Unai Emery’s maiden season on English soil with Arsenal blew hot and cold, but now the innovative Spaniard’s had a season to bed his blueprints into his inherited squad, fruitful times are undoubtedly ahead.
They’ll be many chops and changes to his set-up over the coming weeks and that will alter and aid his philosophy. Emery’s managerial accomplishments speak for themselves, and once he’s acquired the desired personnel, his reign will ignite indefinitely.
Perhaps, however, it isn’t all down to purchasing adequate recruits. Maybe the answer lies within the fledgling members that have already weathered to his expectations.
Following and bettering Arsene Wenger’s illustrious 23-year tenure in the Gunners’ dugout was never an easy task to behold. Calibrating Arsenal to caress possession to his vibrant rhythm would take time, and undoing ‘Le Prof’s’ ingrained system was not going to happen instantaneously.
Some betting sites listed on MyTopSportsbooks are a little higher on the the Gunners than others. Their odds to win the league title range from 33/1 all the way up to 50/1. Unai Emery’s side are given a fighting chance in the FA Cup, though, sitting at an average of 10/1 (9.1%), roughly three-times better than their league-title odds. The strength of Man City and Liverpool can make it daunting to bet on any other team, but City’s double last season was only the second double in the last 17 years. Whichever of the “Big Six” prioritize the FA Cup will have a great chance to make a deep run.
Emery entrusts intensity, bravery and flair and the midfield department is the beating heart of his studied approach. Other than a 2018 summer signing of his, Lucas Torreira, Arsenal’s engine room was torpid, inactive and predictable. Disruptive, cutthroat, the Uruguayan anchorman is the fold’s indispensable interceptor.
Offensive hazards demand service and unrelenting supply, and whilst Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are capable of orchestrating offensive phases themselves, a catalyst to forge perilous instances in the final third.
Loaned out to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim last term, Reiss Nelson is the spark that the north-Londoners have ultimately been lacking. A versatile live wire, the 19-year-old registered 7 goals and an assist in 23 Bundesliga meetings, a record that will flourish as he matures as a creative weapon.
Another dogged regista within Emery’s midfield armoury is Matteo Guendouzi, a determined distributor that’s driven to disrupt and construct. As the 19-year-old Frenchman develops alongside the strains of Premier League football, he’ll flourish into a highly-effective makeweight between attack and defence.
That’s not to discard Joe Willock’s emergence, however. Graced with an explosive burst, the 19-year-old can heighten intensity instantaneously, and though he’s a provider of opportunity, the Young Lion also possesses a lethal bite whilst homing in on the target.
A returning Rob Holding, dependable and observant, will reinvigorate the Gunners’ ageing defensive ranks. He and Konstantinos Mavropanos are viewed to be Arsenal’s future centre-half partnership, and as both are comfortably adept with the ball at their feet, they’ll thrive in the modern game, where charging out of defensive depths is crucial.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles, also, is set to feature heavily. Versed in a range of differing roles, the 20-year-old’s athleticism enables his to surge the length of his respective channel, an imperative requirement for any budding wing-back. That, ultimately, is where he’s most productive, along the parameter of the turf where he can gallop from danger.
Stretching proceedings is also a habitual tendency of Emile Smith Rowe’s, too. Nurtured by Bundesliga contenders Red Bull Leipzig for the second-half of the previous campaign, the cunning 18-year-old flanker suffered a lengthy spell on the physio’s bench whilst in Germany, although his glittering regard as an asset to the English game was not dented as a result.
Who will trouble and trial ‘Auba’ and ‘Laca’ for game time in the striking unit, though? A 20-year-old marksman named Eddie Nketiah, of course. Now a recognised piece of Emery’s first-team puzzle, Nketiah – scorer of 11 goals in 20 games for Arsenal’s U23s last term – is a ready-made executioner in the 18-yard box. Blessed with searing pace, the England U21 starlet will compliment the Spaniard’s dynamic system supremely.
In essence, Arsenal have all the answers to their recent failings and shortcomings at their disposal in youthful abundance. Balancing tested experience and hungry aspiration will challenge Emery’s resolve, but the Gunners will undoubtedly benefit from a generous dosage of enthusiasm.
If Arsenal are to progress into the latter stages of the FA Cup, Carabao Cup and the Europa League whilst pressing Manchester City and co. to the wire in the Premier League, they’ll have to let their eager prodigies off the leash once and for all.