Unai Emery named the new Arsenal Boss
After weeks of speculation, the identity of Arsene Wenger’s successor is known. Despite newspaper speculation of Massimiliano Allegri, Carlo Ancelotti, Mikel Arteta, Patrick Viera and Thierry Henry, it is Unai Emery who will be taking control at the Emirates.
The news of the imminent arrival of Unai is already creating a lot of interest. Partly because it is the first time the board has had to change personnel at the top of the club for 22 years but also because the choice of the selection came as a surprise.
There were, according to reports, ten candidates interviewed and it would appear the 44-year-old beat bookies favourite Mikel Arteta to the job.
The track record of the Spanish manager is impressive, especially in European competitions. He led Sevilla to three consecutive Europa League wins; the last one was the infamous victory against Liverpool in 2016. His Sevilla team were 1-0 down at halftime but produced a spirited fight back to beat Jürgen Klopp’s side 3-1 to win the tournament.
Emery recently managed Paris Saint Germain for two seasons where he won one Ligue title and four domestic cups titles in France.
Despite this success, it was ironically his failure in Europe in the Champions League that would seal Emery’s fate. Last year in the last 16 of the Champions League, Barcelona managed to pull out what is justifiably considered one of the best comebacks in football history by overturning a 4-0 first-leg advantage by beating PSG 6-1 in the second leg to progress to the next round.
In this year’s competition, he was outclassed both home and away by Real Madrid at the same stage of the competition, despite fielding record-breaking transfer signing Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. Despite the disappointment over the last two years, it was Emery’s overall European track record that was probably what swayed the Arsenal board, simply because they haven’t won any European title since winning Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1970 and the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1994.
Arsenal’s recent Europa League campaign ended prematurely despite being deemed favourites throughout the tournament. The team also failed to qualify for the elite European competition next season, missing out on the Champions League and will play in the Europa League instead.
The lower standard of quality in the Europa League may well help Emery succeed in Europe but as many English teams have found out to their cost, a team that is inferior on paper doesn’t always make for an easier game. And of course Arsenal are not the only big club who will be participating in next year’s Europa League. Villarreal, A.C Milan, Lazio and bitter rivals Chelsea will be competing next season, along with any big hitters who finish third in the group stages of the Champions League, so success is far from assured.
In the Premier League, a top-four finish this season would be considered a success for Arsenal in Emery’s first season, with the team having failed to secure a Champions League spot for the two previous seasons before.
Emery is a good manager with the ability to develop good relations with both players and the team’s hierarchy as he did in both Sevilla and PSG. Though he has a limited command of English and lacks experience in the Premier League, financial limitations may be his main struggle. The former PSG manager had lots of money to splash in his previous job, unlike at Arsenal where he may find he has a much tighter budget. If the rumoured £50 million he has to spend is true, that would represent just of a quarter of what he spent on bringing Neymar to PSG from Barcelona.
This current squad mainly consists of second gear players that have not proven themselves capable of delivering consistent success over the years. Similar to Arsene Wenger’s philosophy, Emery has however shown confidence in the team praising characters such as Aaron Ramsey.
Time will tell if the Spaniard will leave a mark in the Premier League, or will Arsenal struggle as Manchester United did in finding the right replacement after Sir Alex Ferguson left the club?
West Ham appoint Manuel Pellegrini
This week has already been a busy one for managerial changes with West Ham replacing departed David Moyes with Manuel Pellegrini. Manuel Pellegrini left his job with Hebei China Fortune to replace former Manchester United and Everton manager David Moyes at West Ham United.
Moyes was perhaps unlucky not to have been given The Hammers job permanently after leading them to a thirteenth place finish and, more importantly, keeping them out of danger when the threat of relegation was a real one. But with many supporters unhappy with the style of play, the often besieged board decided against offering the Scot a new contract.
His successor Pellegrini, who has managed Manchester City and Real Madrid, has a reputation of playing attacking football.
The reputation of the new Chilean coach is also expected to attract other reputable talents into the London side and have a smooth transfer period. He will be the first manager in the side to have a premier league title on his CV winning the 2013-2014 Premier League and two EFL Cups in his three years at Manchester City.
His desire to return back to England saw Pellegrini take a huge pay cut but he will still be the highest paid manager in the club’s history. The 64-year-old enjoys a warm relationship with club co-owner David Sullivan and also praised the talent in the squad and hinted at a busy transfer window with the likelihood of him adding about four or five players to increase the quality of the squad.
Is he the right choice?
Pellegrini is a good coach who will really do well for the team but Moyes deserved more time after the good season he had. When he joined, nobody thought he was the right man for the job. The fans especially were utterly disgusted and were backed up by a section of Manchester United fans who still had bad blood after the toxic relationship they had with him at Old Trafford that ended with a bad break up.
Pellegrini will have an easy time succeeding his predecessor as Moyes had had already established a strong team bringing out the best of players such as Marko Arnautovic. The only challenge is that he has enjoyed working with world-class players at Manchester City and Real Madrid and will now have to deal with a rather average squad. His management skills will surely come to the test but the expectations are also rather minimal gauging from his standards. Any position above thirteenth should be considered a success, but he has the capability to lead West Ham to a top ten finish.