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Unai Emery’s Arsenal midfield conundrum

Unai Emery

There are obviously teething troubles at the Emirates, with the addition of a new manager, new system and new personnel, but perhaps Unai Emery’s biggest challenge is how to find a blend in the midfield and holding midfield areas.

The Spaniard has an abundance of candidates for these positions but at present he is looking for a combination that is creative, productive and resolute. Iwobi, Ramsey, Mkhitaryan and Ozil are all excellent on their day but Emery has so far been unable to find the perfect lineup.

Each has spent time on the bench and it’s a similar story with the defensive midfielders. Guendouzi, Xhaka and Torreira have all been used so far. Elneny and Ramsey can also be utilised in this area, yet it appears that Emery continues to rotate the players, assessing them as he goes, whilst reminding them that no one automatically qualifies for a starting place.

This assumption would make sense because Emery, presumably has a reasonable idea of his best line up. A man with his experience has the ability to identify and address weakness quickly, he may just be giving everyone the opportunity to justify their claim.

That’s one theory but you also have to consider that he has had very little time since his appointment to make the significant adjustments, due to the shambolic nature of Wenger’s dismissal and his own appointment.

If handled correctly, Wenger would have known of his departure before the midway point of last season and a successor could have been discreetly appointed before the end of the campaign.

Gazidis has claimed credit for making the right choices and that may be so, but the time frame left a lot to be desired. Emery has other concerns including Aaron Ramsey’s unresolved contract negotiations. Ramsey wants a hike in his wage that is comparable with the clubs high earners and any hope that it would be concluded are fading fast.

It may be that Emery will have to bring in at least another midfielder and dispense with two that are already in the current squad. Arsenal are missing Santi Cazorla’s magical talents and at this point in time, Wilshere’s departure appears extremely premature.

Quite what Wenger would have done in Emery’s position is just speculation, but it’s highly likely that it would have been nothing different, apart from retaining the services of Jack Wilshere. Fans have their opinions as to who should be in the starting line up and it appears that with the exception of the forwards, Aubameyang and Lacazette, we can’t agree on the other nine players.

Once we recognise this problem, you can appreciate the scale of the job that Emery has on his hands. You will notice that I haven’t even mentioned the defence because that’s a separate blog altogether.

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