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Unai Emery needs a gutsy display to pick up the points against Cardiff City

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I don’t particularly like Neil Warnock and it’s not because he looks like an overly stretched peach. It’s purely because he’s a whinger and his post-match interviews tend to annoy me with his lopsided accounts of a game but credit where credit’s due, he makes life difficult for the so-called top teams.

He managed to build a Cardiff team to secure promotion in a difficult league to escape from and now the intention is to secure more than one season in the top flight.

Any Arsenal fans thinking that this is an easy three points need to think again because this is not going to be a doddle when they meet on Sunday. Only a resolute and gutsy performance will see the gunners get all three points.

Arsenal have managed to throw all three points away against so-called inferior opposition in the past and Warnock knows how to thwart Arsenal. He will field a side capable of mixing it up and depriving the Gunners of possession, space and time and he will probably issue instructions to get ‘amongst them’ which I always interpret as a form of physical roughhousing to announce their intent.

It’s worked so many times that I’ve lost count and unless Emery has discovered a new elixir that prevents frustration and heads from dropping as a result of all the unwanted attention, he will have to rely on tactics that subdue and nullify that approach.

I’m not for one minute suggesting that Cardiff are a negative or dirty side, you don’t gain promotion by simply being either of those things. They can play attacking attractive football and although they have had difficulties early on, they will hit their stride. Let’s just hope it’s not against Arsenal.

Arsenal have problems of their own in the form of a jittery back four (what’s new) strikers that are unable to get off the mark and the disappearance of Mesut Ozil. Surely, it’s time to take the brakes off Lucas Torreira, who has shown an instant appetite for the premier league and it will be a complete mystery if he only played as a substitute.

I’m not about to jump in the Emery bashing bandwagon, but the player needs to start a game and establish himself in the side. Having watched the first three Arsenal games and endured the usual frustrations which resulted in soft furnishings being thrown towards the television, I’m convinced there will be more players added in the transfer window.

It may take at least two to rid the team of its current faults because you can use whatever tactics you like and try to install a different playing style but if the personnel are not up to it, then you need to spend, wisely and heavily.

I’m not convinced by the back four, I’m still dubious about Xhaka, I’m skeptical Ramsey will stay and I’m not sure that Ozil will be at the Emirates for more than a season. If Emery wanted a challenge, he has got his wish, because the fabric of the team isn’t even close to the level it should be. We can explain that away by saying the players are adapting to a new style and system.

Emery is acutely aware that his first season in charge is experimental and I have no doubts that Sven Mislintat will be extremely busy before the season ends. This sounds like a crushing appraisal but it’s realistic. It will get better as the season progresses but additions are inevitable. The only strong stumbling block to that scenario is invisible Stan’s purchase of Usmanov’s shares. Just how that impacts on the club financially remains to be seen but you can be sure it will.

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