It was always going to be a season of high anticipation for Arsenal following the introduction of Unai Emery.
The club hadn’t seen a new face in charge of the football side of things for 22 years prior to Emery’s arrival, however with things becoming stale under the tenure of Arsene Wenger, it was time for the club to have a fresh approach.
Just over a year down the line and the opinion of Emery’s time in north London so far is split, with some considering his first season as a step in the right direction, and others calling for his departure after failing to secure Champions League football.
Patience is important for Arsenal's development
With seasons progressing quickly and league tables changing every week, football can be a game with reactionary opinions which is understandable considering that every club and every fan wants quick success.
In hindsight however, quick success is rare, and with Arsenal the club in question, quick success will not come with an owner such as Stan Kroenke at the helm of all things financial. Unai Emery’s job was never going to be an easy one, taking over the club with little money in the transfer jar, contracts running down throughout the club and teams around Arsenal levelling up following their development phase.
With regard to other clubs, it seems as though Arsenal’s push for change has come too late to gain success quickly today. Jurgen Klopp’s first four years at Liverpool have been contrasting, his first two seasons being considered a transition, which fans didn’t enjoy at the time, four years after his appointment, he lifted the most prestigious trophy in domestic football. Success doesn’t come quickly, and it doesn’t come easily to clubs without football driven owners.
Emery’s end of season slump can be considered a failure when revising the small task Arsenal were required to do in the Premier League to gain a place in the top four.
This put a blur on the great work the Spaniard had done in the earlier stages of the season, including taking Arsenal on a 22-game unbeaten run. It’s difficult to hold Emery accountable for Arsenal’s failures with the lack of structure the club has at the moment in areas higher than football.
Improvement essential at Arsenal
On the field however, things could have been better there is no denying that. Poor performances, defensive instability, the drama surrounding the performances of Mesut Özil have all circulated back to the hands of Emery. The question has to be asked as to why this is.
When fans called for Wenger to be sacked throughout his final campaign and prior to that, the issues with the team were the same as this season. Should fans expect Emery to fix such deep-rooted issues that have haunted the club for years in just one season in charge? No, but should there have been an improvement, yes.
Giving a manager time after a period of mediocrity is important, and is evident in the Premier League.
Manchester United have had four people in charge of the club since Alex Ferguson’s departure, the regular switch in managers has taken a club as huge as United to being viewed as a top six team – it's absolutely vital that Arsenal do not end up in the same way.
Success takes time, this cannot be reiterated enough in today’s footballing society where so much is expected in such a small amount of time. For this, Emery deserves at the very least another season Arsenal to make the club his own model – no matter how out of touch the transition is received.