Unai Emery’s Gamble Pays Off Against Manchester United

Unai Emery has been slipping under the radar in his debut role as manager for Arsenal. The pressure is definitely on Emery since he replaced Arsene Wenger. However, in comparison to his rivals, the former Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla head coach has had to battle to get honestly noticed.

He hasn’t been showered with the same praise that is usually lavished on Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino. Managing to escape the scrutiny that has been weighing down Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea. As for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, the ups and down for Emery at the Emirates have been wiped out by the noise surrounding the two managers at Old Trafford at the beginning of the season.

Arsenal vs Manchester United

However, the 2-0 victory against Manchester United this weekend saw Emery give a perfect reminder of his credentials and managed to answer a wide range of questions in the process. This was a match that Arsenal had to win if they wanted to finish in the qualification places within the Premier League’s Champions League. Also, the team also had to bounce back after a 3-1 defeat against Rennes in the Europa League.

With the return fixture on the horizon later this week, Arsenal’s season was hostile to hence on the outcome of two huge matches. Defeat in the first match, against Manchester United who claimed a phenomenal win against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, would have been a devastating setback for the Gunners top-four hopes. However, Emery decided to be bold.

Most believed that he was reckless to choose a complete attacking line-up against a team that hasn’t lost a game since Solskjaer joined in December. It seemed like Emery was about to make the same mistakes Wenger did against elite teams, by overloading on the attack and hoping for the best.

Nonetheless, he decided to include Mesut Ozil, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, and Aaron Ramsey ahead of Granit Xhaka along with Nacho Monreal, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, and Laurent Koscielny as the back three. This was all set up correctly to stifle Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford.

Apart from the bad finishes that were produced by Manchester United, Arsenal’s approach worked beautifully. Defending was a significant issue for Arsenal under Wegner. After watching the game over the weekend, there’s no doubt that all of this has been rectified under Emery. During the closing stages of the match, supporters of Arsenal sang that they were coming for Tottenham Hotspur who are only one point away on the Premier League table.

The Upcoming Battle

With Tottenham getting destroyed by Southampton over the weekend, it dragged Hotspur back into the fight. Therefore, we are going to see a marvellous battle for fourth place between Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, and Tottenham Hotspur. Arsenal has played all their elite games, while Tottenham still has to face Man City and Liverpool. United also need to host Chelsea and Man City before the Premier League comes to an end.