Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has demanded an improved performance from his players against Burnley, despite kicking off their Premier League campaign with a 1-0 win at Newcastle United last weekend.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang settled the contest with his goal just before the hour mark at St James’ Park to get the Gunners off to a winning start.
Next up for Arsenal is the home match with Burnley on Saturday, and Emery has called for a better all-round display if his side are to make it two wins from two.
“We need to improve. We were happy with the three points and we played seriously, but I want to improve on each position for us,” Emery said at Thursday’s news conference.
“We need to and can improve with the same players and other players who were out of that match. My idea is to be more competitive in each position.
“We worked very well that match, above all defensively we worked very compact. The balance, we must improve.”
Arsenal matched their Premier League away clean sheet tally for the whole of last season with their shutout against Newcastle, but they struggled to create much going forward.
“The build-up needs to be better,” Emery said. “We need better progress with our combinations and need to be safer each moment when we pass the ball between us.
“When we progress with the ball like a team we can find better positions and solutions in the attacking third.
“The clean sheet is important but the most important thing is to win. If we can win scoring a lot of goals, good. If we can have a clean sheet each match, it’s perfect.”
New signings Dani Ceballos, Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel Martinelli made their debuts from the bench against Newcastle, while David Luiz was an unused substitute.
Emery remained coy on the possibility of any of those players starting against Burnley, with a late decision to be made on their involvement.
“Each player is different,” he said. “After Newcastle and this week the players are working well. We can decide to choose different options in each position. Really I think we need to be competitive.”
Emery added: “Pepe is training with us, improving with us, knowing us.
“He’s understanding our style little by little and physically getting better. He is more close to help us at the beginning of a match.”
Emery also confirmed Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac returned to training this week after being given time off due to concerns over their safety.
Ozil’s future has again been called into question this week following reports in the United States that his agent has met with DC United officials.
Emery was unwilling to comment on speculation surrounding the German midfielder, who struggled to hold down a starting spot last season.
“My focus, my direction is playing on Saturday,” Emery said. “When we’re playing against Burnley, do you think I am thinking about if a player can leave here?”
Burnley will be without Chelsea loanee Danny Drinkwater for this weekend’s clash as he is continuing to build up his fitness, while Robbie Brady is also absent with a rib injury, but Charlie Taylor will travel with the squad.