Emery ‘excited’ by Arsenal squad but admits he needs more defensive ‘balance’

Unai Emery has revealed his excitement at the potential of Arsenal’s squad but admits the club need to work on creating more of a defensive ‘balance’.

Arsenal currently sit fifth in the Premier League after the first four fixtures of the new season, with Emery admitting he has been pleased with his side’s positive start to the new campaign.

The Spaniard oversaw a summer of overhaul at the Emirates during the transfer window, bringing in six new signings and seeing a series of established names leave the club. Emery has also introduced the likes of youngsters Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson into the first-team squad, and says the club’s fans can be ‘excited’ about the players at his disposal.

“I think we’re positive because we changed some players [but have played well],” Emery told Arsenal Player. “We’ve lost some important players, for example Nacho Monreal and Koscielny, and in the last moment Mkhitaryan and Iwobi.

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“We are getting young players and giving them chances to do one step more with us, getting that performance in the way we demand. I think with the young players and also the experienced players we have, plus we’ve signed some new players, I think we are building a very important squad with different characteristics from the players. We’re also being very demanding in our objectives.

“Every player is very important for me. The new players, the young players, the players who have been with us for a lot of time. Really, we need a good mix of everybody and take care to create a new ambition, a new motivation, and also create our way with them.

“Really we can be very excited about some players, but I want to have the same level of excitement for Pepe, for example, or Ceballos, David Luiz or Martinelli as I am with Reiss Nelson, with Willock, with Emile Smith Rowe. Also with the players who were working with us last year like Mesut Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette, Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding, Leno… everybody. We can be excited about every player.”

Despite praising his side’s start to the new campaign and their attacking play, Emery insists Arsenal must also find a defensive balance as they bid to challenge for silverware this season, having shipped six goals in their last three outings.

“We [still] need to improve the adaptation of the different players who have come here in the last moments. Also, we need to improve in our way. For example, I think we can continue being very offensive with a lot of important offensive players. We also want to take the balance defensively to be strong and I think the first four matches allowed us to show our first characteristic: to be offensive.

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“Maybe we need to continue working to create a balance defensively in some moments, and also tactically when making some decisions. Really, the most important thing is how we can show our support and our energy, our spirit.

“We want to win each match but also to show our speed, our energy playing with intensity. I think we are working to do that in our way, in our target of giving them a big characteristic for us. We want to play with energy.”

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See also – Mkhitaryan admits he was unhappy at Arsenal and didn’t fit English football