Emery opted to switch things up again, but remained with the five at the back that had drawn the last game, the draw with Southampton.
The central structure of our defence consisted of Luiz, Sokratis and Chambers, with Mustafi and Tierney as wing-backs. We also saw the surprise recall of Granit Xhaka in midfield, as he partnered Joe Willock in the centre of the park.
Up top, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was in attack with Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka, and it would be the young Hale End product who would make the biggest impression in the opening 45.
We started well but in the half-empty Emirates there was not much to see in terms of goal mouth action. What little there was, it was crafted by Saka out wide, as the winger enjoyed the pressures of a Frankfurt defence attempting to squeeze him. Saka all too often escaped his markers clutches with some excellent touches and some intuitive runs off the ball.
Saka was the player responsible for our opening chance, as his speed took him to the byline and he put in a perfect cross, which was wasted as both Willock and Aubameyang went for it and the chance was gone.
It was then Martinelli’s time to show his prowess, as the Brazilian first nearly capitalized on Frankfurt’s goalkeeping error, but his effort was saved. From the resulting corner, Martinelli put in a glancing header that was cleared off the line.
We didn’t stop there. Xhaka’s delivery found Mustafi whose header was well saved, and minutes later, Saka attempted to chi the keeper, who reacted well.
We were looking decent but David Luiz needed to be replaced after picking up a knock early on. He had been playing as a DM so Guendouzi came on to replace him and his crazy hair.
It was creeping toward half time and we had looked OK, but we hadn’t broke the deadlock but in added time, that was about to change.
Saka fed Martinelli who fizzed in a cross. This was dummied by Saka who left it for Auba and his finish was nearly saved by the Frankdurt keeper, but the ball crept over the line and it gave us the lead.
There was no time for Frankfurt to react and at half time, we led 1-0.
Two half time subs from the away side changed things quickly, and within ten minutes, we were pegged back. Kamada turned and took a shot from outside the box which Leno couldn’t reach. It gave Frankfurt parity, and they didn’t take their foot off the gas.
It prompted Emery to bring on Ozil for Martinelli, but Kamada struck again soon after.
Five minutes later we were luck to avoid being 3-1 down, as Sokratis made a vital block on Gacinovic.
Torreira was brought on for Mustafi as we scrambled to get back into the game, but we didn’t exactly create too much as we chased the game. The final whistle blew and our woeful form has continued.
It was a strange game, how did we end up losing?
Loss Of Intensity To Blame
If we maintained our first half approach, we would have reacted far better and we would have had a better chance to keep our lead. We took our foot off the gas and we were punished,
Failure to adapt
We were cruising until Frankfurt made two half time subs. Within ten minutes, they were level. We were reactive, not proactive. Emery made subs when it was too late, and we couldn’t chase the game.
Saka a bright spot
Saka came back into the spotlight with a great performance. He led Hinteregger a merry dance in Frankfurt’s defence, and he was the one creating space. He offered true width and he and Willock were partnering well outside the box. A ray of optimism perhaps.
No shots in the second half
When we lost our lead, and then ended up in a losing position, we should have had opportunities, no? Instead, we had ZERO shots so we didn’t exactly come close to coming back into the game. Not good enough, especially after no wins in our last six and some pretty alarming stats that show us creating little and giving away plenty.
Next up is a trip to Carrow Road to face Norwich on Sunday.