Arsenal legend reveals annoyance with Gunners boss and star ahead of Tottenham clash

Arsenal legend Emmanuel Petit has taken a major swipe at ­Arsenal boss Unai Emery and his stars over their erratic start to the season.
The Gunners won their first two Premier League games for the first time in 10 years with victories over Newcastle and Burnley. But their frailties were ­exposed as soon as they came up against a top team, with ­ Liverpool beating them 3-1 last weekend.

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That defeat, ahead of today’s north London derby against arch-rivals Tottenham , irked Petit, who believes Emery doesn’t know his best XI and doesn’t have players ­intelligent enough to cope with changing positions and systems as well as failing to address the problems with his back four.

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Petit said: “I’ve not been impressed with what I’ve seen from Unai Emery in Arsenal ’s opening games of this season.

“I’ve watched every Arsenal match in ­2019-20, though they’re definitely better than last year. They’ve done a good job in the transfer market, but they have requirements in defence, which has been the case for years now.
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“We saw evidence of that against Liverpool where they were poor and short on confidence.

“There was a lack of ­communication, bad ­movement, bad tactics ­sometimes and a shortage of cover for the defence.

“When you keep making the same mistakes over and over, then they stop being mistakes.

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“A good start should have given them the confidence they lacked last season.

“It was a big test against ­Liverpool and the players would have been ­expecting to know ­exactly what they could look forward to this season.”

Petit, who made 85 appearances for the Gunners under Arsene Wenger, went on: “So far with Emery, I have the feeling that he’s still looking for his team.

“He’s still looking for his system and he’s still looking for his first XI.”

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That creates problems, especially if players aren’t clever enough, as Petit believes, to take on new information and roles.

He added: “Emery is trying different ­tactical systems all the time, moving players around ­different positions.

“I can see the sense in this, but only a small percentage of footballers are intelligent enough to be comfortable in different positions and tactical set-ups.

“Most just want to stick with what they’ve learned in the academies.

“They won’t play as well outside their preferred systems.

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“Very few can be shifted around ­without it ­impacting their play, but that’s what Emery is trying to do with his team, even if some of his charges don’t have the requirements to do that.

“I would rather put them in their correct roles to get the most out of their talent.

“After the good work in the transfer market, I thought he would stick to one approach.

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“I worked on the Liverpool game and I thought to myself, ‘If I was Emery, I would play ­4-3-3’, with Alex Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe in the forward line. As soon as he did this, with 20 minutes to go, the game changed. It wasfrustrating.

“I try to support Emery ­because people have been ­killing him in the Press since he was in Paris.

“Some have pointed to a lack of leadership, a lack of strength, but I don’t think this is the problem.

“The problem is that he does not know his first XI.”