Arsenal 'deserved to win' at BATE, says Emery

Heather Diaz
February 22, 2019

Unai Emery insists he trusts his Arsenal players to overturn their Europa League deficit to BATE Borisov following a surprise first-leg defeat in Belarus.

Stanislav Dragun scored the only goal of the game on the stroke of half-time, and Alexandre Lacazette was sent off in 85th minute as Arsenal failed to find an equaliser.

However, the lack of improvement in the Arsenal defence has been painful and is something that fans would have been keen for Emery to try and fix early in his reign in north London.

Borisov had never previously won a European knock out game in their history and hadn't played a competitive fixture for two months, just to rub salt into the wound.

Despite all their defensive faults in the last few years of the Wenger reign, you could rarely accuse the Frenchman's side of being creatively naïve and lacking in ideas.

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Maurizio Sarri saw his side humiliated 6-0 by Manchester City on Sunday but last night the Blues were 2-1 winners in the Europa League against Malmo.

Emery defended a team selection that left Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Lucas Torreira and new signing Denis Suarez on the bench until the latter stages, with Mesut Ozil not even travelling to Belarus. "Next week we aren't going to play with him but now we are going to think with the players that are okay for next week".

"I didn't see the action but we spoke and frustration needs controlling", the Spaniard replied when asked about the sending off.

With the Premier League paused for the FA Cup fifth round this weekend, Arsenal don't actually have another game until the return leg with BATE at the Emirates Stadium, giving Emery and the squad a full week to prepare.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan missed a great chance in the opening 90 seconds before Lacazette headed badly over the crossbar when well-placed.

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