Unai Emery is a quarter of the way into Arsenal’s first season without Arsene Wenger for absolutely yonks, and although the Gunners brought in five new signings, Emery has still got Wenger’s core for his squad and has somehow got them on a 13 game unbeaten run.
Arsene Wenger is clearly a bit concerned about the focus and commitment of his Arsenal team ahead of the visit of Stoke City for today’s Premier League match, as he spoke about the need to stay focused and not allow complacency to affect us in the Arsenal.com preview.
The Frenchman was also full of praise for the way the Gunners have been applying themselves of late and while he feels that there is still room for improvement, Wenger has been impressed with the determination to win and the fact that we have not rested on our laurels so far.
Even though Arsenal have fallen three points behind the top of the Premier League table club Chelsea and surrender control of our Champions League group during the month of November which was us fail to beat PSG, Tottenham and Man United, we Gooners cannot complain too much as the Gunners are still unbeaten since the first game of the season in all competitions.
It is not a 100 percent accurate way of telling which Arsenal players will be in the starting line-up, but almost every time Arsene Wenger chooses one of the Gunners to do a press conference with him then that player will be in the team.
Yesterday the Arsenal boss spoke to the football media as Arsenal prepare for the Champions League away tie with Ludogorets and it was the two goal hero from Saturday’s win at Sunderland, Olivier Giroud, who fielded questions alongside Wenger, as the match preview in The Mirror shows.
I don’t know about the rest of you Arsenal fans out there but I was certainly a bit worried when the news broke at the end of last season that Manchester United would be parting company with their Dutch manager Louis van Gaal and replacing him with the former Chelsea and Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho.
It looks like I need not have bothered though, because those United fans that were so happy a short time ago may well now be wishing that they had stuck with old LVG. At least he won them a trophy, with the FA cup success in his final game in charge. At the minute it looks like Mourinho and Man United would be hard put to win a coin toss.
It is not like Arsene Wenger to go over the top when Arsenal have a good game, just as the Frenchman is usually the voice of calm and reason when the Gunners suffer the setback of a bad performance or result, so it was a bit different to hear the Arsenal boss waxing lyrical about the team after the demolition of Chelsea at the Emirates stadium yesterday.
Perhaps it was down to all the frustration we have had with the Blues in recent years, or ever since Jose Mourinho and the crazy spending of Roman Abramovic changed everything. This certainly was an overdue win but it was the nature of the match that had Wenger buzzing, as reported by Metro.
Arsenal have been on the receiving end of this sort of thing from the current Spanish La Liga champions before, most notably when the Barca players led an orchestrated and determined campaign to let our then captain Cesc Fabregas know that he was wanted at the Nou Camp without the Catalan club having to make an official approach.
The pressure went on and Fabregas made it clear to Arsene Wenger and Arsenal that he wanted to return to Spain to play for his boyhood club where he had been at the famous La Masia academy as a youth player. Just like he did with Fabregas, Wenger took our current right back Hector Bellerin from Barca and gave him the chances to p[lay that he would not have got had he stayed.
The Manchester derby is clearly the big match of the Premier League weekend, but Arsene Wenger has got his own things to worry about as he prepares the Arsenal squad for the visit of Southampton to the Emirates stadium today.
It is a game that the Gunners need to win and one from which we expect to take all three points, especially aftyer their slow start to life under the new manager Claude Puel. But the fact that he knows Wenger from his time in charge of Monaco may just give Puel a helping hand and we cannot afford to take this game lightly.
I will never understand why Arsene Wenger felt it was alright to go into the new Premier League season with an Arsenal squad lacking in enough strength and options in the key areas of attack and defence. Most people saw that need before the end of last season but we are still waiting for the Frenchman to do something about it.
It was a month ago when Arsenal travelled to Lens for the first game of pre-season and that was when Per Mertesacker got his injury, so the manager has known since then he would be short at the back, as he also knew that Koscielny would be a late returner from Euro 2016.
One of the low points of last season for Arsenal, and there were quite a few of them as we failed yet again to make a decent job of challenging for the Premier League title or the Champions League, was the end of our hopes of making it three FA cup wins in a row.
That FA cup loss at home to Watford in March was an awful performance by the Gunners, but it was also something of a surprise, as we did beat the Hornets comfortably at home and away in the league, with an aggregate score of 7-0over the two matches.