(Laughing hysterically before realizing that I’m supposed to be typing something) So for all the buzz about having the youngest manager in the EPL (and perhaps Europe) for 2018/2019, Arsenal found wisdom (I was doubtful about that possibility) and announced Unai Emery as their new manager. Journalists and experts (who think they know people at the club) enjoyed spreading stories about assistant managers (remember Buvac? Yea, I also thought that was ridiculous), with little experience, taking a job that requires the holder to have NOT A LITTLE experience. But then again, Arsenal have always played the media. I should have trusted them more.
The former PSG manager will be taking over from Arsene Wenger, and yesterday I realized that Emery is about the same age as Wenger was when he took over the club 22 years ago. They both encourage attacking soccer, are both obsessed with video analysis, are very interested in seeing players develop and succeed, and they both have…a similar fashion sense (irrelevant, but I ran out of steam there so…). As it turns out, he’s the only one that was reportedly offered the job after his interview.
Emery brings a wealth of experience with him to the club. He has been in the same position that Wenger has resigned from; being the underdog. It’s a position that he has thrived in for many years and succeeded (to a good extent). From Almeria to Sevilla, he has demonstrated his ability to dig deep and find a solution from his players. Sevilla didn’t win the league with him in charge (they haven’t won it since he left either) but he got them challenging at least, which is the minimum requirement for Arsenal. Arsenal doesn’t have ONE Europa League trophy, Emery has 3. Let him give the team one at least.
Reports suggested that Emery showed an admirable knowledge of the Arsenal players; highlighting the ones he could work with and develop. It was also reported that he fancied working with a lot of the young players coming through and had no problem working with a restricted budget. ANY chief executive would love to hear that and Emery ALREADY has the record of succeeding in these conditions.
People will judge him on THAT night when PSG somehow threw away a 4-nil lead against Barcelona or on losing the league title to Monaco in his first year. Few will remember that he bounced back spectacularly this season, winning 3 trophies and lost to Real Madrid, who are PROBABLY going to win the UEFA Champions League for the millionth time.
His sides have lacked discipline; on and off the pitch, but they have excited the fans (which is really what has been lacking at Arsenal for the best part of 3 years). We will see the team have some energy, some verve, some fire…I mean, what’s not to love about this appointment?
He will have a lot of work to do. But I like that he won’t have to change too much. Just a few astute signings and he’ll be good to go. He knows the kind of players that will fit into his system. He already has the backroom staff ready to come in. His tactical knowledge is made up, tried and tested, so there’s little time to be tweaking and testing. He has worked with big clubs before so he knows the pressure. These are details that Arteta simply doesn’t possess, unfortunately.
So for all of you who think that Arsenal have ‘bottled’ this decision or didn’t take the ‘brave and bold’ decision that Gazidis promised, you probably need to re-evaluate your thought process. ANY new coach is a gamble. The manager’s job at Arsenal has evolved so much that you need someone who can adapt into the role in the shortest possible time. You need the right kind of experience for that. Screw his poor English, Emery could be Arsenal’ best decision since…well…Wenger.