OPINION: Emery must swallow his pride to succeed at Arsenal

Alan O’Brien 

After 14 years of protracted decline under Arsene Wenger, Arsenal fans are entitled to feel excited. Unai Emery, a so-called serial winner, represents a welcome new dawn for Gunners supporters. Unlike Wenger, the Basque has not adhered rigidly to one true style of play throughout his managerial career.

In three full seasons at Sevilla, armed with a counterattacking 4-2-3-1, Emery won the Europa League every time. At PSG, however, Emery found European success elusive with a possession-based, pressing-oriented 4-3-3. Which of those masks the former midfielder chooses to wear, and when, will ultimately decide his Emirates Stadium fate. Continue reading

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Madrid punk heavy metal Liverpool after curtailed 25-minute set

Alan O’Brien 

Gegenpressing is the best playmaker there is, according to Jurgen Klopp; heavy metal football, as it were. But what happens if your gegenpressers blow their amps after 25 minutes? In Kiev, on Saturday evening, the one-note German found out. Continue reading

Guardiola and self-doubt: the Klopp effect

Alan O’Brien 

When ideology meets pressure there is usually only one winner. History is littered with raging socialists whose left-wing zeal quickly moderated upon assuming any significant responsibility. In Greece, Alexis Tsipras’ Syriza party stands as the most recent high-profile example. Anti-establishmentarianism quickly morphed into fiscal rectitude when the time came to stick or twist. Continue reading