As far as opening season fixtures go, this one definitely ranks as a Blockbuster. Its the start of a new Regime in North London. Arsene Wenger is now History and 46 year old Unai Emery is now the man in charge. A coach renowned for his intelligent awareness in the game and shrewd tactical nous.

Emery has won 10 major honours as manager: One top-flight league title (Psg Ligue1) and three UEFA Europa League titles (Sevilla) in addition to two Coupe de France, two Coupe de Ligue and two Trophée des Champions titles.

He has won a major competition in each of his last five seasons as a manager. He is not a learner in this Job and many have said he has a lot of tactical similarities with the man he will be up against in the opposing dug out today, Pep Guardiola.

In this same Fixture last Season Arsenal were beaten too easily, 3-0 by a side that looked miles better than them. It was for many Arsenal fans a bit like being at the Funeral of a Loved one.  A requiem mass for Arsene Wenger as Pep’s team totally outclassed his own in every single department of the game. Fitness wise, Tactically, mentally. etc


So what do we expect from Unai Emery today?

The 4-3-3 formation proved highly successful in Ligue 1, and Emery may stick to the system, but he could possibly tweak it to suit  those who operate within it at Arsenal. Afterall PSG and Arsenal are not the same.
Emery may adopt a similar approach at Arsenal. Defensive vulnerabilities have been a perennial problem in north London, and it will certainly need stabilizing if the Gunners are to have any hope of making progress whether in the game today or going forward as a whole


4-2-3-1: Emery classic

A system beloved by Emery in his homeland – having used it with Almeria, Valencia and Sevilla respectively – the system focuses on the use of a No.10, and this could be the perfect solution in finally getting the best out of Mesut Ozil. The talented German who under Wenger seemed to have lost his way a bit. The 4-2-3-1 is a Hybrid of the 4-3-3. But its the More defensive variant for Teams that are not very adept in the fluid transition play that 4-3-3 demands. In his Sevilla days Players like Steven Nzonzi and Krychowiak were invaluable pieces that enabled his teams still find defensive capabilities while the fluid front three of  Gamiero, Vitolo and Argentine Eva Banega Caused havoc upfront.

In Aubameyang, Lacazette and Mikhitaryan ..with Mesut Ozil behind them Arsenal are a threat but if you look at the purchase of Guendouzi and Torriera the management are looking to give Arsenal that same strong Midfield spine that will help Unai Emery employ his favorite tactical lineup (4-3-3) so as to make him as successful as he was when he used it in Sevilla


Possible Arsenal Lineup


Unai Emery’s biggest downside?

He is not fluent in English. And probably hasn’t gotten enough time to bed in his style of play on his new Team. some of whom are just returning back from world cup holidays. He may also have probably wished he got this game a little future but that is not the case unfortunately.


Pep Guardiola’s tactical masterplan

Before Pep Joined Mancity, No one Guessed that Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva would play together seamlessly. But perfecting that situation in central midfield is what has made Pep Guardiola so successful.

The use of two natural No 10s in a three-man midfield is unprecedented in the Premier League, where title-winning sides of the recent past have almost always used two defensively-minded players behind a forward-thinking creator, but Guardiola has turned the rulebook upside down, using De Bruyne and Silva in tandem ahead of Fernandinho to devastating effect last season.

It has been fundamental to their success. De Bruyne and Silva have excelled in their new roles, giving Manchester City unrivalled creativity in the centre of the pitch and allowing Guardiola to implement his playing style without any hint of compromise.

De Bruyne was Mohamed Salah’s closest competitor for the PFA Player of the Year award, with many feeling he was unfortunate to miss out on the prize, while Silva has enjoyed his most effective campaign yet, contributing goals and assists at a faster rate than in any of his previous seven seasons at Manchester City.

It owes a lot to Fernandinho – a natural box-to-box player who has been outstanding defensively – but it is also credit to Guardiola. He has instilled tactical and defensive discipline in his two most creative players, and he has done it without curbing their attacking effectiveness.

It is a triumph of technical brilliance over physical toughness and it has taken City’s football to another level.

Ederson’s the goal keeper is another “not-too secret” weapon of Pep. His composure is such that, even when City are pinned back and under pressure, he is capable of finding the feet of a team-mate with the kind of reliability Bravo could not offer in Pep’s first season.. According to Opta, Ederson has only misplaced two of his 624 short passes in the Premier League this season.

Most intriguing, however, is his long-range distribution. Ederson is capable of launching the ball deep into the opposition’s half with remarkable accuracy. His long pass success rate of 50.9 per cent is the best of any Premier League goalkeeper, and it is all the more impressive when you consider he does not have a traditional targetman to aim for.

Guardiola has harnessed Ederson’s long passing ability in a way that is so underated. Even a goal kick is considered dangerous in this Mancity team. To beat them you must really turn out something special on the day just like Manchester United and Liverpool did last season. Two games that could easily pass for the games of the season.

The clever thing they do which I’ve not seen before is that the forward, Aguero or Gabriel Jesus, stands 20, 30 yards behind your defensive line, the mancity centre halves will virtually be on their goal-line and they try to stretch you in every direction, If you press high, and everyone is locked in, they may try to kick that long ball for one for the forwards straight away. If you drop off, they play shorter with quick passes to open you up



Unai Emery  has a poor record with competitive game against big teams- against Pep Guardiola (10 losses) and he will need to start addressing that statistic soon. Can he start with a Win today?

We shall see

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