What has been the difference in styles between Emery and Wenger? TheSportsRush takes a look at key changes at Arsenal.
Arsenal have made strong starts to their season campaign. Unai Emery’s side suffered early setbacks in the Premier League, losing both of their opening games, but are yet to drop points since. Arsenal are 5th with a game in hand.
The 2018/19 also saw the debut of Unai Emery in England. The Spanish manager took an unenviable job of replacing Arsene Wenger, who had been the Arsenal boss for 22 years. However, Arsenal now aim for their 10th consecutive win across all competitions as they take on Leicester City, and put themselves level on points with Chelsea, who are third.
But what changes have Unai Emery brought to Arsenal from the Wenger era? Let’s take a look:
A tactical shift:
Unai Emery has brought about a tactical revolution at Arsenal. Arsene Wenger’s side was a viewer’s delight, no doubt – Arsenal played beautiful football under Frenchman’s reign at the club. What Emery has changed, however, is the style with which Arsenal’s builds their attack.
Unai Emery likes to play from the back – something which has been a regular occurrence this season. Petr Cech has faced troubles – big ones against Chelsea and Cardiff City, but this style has provided a shape for passing football. Bernd Leno has been impressive so far under the Spanish head coach.
An excessive tactical attention has also helped bring improvement to individual gameplay among the players, specifically in the likes of Alex Iwobi and Granit Xhaka. Iwobi has been a key player for Arsenal this season.
For instance, Unai Emery’s obsession with flooding the opposition’s half with players when on the ball has been a regular feature for the Gunners this season. Iwobi, for example, is benefitted from his teammates applying pressure on the fullback, which subsequently provides him with ample time to exploit the space.
Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang:
In his initial days at Arsenal, Unai Emery preferred Aubameyang as a sole striker at the expense of Lacazette in a 4-2-3-1. However, once Emery decided to shift the Gabon star to the wings and Lacazette as a 9, the duo has clicked tremendously.
Often, during the attack, the formation becomes more of a 4-2-2-2, where Aubameyang partners Lacazette up forward. So far, the duo has scored 8 goals in the league between them.
Discipline in midfield:
One of the biggest changes in Unai Emery’s Arsenal is a stabilized midfield. During the Wenger era, one of the noticeable aspects to exploit the Gunners was the midfield. Arsenal were prone to counters as midfielders left ample space in the middle while pushing forward.
Under Emery, however, Arsenal’s style has gradually changed. The arrival of Lucas Torreira has been opportune, as his solid defensive gameplay allows Arsenal to push forward with ease.
Football, as a game, continues to change. Arsene Wenger, however, failed to efficiently adapt to the revolutionizing changes in the game. Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp, Maurizio Sarri and even Mauricio Pochettino have all been relatively successful with their pressing game. Sarri has arrived in Chelsea this season, and his self-styled ‘Sarriball’ has already been a fan-favorite at Stamford Bridge.
Arsenal’s pressing game under Unai Emery hasn’t been as efficient, but Emery is making concentrated efforts and changes can be seen.