Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has told his players to forget about their recent woeful Premier League away form and aim to begin a “new future” – starting at Cardiff today.
The Gunners won just three league games on the road in Arsene Wenger’s final season at the helm and have lost their only away trip under Emery – a 3-2 defeat to London rivals Chelsea.
Emery picked up his maiden victory with a 3-1 home success over West Ham last weekend but addressing the alarming away form is one of the major challenges the Spaniard faces.
“We want to win every match and we prepare every match to win at home and away,” he said.
“Now we are going to play against Cardiff away and for that my thoughts are only on how we can win.
“Now it’s not to think about the past, I prefer to think and my concentration with the players also is the next match – focus only to work, to work, to work for the next match and how we can win.
“It’s clear the data behind us but I want to write a new data, a new present, a new future with Arsenal, with the players. For that my focus is only how we can win this Sunday.”
Former Paris St Germain coach Emery believes he has identified where Arsenal need to improve in order to correct their poor away form, calling on his players to keep hold of possession rather than try to force the issue.
“We need more control, more with the ball, more with our positioning on the pitch, more control when we close the ball (down),” he said.
“Maybe the first is not lost a lot from that we want. Also when we are with the ball we need to be together and to be organised.
“On Sunday maybe the situation is more than that situation – for long ball to win the first action with the head and then the second action on the pressing.”
Emery insists he is ready for the tactical challenge of facing a team that has recently been promoted and could adapt a long-ball approach to undo his side.
Asked if he had ever played against long-ball teams, the 43-year-old added: “Yes a lot. In Spain the same, in France the same, in Russia the same.
“Sunday is one match we need the adaptation to their idea. But all the respect for me for this idea. Because in Spain I played it often in moments. I play like that because I think it’s the best way for us to win.”