Arsenal’s frenetic victory against Tottenham at the beginning of December seemed like a watershed moment for the club.
The Gunners were already on an 18-game unbeaten streak, but their bitterest of rivals looked to be the toughest test for Unai Emery’s men during that period- and they came through with flying colours.
They were oppressive, energetic and clinical as they suffocated Spurs in their own half and duly punished them. This was a brilliant victory, but that is not to say that Arsenal have not had good victories so far this season. However, this one signified a lot, lot more.
The 4-2 victory was the first discernible instance of manager Unai Emery’s influence at the club, as he is slowly moulding the team to his style. After 22 years under Arsène Wenger, Arsenal had become solidified in a particular style, but Emery’s pressing approach is becoming inculcated into his players.
What was most significant about this victory was the omission of star man Mesut Özil. While the excuse was given that he had back spasms, this would not be the first time that the German has missed out this season, as his slightly more relaxed approach to defending simply does not match the Spaniard’s philosophy. This was also a clear sign that Emery is not going to have any passengers at his Arsenal revolution; you either pull weight, or you’re gone.
With this victory, the future looks very bright for Emery and The Gunners. His vision is starting to take shape, and it looks like he doesn’t care who he upsets in the process. He will still need to oust some of the baggage at the club over the next few seasons, and in the process bring in some players that suit his style. But the victory against Spurs cemented Emery as the man for the present and the future at Arsenal.