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Petr Cech has hit back at suggestions he's struggling with Arsenal's new tactics

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The appointment of Unai Emery at Arsenal is about more than just another manager replacing Arsene Wenger.

His arrival has marked the dawn of a new era at the Emirates, including a subtle change in tactical philosophy that could be the answer to helping the Gunners back to the top.

Emery - who made his name as a manager on the touchlines of La Liga - brings with him a typically Spanish belief that possession is valued above all else.

While this was also evident in how Arsenal conducted themselves under Wenger, the current boss has taken it to another level.

Emery demands his men keep hold of the ball whenever possible - even if it means attempting to the pass their way out of their own penalty area.

Barcelona and Manchester City are arguably the only two teams on the planet who can claim to have mastered this strategy, and it doesn’t always work out well for less technically gifted teams.

When executed properly, one of the hallmarks of this system is the ease with which the goalkeeper can link together passes with his defenders - almost like an auxiliary outfield player.

Arsenal have an abundance of talent in midfield and the final third, though there are certainly more skilled defensive cores around than Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Shkodran Mustafi and Petr Cech.

Emery has started the trio in every Premier League match so far this season, despite their clear discomfort when pressured on the ball.

Unfortunately for Cech, he’s been assigned the role of the chief scapegoat following Gunners’ teething problems under the Spaniard.

Chelsea v Arsenal - Premier League

That said, his glaring errors against City and Cardiff are sure to have contributed to the criticism levelled at him.

The 36-year-old almost passed into his own net during the season opener before inexplicably gifting the ball to Harry Arter on the edge of the box in Wales.

Overall, Cech has looked very shaky in possession throughout all four of his appearances.

However, ahead of the trip to Newcastle on Saturday, the four-time Premier League slammed suggestions he’s incapable of carrying out Emery’s instructions.

“I had 166 passes in the first four games which is a huge amount and everybody picked up on only two,” Cech said, per the Evening Standard.

“It’s obviously not a great thing to do when you pass the ball in a dangerous area, like I did at Cardiff when I gave it to Harry Arter but it’s part of the game that you can always make a mistake.”

He added: “If you look at the evolution of Barcelona and Man City, it didn’t happen overnight. As they got more familiar with that [style], the results came.

“We’re now in that process of getting to know what advantage it gives us.”

Cech’s not wrong in the sense that it’s a steep learning curve, but the calls for Bernd Leno to start at his expense won’t stop unless the nerves do.

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Topics:
Football
Unai Emery
Premier League
Petr Cech
Arsenal

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