Football News

Emery’s diamond decision for Arsenal’s defeat to Liverpool was ‘baffling’, insists Wright

By Harry Edwards

Published: 17:30, 27 August 2019

Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright has admitted he was confused with the formation Unai Emery used in the Gunners’ Premier League defeat to Liverpool.

Arsenal were handed their first defeat of the new season with Liverpool running out 3-1 winners at Anfield, keeping their own perfect start going.

What did Arsenal do wrong against Liverpool? Five things to know…

  • Arsenal went into their third game of the season with a perfect record.
  • The Gunners had beaten Newcastle 1-0 and Burnley 2-1 prior to their visit to Anfield.
  • But it ended when Liverpool eased to a 3-1 victory with goals from Mohamed Salah and Joel Matip.
  • And Ian Wright believes a formation switch was key to the defeat .
  • Unai Emery opted for a narrow diamond midfield, as opposed to the 4-2-3-1 he had previously used.

In the Gunners’ previous league matches against Newcastle United and Burnley, Emery opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation to strike up a good balance between defence and attack.

But for the trip to Anfield, Emery switched to a narrow diamond, keeping the flanks clear for Liverpool’s marauding full-backs – something which baffled Wright.

“It was one of the things that I was baffled by,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“Before the game I was hoping to see [Alexandre] Lacazette, [Nicolas] Pepe and [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang as I believe that Liverpool playing with a high line were there for the taking and I was really excited about that.

“And then to see the diamond or triangle given up space to [Trent] Alexander-Arnold and [Andrew] Robertson was confusing for me.

“I don’t know if he’s doing it because he might use that system against lesser teams and it might work as he wants to keep it narrow.

“I thought against Liverpool it was a tactic that was handing them the incentive and I thought we played a bit too deep.

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“The chances we got were mistakes from Liverpool and in the main Liverpool were in control of that.

“I would rather we just go there with potency that we have and show them this is what Arsenal are about now. This is how we are moving forward but it was a confusing one for me.”

Arsenal will need to bounce back quickly from the defeat ahead of the first North London derby of the season against Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates next weekend.

Emery optimistic for Arsenal’s season

Despite the early setback, Emery remains keen to take the positives from the defeat and build on them for the season ahead.

He told reporters: “Really I’m disappointed with the result. It’s the first analysis we can do but after 90 minutes we did different situations with the players, tactically and spiritually.

“I think the team showed in one moment good character and it’s one step ahead we want to do. The result means we’re not happy today, but we can be optimistic for another situation.”