our unending disruption to our back line by injuries.
So it is was very unlikely (even if we had everyone fit) we would be able to compete with a superstar side like Manchester City at the Etihad after just half a season with Emery in charge. At last the players showed a bit of heart in the first half, despite facing an uphill battle from the kick-off, and after the game Emery admitted that City were by far the better side and his team still have a long way to go. “They showed their superiority today over 90 minutes.” the Boss said.
“Above all, the second half cost us. In two different times in the first half we struggled, but together we were defensively strong in some moments. We gave ourselves a chance so that we could hopefully take the chance in the attacking third against them. We also needed to work hard and not concede chances inside our box. In the first half, we can look at it with some optimism but in the second half we tried to do something different to go up against them by creating more chances, more opportunities, with more players and possibilities on the pitch.
“But the second half was different. We were more open than we were in the first half and they have very fast players in the transition. I think they showed today, with the possession against us when our defensive position was very deep, they can score like they did in the first half. When we needed to attack a little more against them, opening the space in the transition, they showed they were better than us at the moment. The result is the difference between Manchester City and Arsenal today.”
I’m not sure why I see why Arsenal fans are upset with the players and the manager when it is obvious that Pep’s team is one of the best teams in the world right now, and there are very few teams that could match them at the Etihad. When you consider our problems, our injuries and our new systems in place, this was never going to be an easy game, but I think a 3-1 defeat is actually respectable at this point in our development.