Reaction to Unai Emery’s appointment at Arsenal has been mixed to say the least.
Though the Spaniard has a reasonable record at elite level, including multiple Europa League triumphs, the suggestion is that he’s, perhaps, a ‘second tier’ coach.
That he lacks something on the biggest stage.
Indeed, his critics point to Barcelona’s comeback against PSG, and then the French side’s meek surrender to Real Madrid in the Champions League as the examples to back up their argument.
He has been accused of lacking ‘bottle’ in the past it’s true, and can seem overly negative as a tactician, but Arsenal had to get a replacement for Arsene Wenger who was going to shake up the squad from top to bottom and in Emery, they’ve found the perfect candidate.
He pores over tactical videos for hours on end and is incredibly meticulous about even the tiniest detail. In short, he’s an obsessive.
He demands the best of himself each and every day, and that’s the minimum he expects from his playing staff. There’s no time for mollycoddling or an arm around the shoulder, it’s his way or no way.
More than one player in the past has verbalised that his intensity can be excruciatingly painful to have to deal with on a daily basis, but it always brings results.
You only have to look at his Sevilla sides to understand the intensity he requires from his staff, and that’s not something that Mesut Ozil has ever subscribed to.
Surely, the German is one of the most natural talents the Premier League has ever seen, but he’s not known for his work rate.
His grace and style on the pitch is hard to match, however, Emery will gladly swap the same for a player with a more rudimentary set of skills but who gives him every last drop of sweat.
Perhaps it’s too late to teach that old dog new tricks, but if the German wants to be a part of Emery’s brave new world then he’ll have to toe the line from the get go. There are no passengers.
Arsenal do already have players doing similar jobs so clearly there will be changes and no one will be safe, but that’s exactly what the Gunners have needed for a while now.
For far too long players have been comfortable providing sub-standard performances but happily taking their drawings from club coffers.
That all ends now. Emery will make sure of it.
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