Arsenal faced off against Bate Borisov in the Europa League Round of 16. The Gunners were the favorites to go through to the next round from this tie, though things did not work out for Unai Emery’s side according to plan. Bate Borisov were in the group with Chelsea, Paok FK and Mol Vidi FC.
Most of the football pundits were not considering them good enough to go through to the next round of the Europa League. Bate Borisov qualified to the next round of the Europa League as the second team from their group. On the other hand, the Gunners have qualified to the next round of the Europa League as the top side from their group.
The Team That Played-
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang was not fully fit and started on the bench. The Gabonese International missed the match against Huddersfield Town, though he was not completely out of the squad for this match. He was already back in training also, though Emery didn’t use his full-strength squad to play against Bate. Mesut Ozil is also back in the training of the Gunners, though was not included along with Sokratis.
Lacazette started, along with Xhaka and Niles. Torreira was rested too, along with Ramsey and a few others.
It was a shocking defeat for the north London giants, who lost 1-0 to the Belarusian side, which got the fans really going hard at Emery. Though the team does not have a match this weekend, the fans will be hoping that the Spaniard can turn this around in the reverse fixture. If he fails to do so, the movement to sack him will only get stronger and he could be in big trouble.
Three Things Emery Needs To Do Now-
If Emery wants to do something with this team and go on and win back the fans and win some titles, here are three things that he really needs to do right now-
3. Stop Experimenting With His Starting Eleven
Emery needs to start positively and play both Lacazette and Aubameyang in every game possible, where the duo is available. Even if he does not wish to over-use them, he can take one of them off when the team is leading and are confident of winning.
Playing off from the bench when the team is one goal down, doesn’t do any good. That was the case against BATE too and eventually the Frenchman was sent off, for showing his frustration in an unprofessional manner.
2. Play Four At The Back
With a defence as fragile as ours, the Spaniard needs a four-man defence at the back. Playing with three central defender and two wing-backs is good when your trio is great. However, with the likes of Mustafi and Lichsteiner at the back, it is never a good choice to play this formation.
Possibly when the likes of Sokratis and Holding do return, it can be used at times, though the risk still remains of being caught on the break. Emery needs to understand that even Wenger never used that tactic because of the same reason and needs to learn from his predecessor.
1. Play Mesut Ozil
It is quite evident that Emery is dropping Ozil, not because the former Germany international is injured, but because he wants him to leave the Emirates. With that being said, he can always play Ozil now and later decide to sell him, if he wants. Paying him £350,000-a-week just for being in the squad makes no sense.
He can’t be sold till the end of the season and his services should be utilized as much as possible till that point. Whatever decision is taken after that, is the manager and the board’s choice, but for now his services should be utilized to the maximum, as the team lacks a creative head.