It was a baptism of fire for new Arsenal manager Unai Emery on last weekend. In his first game in charge of the Gunners, his side fell succumb to a 2-0 defeat. The 2-0, in theory, isn’t disastrous, but the manner of the defeat could be seen as alarming for Arsenal fans.
Goals from Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva allowed the defending Champions to start the season off the same way they ended the last one. They looked unstoppable while Arsenal looked discombobulated but there was some method to their madness and fans shouldn’t be quick to write off the Gunners just yet.
Here’s why Arsenal fans shouldn’t be disheartened for the season ahead.
What we have to bear in mind is, a new-look Arsenal side just took on one of the best teams in Premier League history. This was always going to be a tall order for the Gunners as Manchester City are a team that has a plan for any kind of tactical approach. But even in the face of tough opposition, Arsenal still showed signs of being a promising outlook.
In his welcoming press conference, Unai Emery highlighted the principles of pressing and possession. Against the PL Champions, Arsenal did their best to harry Guardiola’s men. That’s why the Gunners ended up winning 22 tackles and completing 320 passes. There was certainly a revitalised look to Arsenal as they seemed energised and committed to the cause.
Mattéo Guendouzi: the future or present?
From the depths of Ligue 2 to start at the Emirates against Manchester City. The 19-year-old was literally thrown into the biggest game of his life with minimal experience but still looked the most mature player in red colours.
Even though some would blame him for allowing Sterling to fly past him and score the opening goal, the youngster still refused to hide from the ball. At 19 years of age, Guendouzi had the most touches of any Arsenal player with 72, he also completed 38 passes and won 4 tackles in a performance full of promise.
The fact that Emery trusted the 19-year-old enough to play him against the PL Champions is a sign he will be playing much more this season. Of course, Lucas Torreira was on the bench, but the youngster’s display deserves more than a substitute role.
Change doesn’t just happen overnight. After 22 years of practising things in a certain way, it’s going to take time for new methods to be adopted. Arsenal is currently a side in transition, and we cannot expect them to come good straightaway. It’s not as if the club hasn’t tried to address the weak spots of the team, deadwood players were shifted in the summer, and new signings have come through. Money has been spent with a new philosophy in mind.
Lest we forget, it took Pep Guardiola a few transfer windows & 100s of millions to get the team he wanted. We must afford Unai Emery and Arsenal time before we start judging because his managerial record says we’d be a fool not to trust him.