Arsenal EXCLUSIVE: Unai Emery has settled in well
Former Sevilla and PSG manager Emery replaced Arsene Wenger at Arsenal in the summer.
The Gunners stars had been listening to Wenger for 22 years, however, the Frenchman decided it was time to walk away.
Emery, who is well known for his meticulous management, playing out from the back and demanding his players cover certain distances during games, has settled in well in north London.
The Spaniard has also proved he isn’t afraid to make key decisions, with Emery opting to keep his summer signing Bernd Leno on the bench, telling Aaron Ramsey he can leave and playing tough with Mesut Ozil.
The big thing for me is that he’s won the dressing room over
After losing against Manchester City and Chelsea in their opening two Premier League games, the Gunners have gone on a 14-game unbeaten run, including 11 consecutive wins.
And speaking ahead of the Gunners’ Europa League clash with Sporting Lisbon on Thursday evening, BT Sport pundit Hartson revealed Emery’s quick start shocked him.
When asked if he’s been surprised by Arsenal under Emery, Hartson exclusively told Express Sport: “It has surprised me and if anyone tells you they’re not surprised, they’re lying.
“To go 14 games unbeaten, to show that character… he’s not frightened to make big decisions, look at Aaron Ramsey’s situation. Look at Mesut Ozil at the start of the season too.
Arsenal EXCLUSIVE: John Hartson hailed Unai Emery
“They’ve defended strongly and it’s been a lot better at the back this season. He’s implemented that on the training ground and they’ve become more solid.
“They look like a team that everybody’s in sync. He’s changed a lot which is great and the form and results are showing that.
“The big thing for me is that he’s won the dressing room over. The players are trusting and believing in him and that’s difficult.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, we’ve seen big managers, some of the best in the world with the biggest reputations, go to clubs and not win the players.
Arsenal EXCLUSIVE: Unai Emery’s side are on a 14-game unbeaten run
“For Emery to go in with a great CV, winning all the Europa League’s and everything else, to make such an immediate impact, it’s been very impressive.”
Emery won the Europa League three times during his time with Sevilla, which earned him a spell with PSG.
The Spaniard’s pedigree in European competitions was attractive to Arsenal, who knew they needed the right man to replace Wenger at the Emirates.
Emery has opted to play Alexandre Lacazette as his centre forward, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang settling for a spot on the left wing.
And Hartson has praised Emery’s team selection this season, claiming the 47-year-old has brought a feel-good factor back to Arsenal.
“I just think he’s doing the right thing. He’s playing a strong team,” he added.
“If you can get off to a flyer and you’re in a situation where you can win the group early, it gives you a great opportunity to bring a few of the fringe players in.
“He’s going the right way about it. Emery’s come in, he’s won the players over, which is very difficult because the players have been listening to one manager for 20 years.
Arsenal EXCLUSIVE: Unai Emery is getting the most out of Mesut Ozil
“He came in with a great CV but he still has to go and win the players, show them the way in terms of how they follow his philosophy and ideas. He’s done that.
“They’ve had a wonderful start and they’ve been on a great run. Lacazette is keeping players out.
“That feel-good factor after a lot of negativity is great. The players look a lot more buoyed now.”
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