In his first game at the helm, first-year Arsenal manager Unai Emery lost 2-0 to the record-setting defending league champions from The Ethidad, but still showed promise in the process.
Let’s be honest here, no one really gave Arsenal much of a chance vs. Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side who is widely expected to win the EPL crown again–unless Liverpool or that other side from North London has anything to say about it–but thanks to a flurry of moves during the transfer window and bringing his 4-3-3 formation from three-time Europa League champions Sevilla and Champions League contender, Paris Saint-Germain, Emery has given Arsenal a new identity and tactical approach which was long needed.
I ain’t going to make my disdain for Arsene Wenger a secret, nor hide the fact that I was part of the #WengerOut brigade, but again, let’s be real here, Wenger overstayed his time at Arsenal and suffered from a case of Tom Landry syndrome.
I could rattle off a litany of issues I hade with Le Professur. Mainly his inability to make second-half adjustments and actually buy players of quality during the transfer window. The over adulation and reliance on his own tactics–which everyone is now using in England, made him look both stale and out of date.
Back to the subject now, and that in Emery, instead of playing forward and exposing a weak and oftentimes suspect defense, one could clearly see that Arsenal will be pressing more and actually playing the ball, relying on building up a counter and ball possession.
Again, purely based on the eye test vs. Man City, Arsenal–for the first time in like 20 years–looked like a modern-day club that attached and defended well, challenged when necessary and moved up when able.
It’s only one game in the first of many in Emery’s tenure. While he may or may not win the EPL this year, Arsenal already looks a lot better, and for once has some real spine for a change.