3 steps to success for Arsenal against Manchester City
For the first time in 22 years, Arsenal will line up for a Premier League fixture without Le Professeur Arsene Wenger in the dugout. Arsene left the Emirates throne having built a wonderful empire.
Arsenal’s search for their next manager ended when Unai Emery ascended to the Emirates throne. Emery has enjoyed a good pre-season with victories over Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Lazio. However, anyone who watches football will tell you that the Premier League is a different cup of tea altogether.
The fixture gods weren’t kind on Emery and handed him the toughest possible opening fixture. Emery and Arsenal have to lay down the red carpet for the defending champions, Manchester City on Sunday.
In the 2017-18 season, Manchester City convincingly won both league games against Arsenal, with their 3-0 thrashing of Arsenal at the Emirates a highlight of their season. Though there is a change at the top for Arsenal, Manchester City still represent a tough proposition.
Through this article, we would look at 3 things that Arsenal need to ace in order to shock the defending champions on the opening weekend and get Emery’s reign off to the best possible start.
#1 Press with high intensity and co-ordination
Arsene Wenger was not a huge fan of the modern day ‘press’. The type of pressure applied by Arsene’s team was more akin to ‘closing down’ than ‘pressing’. However, Emery takes more joy in ‘pressing’ the opposition than anything else.
In the pre-season games, we could see a marked difference in the way Arsenal approached the games. Though the initial signs were encouraging, Arsenal’s pressing still looks a little undercooked. Against Chelsea, Jorginho and Chelsea were able to beat the press time and again. With this, Chelsea outnumbered the Gunners in midfield and sprang attacks consistently.
Manchester City are another team who like to play out from the back. Arsenal would need to produce a more co-ordinated press if they are to get any joy. Fernandinho would perform a role similar to Jorginho and if Arsenal allow City to evade their press as easily, they would be in real trouble. City have the required firepower to hurt Arsenal and the game could well be lost in a jiffy.
Arsenal showed signs of improvement in the game against Lazio. However, Lazio are not a team who play out from the back. Hence, their shortcomings were not exposed.
Arsenal need to produce the perfect game against City if they are to start off on a winning note. If they are able to pull off the ‘press’ with efficiency, it would go a long way in gaining the upper-hand against Manchester City.