Football News

Unai Emery dismisses diamond formation criticism: “Arsenal are tactically rich”

By Harry Edwards

Published: 17:56, 29 August 2019

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has defended his decision to play a diamond formation against Liverpool, insisting his side are “tactically rich”.

Having used a 4-2-3-1 formation in the opening two games of the new season, Arsenal switched to a narrow diamond midfield for their trip to face Liverpool last weekend.

Will Arsenal use a diamond again? Five things to know…

  • Arsenal used 4-2-3-1 in their opening two games of the season.
  • But the Gunners switched to a diamond midfield in their defeat to Liverpool.
  • Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright was “baffled” by the decision.
  • However, Emery believes Arsenal are “tactically rich” after the defeat.
  • The Spaniard also failed to rule out using a diamond in the future.

The Gunners lost 3-1 and were comfortably overran down the wings, bringing criticism from fans and pundits, including former Arsenal striker Ian Wright.

Wright said: “It was one of the things that I was baffled by.

“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.

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But Emery insists the defeat to Liverpool was not due to his use of the diamond and did not rule out using the formation again in the future.

“We won with the diamond, we have lost with the diamond, it is not everything,” he said.

“Our loss on Sunday [against Liverpool] was not because of the diamond. We play with a number of tactical decisions and systems so we can change.

“We are more rich tactically because of this, we can change each match, we can change each moment. We will decide on Sunday what we use, and we might still change.”

The Gunners face Tottenham Hotspur in the first North London Derby of the season on Sunday and will be hoping to go into the international break with a win.

Emery asks for calm from those calling for frightening attacking trio

The defeat to Liverpool last weekend saw Emery hand a first competitive start to club record signing Nicolas Pepe. The Ivorian joined Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang up front at Anfield, starting in place of Alexandre Lacazette, though many Arsenal fans were hoping the trio would line up together.

And while that may be in Emery’s future plans, the Spaniard has asked for a little patience.

“Yes, but be calm,” he added.

“My decision in each moment is thinking about how we are. For example with Lacazette he had a problem with his ankle This week is the best week of the last three weeks. He’s getting better and feeling better with his ankle, it’s very positive.

“With Pepe, he came here later than the others but he is getting and feeling better in each match. Aubameyang is very important for us, he scores two goals in the first two matches, he had two or three good actions in Liverpool.

“The most important thing for me is to have chances and we can score with different players.”