Every Arsenal fan has been saying for years that Arsene Wenger didn’t do tactical analysis of opponents and concentrate on individual battles on the pitch before games, but it is obvious now that Emery’s training ability goes into deep depth about how we can win every game against any opponent, no matter how big or small.
This comment from Granit Xhaka makes it clear the difference that the Spanish coach is making to the squad. “Each game we know what we do,” Xhaka said. “We know the opposition well, where they are good and where they are not. He (Emery) is important. He helps us, not only me but all the players, with the small things. The tactical things. You can see that on the pitch.
“A lot of small things have changed. We have great character. If you are 1-0 down for example against Liverpool, we come back and it’s not the first time.
“We knew we would not lose this game because we were so good and showed that character again. If you see this game, you can see we are ready for the top four.”
As Xhaka says that is abundantly clear by the players attitude, whoever is on the pitch or coming on from the bench. And as for Emery’s training on how to play from the back is paying dividends and the players are getting better and better every week on sticking to his game plan. As our new keeper Bernd Leno told Arsenal.com after the Liverpool game. “It was an intense game,” Leno said. “It was a good game for the fans and we also played very well. I think we deserved to win but the draw is OK because Liverpool are a big team. The way we played was very good.
“I think today we saw that we can play our way against big teams. We controlled Liverpool. We played out from the back.
“It was not just lucky or lucky things to create from. We played the ball with passes from behind and that’s the way we want to play.
“The coach gives us a lot of confidence to play like this and we train every day very hard with him, and in the videos as well. That’s the way we want to keep going.
“I can’t compare it because last year I was not here but I think [Emery] changed some things – of course, the way we play from behind but also to play very aggressive, the defence is getting better, controlled. We don’t always run up front with nobody then at the back.
“Tactically, it is one step better than at the beginning of the season because it needs time and it also needs time now in the next weeks. If we work like this and play like this, we could have a great season.”
And if we look at this logically, our two opening defeats were when the players were only trying to learn how to play the Emery way, and now they are understanding exactly what he wants them to do and are getting better at it every week. As evidenced by our incredible 14 game unbeaten run, including an away win at Sporting Lisbon who hadn’t lost at home for a year and then the scintillating comeback against Liverpool.
The fact is that our next four games are against Sporting at home, then Wolves and Bournemouth in the Premier League, and Vorskla away. All those are very winnable under Emery and we could be facing Tottenham at home at the beginning of December with a run of 18 unbeaten games under our belt. How confident would we be feeling then?
Onwards and Upwards!