On Sky Sports the Debate, the panel discussed Arsenal and Unai Emery’s debut campaign as Arsenal boss. They asked the question in the title, so what would be a successful campaign for Emery in north London?
Needs to change the mentality in the squad
Arsenal have been known as a team who are mentally weak and unable to cope with a physical battle. Emery must change the player’s mental attitudes and attempt to toughen them up both mentally and physically.
This does not mean tell them to go out and kick the opposition team, but be slightly shrewder. Swiss star Granit Xhaka arrived at the club with a reputation of a hard man. Granted some of his previous challenges had been ridiculous and he established a reputation for picking up cards.
However, in recent seasons, he has struggled to put in a put in, except in his early Gunners career when he made some silly challenges. Uruguayan midfielder Lucas Torreira is a combative midfielder, who mixed brains and brawn. Hopefully, he can help stiffen that midfield up physically.
Mentally, though, Emery has a job on his hands transforming the complacent mindset the players got into under former boss Arsene Wenger.
Top-four has to be the next objective
A few years ago a top-four finish would have been the minimum expectation from Arsenal fans for their team. However, after two years of finishes outside the top-four, a Champions League spot is the first objective for Emery.
Arsenal are currently odds of 9/4 of finishing in the top-four. The Gunners losing their first two league games of the season has not helped those odds, but reality Emery’s side always had a tough start to the campaign. The opening games against Manchester City and Chelsea were always going to be tough, especially so early in Emery’s reign.
Emery needs time to turn things around
I keep writing that Unai Emery needs time to turn things around in north London. The Spaniard has only been in charge a few months. I think it would be fair to say that the majority of Arsenal fans are willing to show some patience with Emery.
Arsenal fans will know if the team are making progress in the first few months of the campaign. However, to expect Emery to guide the Gunners to the Champions League spots may be slightly unrealistic.
What would be a successful season for Emery in his debut campaign?