Arsenal were notoriously a soft touch in the world of football. Under avuncular Arsene Wenger, players grew increasingly more empowered. Some picking and choosing training, when they played and then there were the regulars to the treatment table.
Some spent more time recovering than playing and this resulted in the club paying huge wages for their continued non-services. In fact, the only one they should have genuinely made an effort for was Santi Cazorla, who was shepherded our back door like an unwelcome guest.
Well those days are gone, Emery arrived and with a smile and a kind word, players were dealt with in a more direct and clinical way. It would appear that Emery has managed to perfect the house brick in a velvet glove. Such has been his impact so far this season that various punters like oddshunter.ca are offering lively odds for Arsenal actually finishing in the top two this season.
Jack Wilshere, whom I loved but knew his best days were far behind him, was one of the early casualties as the Spanish coach examined his resources.
He then had an entire season to assess his squad and rather quickly identified who he could utilise and who came up short. Despite his protestations, Emery wasn’t passionate about keeping Aaron Ramsey and in the meantime, the board decided to look at its contracts and salaries.
The writing was in the wall for the Welshman from that moment, as it is now for Elneny, Mustafi and Ozil. Emery has lost patience and faith in the trio and has told the first two to find new clubs, whilst the latter was informed that if he was to stay, he may not be an automatic first choice and that his work ethic/team spirit would have to improve by about a thousand percent.
This is the new Arsenal that is starting to emerge. An Arsenal that is competitive in the transfer market, realistic with wages and objective about its playing staff.
The nicey, nicey approach didn’t bring success and many insiders thought that Arsene Wenger had lost the respect he once commanded, through a series of decisions that benefited the individual rather than the team.
Kevin Kilbane, who played for West Brom, Sunderland, Everton and Wigan said:
“There was an arrogance and petulance among his players which was encouraged from top to bottom of the club.”
Emery has managed to subtlety change the club from benefactor to football club and if anyone wants to test the resolve of the new regime, one suspects they might be looking for a new club.
Raúl Sanllehi is intent on trimming the fat to make Arsenal a lean, mean, competitive machine and of Emery points the figure, be assured that it won’t be long before a player is heading out the Emirates door.
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If one needed a recent example of the club’s new knuckleduster mentality, look no further that protesting and petulant Laurent Koscielny. Some will say he got what he wanted but once he bit the hand that fed him, he was deemed surplus to requirements and shipped out rapidly.
Wenger would have sat down and smoothed it out with his captain, Emery is less inclined to waste valuable training time.
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