Football News

Emery insists Arsenal produced ‘best spell of the season’ vs Southampton as tactical confusion reigns

By J Smith

Published: 20:04, 24 November 2019

Unai Emery has claimed his Arsenal side had their ‘best spell of the season’ at the start of the second half during their 2-2 draw with Southampton on Saturday.

The Gunners looked set to fall to an embarrassing defeat at home to the struggling Saints and were trailing 2-1 until the 95th minute.

Could Arsenal sack Emery? Five key things to know…

  • Arsenal salvaged a 2-2 draw in the 95th minute against Southampton on Saturday.
  • That result leaves Arsenal eight points off the Premier League’s top four.
  • But Emery believes his side played their best football of the season at the start of the second half.
  • The Spaniard says he maintains the backing of the Arsenal board.
  • The Gunners have won just one of their last eight games in all competitions.

However, Alexandre Lacazette stepped up with his second goal of the game to spare some of Emery’s blushes, although it did little to temper a furious reaction from Arsenal supporters at the final whistle.

And now, Emery has bizarrely labelled the 20 minutes after the half-time break as Arsenal’s best spell of the season so far, although he was also keen to stress that he understood the fury of the fans, many of whom have questioned his tactical decisions against Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side.

“We are disappointed, we are frustrated and I understand the supporters,” he told reporters after the match.

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“We did deserve more today. We lost a very good opportunity to connect with our supporters, they helped us but really we know here (Emirates Stadium) is the key. To feel comfortable and strong here to take confidence but we didn’t do that.

“The first half, we were drawing but how we were playing wasn’t enough. We started the second-half better, we changed and I think it was the best 20 minutes of the whole season.

“We created chances, we didn’t score but I was happy in that moment because I wanted to look at our players. Then, they scored we were better maybe and we took some risks after that to draw but we conceded more chances.

“We drew in the last minute but that’s not enough. Really, we and the fans can be disappointed and angry because of the result.”

The draw with Southampton leaves Arsenal languishing in eighth in the Premier League table, eight points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and 19 behind early leaders Liverpool.

Despite their terrible start to the season, Emery is confident he has the continued support of the Arsenal board, although he’s aware things must improve soon if that is to remain the case.

He added: “They [the board] are supporting me every day and I also have my responsibility. I know I can do better and I can take more performances with the players and I am going to try and do this.”

The Gunners host Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League on Thursday night and face relegation threatened Norwich City in their next Premier League game.