Yet again, Emery’s substitutions work wonders for Arsenal – but why wait?

It is very strange that Unai Emery kept the same starting line-up that we had in our last-gasp away win at Cardiff two weeks ago, as it seems that every game this season we have started very slowly and uncoordinated, but when the new coach finally makes his tactical changes, we improve drastically.

A lot of this could simply be because Torreira is always one of the players to come on of course, as it proved yet again yesterday. As Emery himself said after the game: “In the first half we didn’t control the match like we wanted to. Also, we needed that control to input our ideas. We conceded a lot of chances for transitions and counter-attacks, but not giving away major chances. They had a lot of corners and a lot of possibilities to arrive in our box. In the second half, the balance on the pitch was better – our positioning and when we were attacking we didn’t make the transition easy for us. I think the key is the first goal. This goal gave us the confidence to continue to improve in the match. We finished the match with the result.

“I want to give every player confidence. I am very happy with Matteo and also very happy with Lucas. Maybe in the second half we needed a little more balance on the pitch with the positioning. Lucas gives us this balance.”

So do you think Emery likes us to struggle before making the changes, or do you think he should be playing his best team from the start?



  1. Midkemma says:

    I think he is not just looking for his best 11, I think he is looking to make a SQUAD and this means we need Guendouzi to perform as well as Torreira to perform, when they are called upon I mean.

    Emery has got the team moving around a LOT, we cover a LOT of distance in games and this pressure means we need fresh legs to bring on in the middle to keep the pressure on.

    Our players may be fit but they are still getting ‘EmeryFit’. The CM should be working hard and fresh legs after the opposition is tired can lead to better chances being made.

    I feel he is using the better Torreira after Guendouzi has done the leg work to tire the oppositions CM… Torreira isn’t punished so hard for a fraction of a second slowness (EPL is a tough league!) if the opposition is a bit slower due to being tired.

    1. gotanidea says:

      Good observation, that makes sense

      I’m curious to see whether Torreira’s stamina is as good as Guendouzi’s or not, if he starts in a tough away match

      1. ozziegunner says:

        ? Midkemma and gotanidea, I agree, good observations that Emery is looking to long term squad performance, as still early days and a lot of games across 4 competitions.

  2. Kenyanfan says:

    Confusion is all what we live in..I’ve been very keen to read each and every comment in this site since match day one and all of you have been calling Emery to drop Ozick, Mustafi(apart from when he scored),Xhaka and Belerin .Now that Both Ozil and Xhaka scored, the call is on Mustafi and Belerin ?? well,so what matrix do you use to judge these players!

    1. Phil says:

      The matrix of CRAP-pretty simple really

      1. ozziegunner says:

        Kenyanfan, if you have read every post on here, not every poster has denigrated the players you have noted for every game. Comments have been fairly balanced with credit paid where due. Even Bellerin, who I believe has been defensively poor has done some good things in attack. He is just not (at present) as good a RB as Lichtsteiner.

    2. jon fox says:

      Just normal working eyes and a normal brain. Those are all that anyone needs to know that Mustafi and Bellerin are way, way, below Arsenal standard and should never be ANYWHERE NEAR our team. How Bellerin keeps the teak tough, highly experienced and proper defending Lichtsteiner out of our team is possibly the greatest unsolved mystery in Arsenal team selection history.

      1. ozziegunner says:

        ?jon, just for his leadership and tactical awareness alone.

  3. Doc T says:

    as far as im concerned emery is doing the best under the circumstances. i hate the fact that we dont have wingers which makes us attack without width and we cant stretch teams easily. if we bomb our full backs to find width, our defence is left exposed.
    we are playing like Old school ac milan at times too tactical not so free flowing
    judging that we are a loss away from another fan meltdown im really worried.
    we won all our lat 3 games but we always had moments were we could have lost.
    nothing looks assured at the moment.

  4. Durand says:

    Emery’s statements are almost nonsensical and confounding. For example, if he knows Torreria brings balance to the midfield, why not start with Torreria, rather than muddle through the first half?

    The stamina issue doesn’t make sense to me either. Torreria didn’t have stamina issue during world cup or in Italian league.

    It’s continues not make sense; several games now Arsenal start slow, have no balance in midfield, and can’t seem to find much traction. But for several games in a row the introduction of Torreria balances the midfield, settles the team, and Torreria makes great forward passing.

    Not sure of Emery’s reasons for these tactics. First half struggles, lack of balance, and sharpness, then correct and team finds another gear.

    Has anyone seen where he explains why? I’ve only seen where he mentions fitness; if so surely more sense to play best players for 60 or 70 minutes rather than play them last 20 to 30 minutes.

    I would appreciate anyone who can help me find out what Emery has said.

    1. jon fox says:

      I have to continue 100% support of Emery. But SOME of his starting selections AND the far better players he chooses NOT to start, are a huge puzzle. I am coming round to the conclusion – based purely on selection evidence so far – that some of our summer buys, Torreira, Lichsteiner and even Leno, were not actually wanted by Emery at all. Otherwise,WHY has he not given them a proper chance? It is hardly as if “stunning geniuses” in Bellerin, stumbling Mustafi and “Cech on ice, the back pass disaster”, are keeping them out through their own brilliance , is it! If you think my conclusion is wrong , then please let me know WHY YOU THINK he is not picking Torreira, Lichtsteiner and Leno to start. You might also wish to explain WHY the stumbling Mustafi is, oddly, preferred to the taller, more balanced Mavropanos. I will continue to support the manager but realism tells me all is not as some would like it to be, internally. That odd and clearly false statement coming from Ozil yesterday , including the “especially the new coach” line, rings as true as a nine bob note to those of us who have been around the block a few times. Watch his body language very closely, as I always do ! In other words, I don’t believe it. In life I know what I hear and I know what I see and being old, ugly and realistic, I prefer what I see to what I hear, when those two things are often so at odds with each other.

      1. Durand says:

        Jon I’ve wondered the same myself regarding those player transfers. Our defense leaky at best for couple years, yet Lichtsteiner can’t buy his way into the lineup. Cech is amateurish at best with ball at his feet, yet Leno on bench. Torreria settles the midfield, but hasn’t started.

        Its like the twilight zone most times. Seems like some players given numerous opportunities to underperform, while others aren’t given a chance to show their quality or consistency.

        That’s why his statements are baffling. If he subbed Torreria on because team needed balance, common sense shows:
        1. He knew team was unbalanced
        2. He knew Torreria would provide balance
        So why not start Torreria, and know beforehand the midfield will be balanced when match starts?

        I can only think maybe Torreria needs to improve his english, maybe communication is a problem?
        Talent, vision, and reading the game don’t seem to be the problem.

        Anyway, hopefully keeping Torreira on bench won’t bite team in the ass.

        1. jon fox says:

          I keep reminding myself that we are ONLY five games into the new season and that we have just won three in a row. And having done that, I then look at the bigger picture, esp in defence and I see a defence that seems, if possible, EVEN worse than under Wenger, despite having several newly bought players who ought to be 100% starters, oddly, left on the bench. And quite naturally , I say to myself ” this does not add up.” I have NO explanation, that makes any sense at all, EXCEPT the one I gave in my post above. I always prefer to look at the facts and make the theory fit those facts. Not the other way around. Sometimes in life we refuse to see the plain truth, even though it is staring us in the face. And if our manager and our players buyers are not singing from the same page , than we have SERIOUS TROUBLE AHEAD. I pray that I am wrong, as to the reason.

    2. Kenyanfan says:

      Maybe according to him we don’t need that balance at all times!lol.what else can we say?!
      Our best eleven should be
      Miki-Ozil -Auba
      No that some of them are any good but according to the available options, this is our best lineup

      1. Yossarian says:

        I agree that would seem to be our best team at the moment, apart from that I think Mustafi has been ok so far and would keep him instead of Konstantinos.

        Maybe Bellerin is there for his forward-movement and stamina for getting up and down the pitch, but I do think Lichsteiner is a much better defender. Why Torreira isn’t starting is a real mystery.

        Still, it’s 3 wins in a row, so that’s brilliant, and I guess the coach will still do a lot more experimenting before the we settle-down into an established first-choice-11.

        1. Jettoe says:

          I beg here to disagree. A dead Mavropanos is far better than a living Mustafi. How on Earth would you even compare Mav with Musti? Since Tony Adams, Toure, Campbell, I think the closest to the latter is Mavropanos. He is fast, tall, strong, reads the game quite well with a good positional sense. What else do you need from a centre half?

      2. Yossarian says:

        Oh, hang on… Holding? I’m quite happy with Sokratis so far. And maybe Ramsey/Guendouzi is a debatable too.

      3. Someone says:

        It sounds our storngest line up available but Sokratis did great job yesterday and prerty sure he will do much better pairing with the Boss .

    3. Chabaloah says:

      Torreira came off at the internationals with a knock – how do you know he hasn’t been suffering from that knock before he left and they’re being cautious on purpose?

      Why play your best players for 60/70mins to possibly slow your tempo down and sharpness with worse players when it can make sense to hold off until the better players come on and the opposition is a lot more tired and our better players then have an awareness of the game from an observers point of view to accurately target and exploit those holes? Emery can instruct the oncoming better players where to play and how to play after studying the opposition for half the game. I can see the logic in that because it works so far.

      Lich is 34yrs old. Whether or not you like Bellerins performances he is still 23 with exceptional speed – you still have to nurture him somehow and develop his confidence. He wasn’t bad when he started but we can all argue how he stagnated under Wenger, it’s 5 games in and if Lich isn’t sufficiently fit yet then Bellerin will play. Who could you even replace him with?

      Cech has made mistakes but his saves have been phenomenal, his ball control isn’t great but pep suffered the same thing when he started playing from the back and Mignolet, the important part is that the defence learn how to play out from the back properly before mixing it up. If Cech is saving goals better than Leno in training then Leno has to improve his keeping ability. Just because he’s better with his feet is crap, Cech can learn to pass a ball better but ultimately when you’ve got a leaky defence you need a keeper who can keep shots out – He’s done this time and time again.

      Emery likes statistics and analysis, Xhaka has made the most forward passes in our team and almost top in the league, defensively he’s frail but it’s still an area he has to develop, how do you get him to develop that if he doesn’t have any defensive responsibilities? Goendouzi on the pitch forces him to be a bit more mindful and yes it ends up being disjointed but hell he has to improve. Elneny isn’t playing and I think him and gouendozi play better together personally but we’ll see for the cup competitions.

  5. Chika says:

    @Kenyanfan I won’t totally agree with your selection. I’ll go for Leno in goal. Mustafi and Sokratis in Central defence. I’ll manage the attacking trio because I feel they are our best players though I feel they don’t give us enough balance

  6. herb says:

    Yet again I’m seriously looking for what talent Ramsey has, let alone what he offers to arsenal board to be starting and i cannot see any. Same can be said of Bellerin and xhaka (ofcourse aside from the goal). Those aforementioned guys do not tackle & track-back which is one of the pre-requisites of being a defender and/or midfielder.

    It really pains me to see clubs like Manutd under morninho to be playing better football than us now. OH HOW TIMES CHANGE!!! Yet we have sharper, more skillful players in Mkitaryan, Iwobi, Torreira, Mavropanos, Lichtsteiner and the manager chooses to play those three guys ahead of them.

    I know most arsenal fans just look at now, BUT remember luck does not knock 4 times; this manager has been lucky (at best) to get results with his team selections. For example anyone that thinks Auba and Ozil can effectively play on the wings is dreaming. If he continues with this bull-shit, sooner than later we will lose.

    1. Ackshay says:

      Did you just say that man utd are playing better football than us lol, either you just don’t watch football or just throwing bs opinions. Our football is disjointed and downright horrible at some moments but man utd don’t even play football. You can clearly see what emery is trying to do even if we don’t agree about his method or selections.

      Never ever say mourinho man utd play better than us, any other teams like even Watford. Dont embarass us arsenal fans.

      1. herb says:

        Sir, my passion for arsenal knows no bounds, but however i have learnt to watch other teams’ matches objectively unlike you.

        Arsenal used to play great football under Wenger, but now the football is just disjointed at best and the manager favours ‘mechanics’ to real footballers. e.g. if you can give me any statistics of ramsey’s contribution in the match except for the many times he lost the ball then i will be happy to answer you.

        I will repeat again Manutd passing football is even 10 times or more better than our soccer right now. But don’t quote me wrong; it has all come from the manager’s poor team selections and i know we can do better.

        1. herb says:

          And talk of watching matches objectively, i told you guys at the beginning of the season that i not only fancy chelsea to take the league but also see then as the league favorites because according to my eyes they have the best midfield three of Kovacic, Kante and Joginho.

Comments are closed