Unai Emery: What do you expect? | Gooner Talk


Unai Emery: What do you expect?

Written by Loïc Garcia

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In a quite dramatic turn of events, Unai Emery went from a minor outsider to the sole candidate to replace Arsène Wenger at Arsenal. It is dramatic in the way that Mikel Arteta was set to take that role, there was an agreement, the backroom staff was being discussed until Ivan Gazidis ordered a major U-turn and opted for Emery.

Numerous media outlets have come up with various stories on the matter, however, the most reliable ones are claiming that Gazidis got scared that, were Arteta and his team due to fail, the responsability would be his, and he wasn’t willing to put his job on the line, contrary to his declarations in april, claiming that Arsenal needed to be bold. Once again, the intentions were there but ultimately Arsenal failed to make a statement when it mattered, even without Wenger.

There is a lot of reservations around this appointment between Arsenal fans, as appointing a coach with doesn’t belong to the elite like Allegri or the future like Arteta might be underwhelming, but the board have made their choice, and all gooners will hope for the best.

Unai Emery is known for his 3 straight Europa League titles with Sevilla but also for blowing a 4-0 lead in Barcelona in the Champions League, as with every candidate, there’s no guarantee that he’ll fail nor succeed at the Emirates.

What’s sure is that Arsenal are getting a more tactically astute coach than Wenger, Emery pays a lot of attention to detail, almost in an obsessive way, Arsenal players will have to go through loads of video sessions to analyse their opponents and themselves.

On the pitch, Emery wants his team to attack, although not as much through possession as Wenger, he likes to press high up the pitch, in a zonal press pushing the opponent wide and forcing him to lose the ball leading to quick transitions and counter-attacks. When in possession, he likes his team to build from the back, soaking in the pressure between the defence and the goalkeeper until one of the fullbacks is free with space to attack. Such a tactic requires a goalkeeper capable of playing out from the back and centre-backs that are good with the ball, something that suits Mustafi, Chambers and Holding but not so much Petr Cech.

Emery plays a 4-2-3-1 most of the time, except at PSG where senior players had the influence to swich back to a 4-3-3. He probably won’t have those issues at the Emirates, it is likely that Arsenal will play 4-2-3-1 more often than not, allowing Mesut Özil and Aaron Ramsey to play in their natural positions. out wide, he likes his fullbacks to push forward and provide width while the wingers lure into the halfspaces, suiting players like Mkhitaryan and Iwobi.

Arsenal will most likely become less of a possession side although Wengerball is deep inside most of the player’s DNA. The downside of Emery’s tactical awareness is that he struggles to cut open deep blocks, something that gooners often see at the Emirates each season. He can also have poor game management, the 6-1 in Barcelona being a prime exemple of that. There were also reports showing poor man management at times, which might be quite an issue given the place that Wenger had in the players’s hearts.

Emery doesn’t speak english, at least not yet. It is an appointment that can very understandably be considered underwhelming but he deserves a chance, just like every candidate, his passion for the job will be a key asset as the Basque looks to take on the almost impossible task to replace Arsenal’s greatest manager.






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