Shkodran Mustafi says the biggest difference between Arsene Wenger and Unai Emery is that the new Arsenal head coach knows exactly what he wants from every individual in the team.
Arsenal have now spent a while working under Emery, both in pre-season and the first few months of competitive fixtures. As a result, the squad should have a pretty good idea of what their new boss expects from them, and how he operates in comparison to former manager Wenger.
Mustafi explained what he thinks sets Emery apart, in a press conference with the media this week.
“For me, the biggest thing is that he is someone who really knows what he wants from each player,” Mustafi said (via Thursday’s Daily Telegraph). “He tells you exactly what he wants you to do but at the same time he gives you freedom to expose your talent.”
Mustafi has had to play a lot of games this season, thanks to injuries to Laurent Koscielny, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Konstantinos Mavropanos, as well as the loans for Calum Chambers and Krystian Bielik. As a result, he’s had to form a partnership with the only other fit centre-back, Rob Holding.
The German feels the two centre-backs and the team overall were at their best during the match against Liverpool last weekend.
“That was the first game I felt like we came out from the first minute and we were everywhere until the 90th minute, so I feel like there is a good mix between discipline and freedom,” he said. “I think that we are very good attacking, and that makes the defensive work a bit easier. Even when we lose the ball we are pressing straight away.”
We’ll have to wait and see which centre-backs end up as first choice when the others return to the fold later this month. Even Julio Pleguezuelo is starting to push for chances, so Emery might end up with a bit of a selection problem. It’s certainly better than having no alternative options at all though.