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Premier League 2018/19: Why Emery is the coach of the season so far

  • With the Gunners over-achieving so far this season, Emery deserves recognition for having the club punching above it's weight.
Giulio Prifti
Modified 02 Apr 2019, 18:34 IST
Huddersfield Town v Arsenal FC - Premier League
Huddersfield Town v Arsenal FC - Premier League

Since Unai Emery replaced Arsene Wenger as the manager in the summer, something changed at the Emirates Stadium. After 22 years of the French managerial legend, he pulled the line and decided to leave his beloved Arsenal. The ex-Sevilla and PSG coach was chosen as successor and not everyone was happy with the appointment. Reportedly he was not even the number one candidate for this role.

A bad sign for a coach, who gets his first spell in the Premier League, especially when you are managing a club like Arsenal. Another bad sign was his start in the League. He lost his first two games against Manchester City and Chelsea and the critics got louder and louder. It seemed like the Spaniard would not have a long spell in London.

Now, after around eight months, a great run from August to December and some big wins, the Gunners find themselves in the third spot, a position which they never even dreamed of at the beginning of the season.

Arsenal FC v Newcastle United - Premier League
Arsenal FC v Newcastle United - Premier League

This development is the merit of Emery’s meticulous work at the Emirates. Due to that, the manager is definitely a possible candidate for manager of the season. But what are the numbers behind this accomplishment? And what makes him better than the other coaches this season?

The last season was the worst since Arséne Wenger joined the club in 1996. The team ended 6th, which also never happened under the Frenchman. This decline is not only visible in the position at the end of the campaign, but also in the points and scoring section of the game.

Arsenal's seasons from 13/14 to 17/18 compared

It is visible that Arsenal had a very bad season, compared to the four years before, and definitely declined. Despite being reasonably good in the offense, the defense was very poor. No other team in the top six had a worse goal difference in the 38 games.

Under Emery those numbers are a thing from the past. The club already managed to get as many points in 31 games, as they were able to the entirety of last season. The Gunners have a better goal difference and also managed to hold on to a good defensive record.

Arsenal's 17/18 compared to their 18/19 season

If the team plays on like that, they would mathematically reach 77 points, which is their best tally since 13/14.

Those numbers are particularly impressive when you consider that it is the first season of “Emeryball."

In comparison to the other top six clubs, their increase is even more visible:

Every top 6 team
Every top 6 team's 17/18, compared to their 18/19 season

Arsenal is the team that improved the most since the beginning of the season. They nearly earned a third more of the point tally, which the team had last season at this stage, which is by far the best development at the top.

It is also possible that this number even gets better. In the remaining seven games they do not face any of the other top six teams in the league and therefore are likely to drop fewer to no points.

This makes Emery one of the best, if not the best manager in the league. It is even more impressive when you consider that the only teams, that also increased their point tally so far (Liverpool and Chelsea), both spent more than twice as much as the North Londoners in the summer transfer window.

His record against the other top clubs is also very good. Another comparison to the last season shows, that he managed to double the amount of points they got from those matches.

A comparison of the average points gained against fellow top 6 clubs in the 17/18 & 18/19 season
A comparison of the average points gained against fellow top 6 clubs in the 17/18 & 18/19 season

There are many managers like Jürgen Klopp from Liverpool, Javi Garcia from Watford or even Nuno Espirito Santo from Wolves, that warrant a shout for being the best coach of the league so far. They are all doing a superb job for their clubs and help their teams to exceed the expectations.

But what Unai Emery is doing right now is astonishing. Arsenal are finally back to old strength. They have not only improved massively, in both the league and matches against fellow top 6 teams, the Gunners also have done this on a very high level, with a lot of pressure on them.

He is developing youth, he is playing attractive football and seems to finally have found a formation that suits the side, in the 3-4-1-2.

Arsenal are in the race for the Champions League spot, something that no one would have expected at the start of the season, and with some transfers here and there, the club could join the title race next year. Mostly thanks to their new Spanish coach.

Arsenal FC v Newcastle United - Premier League
Arsenal FC v Newcastle United - Premier League
Published 02 Apr 2019, 18:34 IST
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