Emery praises Leno against the Saints and explains why he changes Arsenal’s defensive formation

Arsenal happily kept another clean sheet and gained another win against Southampton, but there is no doubt that our defence had some hairy moments and Bernd Leno had to make full use of his powers to keep us in the game at certain points. Unai Emery admitted that the Saints had made it hard for us quite a few times. “Yes, they have players in attacking moments who are very fast like Redmond. In the first action they get at our space in defensive and created some good chances, but you need your goalkeeper for good saves sometimes and I think today Leno played very well and helped us a lot.”

The boss started with four at the back, and this left us a bit more exposed when our wing backs went bombing up field, but Emery explained that he changes our formation depending on how our opponents are set up. “After we can play with different systems and different players, it depends. Sometimes you want to attack a lot with our left and right back, but maybe it’s better to play with three centre backs to protect his backline, like sometimes with Kolasinac. It depends on if they’re playing with one attacking player or two and the situation tactically in each match. After today I think Licht played his best first half in the season – and Kolasinac also was keeping his consistency up. He played well today and played well offensively and defensively.”

So although our defence looked a bit scary at times, Emery thinks it was the right decision to go with an attacking line-up, and thinks we should have been a lot further ahead. “We created chances and I think today we could have won by more than two goals. I think we need to continue with this spirit to play with this intensity and to keep it up for 90 minutes. We need to create chances and goals are coming. We deserved to score more. Auba had two chances also when he was on the pitch and I think this is the way. My problem is when we cannot create changes, but today this wasn’t the issue. Also we conceded two good chances to them, but I also think Bernd played very well and helped us a lot.”

So we got it right yesterday, and we won comfortably in the end, although it could have been more convincing, but surely we all have to admit we are going in the right direction?

On to Bournemouth on Wednesday! COYG!

Sam P


  1. Sue says:

    I only.saw.the highlights on MOTD but I thought we played well… my MOTM was Kolasinac ? just for a change ?

    1. Pat says:

      Sue I didn’t watch it either I only saw highlight of half an hour on Sky Sports. We attacked well but I thought our defence was sloppy. Am still happy with a win.

      1. Xxnofx says:

        I watched the match and you’re right pat ,defensively not so good again,mustafi a liability.
        MOTM for me was laca ,shout out to Leno for looking solid with some good saves .team still looks so weak on the wings though .

        1. Midkemma says:

          There was a couple times Sokratis could have wrestled an opposition but he didn’t, used his strength to block the player out instead, that was pleasing.

          Leno had a good game.

          Not saying it was ideal and I agree it could be better.

      2. Sue says:

        When isn’t our defence sloppy, Pat?! We did manage a clean sheet though ?
        Laca did have a good game, could have had a hat trick though…
        Moving on to Bournemouth- that won’t be an easy game! Put your feet up & enjoy the sunshine ??

    2. ger burke says:

      dear sue, might i suggest that you are going to have to get over your dislike of poor old kolas !!, lol.i think you pick him out unfairly, and you always seem to be unhappy with this poor chap.what has he ever done on you my friend ?., hahahahahahaha. i am guessing that kolas is a very handsome man because of the way you seem to love him ,lol.remember , women of a certain age should not be looking at men in that way, it is dangerous for their health, and the hormones would be interfered with . you are a gas woman, i always love reading your comments about this apparent hunk that is kolas. please do keep it up , despite the dangers involved !!!.

      1. Sue says:

        Hahaha a very funny comment there ger burke!!
        Yes he is very handsome… always a bonus when there’s a hunk in the team (for me anyway!)
        Being an Arsenal fan is dangerous for my health, so drooling over one of the players is no sweat hahaha!!
        By the way there’s nothing wrong with my hormones lol!!!

        1. ger burke says:

          hahahahhaa, glad you liked it sue. and delighted to hear ou have our hormones in check ( for now that is ). fair play to ya, enjoy the incredible hunk !!.

          1. Sue says:

            Haha thank you ger burke…. oh I shall ? lol

    3. Malcolm Townsend says:

      Sue, I watched it and we played good defence lost concentration a couple of times but overall it was a good performance

      1. Sue says:

        They’ll have a tough game on Wednesday I suspect… I’m just glad Sokratis is fit again!

  2. Roy says:

    Best results for Arsenal all round this weekend. Manager being criticised on Twitter by people not seeing the big picture.All players in thethesquad except long term,need to be fit and ready being the reason for chop and change.Weekends Spud match is on Emery’s mind.Look what happened to Man.u with unfit players playing which helps our cause.

  3. Break-on-through says:

    Emery made all the right calls yesterday. The players had the bit between their teeth and you could see that they were taking the game serious, the intensity like mentioned was great in that first half and we looked professional overall. We could’ve absolutely whacked Sou and I was glad of certain performances looking fit and in no mood to mess about. The one thing that kept popping into my head all game was the confidence, that was the most confident we looked probably since the big run came to an end. Everybody wanted the ball, like absolutely everybody was calling for it and showing for it, it was really good to see that after a Thu game. The fact we rested some big hitters made it all the more impressive. Need now to be fired up for Bour game and just go for those points and then think on the Tott game.

  4. Grandad says:

    Leno, Guendousi and Torreria have been very good acquisitions and Xhaka and Iwobi have improved under Emery.He has inherited some mediocre players who will no doubt be moved on but overall our Manager is doing a good job.

  5. jon fox says:

    Best players for me were Kolas, Laca and Leno. I find myself thinking we must find a new attacking role for Kolas as he is like a tank when going forward but is not a good defender. I do NOT like wings backs AND full backs though. He is playing like a marauding box to box player right now so some food for thought there I think!

  6. Midkemma says:

    I watched the game and for most of it, it was enjoyable to watch, I was happy to see Mkhi have one of his better games.

    I was never asking for perfection and if Emery can keep this up then I’ll change my tune, if we revert back to boring football in our next game then that’ll be sad to see.

    I thought Ozil done well when he came on, made some good passes, done better than Ramsey IMO.

  7. Th14 says:

    Leno was excellent, it was his first half save that led to the Arsenal counter attack and goal. A MOTM performance for sure BUT I’ll give it to Iwobi who also had a good game. Grabbed a sweet assist and pre assist (both passes excellently executed). I hope he is able to shake off that late injury and be ready for the next game..

    1. Gily says:

      I like Leno very much. I like his confidence which affects the whole team – it’s somehow not unconnected with his excellent foot ability.

      Now that you mentioned Iwobi, just watch your back that a certain Phil doesn’t do you damage. You are not a Nigeria, are you? To him, everyone that praises Iwobi – the useless player – is a Nigerian.
      I don’t believe Iwobi is useless though.

      1. Xxnofx says:

        Click bait post there TH14 don’t you think ?
        You know very well iwobi was not man of the match ,just a post to start another argument about him .

        1. Hardave Singh says:

          Why can’t he say whats on his mind? He mentioned that if it’s up to him he’ll give it to Iwobi. Just from that you gather he wants to start an argument? Don’t you think you’re doing the same thing by assuming his post is a click bait? Learn how to accept different views please.

  8. Gizzle says:

    I was impressed with Miki which is a rare thing , torerra is an absolute gem .
    I have to give it to Iwobi he knows how to worry defenders. 1 assist and a direct linkup to the first . If i knew Iwobi personally i would tell him to get a personal trainer who will work on his finishing and decision making .
    i also wish arsenal fans could encourage a 22 year old boy as i see everyone above has not credited him for anything .
    Iwobi may be an average player but for this seasons arsenal seem flat without him in the side and this is just fact .

  9. Dudu says:

    I’m so much happy ? that David Suarez is with us on loan at the end of the season he should go please.

    1. ken1945 says:

      Dudu, what after just two substitute appearances you’ve made this decisions?
      UE knows enough about this man to be prepared to bring him over for the remainder of the season.
      He needs to get premier league fitness before he can be introduced for 90minutes.
      For goodness sake give him a chance!!

      Great all round performance, good tactics, good selections, good substitutions, good result…what more could we ask for?
      Well done Unai and the players.

  10. Mathew says:

    To me iwobi is the behind our success this season & i will praise for the work well done on him, Leno is best we are be crying for for years since the departure of Jens, Laca is supperb, i don’t care how mr mkh do it but he has my support to continue, sokratis is exellent and xhaka is great. But musta need to improve.

  11. Gworm says:

    When we can put the little teams to the sword like Man C I’ll be happier. We still seem to lack the killer instinct.

  12. Grandad says:

    JF I share your views on Kolasinac.He is lacking in positional sense for a good left back and does not possess the trickery of a winger to play wide left in a front three.He could well be more effective on the left side of a midfield three and perhaps Emery will give him an opportunity their as he rotates his squad.On the subject of full backs did you notice how Man Utd were able to stifle Sala and Mane yesterday by simply getting their backs to concentrate on their defensive duties rather than bombing forward at every opportunity.I thought Shaw did particularly well against SalaWhen he does not function Liverpool struggle, something for Emery to think on when next we meet.

    1. Gily says:

      Good point Grandad!
      It is the same thing somebody should instruct Kola to do and only bomb forward on rare occasions when it is safe to do so – if he has a cover.

    2. Midkemma says:

      I think Kola could make a good left winger in a 4141 formation, might take a few weeks of training to adjust but the way he can get in behind oppositions while also capable of muscling players off, I think he would suit a hard pressing 4141.

      That advanced 4 could be def astute players, Kola being the left and someone like AMN on the right… Also has experience at RWB/RB so our wingers can double up with the fullbacks with hopefully good results.

  13. Gily says:

    Most times the fans tend to concentrate on how bad our defense is, but the truth is that our attack is equally horrible most times. The essence of a football match is to put more balls into the goal mouth of the opposition. When the strikers or whoever is presented with the chance fails, then the obvious faults of the defence becomes magnified when the opposition exploits well their own chances.
    Our strikers need to be really really serious in their duty. We’ve lost a number of matches we were supposed to win because the strikers failed miserable. It is not as if Arsenal doesn’t create scoring chances because we actually create a bunch. Auba and Laca have been guilty of squandering clear chances throughout this campaign (I am not saying they are not hardworking though).
    We won Southampton with only 2 goals when it should have been nothing less than 4. I saw Laca send a ball to the orbit; a ball even Cech would have scored easily. This kind of things keep happening match after match after match, making me wonder.
    They really need to perfect their end product, which helps reduce the pressure on the defense, otherwise we need to sell them to finance getting better strikers out there.
    My honest opinion.

  14. Jah son says:

    One not so bad win and some fans go crazy. The end some will go to make average look good. Happy for the win apart from that what really were the improvement.

    1. Hardave Singh says:

      Well for one we have improve our points total and at the end that’s all that matters.

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