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‘Emery needs solution in judgement season’ – Arsenal legend sees serious cause for concern

7:34 PM IST 17/09/19
Unai Emery
Former Gunners defender Nigel Winterburn sees all too familiar problems in a side that now boasts the stamp of a Spanish tactician

Unai Emery needs to “find a solution very quickly” at Arsenal, says Nigel Winterburn, with the Spaniard out of excuses in his second season at Emirates Stadium.

Time was afforded to the former Sevilla and Paris-Saint Germain boss when he arrived as successor to Arsene Wenger in 2018.

Little funding was made available to him and he had to work with a squad largely made up of those inherited from an iconic predecessor.

Arsenal were, however, prepared to spend big over the summer and saw expectations rise accordingly as Emery prepared to enter 2019-20.

All too familiar issues have re-emerged in the new campaign, with the Gunners still fragile at the back and considered to be lacking the right tactical guidance.

Winterburn admits that should be of serious concern to the man calling the shots, with the Arsenal icon telling Love Sport Radio: “I said last season that this would be the season to judge Unai Emery.

“Last season he had a lack of funds. He had a group of players that needed to be changed, and it wasn't really his team.

“Now we're seeing a lot more players that he's brought into the team. He's got to find a way for Arsenal to be competitive, particularly at home, because their away form is nowhere near good enough.

“He's got to find a formation and a system that isn't going to give so many chances away.

“I thought he was very, very bold [against Watford] to play [Mesut] Ozil and [Dani] Ceballos in the same team, and that's where Watford exposed them. It was too easy to play through Arsenal and get at their back four.”

Arsenal took a two-goal lead at Vicarage Road on Sunday, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang bagged a brace, but collapsed in spectacular fashion to be left with just a point in a 2-2 draw.

Emery has faced criticism on the back of another abject performance on the road, with Winterburn seeing a number of issues to iron out.

The legendary left-back added: “I'm not sure at this moment in time when I'm watching that there's too much communication between the defence and the midfield.

“They've got to stem the flow of attacks from the opposition, and they're giving away far too many opportunities far too easily.

“Emery needs to find a solution very quickly because you can't keep conceding two or three goals and hope to win games.”

Arsenal have collected two wins and eight points from five games so far, with that return enough to have them level with third-placed Tottenham and two points adrift of defending champions Manchester City.