Arsenal supporters in the Transfer Tavern have been drowning their sorrows in recent times after seeing their team begin the post-Arsene Wenger era with defeat.
Unai Emery’s men went down 2-0 to Premier League champions Manchester City on Sunday thanks to goals either side of half time from Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva, thus sealing a routine three points for Pep Guardiola’s Citizens. And the gulf in class between the two teams on show at the Emirates Stadium is unlikely to fill Gunners fans with a huge amount of optimism ahead of the 2018/19 season.
In fact, there may be some supporters that are already wondering whether former Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla boss Emery is indeed the right man for the club, with Sunday’s display hardly the most convincing of starts for the Spaniard.
The 46-year-old took over the North London giants during the summer following the departure of long-serving manager Arsene Wenger, with it clear that it’ll be a tough job for anyone following the Frenchman’s 22-year stint as boss of the Gunners.
Yet, despite losing 3-0 to Guardiola’s City in the league at the rear end of last season, it’s arguable that the gap between the two sides has widened even from that clash back in March – this all despite the Citizens leaving Leroy Sane and Kevin De Bruyne on the bench on Sunday.
Going forward, Arsenal were toothless and didn’t create a great deal with the likes of Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang anonymous, with Emery failing to do what Wenger also failed to do by getting the best out of the former in a big game.
And while the Gunners tried to play their way out from the back on numerous occasions, which is clearly what Emery wants his team to do, they didn’t look at all comfortable doing so – goalkeeper Petr Cech almost put through his own net in what would have gone down as the most remarkable of own goals.
Add in their overall vulnerabilities at the back, vulnerabilities that have been evident in the Arsenal backline for many years now, and one wonders whether they are actually any better now than they were at the rear end of last season. And although improvement will obviously take time, one would’ve hoped for signs of something in the opening game, and there really weren’t many, if any, on show.
Yes, Cech certainly did his bit over the course of the 90 minutes to justify his selection ahead of summer signing Bernd Leno, making several saves to deny the likes of Riyad Mahrez and Sergio Aguero, but the truth is that City could have had plenty more than the two they netted – the Gunners were well beaten.
And while Emery spent £19.3 million bringing Leno to the Emirates Stadium, the investment in the other areas of the squad simply didn’t represent what was needed during the close season to take the Gunners back towards the country’s elite – if anything, Sunday proved that they have fallen even further back.
They certainly won’t be the only team that come up well short against Guardiola’s men this term, but there weren’t too many positives to take from Sunday’s clash for Arsenal, thus already throwing into doubt whether Emery is indeed the right man to take the club forward post-Wenger.
Arsenal fans… what do you think? Let us know!