Arsenal Showing Real Guts And Desire Under Unai Emery

Arsenal have looked like a different beast since Unai Emery has taken over the managerial hot-seat from long serving boss Arsene Wenger.

The Gunners have looked fitter, stronger and less fragile mentally.

Yet up until today, people still wondered if they were still weak when facing other top sides in the Premier League. Earlier in the campaign they lost to Manchester City and Chelsea. They did look brighter against Liverpool at home but they still dropped points in that draw with the Merseyside club.

So it was always going to be a telling game when they faced North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

Today they played hosts to Mauricio Pochettino’s men and Arsenal proved that they have what it takes to win big games, even when the chips are down.

They would beat Spurs by a 4-2 scoreline in an end to end game. The result means that Emery’s men have leapfrogged their derby rivals into the top four.

Arsenal took the lead early on but were a goal down going into the half-time break. Then in the second half, The Gunners stepped it up a gear and scored three times to take the vital victory.

It’s interesting that Arsenal won the game playing to their new strengths.

Emery recognised that his team needed to have a stronger midfield spine. Under Wenger, Arsenal’s midfield had lost any bite and they didn’t have players in there willing to fight and get the ball back.

Lucas Torreira was brought in from Sampdoria and the Uruguayan international was super today. According to Whoscored, he made 48 passes and 90% of those passes were successful. The midfielder also made three successful tackles out of three attempts. The defensive minded player also charged forward to claim the game’s final goal.

The twenty-two year old’s disciplined performances in the engine room have also managed to bring out the best in fellow holding midfielder Granit Xhaka. The Swiss star was also hard in the challenge and he made 45 accurate passes in the game. Only two players (Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding) touched the ball more than Xhaka.

Emery also arrived at the Emirates looking to play from the back and having a sweeper keeper. He originally gave the gloves to veteran Petr Cech but Bernd Leno was signed in the knowledge that the German can play in that passing style.

Cech suffered from an injury and Leno hasn’t looked back. Today he had more touches the Spurs man Hugo Lloris and had more successful passes too.

The Spanish coach is also capable of adapting and tweaking his formations.

He also noticed that his main forwards Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are better when they play together.

Today Unai may have started Lacazette on the bench but he was brought on in the second half to make an impact and that’s what the Frenchman did by grabbing the goal that gave Arsenal the lead in the seventy-fourth minute.

Livewire Aubameyang was a threat throughout and he thoroughly deserved his brace and his assist. The striker is currently leading the scoring charts with his ten strikes

The two goalscorers seem to love playing alongside each other and they’ve now scored sixteen Premier League goals between them, that tally is better than eight top-flight teams have managed so far this term. Only Man City have scored more than Arsenal this term in the league.

Arsenal have a confidence about them and the players seem to have bought into Emery’s game plan. That has seen the team go on a twelve game unbeaten run.

I also think the Gunners support would have liked what they heard from their boss during his post-match press conference (Via Football.London):

“This was a very big victory, we give our supporters this victory because it’s a special match for them.

“It’s special as well for us, but it’s three points – like in Bournemouth last weekend.”

We need to continue in our process. Today, for our confidence was a big match.”

It shows that Unai Emery understands that he’ll be judged on winning the big games but that to win trophies or finish in the top four that you need to be consistently winning.

The Performance showed us that Arsenal are getting better under their new gaffer and that things are improving. If Emery can bring in another centre-back in the next transfer window, then I believe they’ll be a team to watch in 2019!

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