Managers are quick to blame players when a result doesn’t go their way. And so, if Arsenal are to take anything from the 3-1 loss at Wolves in the Premier League on Wednesday night it must be the fact that Gunners boss Unai Emery is prepared to shoulder the blame for the disastrous result.
The lacklustre display that led to the woeful defeat at Molineux was poor enough for the Spanish coach to use as the main reason for trying to explain the pathetic performance. But, instead, the former Valencia and PSG chief decided to front up and blame himself. Whether or not this was a ploy to deflect criticism from his charges to try to enhance their confidence remains to be seen.
The wounding defeat means that Arsenal don’t have the luxury of deciding their own fate as far as their bid to finish in the top four of the top flight is concerned, with both Chelsea and Manchester United vying for the berth behind Tottenham Hotspur, currently in third position.
The home side went in front when Ruben Neves scored from a superb free kick from the edge of the box with the Gunners rear guard static and the keeper Bernd Leno unable to repel the effort. Then Wolves made it 2-0 when Matt Doherty cashed in on some dreadful defending to head home. And worse was to come for the visitors when Diogo Jota made it 3-0 just before the break. Socrates scored a consolation goal late on but it was all too little, too late.
The defeat at Molineux comes on the back of another loss on Easter Sunday when Arsenal’s inept defensive display saw them lose 3-2 to Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium. And it ramps up the pressure for Emery and his squad ahead of upcoming games in the league at Leicester and at home to Valencia in the first leg of the Europa League semi-final.
Of the Wolves loss, Emery told the club’s official website: “I usually am very disciplined with myself but I am angry with myself. We didn’t do the game plan like I wanted.
“I am not angry with the players, I am angry with myself. My idea and my style are to look in front and find a solution. Not to find who the player is who is playing worse or why they are not doing all we spoke about before.
“First I find the solution. The solution for me [now] is to think about Sunday and take the possibility on Sunday to come back with our best performance and our best competitive team for the possibility to take the three points.
“When we win, we win together, and when we lose, we lose together. In general, I think we are with the possibility to be in the top four and today we lost having it in our hands. We need to continue and I want to tell the players and the supporters to continue and take the opportunity on Sunday.”