So, it’s all official now, we have our new Head Coach. A man who will slot into the revamped Arsenal structure and that man – Unai Emery – was presented to the media yesterday in a press conference alongside Ivan Gazidis.
And I must say I was impressed. Firstly by his English, which was a bit pigeony, but we’ve been led to believe it’s not great and from what I saw of him yesterday it’s nothing that a few hours of training over the summer won’t correct. And from what we’ve been reading about our new man it feels very much like he’s an obsessive football man. That can only be a good thing because he’ll know the importance of communication and so he’ll be frantically trying to get himself up to speed with his English between now and August. So I think that hurdle will be quickly overcame.
Secondly, the way in which he is going to approach this job is exciting. We keep hearing about how much detail he puts into his work. How much he studies both his own team and the opponents and with a person so focused on that type of mentality I think he can certainly improve a few players.
But they have to buy in to his style. They have to listen to the man and they have to embrace his methods. We’ve seen at Chelski what happens when a team down tools and it will almost certainly be the death knell on Conte’s Chelski career within the next few days now that Sarri has gone from Napoli.
So we need the players to be fully committed to the new man and I suspect we might have one or two shipped out if they don’t provide him with the confidence that they’ll go ‘all in’ on his regime.
Ivan spoke about the process yesterday and was clearly at pains to point out that this hadn’t been a last minute U-turn by the hiring committee, even citing specific dates in which they held interviews, etc. If you think about that for a second, it’s a complete 180 on the Arsenal that we’ve all known down the years. The Arsenal we all know conduct everything in private and announce things at the last minute. They give away little but the top line facts and they certainly don’t recite how the whole process went down.
But this is a new era of information where the levels of speculation are at points in which the likes of you and I have never seen. Almost always when a player is signed, a manager is appointed, or any other bit of news comes out, it’s through unofficial club sources that it happens and so I think Ivan’s y’all about the process was a clear indication that he didn’t want the narrative to be controlled by the press or people in the media.
So he told us how the process unfolded and it appears that Emery was a choice for at least a week and a half. He was a man that had knowledge on each player and knows how he wants his Arsenal team to set up.
And I must tell you, that excites me, a lot. It excites me because for too long we’ve had managers like Allardyce say things like “well, we knew that Arsenal would push full backs high up the pitch at certain points, so we just exploited that”, such was the predictable nature of how we played.
Yet we still won things. We still won cups despite the fact teams knew how to play us. Last season was a disaster we all know, but those players are better than what they proved, and now with a man who is going to challenge them to step up and give them all of the information to succeed, it’s up to them to show that they’re willing to up their games.
It’s why this pre-season is so important. Emery needs to have spoken to every player, talked about what he wants to do, talked about how he wants to deploy each player, then they need to be as excited at the prospect as I am.
They also need to prove they can be tactically flexible. It’s not something any of them have had to do at Arsenal previously but they are now being led by a man who will change his style game-by-game and potentially even do it during a match.
Again, that is exciting, because it’s something we haven’t seen.
This appointment, that press conference yesterday, the way in which Emery spoke, it’s all getting me up for next season. I can’t wait.
I’ve seen a few people digging out Ivan for making it about him, for even being in the press conference but come on, what else was he supposed to do? He’d been questioned about his process. He’d been the one that made the final recommendation. He was also the man who could fill in if Emery didn’t understand the question or needed a little help (which thankfully he didn’t). So where else was he going to be?
I can see why Ivan would have been impressed by Emery. He has something about him. Whether or not that transfers into results on the pitch remains to be seen, but this is the dawn of a new Arsenal era and rather than having to listen to a translators voice, we got to hear about the man himself.
He promised commitment and that his team would work hard and that is something that I want to see. I think some of those Arsenal players are more intelligent on the pitch than they have shown for the last two seasons. Now it’s over to them to prove it.
Catch you all tomorrow.