Football runs in the blood for new Arsenal coach Unai Emery

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Arsenal have appointed Unai Emery as their new head coach.

Here, we look at five things you may not know about the Spaniard, who switched from player to manager in 2005.

Football runs in the family

Emery followed his family blood line into the game – both his father and grandfather, named Juan and Antonio respectively, were goalkeepers. The former appeared for several clubs in the Spanish second tier, while the latter competed with Real Union in the top division, and his uncle Roman played as a midfielder.

Injury calls for managerial role

Emery’s first managerial post was at former Spanish third-tier side Lorca Deportiva, with whom he made more than 30 appearances as a midfielder before succumbing to a knee injury aged 32 in the 2004/05 season and being offered the coaching job.

He led them to promotion and from there he moved on to a four-year spell in charge of Valencia, taking Los Che to European qualification in each season before a short stint holding the reins at Spartak Moscow in 2012.

Unai Emery won three Europa League titles at Sevilla.

Unai Emery won three Europa League titles at Sevilla.

Personal achievements

During his spell in charge of Sevilla, Emery received a nomination for the FIFA Best Coach Award in 2015 – after a fifth-placed finish in La Liga – but eventually lost out to then Barcelona boss Luis Enrique.

He collected gongs for European Coach of the Season in 2013/14 and multiple La Liga Manager of the Month awards at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, while more recently he was awarded the the Trophees UNFP du football, top manager prize at Paris Saint-Germain.

Sevilla successes

Benfica, Dnipro and Liverpool were the teams beaten by Sevilla in Europa League finals between 2014 and 2016. The Portuguese giants were defeated 4-2 on penalties after a goalless draw in 2014, before Ukraine’s Dnipro were downed 3-2 the following year. The hat-trick was completed with a 3-1 come-from-behind win over Liverpool in Basel two years ago.

Sporting connection

Emery is not the only sporting son from the Basque town of Hondarribia – golfer Jose Maria Olazabal, Masters winner in 1994 and 1999, also hails from there.

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Four pressing issues for Unai Emery as former PSG, Sevilla, and Valencia boss takes the reigns at Arsenal

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Unai Emery has a few pressing concerns as the new Arsenal boss.

Former Paris St Germain boss Unai Emery has been confirmed as Arsenal‘s new head coach.

Here, we look at four pressing issues on his Emirates Stadium arrival.

Learn from Manchester United’s troubles

Not since Sir Alex Ferguson retired has the Premier League seen such an upheaval behind the scenes at one of its top clubs. David Moyes was unable to extend Ferguson’s era of unrivalled Manchester United success, however, and failed to last a single season in the Old Trafford hot seat.

So as Emery takes the Gunners’ helm, the Spaniard must heed Moyes’ cautionary tale on how not to receive the baton from a managerial titan. Rather than simply fit into an existing system, Emery must reorganise his Arsenal resources to fit his own mould – and usher in an entirely new era for the club.

Anything less could see him forever caught in Wenger’s shadow, befalling the very same fate as Moyes.

David Moyes' ill-fated stint at Manchester United is a cautionary tale.

David Moyes’ ill-fated stint at Manchester United is a cautionary tale.

Build a new spine for Arsenal’s starting XI

Arsenal’s soft centre was continually exposed in the latter years of Wenger’s lengthy reign. For the Gunners to climb back to the top of the Premier League pile, Emery must imbue his starting line-up with long-absent steel. That means – at a minimum – finding natural leaders to feature in goal, central defence and defensive midfield. Not since Arsenal’s 2004 Invincibles had a Wenger side truly boasted such a robust core.

The Xhaka-Ramsey duo has had mixed results as the midfield pivot.

The Xhaka-Ramsey duo has had mixed results as the midfield pivot.

Assert authority at every level

The capture of recruitment specialist Sven Mislintat from Borussia Dortmund back in November has been viewed as something of a coup for Arsenal’s future transfer plans. But Emery will have to work hard to ensure the club shares his vision for reshaping the Gunners’ frontline squad.

Without harmony across the hierarchy, Arsenal will struggle to push themselves forward and improve upon this term’s sixth-place Premier League finish.

Emery needs to assert his authority at Arsenal.

Emery needs to assert his authority at Arsenal.

Get the best out of Mesut Özil

Polarised opinion over Germany playmaker Özil’s strengths and weaknesses served as a lightning rod for wider criticism of Wenger’s last days at Arsenal. So devastating in international football, yet so often viewed as an under-performing luxury at his club, the frustration around Özil mirrored Arsenal fans’ ire with Wenger.

The 29-year-old signed a new three-year deal in January, retained at the club when fellow premium asset Alexis Sanchez departed for Manchester United. The Gunners have again put their trust in Özil – and now Emery must ensure that faith winds up well placed.

The jury is still out on Mesut Ozil after five seasons at Arsenal.

The jury is still out on Mesut Ozil after five seasons at Arsenal.

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Unai Emery style of play fits Arsenal 'perfectly', says Ivan Gazidis

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Arsenal have announced Unai Emery as their new head coach.

Emery, who spent two seasons at PSG before parting ways last month, will be the first new man in the Arsenal dugout for 22 years following Arsene Wenger’s departure.

Former Arsenal midfielder and current Manchester City assistant coach Mikel Arteta had been the overwhelming favourite before reports broke on Monday night of the imminent appointment of Umery.

In a statement on the club website, Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis said: “Unai has an outstanding track record of success throughout his career, has developed some of the best young talent in Europe and plays an exciting, progressive style of football that fits Arsenal perfectly.

“His hard-working and passionate approach and his sense of values on and off the pitch make him the ideal person to take us forward.

“We conducted a confidential, wide-ranging and rigorous search involving extensive background references, data and video analysis, and personal meetings with all the candidates we shortlisted. All were interested in the position and we were unanimous in our choice of Unai to drive the next chapter of our history.”

Winner: Unai Emery has enjoyed success in the Europa League

Winner: Unai Emery has enjoyed success in the Europa League

Emery is tasked with returning Arsenal to the top of the Premier League, as under Wenger the club have slipped some way off top-four contention having finished 12 points adrift last season.

The 46-year-old led is best-regarded for his success in Spain with Sevilla between 2013 and 2016 – leading them to the Europa League trophy for three seasons in a row as well as to the Copa Del Rey final.

“I am thrilled to be joining one of the great clubs in the game. Arsenal is known and loved throughout the world for its style of play, its commitment to young players, the fantastic stadium, the way the club is run,” said the Spaniard.

“I’m very excited to be given the responsibility to start this important new chapter in Arsenal’s history. I have met Stan and Josh Kroenke and it’s clear they have great ambitions for the club and are committed to bringing future success. I’m excited about what we can do together and I look forward to giving everyone who loves Arsenal some special moments and memories.”

 

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