Arsenal manager Unai Emery says he is to blame for Watford meltdown, not Sokratis Papastathopoulos

Unai Emery has looked to ease pressure on Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Picture: Getty Images)

Unai Emery has shouldered the blame for Arsenals second half meltdown against Watford last week, trying to ease the pressure on defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

The Greek centre-back was at fault for Watfords first goal as they came back from 2-0 down at half time to draw 2-2 at Vicarage Road last Sunday.

Sokratis misplaced pass was intercepted by Gerard Deulofeu in the Arsenal penalty box, allowing Tom Cleverley to score, before David Luiz felled Roberto Pereyra in the area to allow the Argentine to equalise from the spot.

The under-fire Sokratis has apologised to fans following his error against the Hornets, but Emery has moved to take responsibility for how his team played last weekend.

One mistake is not his mistake. It is the mistake of all the team, and I am responsible because I decided to start like that, said Emery.



In the first 45 minutes they didnt push a lot or do a really big press against us. We controlled the match with the ball, the possession, the buildup, easier in the first half. The second half changed because they needed to push more, to attack more, to go against us.

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Emery and his players were criticised after that draw with Watford for continually trying to play out from the back from goal-kicks, despite it handing chances to their opponents, with Cleverley eventually scoring from a failed attempt to pass out from their own area.

To build up with the goalkeeper and centre‑back is going to be our identity but we are going to share [that] sometimes with long balls, Emery continued. For example, against Frankfurt [a 3-0 Europa League win on Thursday] we were different and decided more times to play a long ball, earn metres on the pitch and after that attack the space.

[Frankfurt] were very offensive, with a lot of players in the attacking third for pressing or to attack our space, and we needed to break that press. We did a lot with the long ball, because a lot of the time we had three against thrRead More – Source

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