Unai Emery is playing a clever game - but change at Arsenal must soon bring conflict and tough choic

Unai Emery is playing a clever game - but change at Arsenal must soon bring conflict and tough choices
Lucas Torreira is slowly establishing himself as an Arsenal first-teamer Credit: Reuters

Starting 19-year-old Matteo Guendouzi fresh from Ligue 2 is a strong counter-example to Emery's reported philosophy, while he has also shown an appetite for bold and early substitutions. Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil have all been hauled off unceremoniously, players who would almost always see out the 90 minutes under Wenger. Crucially however, all have been swiftly restored to the starting XI with no lingering ill-feeling (at least from Emery's side).

Emery cannot change Arsenal's personnel until the January transfer window, at the earliest, so there is little to be gained from alienating key players just yet. Seven consecutive wins in all competitions is also quite the vindication. During those games however, it was difficult at times to decipher Arsenal's attacking plan - besides putting their most talented attacking players on the pitch. The weight of individual threat carried by Ramsey, Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has seen Arsenal through, but left the collective looking unbalanced.

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