It’s a new and exciting era at Arsenal and Unai Emery has stamped his authority early ahead of his eagerly-anticipated debut season in England.
Change was certainly needed at the Emirates and Arsenal fans have a renewed spring in their step following the resignation of Arsene Wenger after 22 years in charge.
While Wenger led Arsenal to unprecedented success – including three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups – things were turning far too stale and predictable in north London, with fans becoming apathetic to the regime.
Unai Emery has stamped his authority at Arsenal after taking over from Arsene Wenger
The Spaniard is laying down the law on at training ahead of his debut season in England
But in the space of one summer, things have become very rosy, with fans relishing the prospect of the unknown.
And Emery’s actions so far are showing hugely encouraging signs. He has immediately addressed the problem areas in the team by improving the spine, which Wenger struggled to do in the latter years of his reign.
The former Paris Saint-Germain boss has already made a huge impact at Arsenal, making five signings that will all bring something refreshingly new to the team.
The Gunners have very much struggled to fill the void of Patrick Vieira but they look to have finally found a player in Lucas Torreira – while not identical to the Frenchman in terms of playing style – that can sit in in front of the defence and shore things up at the back.
Torreira starred at the World Cup with Uruguay, keeping Cristiano Ronaldo quiet during the last-16 clash against Portugal, and it’s his £25million arrival that has got Arsenal fans most excited.
For years the club have been calling out for an old school defensive midfielder and now their wish appears to have come true.
The £25million arrival of Uruguay international Lucas Torreira has excited the Arsenal fans
Emery has brought in a new No 1 in Bernd Leno, which was hugely backed by the fanbase
Torreira is a combative, energetic defensive midfielder who relies on his reading of the game to intercept passes and drive his team forward. He will slot straight into the starting line-up.
The arrival of German goalkeeper Bernd Leno was also seen as a big statement by Arsenal.
Petr Cech’s arrival in 2015 brought fresh hope that Arsenal had finally found a reliable man between the posts but his career in fact started to dwindle while in the latter stages of his spell at Chelsea.
Leno offers a commanding presence in goal and at just 26 years of age, the German’s best years are ahead of him.
And while the signings of Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Stephan Lichtsteiner may not have got the fans off their seats, they should not be underestimated.
The defensive duo bring plenty of experience and leadership to the squad and can act as great mentors to their team-mates.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos (left) and Stephan Lichtsteiner will bring plenty of experience
In particular, 34-year-old Switzerland captain Lichtsteiner will bring with him a winning mentality, claiming a remarkable seven Serie A titles in a row.
Matteo Guendouzi’s arrival from Ligue 2 outfit is the least high-profile and fans know not to expect too much from him just yet.
Emery is looking to the future with Guendouzi, who broke through PSG’s academy prior to joining Lorient in 2014.
With the bulk of his business done, Emery’s sole focus is now on preparing his squad ahead of the 2018-19 Premier League season and he is having a huge influence on the training ground.
Training appears to have started off very intense as he looks to get his players in the best possible shape ahead of the 2018-19 Premier League season.
And Emery is laying down the law at London Colney, with him reportedly restricting the use of mobile phones and making the players integrate more – with the Under 18s and Under 23s eating alongside those in the senior squad.
With him looking to hit the ground running, the 46-year-old will also be very thankful that only nine Arsenal players featured at the World Cup this summer in Russia, including new boys Torreira and Lichtsteiner.
Emery’s training has started off intense as he looks to get his players in shape quickly
Emery has been fortunate that he has been able to work with the majority of his squad
He has fortunately been able to work with the majority of his squad during pre-season and outline his vision for his new side. This could very well turn out in his favour during the early stages of Emery’s reign in north London.
With Emery having had the chance to work with a nearly full squad, Arsenal have the opportunity to make a statement in the Premier League following their poor sixth-placed finish last season.
Emery faces a massively difficult task in his opening two games against reigning champions Manchester City and London rivals Chelsea.
However, with City and Chelsea having a host of stars at the World Cup, Emery will be licking his lips at the prospect of coming up against weakened sides.
While the first two games won’t dictate Emery’s future at Arsenal, they may go a long way to deciding how the Gunners fare in the Premier League next season.
Emery and Arsenal know they are very unlikely to challenge for the league title but they will see finishing in the top four as a hugely successful start to the new era as they look to get back into the Champions League.
After years of anger and apathy among the Arsenal fanbase, it’s time to get excited again and enjoy the ride.
Emery and Arsenal host Manchester City in their opening game of the Premier League
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