I must admit, I was a bit sceptical as to how Arsenal would perform this season before it had begun. History would suggest top clubs don’t tend to perform well after a long reigning manager is replaced. We saw this with both David Moyes and Jose Mourinho at Manchester United after replacing Sir Alex Ferguson who had been in charge there for just under 20 years and had arguably been one of the most successful managers ever. However, Arsenal and new manager Unai Emery have done surprisingly well since his appointment a few months ago, boasting an unbeaten run of 23 games up until the Saturday that just passed recently having lost to Southampton. Both Arsenal and their new manager have done exceptionally well, and he has brought something to Arsenal unseen in a very long time, possibly even since ‘The Invincibles’ from 2003. Though they only sit 5th in the league, what Emery has shown is a sign of a new beginning. A new Arsenal, and one that I’m now excited to watch. I think what I like most about our new manager and something that Arsene Wenger failed to do is show resilience against players who aren’t putting in the effort needed and in particular towards Ozil who, despite being a top player, walks about most the game and doesn’t track back whatsoever. As a result, Mesut Ozil has been left out of the Arsenal squad altogether for the last 3 games and rightly so until he starts to show some commitment to the team. Arsenals gameplay altogether has improved as well. If you look back to last season, you can notice Arsenals play was very rigid with players offering little movement for support. Fast forward to this season and arsenals play is much more free-flowing and fluent with players covering others and offering supporting runs in behind the opposition. I think the players have also become much more confident on the ball and perhaps something Emery has emphasised in wanting his players to take time with the ball and to not be afraid to take players on. Alex Iwobi is a perfect example of this, whereby he would previously play in fear of making a mistake, and though he’d do little wrong, he’d make little impact on the game. Now Iwobi has not only started to take players on but is also starting to make an impact in crucial parts of the game. Overall, Arsenal now seem much more aggressive in their play which is great to see, and that’s particularly due to Emery and his footballing ideology. An ideology carried out to good effect by the Arsenal players including those he has brought in himself such as Sokratis and Aubamayang, both being confident and aggressive players who are good on the ball and represent the philosophy Emery is trying to introduce. Arsenal and their fans know they won’t win the league this season, and probably not the next, but what Emery has introduced so far is the foundations for a very good team playing an even better style of play which seems to work for them and I truly believe Arsenal will be challenging for the league trophy again in the years to come as a result.

 

Arsenal: A New Beginning