There is a lot of blame to go around following the 3-1 loss to Liverpool today but the man that must shoulder most of the blame is Unai Emery.
Even before the game, he made a mistake with his team selection and it just got worse from there onwards.
Bringing on Lacazette for the last ten minutes
When you are three goals down that is when you bring on your best player, in fact, he should have been on from the start but if you are going to have Lacazette as a sub then at least bring him on when there is enough time to try and turn the game around. It was inexplicable why he waited until the 80th minute to finally decide that it would be a good idea to bring your best player on.
Starting with Xhaka
Liverpool dominates possession so why pick a player that has a horrible habit of giving the ball away, that is negative with his passing and slows the game down when you need to counter-attack at speed? I do not know why Emery continues to have such faith in Xhaka, I really do not.
Playing Ceballos out of position
Ceballos was brilliant against Burnley and if you want him to replicate that performance then at least have the common sense to play him in that exact same position, the centre of the midfield to create the link-up play between defence and the forwards. Sticking him out on the wing was brainless, I cannot think of any other word to describe Emery’s use of the young Spaniard today.
Continuing to play out of defence when it was not working
There was a moment in the game when Salah, Mane and Firmino were on the edge of the Arsenal penalty area waiting for Leno to pass the ball out, the stance they took was if they were lining up for a 100 metre race, they were ready to pounce and so finally Leno whacked the ball upfield, that moment tells you how effective playing out of the back against Liverpool at Anfield is. That Emery was unable to adapt to a different strategy just sums up the calamitous performance he had as the manager today.
Not starting Torreira
This goes back to starting Xhaka to some degree but also preferring Guendouzi over the Urugyuan as well. It just does not make sense that you leave an experienced player better suited to a midfield battle at Anfield on the bench and instead go with a headless chicken and Mr here take the ball. I can only imagine what Klopp must have thought when he realised that Torreira was on the bench and Xhaka and Guendouzi were starting.