Friday, July 1, 2022

Arsenal not really progressing under Unai Emery

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On Wednesday afternoon, Arsenal drew 1-1 with Vitoria Guimaraes in the Europa League. The disappointing draw means that the Gunners have won just one of their last six games in all competitions.

The team from North London have now also drawn their last three games over 90 minutes. The teams recent run and form, in general, this season has led to major question marks about head coach Unai Emery’s ability to move the team forward.

Not much has changed since Arsene Wenger

There were many Arsenal fans who believed veteran boss Arsene Wenger held the team back from progressing. When the French left in the summer of 2018, his exit was greeted with excitement, as the fans believed they were set for a fresh start, which could lead to success.

Unfortunately for everybody connected with Arsenal, not much has changed under highly-rated head coach Unai Emery. The Gunners failed to finish in the Champions League last season, despite looking set to end their two-year absence from Europe’s elite competition for much of the season.

Towards the end of last season, the team showed a lack of spirit and mental strength. These were two of the team’s major flaws in the latter years of Wenger’s reign.

Emery’s mentality questioned

It is not just the players whose mentalities have been subject of speculation of late at Arsenal. There have been various unconfirmed reports that the players do not respect the Spaniard’s authority.

There were similar reports when he was managing Valencia and even more so at PSG, where the egos are massive. These sorts of reports are not helping the Spaniard, but neither is the team’s result.

The best bosses find a way to get through to the players. They do not need to rule with an iron fist all the time, but they need to have the respect of their players or anarchy in sues.

There is no suggestion that anarchy has ensued at Arsenal just yet. However, captain Granit Xhaka’s recent display of petulance at the fans following his substitution against Crystal Palace shows that all is not right. Emery has since taken the captaincy off the Swiss midfielder, which is not a major surprise considering the circumstances.

Maybe Emery needs to start making a few more hard-line decisions, or simply better ones. The Spaniard certainly has not been a universal success that is for sure. He needs to start winning football matches and quickly.

Winning the Europa League their best chance once again

Arsenal have for the last few seasons made it to the last latter stages of the Europa League. In 2018, the Gunners made it to the semi-finals only to suffer defeat against Atletico Madrid. Last season, the team from north London suffered a 4-1 final hammering against Chelsea.

This season once again winning the Europa League may well prove to be the Gunners best chance of a return to the Champions League. Their inconsistent league form has already seen them drop six points behind fourth-place Chelsea. They are only fifth because of the inconsistent of the teams outside the top-four this season.

The Gunners are joint-favourites alongside Manchester United at odds of 6/1 to win the Europa League. This is before the Champions League dropouts join the competition.

Overall, it is hard to say that Arsenal have made much progress under Emery. They are still inconsistent and poor at the back. It will take major improvement if they want to land a top-four spot. Recent history tells us that the Gunners are not capable of that sort of improvement and maybe set for another season without Champions League qualification.

Have Arsenal progressed under 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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