Unai Emery confuses the f**k out of me. There. I said.
In the space of one week, he has dragged Arsenal fans into a pit of despair with a god-awful shambles of a display against Rennes only to turn it around and put in one of the best we’ve seen in a while against United to take us within sniffing distance of Tottenham.
Unai Emery arrived at the club when many of us were led to believe Mikael Arteta would be coming instead. To say we were relieved was an understatement.
Emery rocked up with a point to prove after his time in France despite numerous trophies. Arsenal and the Spaniard seemed like a natural fit at the time and little has happened since to change that opinion, although doubts were certainly starting to take hold during the Rennes debacle.
When he speaks in press conferences he says a lot of words but rarely anything of substance and if one thing can be missed from Arsene Wenger’s time at the club, it is his informative and intelligent pressers. With time, perhaps, this will change with Emery but I don’t hold out much hope it will develop beyond the media-trained blandness we’re getting currently.
On the pitch, it is still too early to make any sort of definitive judgement on his methods, mostly because they are really confusing. Sure, we’re conceding more than we were under Wenger and creating fewer chances, but Emery has also had to contend with a series of defensive injuries while also doing without Mesut Ozil – chief chance maker – for a lot of the season.
What Emeryball will be beyond high-intensity pressing against top teams is not yet clear and he will need a number of windows to stamp his own mark on the squad and remove the players who don’t fit with what he wants to do.
This season was always going to be something of a free hit for Emery. As long as he didn’t put us in danger of a bottom-half finish, he was always going to get time and space to make changes.
That he now has us within one point of Tottenham is something of a minor miracle when you think about it.
He’s been at the club for less than a year and has over two decades of Wenger to fight against.
At this point, the best I can say about Emery is that there isn’t much to say, but if he can work out how to make us play against the smaller teams like he does against the Manchester United’s and Tottenham’s of this world, the time will come when we won’t be able to shut up about him.