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


ANALYSIS: Lucky Lilywhites have it all to do in Larnaca

Alan O’Brien 

Shorn of five first-teamers, AEK Larnaca still won the tactical battle against hosts Dundalk. Playing with a heavily depleted deck, novice manager Andoni Iraola outmatched Stephen Kenny on his first night in football management. Level ahead of Thursday’s second leg in Cyprus, the Lilywhites will struggle to succeed where Cork City have failed before them. Continue reading

ANALYSIS: Sundgren sunders Bradley’s harmless Hoops

Alan O’Brien 

This was Stephen Bradley’s shot at glory. Despite boasting eight full internationals, AIK arrived in Tallaght with precisely zero interest in controlling proceedings. Shamrock Rovers, therefore, were invited to give the Swedes their best shot. But, alas, their visitors escaped with nary an eyelash out of place. The Hoops, in short, were absolutely harmless here. Continue reading