At the start of the season, Arsenal seemed ripe for a positive change. After a difficult start to the season, the club was turning things around. But just when it looked like things were getting back on track for Arsenal, the drab defeat to Sheffield United undoes all the good work they’ve done in the last few weeks.
Indeed, they were unable to score a goal for the first time in the Premier League this season, with the Blades recording a famous 1-0 victory to put an end to their horrible home form before the game.
In a matchup where the Gunners looked second best to everything else, they failed to capitalize on the little chances created and were lambasted for their static approach to the game.
The #EmeryOut hashtag was trending even before the game got underway, with fans annoyed at impactful players like Kieran Tierney, Hector Bellerin and Mesut Ozil being discarded.
The German was once again kept out of the squad after himself stating that he’s going to remain at Arsenal till his big-money contract expires.
While many are calling for the sacking of the Spanish manager, that is unlikely to be done anytime soon. Emery has no termination clause in his three-year deal with the Gunners, meaning they’re stuck with him for at least one more campaign after this.
Emery’s known to be a stout tactician who learns from his mistake, so it’s optimistic to say he’ll get knowledge of a few things from this defeat as well.
The Gunners have been especially poor defensively since he took over and that doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.
What Emery can do at this point is to immerse Tierney and Bellerin into his starting XI to make his defensive line more stable than usual.
Bellerin’s experience at his right-back role along with Tierney’s all-round ability should assert a sense of dynamism into the Gunners.
Moreover, they’ll also be bigger assets going forward and fit perfectly to Emery’s method of triggering attacks through his wing-backs.
With their pace along with masterful crossing ability, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and the returning Alexander Lacazette should get better chances to slot in more goals.
Moreover, Emery must stop his obstinacy in keeping out Ozil and make better use of the German playmaker, who is still among the best creative options he has.
Dani Ceballos can’t do everything himself, while Matteo Guendouzi and Granit Xhaka are more defensive-minded than creative. Ozil will be able to spring those delightful through-balls to their attackers, while open up rigid defences to allow Arsenal’s attack to showcase their full potential.
Top-four is the bare minimum after losing out on it last season and a two-point deficit isn’t the hardest to make up.
But Arsenal must improve their home form and build more character to humble oppositions at their own yard. By using his most creative players and banking on his stronger characters to see them through, Arsenal could gain better consistency to properly thrive in the Emery era.