Emery eager for Arsenal to improve defensively

Unai Emery insists his Arsenal side are fully focused on winning the Europa League trophy and not Champions League qualification.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery says he wants to see some defensive improvement from his side against Aston Villa.

The Gunners let a two-goal lead slip against Watford last weekend and were heavily criticised for their defensive performance, particularly in regard to the first goal where they attempted to play out from the back but were caught out.

Emery’s men conceded 31 shots in the game and have now faced more shots than any other team in the top five divisions across Europe so far this season.

On Thursday, they beat Frankfurt 3-0 away in their first Europa League group match of the campaign but conceded several chances with the scoreline flattering Emery’s side in the end – despite impressive contributions from youngsters Bukayo Saka, Joe Willock and Emile Smith-Rowe.

Emery signed David Luiz from Chelsea on deadline day to try and rectify their issues at the back but it appears to be a case of the same old problems manifesting themselves on the Gunners.

And, the Spaniard says everyone must contribute in order to make the Gunners defence a stronger proposition, and has also urged his side not to drop too deep when defending.


“Two things. First, we need to be competitive and we need to improve defensively, but it’s not all down to the defensive players, the goalkeeper, the midfield – it’s for all the team,” he said.

“Secondly, sometimes we are defending deep, more deep than we want to. Our block is more deep than we want usually. We don’t want to defend in that situation, too deep, many times.”

Arsenal are hoping to welcome back Rob Holding to their defence for their game at home to Aston Villa after being out injured for over nine months with a knee problem.

Shkodran Mustafi and Calum Chambers are also pushing for game time after playing in midweek.