Arsenal fans have long yearned for a return to their glory days when the club was a dominant force in English football. Under the leadership of legendary manager Arsène Wenger, the Gunners won numerous Premier League titles and enjoyed a spell of invincibility during the 2003-04 season. However, in recent years, Arsenal has struggled to maintain that level of success, often settling for a top-four finish rather than challenging for the championship. But now, under the guidance of new manager Unai Emery, a sense of optimism has returned to the Emirates Stadium, and the hope of title glory is once again alive.
Since taking charge in 2018, Emery has been meticulously working to rebuild Arsenal into a formidable force. With an impressive coaching resume that includes guiding Sevilla to three consecutive Europa League victories, the Spaniard’s credentials are solid. Emery’s tactical acumen, attention to detail, and ability to improve players have all contributed to his reputation as one of Europe’s best managers. It is these traits that the club’s hierarchy hoped would help Arsenal regain its competitive edge.
Emery’s first task was to instill a winning mentality within the squad. Under Wenger, Arsenal had often been criticized for their lack of mental strength and tendency to crumble under pressure. Emery’s emphasis on discipline, hard work, and resilience has already begun to pay dividends, with noticeable improvements in the team’s mentality last season.
In terms of team selection and tactics, Emery has steadily made his mark. He’s implemented a more aggressive and pressing style, with an emphasis on attacking football. The 4-2-3-1 formation has become his preferred choice, with a solid defense shielding the backline and creative midfielders driving the attack. This strategy has reinvigorated key players like Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – both of whom have flourished under Emery’s guidance.
Emery has also addressed Arsenal’s defensive deficiencies, identifying that a leaky backline was often the team’s Achilles heel. He added more defensive-minded players to the squad, such as Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Lucas Torreira, to solidify the defense. The increased defensive stability has certainly limited the team’s vulnerability and provided a strong foundation for the attacking players to flourish.
Additionally, Emery’s man-management skills have been noticeable since his arrival. He has been able to bring the best out of underperforming players like Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi, reviving their careers and making them integral parts of the team. This focus on improving individual players and getting the best out of the squad as a whole is emblematic of Emery’s approach to management.
While it is still early days, there is a growing belief within the Arsenal camp that Emery’s project is heading in the right direction. The club’s transfer activities, even with a limited budget, have been shrewd, bringing in talented young players like Kieran Tierney and Gabriel Martinelli who fit into Emery’s vision. The team’s impressive run in the 2019-20 FA Cup and strong showings in the Premier League have only added to the optimism surrounding the team.
However, challenging the Premier League elites like Manchester City and Liverpool is no easy feat. Both teams have set high standards over the past few seasons, and their squads boast immense quality. But Emery’s Arsenal is gradually closing the gap and threatening to become a genuine contender once again.
With Emery at the helm, Arsenal fans can once again dream of title glory. His meticulous planning, tactical acumen, emphasis on mental strength, and ability to improve players all bode well for the Gunners’ future. While it may take time to fully restore Arsenal to their former glory, the progress made under Emery suggests that the club’s title ambitions have indeed been reignited.