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Is Unai Emery a good fit for Arsenal?

Is Unai Emery a good fit for Arsenal?

Unai Emery: Arsene Wenger’s replacement!

Arsenal are expected to announced this week that Unai Emery will take over from Arsène Wenger for the start of next season.

Indeed, Emery has confirmed the news on his personal website.

Emery has managed at some of Europe’s biggest clubs but will he be able to galvanise Arsenal and bring Champions League football back to the Emirates Stadium?

Emery joins Arsenal with a ton of experience

Emery is a very experinced manager as Arsenal will be his 7th club. He guided Lorca Deportiva to promotion to the Spanish second tier before being promoted again, this time with Almería who he got back to La Liga for the first time for 27 years.

This helped Emery land the Valencia job were he led Los Murciélagos to 3 successive third place finishes, they haven’t finished that high since his departure.

The only blot on Emery’s record was his brief stint in charge of Spartak Moscow.

Four defeats from 5 in the Champions League left them bottom of their group and a 5-1 home defeat to local rivals Dynamo saw his short stay in Russia end.

However, he was back in management with Sevilla just 2 months later. In his three full seasons in Andalusia he won the Europa League three times including 2016’s 3-1 win over Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in Basel.

With such an impressive record in the Europa League could Emery repeat it with Arsenal this coming season?

Unai Emery

Unai Emery manager of PSG looks on prior to the UEFA Champions League group B match between Paris Saint-Germain and RSC Anderlecht at Parc des Princes on October 31, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Was Unai Emery a success at PSG?

Emery has spent the last two seasons working in Ligue 1 with cash rich Paris Saint Germain. Whilst there he won a Ligue 1 title, 2 Coupe de France, 2 Coupe de la Ligue and 2 Trophée des Champions but that wasn’t enough to keep him in his job.

That’s because he was knocked out the Champions League in the last 16, by Barcelona last season in that incredible comeback, and then by Real Madrid at the same stage. However, this shows that he has the winning mentality that Arsenal desperately need.

You must bear in mind that all 4 of the Spanish clubs that he has taken over were not in a stable condition when he arrived. They were debt ridden and did not have money to back their manager and, in the case of Valencia and Sevilla were really punching below their weight when they appointed Emery.

Sound familiar to Arsenal’s situation?

Also, during his time as Sevilla he worked in a structure similar to what he should expect at Arsenal. Arsenal have appointed Raúl Sanllehí as Head of Football relations and Sven Mislintat as the new Head of Recruitment, both of whom Unai Emery will be happy to work alongside as it was the then Director of Football Monchi who was buying all the players at Sevilla, not Emery.

The financial constraints he’s faced may go a long way to explaining his team’s often pragmatic approach.

So what kind of style of play should Arsenal fans look forward to under the Spaniard?

His teams usually play 4-2-3-1, similar to Wenger’s Arsenal, but with a hint of 4-3-3. One of the keys to his style of play is high pressing, like Klopp’s Liverpool or Pochettino’s Spurs.

Emery’s forward players are always very high and do not give opposing teams time to play, which is a big contrast from Wenger’s style of play but could be just what Arsenal need.

This was best illustrated in 2015 when his Sevilla side beat the eventual champions Barcelona 2-1 at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán. Despite dominating the ball, Sevilla’s high pressure meant they dispossessed Barça’s back 4 to score twice and win the game.

I always enjoyed watching his Sevilla teams play, the same cannot be said about Arsenal over recent seasons, which is one of many reasons to be optimistic and excited by this appointment.

Ahead of the 2016 UEFA Europa League final Emery was quoted as saying “Whoever doesn’t want to grow as a player and improve can go home”, and he could be the perfect guy to improve young players like Maitland Niles, Iwobi, Mavropans, Holding and Chambers.

Could this potential Arsenal lineup, in particular the dynamic front 3, flourish under Emery?

Overall, I think Emery is a brilliant appointment for Arsenal and one to really get excited about.

He’s worked with a director of football, on a tight budget and brought success back to teams who were struggling.

He’s the perfect fit in my opinion and I can’t wait to see how he does next season.

Related: Unai Emery’s plans for Aaron Ramsey at Arsenal.

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