For years on end, Arsenal fans have been crying out for a fresh face in the Emirates dugout as they felt the club had grown stale. However, none of them expected Unai Emery’s reign would have started in such ferocious fashion.
On Thursday night, Arsenal made it 11 wins out 11 with a 1-0 victory at Sporting Lisbon. This is the club’s best run in 11 years, with their all-time record being 14 consecutive wins. On Sunday, they face perhaps their most difficult challenge yet, a trip to Selhurst Park.
Here’s why Arsenal need to keep their run going against Crystal Palace.
Buck the Trend
The Eagles have always been difficult opposition for the Gunners, regularly giving them a good game both home and away. Since 2016, the Gunners have only won at Selhurst Park once. Most notably, Gunners fans will remember an embarrassing 3-0 defeat in South London early last year. This was one of the results that put one of the last final nails in Arsène Wenger’s coffin.
Last season, the Gunners only won four league games on the road, this season they’ve already won three away games. A win at Selhurst Park would be a massive statement from the Spanish manager, proving to the world that this truly is a new era.
Liverpool: Up Next
When Arsenal lost their opening two games of the campaign, the term #Project24 was branded around Twitter. This hashtag referred to the fact that Arsenal had eight winnable games coming up in the league before they faced formidable opposition. Currently, the Gunners have 21 points and a win on Sunday would complete that objective. Furthermore, after Sunday, Arsenal will face one of league’s two title contenders, Liverpool.
The Reds have been tipped as the only team capable of stopping Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City and their performances thus far have only strengthened that claim. With Liverpool coming to the Emirates next Saturday, Unai Emery must take advantage of this game against a team of lesser quality. It’s imperative that the Gunners go into that clash with the Reds with a 100%-win ratio and the utmost confidence.
Regardless of the standard of performance, winning breeds confidence. Unai Emery will be the first to admit that his team hasn’t particularly performed well in most of their games, but they have an 11-game winning streak to show for their hard work. At the end of the day, the history books only record the scoreline and not the performances on the day.
The difference between this Arsenal team and the ones of years before is that this team are able to grind out results despite not playing well. This winning streak has instilled a new type of confidence in these players that they’re not used to. The statistics show that the Gunners are running more than previous years, this will, therefore, show the players that when put in more effort, the results follow. A twelfth successive win at the expense of Crystal Palace would only add to Arsenal’s increasing confidence in their own abilities.