How Well Will Arsenal Fare Under Unai Emery?
April 20, 2018 will be an unforgettable day for Arsenal fans all around the globe. After 22 years in charge that saw the highest of highs and lowest of lows, Arsene Wenger finally decided to call it a day on his illustrious career as Arsenal manager. For the majority of the young Gunners (myself included), Arsenal literally meant Arsene Wenger; we have not seen the club under any other manager. From going an entire season unbeaten to finishing outside the Champions League spot, the club had seen it all under Wenger. Replacing a man of such stature was always going to be an uphill task for the board. However, 33 days after this shocking announcement, a replacement was finally named. Unai Emery, former PSG coach, took over the reins on May 23, 2018.
So what exactly does the former PSG boss bring to the table?
Let us take a look at some of the positives and possible areas of concern under this new regime:
- He has done it at the top level already by managing a giant club like PSG boasting a list of high-profile players.
- He knows how to win trophies, as evident in his back-to-back Europa league triumphs with Sevilla from 2014-2016. Considering that Arsenal will be playing in the Europa league, and a European trophy is the one thing that Wenger could never deliver, Arsenal fans can for sure be optimistic on this front.
- He is known to be an astute tactician who studies oppositions by doing in-depth video analyses, and makes adjustments to his team's playing style based on the strengths and weaknesses of the opponents.
- His record in the Champions League is not that impressive. Winning Europa League three times in a row also means that his side got eliminated from the Champions League group stage atleast twice. Even with PSG, he never got past the Round of 16, famously squandering a 4-0 lead over Barcelona in 2017. A cause of concern for the fans?
- The backing of the board is crucial to any manager, and it is no different here. With rumors already spreading of transfer budget being as low as 50 million Pounds, will the new manager be able to get all the players that he needs to build a winning squad?
- Though not a big area of concern, Umery's English language proficiency is rather basic, and could be a hindrance to him communicating effectively with all the players. This is something that will definitely be resolved in due course. But until then, will he be able to convey his tactics in the way that he desires?
The results in the coming season will definitely go a long way in deciding Emery's legacy at Arsenal. Will he be able to replicate what Wenger did in his initial seasons, or will the pressure of handling such a big club in the world's toughest league get to him? Remember David Moyes, anyone?
As a die-hard Arsenal fan, I genuinely hope that 'Emery' will be able bring the glory days to Emirates as 'Arsene' did to Arsenal.