Top ten points Unai Emery needs to address…..
It’s good to have a manager who is geared towards solving our key issues.
But then what should he do exactly, as our new head coach? This is a take on what I’d like to see him achieve:
Europe should be an Emery aim
Seeing Real Madrid’s triumphs, amidst Liverpool’s failures, last made me wince.
And I didn’t so much in envy. I don’t believe in envy.
But then we are THE Arsenal.
Yes, we’ve never won the Champions League or European Cup in the day.
Los Blancos have won 13 of them now. Liverpool has five of them. In England, Chelsea has one, United has three, and Forest and Villa (who are not even in our division) have three between them.
So then despite 20 plus years of continuous Champions League football, we hold little to show for it.
I think the club, and going beyond Emery, need to rectify this.
It’s time that we attained the European scope (on the pitch) that our scope off the pitch warrants.
If this is the Europa League, then so be it. it’s a worthy competition. However, the Champions league needs more tactical attention, and Emery can bring this to us.
We often make big on 20 years of consistent Champions League football. However, we only reached the final and semi-final once, amidst several quarter-final appearances. We were a respected force in it, somewhat, but we never truly made a consistent mark. Liverpool has reached three Champions League finals alone, and Chelsea has made it twice. Man United, however, has featured in four finals. Should we get in the 19/20 season CL, we need to compete in it, or make a serious impression. If we can, then this must be a crucial aim.
Cech is not the keeper he was. I personally like Ospina, though he can be prone to errors on occasion.
In my mind, the issue is coaching, and not player quality. Hopefully, with the new coaching staff and better attention to detail, we can eliminate the flaws and build on existing strengths.
PEA/Lacazette up top together as much as possible
Both could feature in a fluid attack, and he has experience in handling this at PSG. Neymar, Cavani, and Mbappe, all were players who could not operate in fixed roles. PEA/Lacazette need to play in a similar fashion, and with two top strikers in our possession, we need to get the best from both of them.
Accountability for errors
By accountability, I mean dropping players for poor performances or even calling players out publically. Wenger didn’t do this, and with respect to the great man, he possibly didn’t ensure players were held accountable for failures. It doesn’t mean being rude or hostile to players in the media. But it can mean that, with tact, players can be brought into line. Emery doesn’t have to be a Mourinho-esque bully to do this, even if the criticism is justified (,e.g. Luke Shaw).
Mistakes as above need to be limited, if not eradicated.
A better record vs. the top six
Our record against the other top six has been poor of late. And this again is due to our tactical issues.
Much is said of his poor record vs. Pep Guardiola and Mourinho.
However, he managed Sevilla and Valencia, which were way behind Barca and Real Madrid. Even at PSG. all of Europe were not able to rival Real Madrid and Barca, largely due to Messi and Ronaldo’s pre-eminence. They have after all won many of the last ten Champions Leagues. Pep himself hasn’t won it since 2011. Mourinho hasn’t since 2010. It’s not really Emery’s fault if he hasn’t beaten them. Moreover, it is an example of something to be overcome. And with the benefit of superior players, he can do that. Sevilla and Valencia warrant no disrespect, but then the relative gap between Man United, City, Liverpool, Spurs, etc. and Arsenal, compared to Sevilla/Valencia vis a vis Real Madrid/Barca.
In part 2, I will highlight additional points which I feel Emery should focus on.