Arsenal suffered a 2-0 defeat at home to defending champions Manchester City on Sunday. It was their opening game of the 2018/19 season and has left them sitting 15th in the Premier League table without a point to their name. Unai Emery was keen to play down the result and insist Arsenal would improve.
He said in the post-match press conference: “Manchester City’s performance showed us that we need to continue in our process to improve. We need to continue working tactically and defensively. Today is the first step. We are only starting out now.”
Emery isn’t overreacting and he’s making it clear to supporters not the do the same. After all, it’s in Arsenal’s nature to get off to a poor start. The Gunners have won just two of their last nine opening games – Arsenal 4-3 Leicester City in 2017/18 and Arsenal 2-1 Crystal Palace in 2014/15.
They frequently start the new season poorly and this campaign has been no different. In the post-Arsene Wenger era, Arsenal were always going to take time to adapt to their new boss, so losing to City isn’t a surprise. Unfortunately, the Gunners have Chelsea next in the Premier League which could see them without a point in their first two games if they fall short.
Arsenal’s defeat to Manchester City reminded fans how far they are from winning a Premier League title. They finished sixth with 63 points from 38 games, 37 points behind the Sky Blues while losing 11 more matches. Emery has a big job on his hands to get the Gunners back on track, so supporters shouldn’t expect an instant shift in form.
Emery made it clear in his Chelsea pre-match press conference that he’s not dwelling too much on the City defeat anymore and instead wants his players to take on board what they’ve learned on the training pitch. He’s playing the long game and wants to see obvious improvement and development, saying: “I want us to continue with this work and to be completive for 90 minutes.
“But with a better performance than on Sunday, both individually and collectively. We want a good preparation before and a good response on the pitch to that preparation.”
Arsenal will be underdogs against Chelsea, so defeat wouldn’t be a shock on the weekend, but the reaction from fans could be very negative if they’re without a point after the second round of games. History shows, however, than a slow start to the season is typical for Arsenal.