After internal issues threatened to derail their season, Arsenal seems to have picked up momentum in recent weeks.
The Gunners are getting back to their best under Unai Emery, who seems to have perfected the art of rotation with his luxurious attack-minded side.
Indeed, they’ve produced some scintillating attacking football in the 5-1 demolition of Bournemouth. However, the real test begins now for Arsenal and Unai Emery. First up is a North London derby against a wounded Tottenham Hotspur, followed by an encounter with a rejuvenated Manchester United as Arsenal face the toughest test in qualifying for the Champions League yet.
In between these also feature a UEFA Europa League round of 16 tie against French side Rennes, with the North London giants set to face the heat of a tight schedule. Things could go both ways for them. Their season could crumble into a mess or Unai Emery’s side can receive a big boost to power them in the next few months.
The outcome is solely balanced on Unai Emery’s approach. Emery’s big-game record with Arsenal isn’t the best, but things can change now. If he can get his tactics perfect in allowing his side’s free-flowing rhythm and pace to hurt opposition defences, while maintaining caution to their own defending, Arsenal could outwit their opponents.
Emery needs to be mindful of his rotation, making sure to get the best out of Alexander Lacazette, Mesut Ozil and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang. While their defensive nature is certainly an issue, if Arsenal can approach the games with confidence and swagger, Emery could come out with season-defining results in the next weeks.
If the Spaniard can navigate this tough set of fixtures, it’ll prove those behind the scenes got it right when they appointed him as a relative surprise over the course of last summer.