November 16

Hats off to Arsenal’s manager – not just Emery but Montemurro too

first_imgUnai Emery Pinterest Scott Dann: ‘My son saw the marks and asked if I’d been bitten by a shark’ Twitter comment Share on WhatsApp Pinterest One of the criticisms of Emery when he succeeded Wenger was that he was a great coach but not a good man-manager. That stemmed from his perceived inability to deal with the big personalities at Paris Saint-Germain. But he has shown that he is not afraid to take on big names in the dressing room, as seen by his substitutions of Mesut Özil and Aubameyang at Crystal Palace. Both players were underperforming and Emery made it clear to them, as well as the rest of the squad, that he will not accept mediocre performances, no matter the reputations involved. That mentality may be part of the reason Arsenal are getting good results.There is also a great ruthlessness about Arsenal now, with much of that stemming from the partnership Alexandre Lacazette has formed with Aubameyang. Under Wenger, Lacazette looked like he was affected by Aubameyang’s arrival, whereas now he is thriving alongside the former Borussia Dortmund striker. They are very much a duo, on and off the pitch, and that too is credit to the environment Emery has allowed to blossom.Saying all that, these remain early days in the new man’s reign and they have faced very few tests, with defeats coming in the two that have come their way: against Manchester City and Chelsea. That is what makes Saturday’s game against Liverpool so important. It is another game against a top‑six rival and if Arsenal are serious about competing for a Champions League place, and possibly the title, they need to make a statement against Jürgen Klopp’s side. Women’s Super League Women’s football Share on LinkedIn Arsenal Joe Montemurro’s Arsenal have scored 31 goals in six WSL games. Photograph: David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images Share via Email Topics Read morecenter_img Sportblog Arsenal Women Having lived in London for a long time I have a lot of friends who are Arsenal fans and, like many of them, I was critical of the club during the final years of Arsène Wenger’s reign as manager. Everything seemed to have gone stale and there was a desperate need for change, which finally arrived in the shape of Unai Emery. Watching on, it’s been interesting to see the immediate, positive impact he has had.The Carabao Cup win against Blackpool on Wednesday made it 13 games unbeaten for Arsenal. Emery has had a big impact and it’s clear the team are performing in a more deliberate manner now. They are also showing more grit while at times displaying the total football that we saw at their peak under Wenger. The best example of that has been the third goal in the 3-1 win over Leicester, scored by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and which came at the end of a beautiful, free-flowing team move from defence to attack. Facebook Facebook The treatment of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, left, and Mesut Özil has shown that Unai Emery is not afraid to take on big-name players. Photograph: David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images Staying in north London, I was fascinated by the debate Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville had about Spurs on Monday Night Football. It centred on whether the club are showing enough ambition to win the Premier League and I very much came down on Carragher’s side, which is that they are not.As I wrote in my first column, Tottenham are a club competing for trophies but never actually winning any and it’s hard to see that changing while they continue to deny Mauricio Pochettino the financial support he needs to compete with the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool.Spurs have a net spend figure of £29m since Pochettino arrived four and a half years ago, compared with £518m for City and £183m for Liverpool. They did not sign a single player during the summer transfer window and, overall, that is simply not good enough for a club of their size and potential.I understand there are financial restraints resulting from the costs involved in building a new stadium but Tottenham, and Daniel Levy in particular, have to make a decision: plan for the future or take advantage of the club possessing arguably the best manager and group of players in their history by living in the here and now.What’s for sure is that it’s not going to get any easier for Tottenham to win the title and if they are not careful they could find themselves trying to do so without Pochettino. The good news is that the core of the squad are on long-term deals including Dele Alli, who just signed a new contract, but players of his calibre will want to win trophies.Pochettino has been linked with the vacancy at Real Madrid and most people could not blame him if he decides sooner rather than later that the time has come to make a change. Arguably, he has a better chance of winning major titles in Madrid than he does at Spurs. Share on Messenger Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Pinterest While Arsenal’s men are striving for the top, their women are already there. Joe Montemurro’s side lead the Super League after a blistering start, winning six out of six and scoring an incredible 31 goals. They look unstoppable.Juventus played Arsenal in pre-season and there were a few raised eyebrows after we lost 5-0. But, honestly, we couldn’t get near them, with no one impressing more than Vivianne Miedema. She scored a hat-trick, putting away every chance that came her way, and has continued that form in the WSL.Miedema is the division’s top scorer with 11, and having last season looked like someone who was not on the same page as her teammates, as well as not always looking fully fit, she is thriving and hitting the high levels she reached for the Netherlands at Euro 2017.She is not the only one impressing for Arsenal. Jordan Nobbs looks unstoppable after some injury problems over the past season, while at the back Leah Williamson continues to be a steady influence and is deservedly getting regular England call-ups.Montemurro has the balance just right and after he signed a new contract I’ll be shocked if he does not guide Arsenal to qualification for the Champions League at the very least this season. They face stern competition from Manchester City and Chelsea but they look as strong, if not stronger, than both of those. Share on Twitter Reuse this contentlast_img read more