Opinion: Arsenal need to give Unai Emery time
This past weekend saw Arsenal capitulate in a way that has left fans absolutely fuming. The Gunners were seemingly running away with a 2-0 lead against Crystal Palace before (apparent) want-away winger/striker Wilfried Zaha was taken down in the penalty area. Palace skipper Luka Milivojevic then converted the set-piece and their tally was doubled by Jordan Ayew in the second half.
Question marks now surround the Arsenal manager Unai Emery and whether or not his position at the club is untenable. Given the reaction by fans at the end of Arsene Wenger's tenure, it was expected that whoever took over from arguably the greatest manager in their history, would need to hit the ground running.
With a Europa League final secured in his first year, it appeared as though the Gunners were at least beginning to move in the right direction. But with a dismal 4-1 loss to Chelsea in the final, the mood surrounding the Arsenal camp changed; was Emery really the right person to take the team into a new era?
As much as it might pain Arsenal fans to admit it, they are going through a similar situation to Manchester United, another team who are still trying to find their identity after losing their greatest ever manager in Alex Ferguson. What Arsenal need to do however (unlike what United did immediately post Ferguson) is back their current manager and give him a chance to embed his system and bring in the players he needs to implement his vision.
Emery's credentials as a manager are impressive, the three Europa League wins in a row with Sevilla arguably sitting at the pinnacle. Part of Emery's skill lay in his shrewdness in the transfer market, something that he has the potential to bring to the Premier League. Yes, the likes of David Luiz may appear to be a mark against this statement, but you just need to look at the likes of Kieran Tierney, William Saliba and Nicolas Pepe as young, long-term options for the Gunners who, compared to some of Arsenal's competitors, were cheap and shrewd purchases. Consider that Manchester United spent a reported £50 million pounds on Aaron Wan-Bissaka, which is more than the £27 million and £24.3 million for Saliba and Tierney combined.
Patience bears fruit
Fans are quick to forget that Arsenal did have an 11-game win streak in Emery's first season in charge, something that they had not matched since 2007. With football becoming more and more of a reactive game, Arsenal can be the club that add some sustainability and follow the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham who have stuck by their men in charge of the team and let them implement a style and personality that the team follow to the letter.
This is far more evident in Liverpool's approach with Klopp, who finished his first season in charge leading the Reds to 8th in the league, a full 21 points behind winners Leicester City...look at them now. It's not likely that Emery will be able to emulate the Klopp's success, but he deserves the chance to implement his style in more than two seasons.