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Under fire Emery chases Arsenal first win

Arsenal boss Unai Emery needs a win against West Ham on Saturday © AFP / Glyn KIRK

LONDON, United Kingdom, Aug 24 – Unai Emery insists Arsenal’s spluttering start to the season won’t stop him overhauling his team’s style of play.

Emery has been criticised for changing Arsenal’s tactics too quickly after the Gunners were beaten by Manchester City and Chelsea in their first two Premier League games.

With Arsenal hosting West Ham on Saturday, the London derby against Manuel Pellegrini’s team — also losers in their opening games — offers Emery a chance to steady the ship.

The Spaniard is in his first season at the Emirates Stadium after replacing Arsene Wenger and has moved quickly to alter the game-plan preferred by his predecessor.

Where Wenger demanded Arsenal played an all-out attacking system that often left them vulnerable at the back, Emery favours a high-tempo pressing game.

The former Paris Saint Germain boss also likes his goalkeeper and defenders to start moves with passing from the back, even when under pressure from opponents.

This has led to Arsenal putting themselves in difficult positions at times, but Emery is adamant the issues are just teething problems that will soon resolve themselves.

“In our process, we are going 38 matches against all the teams — whether you are playing against Manchester City, it’s the same as if you’re playing against West Ham on Saturday,” he said.

“There are three points on this game. It’s clear that every game demands different things tactically.

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“After the first two matches, we have two defeats and we need to win this match against West Ham.”

West Ham’s visit gives Jack Wilshere a chance to prove Emery was wrong to let him leave.

Hammers midfielder Wilshere saw his 17-year stay with Arsenal come to an end in the close-season after Emery opted against giving the injury-prone England international a new contract.

“I spoke with him for 15 minutes here in Colney before he left,” Emery said.

“The first thing for me is I have respect for his career here. And then, he chooses what the best was for him in his future.

“On Saturday, I know that here, the supporters like him and have this respect also. I think there is a good reception for him here.

“Then we are going to play and we are going to think after that, for us to win. But I hope the best for his career.”

West Ham’s need for the points is just as great as Arsenal’s after defeats against Liverpool and Bournemouth.

Angry fans flooded out of the London Stadium well before the final whistle against Bournemouth, prompting Pellegrini to criticise the early leavers.

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The former Manchester City boss, aware that Hammers supporters spent much of last season protesting against their club’s owners, called on the fans to stand by the team.

“It is not about how much I criticised the fans – it is how much the team needs the fans,” Pellegrini said.

“I perfectly understand if you are losing 4-1 or 5-1 and you have got five minutes till the game finishes, maybe you leave early to your house. But losing 2-1?

“At this moment the players need everybody together, the fans, the team, the manager, the owners – everybody.

“Maybe the fans had a reason, but I just wanted to clarify how important the fans for the result of the games.”

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