Mkhitaryan calls on fans to keep on trusting Emery in wake of early defeats
Midfielder says Gunners are 'trying to play football' and not resorting to long balls
23 August, 2018 — By Steve Barnett
HENRIKH Mkhitaryan has urged Arsenal fans to give Unai Emery’s football philosophy time to flourish.
Despite being without any points after losing their opening two matches in the new season, the midfielder insists it is better to have faith in the new boss’s style than to “just kick the ball up front”. The manner in which Arsenal have conceded against Manchester City and Chelsea has sparked criticism, with some pundits and supporters sharing their concerns about Emery’s expansive approach.
Mkhitaryan, however, is calling for patience ahead of this Saturday’s game against West Ham at the Emirates Stadium.
“Everyone has their own opinion. We know very well what we are playing for and how we have to play,” the Armenia international told Sky Sports News. “If we are just going to kick the ball up front and wait for God to give us a chance to score, it’s not necessary. “The only thing we have to do is to work hard, believe in ourselves and use the chances we create to score goals.”
Mkhitaryan scored one goal and set up another for Alex Iwobi during Saturday’s 3-2 defeat at Chelsea. Despite obviously being “unhappy” with the result, the 29-year-old midfielder says the players are getting use to the subtle differences that Emery “is building” on predecessor Arsene Wenger’s gameplan.
He added: “Against Chelsea, we can say we were unlucky a bit, but that is football. The most important thing is to stay positive, believe in ourselves and to keep working the same way and the results will come. Emery has kept the philosophy of Wenger but is building something new on it. He knows he can give something different to this club, like the balance between attack and the defence. “t’s not easy but I think he’s doing it in the right way. He wants to play football and dominate the game and that’s what we’re doing, we’re not just kicking the ball up front.”
He added: “We are trying to play football. For our second goal against Chelsea we had 19 consecutive passes and then Alex finished the attack.”
Meanwhile, goalkeeper David Ospina has joined Serie A side Napoli on a season-long loan. With Petr Cech being favoured as the number one, and Arsenal splashing out £19.3million on Bernd Leno from Bayer Leverkusen this summer, Colombian Ospina had slipped to third choice at the Emirates Stadium.