Premier League legend Alan Shearer believes that Arsenal need to be patient with Unai Emery. Shearer wrote a column for The Sun. It read, “IT is going to be hugely difficult for Unai Emery to get rid of the scent of Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. Wenger’s stamp is all over that football club — in and around the training ground, in and around the Emirates.
And it is very difficult for any manager to follow someone who has been at a club for so many years. Just look at David Moyes when he followed Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. You cannot expect a guy to be in a club for six weeks and miraculously turn it around and for everything to be rosy again straight away.
Arsenal are going to have to suffer for a while and, like it or not, they are going to have to be patient. It’s small steps. There is no point saying the manager won’t cut it or he won’t be good at this or that. He will probably need 18 months and three transfer windows to get rid of Wenger’s shadow. And you can only really start to judge him after that.”
Shearer added, “Right now, though, it just looks like the same old Arsenal. Going forward has never been the issue for them, it’s their defence. And defensively against Chelsea they were awful. It’s fine to say you want to play a system. But if the players don’t work in that system then it’s no good. For example, it’s very difficult to play a high line when you have got Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos in central defence, who aren’t blessed with pace.
Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata is not the quickest centre-forward. But the amount of times the Spaniard or fellow runners from midfield got behind Arsenal’s back four because of that high line was very alarming. If they continue to play that way, there is no doubt they will keep on leaking goals. Of course, Arsenal had success without pace at the back in the days of Tony Adams and Steve Bould.
But those players had better awareness of the runners around them, were stronger positionally and were leaders. Emery also has a problem with playing the ball out from the back because Petr Cech is clearly uncomfortable with it. You heard the crowd yesterday and against Manchester City last weekend. They are nervous because it looks like a ticking timebomb when Cech has the ball at his feet.
You look at Ederson at City and he is one of the best footballers on the park. He is so comfortable with the ball at his feet. But Cech, as good as a goalkeeper as he is, is being asked to do something that he cannot. Going forward, there are positives for Arsenal.
They created loads of chances against Chelsea and should have scored more. Matteo Guendouzi came into the game once he got used to the pace. And I liked seeing him smashing his hand on the ground in frustration when Pierre- Emerick Aubameyang missed a great chance from a move he had started. But Emery is going to have a big issue trying to get the best out of Mesut Ozil.
Shearer continued, “It was a brave decision hauling him off after 68 minutes but he was absolutely right to do so because Ozil was doing nothing. Arsenal were carrying him. He was a passenger in the game. Before the season started, Emery was lavishing praise on Ozil, which I suspect was to try and get the best out of him.
But he has barely kicked the ball in Arsenal’s first two games. At the minute, the Gunners look a million miles away from launching a challenge for the Premier League. And with their current team, I would very much doubt that they will even get into the top four. They are already six points behind their rivals and, at this early stage, that is worrying. Emery has a massive job on his hands. There is so much work to do.”
Arsenal play their next Premier League game against West Ham on Saturday.