If Arsenal beat Crystal Palace away tomorrow the Gunners will have won four away games in the League, as many as we won in the whole of last season. The change is incredible and according to Martin Keown we can only put it down to our new manager. “The best teams are defined by how they play away from home,” he wrote in the Daily Mail.
“Arsenal did not look capable of competing on the road last season, winning four of their 19 away trips in the Premier League.
“They were embarrassing to watch and their ability to get to boiling point was being questioned.
“Unai Emery has quickly identified the weakness.
“He is getting these players to dig deeper in a way that Arsene Wenger was unable to do at the end of his tenure and it has produced 11 straight wins.”
Even Unai Emery admits that it is the new competitiveness in the team that is making them work harder. “I think the first thing we spoke about when I arrived here was to improve our competitiveness, both individually and collectively as a team,” he said.
“We are doing that. Step by step, I think the team is more competitive and we are not giving the opposition a lot of chances to score easy goals.
“At the moment, we are conceding a lot more than we want to but, in the last matches, we are learning to control games better, little by little. Also, we are not losing.
“The most important thing is that these players and this team, like over the last few years, have this combination of quality and competitiveness. Then we can finish with a lot of players in the opposition box.
“This is the balance between being more competitive and not losing our identity and style. We also need to keep that identity in this team.”
Emery may not have spent much money in the summer, but if you look at who has come in you have Leno who made Cech try that little bit harder, Lichtsteiner as competition for Bellerin, Sokratis challenging the full-backs and Guendouzi and Torreira shaking up the midfield.This has forced Wenger’s unchallenged old guard to up their games to keep a place in the first team.
We may have all moaned that we didn’t get any superstars in the summer, but they were definitely very astute acquisitions….