Only a short while ago, Arsenal found out who they will be facing in the group stage of the UEFA Europa League this season. With newly arrived Unai Emery at the helm, Arsenal will be looking to improve on last season’s Europa League campaign. Emery will be looking for silverware in Europe to continue his previous track record.
Emery’s Track Record
Emery’s impressive resume in the UEFA Europa League speaks for itself; He lifted the trophy for three consecutive years while at Sevilla, so he remains confident that Arsenal can emulate that success. The Gunners came close to lifting the trophy last season, but fell short to eventual winners Atletico Madrid, in two very tense and closely fought semi-final legs.
Several young players will be looking to make their mark on the European campaign, much like they did last season. Notables include, Emile Smith Rowe, who impressed in pre-season with his composure and willingness to fearlessly drive at opposing defences. The Englishman also scored against Atletico Madrid last season, with a long-range finish. The player who impressed the most, however, is Frenchman Matteo Guendouzi in the heart of midfield. At only 19, the talented midfielder can dictate play and is versatile as a defensive midfielder.
Among the positive aspects that Emery inherited from Wenger are two £50m centre forwards; Alexandre Lacazette and Pierrre-Emerick Aubameyang. Aubameyang is deadly in front of goal with his ability to find space and get away from defenders. In the short time they have spent together, Lacazette and Aubameyang have scored 11 times in 474 minutes, with a strike rate of over two goals per game. If the pair keep up this incredible partnership, the Europa League Cup might just be attainable this season, and along with it comes a place in next season’s Champions League.
Putting All Their Eggs in One Basket
With slim chances of winning the Premier League this season, Emery might concentrate all his efforts on winning the Europa League. The Evening Standard remarked how Emery has encouraged his players to embrace the long-distance travel brought about by their Europa League draw, and be ready physically. Emery is aware that this season’s title race will probably be between last season’s champions Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, and Chelsea, so it would be wise to take the Europa League very serious.
Improved Tactical Gameplay
Emery is a very pragmatic and tactical manager and an avid user of video to prepare for matches, with specific tactical plans for each individual fixture based on opposing teams’ strengths. While he plays a defensive style at times, he encourages his players to press the opposition high up the pitch, in a calculated manner. He has also moved swiftly to improve Arsenal’s defence, which at times leaked goals too easily. Crucial to his tactical plans are the holding and attacking midfielders and Arsenal have enough midfield strength to compete at a high level, given Emery’s experience and tactical vision.
Writer: Jinna Brown
This article is written exclusively for Arsenalshorts.com