Arsenal players were encouraged by Unai Emery’s attention to detail in the lead up to Sunday’s defeat to Manchester City.
It is becoming increasingly clear to Arsenal players that their new manager will adapt tactics according to the opposition, a philosophy that represents a significant step away from Arsene Wenger‘s regime.
Emery suffered a difficult start to life as Wenger’s successor in losing 2-0 to the the champions, but the Arsenal board will remain patient as the Spaniard puts his stamp on the team knowing full well the size of the rebuilding job in front of him.
Arsenal players were encouraged by Unai Emery’s attention to detail ahead of the City game
Similarly, the players have found Emery’s approach to games against Arsenal’s closest rivals a refreshing change.
Wenger was so convinced by his team’s attacking capabilities that he’d often send teams out with an overwhelmingly forward-thinking strategy regardless of the opposition.
The approach would often see Arsenal win handsomely against lesser opposition. Equally, though, the Gunners would lose convincingly – particularly during the closing years of Wenger’s reign – against Europe’s top teams.
However, the current Arsenal squad were left encouraged by Emery’s tactical adaptability ahead of the loss to the City.
Emery spoke to his team about remaining compact in an effort to stifle City ahead of Sunday’s fixture – a clear move away from Wenger’s commitment to attacking football.
It is clear to Arsenal players that Emery will adapt tactics according to the opposition
And while Arsenal ended the game with a 2-0 loss, Emery’s players believe the clear intention from their new manager to tweak their possession-based philosophy according to the opposition will be of long-term benefit.
Meanwhile, Petr Cech believes the position as Arsenal No 1 is still up for grabs despite winning the race to start against Manchester City on Sunday.
The former Chelsea goalkeeper’s role as first-choice appeared to be under threat after the summer arrival of Bernd Leno from Bayer Leverkusen.
But Cech started in the opening day loss to Manchester City to make a number of crucial saves to ensure the Gunners weren’t embarrassed against the rampant champions.
Nevertheless, the experienced shot-stopper is adamant he is not in permanent possession of the shirt, insisting new manger Unai Emery could yet make a change.
‘The manager has not told me I am now first-choice,’ said Cech.
Arsenal began their Premier League campaign with a disappointing defeat to City
‘I was told I was starting the game (against Manchester City) and it will be up to me how well I play.
‘It was a challenge and obviously I was happy to get the nod today but nothing is finished.
However, at times Cech appeared to be uncomfortable with Emery’s instruction to play out from the back – nearly scoring a bizarre own goal in trying to pass out wide to a team-mate.
But the keeper is adamant he is at ease with the philosophy of building from defence, saying: ‘I’m comfortable with playing from the back.
‘You play the best way for the team and I think that in a way if you want to dominate the game through possession you need to use every player.
‘You can see at this level that one versus one is difficult to play so you need to use the goalkeeper as a spare man every time you can – that is the role of the goalkeeper.’