It is now seven months since we heard the news that Arsenal has appointed Unai Emery as their new head coach after the departure of Arsene Wenger. The Spanish boss said that he would respect the club’s tradition of playing attacking football but also added that he would make his own changes to the playing style of the gunners.
We are now in December and it’s quite clear that Arsenal’s playing style is different this season because you can see that the players always try to start attacks from the back, and the goalkeeper must also be involved, one other thing which he emphasizes on is pressing the opponents. It was a bit hard at first but the last few weeks have shown that the Arsenal players are slowly adapting to Unai Emery’s playing style.
Arsenal is currently in a crisis because Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos will miss the match against Southampton on Sunday because they are both suspended. Rob Holding will also not take part in this game because he is ruled out for six to nine months so Unai Emery has a few choices at his disposal.
Everyone is expecting Unai Emery to use Laurent Koscielny, Monreal and Lichtsteiner as his back three on Sunday at the St Mary’s Stadium but the big problem could be that Unai Emery is worried that his captain ( Koscielny ) might flop against Southampton because he is just from a long-term injury but more importantly because he isn’t used to the new playing style which the gunners are using this season. Unai Emery has already confirmed that Laurent Koscielny will play for the first time tomorrow when they welcome Qarabag at the Emirates Stadium but he also did say that he doesn’t want to risk him because an Achilles injury is dangerous.
So there is a possibility that Unai Emery will feel a bit comfortable on Sunday when he uses a player that is very familiar with his playing style and the best candidate for this is Granit Xhaka. We have already seen the Arsenal coach use him as a left back and even though he caused the penalty in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace but he did have a great performance in that position.
Mohamed Elneny can also play as a centre back but Xhaka could be put at the back with Lichtsteiner and Monreal while Matteo Guendouzi plays in the position of the Swiss international.