How hard will it be for Unai Emery to turn Arsenal around?

How hard will it be for Unai Emery to turn Arsenal around?

Speak to over 90% of the Arsenal fanbase and they will let you know that change in the club was long overdue and, despite an admiration and love for Wenger, he should have walked away years ago. Not only did Wenger’s insistence on seeing the job through cause Arsenal to falter on the pitch but it caused a toxic atmosphere off it with the fanbase the most divided it has ever been.

All of the above has resulted in the Gunners being as far off the pace as they have been in the last 20 years. They are no longer considered genuine title contenders and will be embarking on their second season of Europa League football come September.

Emery’s men will start the season at 28/1 to win the league in the Premier League betting and that, in itself tells you how tough a job the new Arsenal boss will have. Bridging the gap between the likes of Man City, United and Liverpool won’t be easy and looking back over history at other examples of clubs trying to get back to the top table, it’s evident that it doesn’t happen overnight.

When Emery was appointed as the Arsenal boss, there may have been a few that thought success would be directly correlated to how many hard tackling defenders the Spaniard bought. Whilst the spine of the Arsenal teams needs addressing and the presence of better defenders a necessity, it simply isn't as straightforward as that. A few poor and inexperienced defenders weren’t the only things Wenger left behind. When the Frenchman departed, he left behind a culture of mediocrity, where the underperformers were left to carry on unchecked. A lot of the players that fall into that category are supposedly the club’s best players but could you imagine Guardiola letting Ozil throw his hands into the air and trot back to the halfway line after losing possession game after game? Emery will need to confront a group of players that haven’t had the whip cracked often enough. To get back to the top, he’s going to need to change the culture from complacent to one of excellence and that may involve just as much shipping out of players as it does bringing in new ones. It has already been suggested that Ozil may not have a future under Emery and some frank discussions will have to take place once the World Cup is over. Emery is in favour of a pressing game and working at a high tempo throughout 90 minutes has never been the German’s forte. What Arsenal do have in their favour is the facilities, world-class stadium, fantastic commercial deals and a recent enough history of success that makes them poised to succeed. The recent blip they’ve experienced hasn’t gone on long enough to hurt them too much in the long term. One of the most fascinating jobs to witness this coming season will be Emery’s at Arsenal. There’s work to be done and some tough decisions to be made by the new man should he want to make an instant impression on the fans. It will be hard for him to turn Arsenal around but certainly not impossible.
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