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'Arsenal's players don't know what Emery wants them to do' - Smith concerned by Gunners boss' 'confusing' tactics

17:58 GMT+3 13/09/2019
Unai Emery Arsenal 2019-20
The former striker believes there are players within the squad at the Emirates Stadium who are struggling to grasp the Spaniard's ideas

Former Arsenal striker Alan Smith has revealed that some of the Gunners' players are struggling to understand Unai Emery’s tactical instructions.

The north London outfit have made an encouraging start to the new Premier League season, picking up seven points from their first four matches.

Despite that, in his column for the Evening Standard, Smith voiced his concerns around some of Arsenal’s football, which he believes is showing few signs of improving, with it partly down to a lack of clarity between players and manager.

“Maybe it is down to a lack of understanding,” he said. 

“I have heard whispers, after all, that some of the players find their manager’s instructions confusing, that they do not really know what he wants them to do. 

“If so, that does not bode well. A clarity of purpose is essential.”

The Sky Sports pundit and commentator went onto raise further issues with Emery, who has been at Arsenal since May 2018, and suggested that other than an impressive strikeforce, he has not been impressed by this Gunners side.

“Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe will cause anyone problems with their pace, ability and finishing, but behind that attack so many questions need answers," he added.

"On the evidence so far, something needs to change. Because as well as Arsenal played going forward in the second half against Tottenham, that midfield offered scant protection to a back four in need of plenty.”

“Every time the visitors sprang forward they looked really dangerous, encouraged by loads of space in the middle ground.”

Arsenal face Watford on Sunday, and Smith is worried about the new manager bounce after the Hornets sacked Javi Gracia and appointed their former manager, Quique Sanchez Flores.

He believes the Spaniard has some good players at his disposal, and will know how to take advantage of Arsenal’s weaknesses.

“I thought the studious Emery would have made improvements long before now,” he said. 

“For someone who spends untold hours personally cutting up video of the opposition to show his ­players, you would have thought we would have seen a more organised reaction to ­losing the ball.

“Quique Sanchez Flores will certainly be trying to quickly introduce that in his second stint at Watford. 

“For me, he inherits a better squad than the one he left. Arsenal must hope that he does not also prompt the new manager’s bounce."