This the second part in the welcoming of our new manager, Unai Emery. View Part 1 here.
Here, I will see how he could solve our specific issues, and what we could expect from him in his first season.
I must say that his press conference was well done. His English isn’t that bad, though even the great man in his 22 years had some minor grammatical slips. It’s more than his English speaking is more laconic than Wenger’s, but he seemingly could communicate with and understand Gazidis and other native speakers.
Other points were he said he’d be demanding, and focus on attacking and off the ball pressing. This is the antidote to our poisons of the latter years, and we’ll see how well we can rectify our problems.
However, given our issues of late:
- Away form
Emery has been noted by various people, ranging from journalists, ex and current managers, and players, as being highly meticulous and driven, and that he functions well on thorough tactical plans and coaching.
Our away form in 2018 has been very poor, and largely due to structural team issues. Teams pressed us, and we lacked the organisation to handle it. Teams seldom did this to us at home, hence the contrast.
Emery’s off the ball work is key here, as we may be more cautious, or employ counter-attack more than usually do. Even after three years, we still look on the 2015 City away game as a rarity of defensive play under Wenger.
This game alone didn’t mean much. But it was a template of what we could do. It can be again, though under Wenger’s successor.
- Attention to detail
Last season, a lot of our players made key errors. Granted, human beings make mistakes. But then we made the same mistakes continually (or continuously?), which belied if lessons were being learnt or analysed.
Wenger was well-known for seeing videos of games, even from seemingly obscure leagues and countries. But mainly to keep abreast of the game, and not to plan or develop formulae. Emery seems the opposite, in that he uses videos as a dossier.
If this can aid our defensive woes or tactical shortcomings, all the better.
Ivan Gazidis mentioned in Emery’s interview that he presented a full report on all players, and how each can be improved. Given this, it’s critical that we see some defensive improvements unfold.
- One on one coaching
Wenger’s style was always, even in the winning years, focused on diets, physical priming, psychological preparation, and technical skill. He believed that players once physically guided should be intelligent enough to develop their own strengths, playing styles, and formats. This worked when we had highly dedicated and hardened pros like Adams, Wright, Henry, Dixon, Bergkamp, etc. In the latter days, it didn’t have the same effect, since players’ attitudes had changed.
Emery’s style more reflects the modern player’s disposition. They require these days to be guided and be shown what to do, and how to do it. We can see with players such as Bellerin that they need further development. Mustafi, much maligned by many, could improve too. Iwobi is another who may enhance with the requisite guidance.
Emery could boost many in our squad, with the proper attention to detail applied.
- The top teams
Our record vs. the top teams of late has been poor.
In 17/18, we beat the scum at home and drew with Chelsea and Liverpool. We lost to the scum away, lost to Liverpool, United, and City away, and drew with Chelsea. Emery has not as much touted in the press, beaten Pep and Mourinho before.
Getting a top four place is often contingent on beating the top teams. But then in Spain, and in his time at Valencia and Sevilla, he faced Pep and Mourinho as far and away the two best teams in the country. Moreover, they were and are the two biggest clubs, and had (and still have in some cases):
And all other rubbishy players. What exactly have Messi and Ronaldo done in the game?
Sevilla and Valencia are big clubs in their own rights. But not Barca/Real Madrid levels. It’s no shame to lose to far superior opponents.
And because something hasn’t been done, it doesn’t mean it never be done. It should be a test to try and improve and better oneself, and Emery surely knows that.
So what can we expect?
Personally, I’m looking for:
- Better organisation and fewer mistakes
- An enhanced mentality in key games
- Tactical flexibility, and better off the ball work
- A stronger midfield balance
- Better away performances
- A higher league placing
- Winning a cup, most preferably the Europa League
We’ve wanted change, and Emery seemingly is the change we need. He fits the bill in the manner that we need, and I’m buzzing until the first game of the season.
Welcome, Unai. You paid tribute to the great man in your initial press conference, and he’s a fine template for you to emulate, and even better.