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Four ways that Unai Emery can improve Arsenal's defence

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3.10K   //    04 Sep 2018, 10:41 IST

Cardiff City v Arsenal FC - Premier League
Emery on the sidelines during Arsenal's 3-2 away win over Cardiff this past weekend

Unai Emery took charge of Arsenal this summer, after Arsene Wenger's long-awaited departure at the end of last season. Pundits and supporters alike had their reservation with his appointment but hoped that he would address the issues which continued to plague Wenger - though he is yet to.

Four matches into the season, they have conceded eight goals to date. Given they played against Chelsea and league champions Manchester City, they were also defensively poor against the newly-promoted Cardiff and appeared vulnerable at times against West Ham previously too. 

Fans remain sceptical about the acquisition of Borussia Dortmund defender Sokratis, who has failed to make an immediate impact in north London. With that and everything else in mind, here we take a four reasons how they can still improve upon their lacklustre backline: 

#4 Fix the press

Arsenal v West Ham United - Premier League
Mustafi (right), regularly got himself into unnecessary trouble by tackling high up the pitch last season

In Wenger's final season, Arsenal were the third-highest pressing team in the Premier League. Champions City and local rivals Tottenham were higher, though the Gunners averaged an interception, tackle or foul every 8.5 passes per interaction - which was even higher than Klopp's Liverpool side. 

Despite this pressing tactic, it did not prevent their opponents from taking plenty of shots on goal. They conceded an average of 11 per game, which was almost double City's 6.2 and interestingly, Wenger set his side out to apply pressure in the opponent's half, rather than their own. 

This ultimately backfired, as Arsenal's more defensive-minded players felt more inclined to commit to challenges in dangerous areas of the pitch, where they were more likely to getting countered. To resolve this, Emery should ensure the press begins straight from the front with players such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. This would mean less pressure is placed on the midfield and consequently, defence too.

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