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Emery sets his sights on improving Arsenal defence

By Mark Mann-Bryans, | 22d
The Gunners conceded again at home to Fulham.

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery saw his side comfortably beat Fulham before revealing his New Year's resolution is to improve the Gunners' defence in 2019.

After a chastening defeat to Liverpool over the weekend, Arsenal recovered with a 4-1 victory over their struggling London rivals.

Granit Xhaka opened the scoring with Alexandre Lacazette doubling the advantage before Fulham substitute Aboubakar Kamara reduced the arrears.

Fulham's Aboubakar Kamara (right) breached the Arsenal defence (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Any threat of a surprise comeback from Claudio Ranieiri's side was ended when Aaron Ramsey turned home moments after coming off the bench, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang adding the gloss late on.

Despite the impressive scoreline, Arsenal were again caught out at the back and could easily have been two goals behind were it not for errant finishing from Ryan Sessegnon.

Following the loss at Anfield, Emery who lost Shkodran Mustafi to a minor hamstring injury at half-time, confessed he needs to get more out of his defence.

"Our challenge now is to improve defensively," he added.

"We are very happy with the attacking players and scoring a lot of goals like today. We are high team in terms of scoring.

"We need defence also to take more balance and improve. We need to work. We need to prepare for the second half of the season.

"We need to do better in the second half of the season, tactically and we are going to do that."

Emery played down a negative reaction from some Arsenal supporters after his decision to replace Lacazette for Ramsey was met with jeers.

Aaron Ramsey was on target despite a negative reaction to his introduction (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The substitution was booed by a large number of fans, although Ramsey – who has been linked with the likes of Real Madrid, Juventus and Bayern Munich with his Arsenal career set to end when his contract expires – put the game beyond doubt with the third.

"I understand the supporters," he said.

"I need to do my work. Tactically we thought in that moment we needed to change for more balance. Above all we know (Jean Michael) Seri is coming on and need a player close to him, not to let him play easily with the ball.

"Aaron Ramsey can do that and also help us in attack and scored. The reason is this. I need to do my work. And not maybe because every supporter can have a different opinion, tactically can do.

"But I need to do my work. Lacazette his work and he scored also. He helped us and it was a very positive reaction."

The defeat leaves Fulham in the bottom three but manager Ranieri was pleased with the spirit shown by his side.

"It is a strange match because when you come to Arsenal, you know quality of players is different," he said.

"We are in relegation zone, they are higher. I was so pleased with my players. In the first 30 minutes we created two great chances and Arsenal fans were not happy with their team.

"When Arsenal created first chance we made a mistake, we were too wide. We had to stay more concentrated in every circumstance."



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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool23193154134160
2Manchester CityMan City23182362174556
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs23170648232551
4Chelsea23145440192147
5Arsenal23135548321644
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd23135546331344
7Watford239683232033
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves239592731-432
9Leicester CityLeicester2394102929031
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2394103034-431
11Everton238693433130
12Bournemouth2393113342-930
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2375112532-726
14Crystal Palace2364132332-922
15Southampton2357112540-1522
16Burnley2364132343-2022
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2356121931-1221
18Cardiff CityCardiff2354141944-2519
19Fulham2335152151-3014
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2325161340-2711
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool23193154134160
2Manchester CityMan City23182362174556
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs23170648232551
4Chelsea23145440192147
5Arsenal23135548321644
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd23135546331344
7Watford239683232033
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves239592731-432
9Leicester CityLeicester2394102929031
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2394103034-431
11Everton238693433130
12Bournemouth2393113342-930
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2375112532-726
14Crystal Palace2364132332-922
15Southampton2357112540-1522
16Burnley2364132343-2022
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2356121931-1221
18Cardiff CityCardiff2354141944-2519
19Fulham2335152151-3014
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2325161340-2711
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