They couldn’t have been handed a tougher start to life under Unai Emery. Arsenal’s new manager might have hoped for a soft start to the 2018/19 Premier League season, but he was afforded no such luxury, with the Gunners up against champions Manchester City on Sunday. It will be a baptism of fire for Emery.
On top of this, Arsenal will also face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in their second Premier League fixture of the new season, meaning the Gunners could feasibly be left chasing their tail after just two weeks of the campaign. Two negative results could make Emery a target before he has even got his feet under the desk at the Emirates Stadium.
This is why Arsenal fans must have patience. They have got the change they so badly wanted, with the Gunners moving on from the Arsene Wenger era in the summer, but it will take time for that change to come to the fore. Emery will require the full season to mould his team in the way he wants and so Arsenal supporters must refrain from hysteria if their opening two Premier League games don’t go to plan.
It will take a lot for Emery to untangle all the problems that have been left for him at Arsenal. In his favour is the fact that the Gunners don’t have much to lose, given that they are already out of the Champions League and stand little chance of falling out of the top six such is the gulf between the best and the rest at the top of the English game.
In this sense, Emery finds himself in a different situation to the one David Moyes found himself in at Manchester United. He took over from Sir Alex Ferguson at a time when the Old Trafford side were the reigning Premier League champions and so expectations were tailored with that in mind. Moyes was expected to keep Man Utd at the top, whereas Emery is charged with delivering an Arsenal resurgence. Naturally, he should get more time to achieve this.
Emery has some big decisions to make. Will he stick with Petr Cech as Arsenal’s number one goalkeeper or will new summer signing Bernd Leno get the nod for the opening Premier League fixture against Man City this weekend? Will Stephan Lichtsteiner fit into the starting lineup, and if so, where?
How will the Gunners fit Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang into the same attacking frontline? What about Mezut Ozil? Is it possible that the German playmaker could be dropped after such a difficult summer? And who will play at left back? We’ll find out more about Emery’s grand plan this weekend, but the most crucial ingredient the Spaniard will require is patience.
How well do you know European Football? Want to challenge the best English Fantasy Managers? Play www.epl-fantasy.com now.