Emery set to recruit defenders in light of Arsenal slump

Post Match Review

Arsenal boss Unai Emery has asked head of recruitment Sven Mislintat to bring in defensive cover after a less than convincing start to his tenure in charge of the Gunners.

And Russian central defender Igor Diveev, who is aged 18, is said to be a target thanks to his recent displays for his country in a youth tournament. He plays for Russian Premier League side FC Ufa, who will face Glasgow Rangers in the play-off rounds of the Europa League.

Mislintat is said to have been behind the recruitment of Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Stephan Lichtsteiner during the summer transfer window. The former has looked as if he is struggling to cope with the pace of the Premier League, while the latter has been restricted to a substitute role (when he came on for the injured Ainsley Maitland-Niles) in the 2-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester City in the opening game of the season at the Emirates Stadium.

The youngster was taken off after a challenge from Kyle Walker, which some fans and critics suggested might be a red card offence but premier league referee Michael Oliver disagreed.

Arsenal faced more disappointment on Saturday when they suffered a second Premier League defeat, this time against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. The disjointed Gunners were all over the place in the opening exchanges of the London derby clash and were soon 2-0 down after goals from Pedro and Álvaro Morata. But goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi brought Emery’s side back in to the game by half-time only for a late Blues goal from Marcos Alonso to sink the visitors.

Emery chose to pick out the positives from the game despite a worrying opening half hour for the visitors. He said:

“It is clear the result is not good for us but the process is continuing. One thing in the first half is the reaction after 2-0, and also the efficiency. We had chances to score more in the first half.

“I think we need to control the second half like we want, but we didn’t play like the first half and our chances were less.

“We need to continue working for what we want, our process. Today we had two midfielders — one 19 and one 21 years old. We need to give them the confidence to play but our way, our process, is to improve and give these chances to the young players. I think today will prepare us well for the next matches.”

Emery hauled off Mesut Ozil after a lacklustre display and of the substitution he said:

“We need him to help with his quality, and also I want to push him to be competitive in every match. But I’m happy with him because he worked hard.

“I decided to change because, in the middle, we needed a bit more to push and not let Chelsea progress easily with the ball. We were defending very deep. But I’m happy with Mesut. We are going to do with him the same work and helping him, demanding also work every day.

“At the moment, he is doing that and I’m happy. In the process, I’m sure he is going to have a good game.”