When David Ornstein tweeted that the men at Arsenal’s helm have chosen Unai Emery to replace the legendary Arsène Wenger, fans were quick to jump the bandwagon and call out the board for being unambitious. The Gooners were expecting big names; what they were offered was someone who had just been sacked by Paris Saint-Germain.
However, things turned out quite different to everyone’s speculations before the start of the campaign – the Spanish manager now boasts a 17-game unbeaten run alongside a brand of football envied by rival fans. Since his takeover, Emery has managed to turn things around for the Gunners. He has outdone himself to get decent results, establish a philosophy loved by the fans and players and get his new signings to settle into the first-team, all the while playing attractive football.
Moreover, what’s interesting to note is the fact that the former Sevilla boss has also coached already existing players so well that a couple almost seem like new signings. A prime example of this would be Alex Iwobi, who has gotten back in form after a complete revamp.
This is also the case for Granit Xhaka, who alongside new arrival Lucas Torreira, has established a midfield pivot to be reckoned with while also playing in his preferred role as a deep-lying playmaker. Shkodran Mustafi also seems to have improved, as has Rob Holding who has stolen Sokratis Papastathopoulos’ spot in the starting line-up.
So far, the Spaniard doesn’t seem to have played his cards wrong. Even with regards to performances against big sides, the Londoners have only impressed since their defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea in the opening weeks – they dominated Liverpool convincingly but were held to a draw after Jürgen Klopp decided to play things defensively.
Further, the style of football the ex-PSG manager boasts of has been the icing on the cake for the Emirates outfit. Despite initially receiving the brunt of heavy criticism for wanting to play out from the back, Emery stuck to his philosophy and has now almost perfected it. Goals against Liverpool, Leicester City and numerous others stand testament to this.
It was no surprise that Aaron Ramsey was awarded the Premier League Goal of the Month for his sublime back-heel finish against Fulham, which was preceded by some slick and intricate passes.
When Wenger announced his withdrawal as manager, Ivan Gazidis claimed that the board would make sure someone who respects the philosophy of the club would be the one to get the job. Emery is definitely that — someone who wants his team to compete for glory whilst also preserving the famous style of football the North Londoners are known for.
Coming back to when the gaffer was officially announced as the head coach, who would’ve thought he would do such an amazing job? Emery took on one of the hardest jobs in the world with a budget no big name manager would accept, and worked his magic with unreal finesse.
The forty seven year old now has every member of the fan base backing him, and has galvanized the club itself – a feat that Wenger’s last few years as manager lacked severely.
He came in, took a struggling side that could not even win away games till the previous season and turned their mentality and results around in just a few months without spending anything close to his competitors. Unai Emery preserved the essence of Arsenal as a football club and laced his own philosophy within it to create something that, although not astronomical yet, is most definitely destined for greatness.