Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Arsenal have gone backwards this season

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 26 Nov 2019

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I wrote my editorial about Everton’s Marco Silva yesterday and how the Toffees board have to act quickly. Well, Arsenal are in a similar situation with their Spanish boss Unai Emery.

There is a lot of parallels in the two bosses’ situations, in that both arrived at their clubs as highly-rated bosses, and both of their teams have struggled this season. One difference is that Emery had achieved something prior to his move to north London whereas Silva had not.

Emery may have been the budget-friendly option

Although Emery had a big budget at PSG for his two years in the French capital, he was more accustomed to working with more modest means at Valencia and Sevilla. He enjoyed relative success with both clubs on a small budget.

His coaching acumen at Valencia in particularly shined through and helped Los Ches stay near the top of La Liga, despite a frightening gap to Spain’s big two. Some would argue his success at Sevilla was largely based on shrewd signings by sporting director Monchi.

That aforementioned tactical acumen seems to have gone missing in the last few seasons. May be attempting to turnaround the ailing north London giants was just too big a job. The logic in his appointment was sound and it simply has not worked out.

Same old problems for the Gunners

It seems that despite the change of coach in 2018, the Gunners same problems remain, as the team seems to lack heart and a weak collective mentality. These were two of the main problems towards the end of Arsene Wenger reign too. Little has changed in that respect in north London.

The Gunners still have superb attacking options in the likes of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. However, their soft centre in defence and midfield means they don’t win enough games.

Emery has failed to solve the Gunners long-term defensive issues. They struggle to keep clean sheets, which always gives the opposition a chance to get a result. The Spaniard, along with the other people involved with recruitment at the north London club have failed to strengthen their defensive options.

It is plain to see to anybody watching the Gunners that’s an area that needs improvement, yet for years it is a problem that nobody has yet fixed. It may not be an easy thing to fix, but the north London club have had three transfer windows to fix it since Wenger’s exit.

Who could come in as Emery’s replacement?

The big question is who would replace Emery, should the Gunners hierarchy decide that the Spaniard’s time with the club has come to an end? Former Gunners captain Mikel Arteta seems to be a popular choice amongst supporters. However, Wolves head coach Nuno Espirito Santo has emerged as the favourite for the job at odds of 3/1.

Arteta has reportedly stated that he will stay as Pep Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City until the summer when he will re-evaluate his situation. The likes of Massimiliano Allegri, Rafa Benitez and even former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino are all high in the betting.

The Arsenal job remains an attractive proposition, even if the Gunners have not featured in the Champions League in recent years. There will be a queue of bosses interested in taking on the role, with many who have managed at the highest level of the game.

If Arsenal dispenses with the services of Emery in the near future, the next choice of boss is vital. If it is the wrong man, then the Gunners may continue to limp along, in the group of teams just not quite good enough to make the top-four.

Should Arsenal dispense with the services of head coach Unai Emery?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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