Ex Arsenal defender Martin Keown believes that former coach Arsene Wenger was guilty of emulating FC Barcelona, while Unai Emery is now bringing needed stability.
“The balance between physicality against technical players went too far one way,” Koewn began.
"I think it was done in pursuit of trying to match the excellence of Barcelona, which is the team Wenger wanted to copy most of all. The balance at Arsenal was lost.”
Keown, who enjoyed over 300 appearances for the Gunners, feels that Emery is steering the team into the right direction but is only still at the start of the revolution.
"Unai Emery is trying to get that back but he needs to get a better balance to the group because they forgot how to defend and for fifty per cent of every game, you are going to be without the ball. It is still their Achilles heel, particularly away from home.”
The 53-year-old Englishman also took the moment to appreciate the team’s firepower (added with new signing Nicolas Pepe) but says the balance is still missing.
"I am encouraged by the signing of Nicolas Pepe. He is exceptionally quick with very quick feet. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette need service and I'm sure Pepe will provide that as well as weigh in with goals himself. But the squad will need balance."
Koewn continued: "I have watched Emery with great interest.”
"He has been working, urging, cajoling these players to be at the Arsenal level that you would expect. He wants them at boiling point and they lost that in the latter years under Wenger. There is a lot of pressure on him but I think the manager was inheriting a fairly difficult situation.”
"It looked for a while like he had solved those defensive problems away from home but then they fell away at the end of the season and the problem returned. It probably cost them fourth place and the Champions League. That pops them into the Europa League and makes life much more difficult with the calendar and the regular Thursday night football."
"If I was still a competitor I would be thinking that fourth place is up for grabs. Frank Lampard is a talented manager but he's a novice and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer isn't much more experienced at this level. From that point of view, Emery looks a much better bet. But are the players good enough? Can he get them to be more defensively resolute?"
Several of Keown’s questions may be answered this weekend when the Gunners visit Liverpool where the side have lost 13 games in the Premier League.
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