By 90Min
August 13, 2018

Former Everton manager Sam Allardyce pulled no punches in his assessment of Arsenal manager Unai Emery's tactics in the Gunners' Premier League opener against reigning champions Manchester City

The Sky Blues won 2-0 at the Emirates on Sunday, courtesy of goals from Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva. Speaking to talkSPORT and quoted by Metro, Allardyce unequivocally blamed Emery for Arsenal's defeat. 

"It’s the manager’s fault. It’s his fault," declared Allardyce, adding: "Don’t ask somebody to do, against Manchester City, what you shouldn’t do – and you should not play out like that against Manchester City."

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Allardyce went on to explain why Emery's preferred approach of playing out from the back was ill-advised against City, saying: "What do Manchester City do? Press, press, press. So why is he trying to play out when they press, press, press?"

The post-match analysis of Arsenal's opener on Match of the Day 2 certainly seemed to support Allardyce's point of view. There were several clear examples where the Arsenal defenders looked extremely ill at ease when trying to play passes out of defence. 

As Allardyce pointed out, even the Arsenal faithful grew impatient with their side's approach, giving ironic cheers when goalkeeper Petr Cech finally decided to kick long: "I mean, even the Arsenal crowd cheered when [Cech] dropped one in the opposition’s half," said Allardyce.

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The former England manager also made it clear that he regards Arsenal's approach as a symptom of an unwelcome trend. 

"We are getting obsessed with this stupid let’s play out from the back, split the centre halves either side of the 18-yard box and go and play from there," he raged, adding: "It’s utter rubbish to consider to play like that all the time."

Allardyce's comments could arguably be regarded as an implied attack on his England successor Gareth Southgate, who also favours building from the back.

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