Former Arsenal striker Andrey Arshavin believes the impact made by Arsene Wenger in north London has made it difficult for Unai Emery to flourish.
Wenger called time on his 22-year stint as Arsenal manager in May 2018 with Emery stepping into the fold, where he subsequently endured a mixed maiden season, finishing outside the top four and without silverware.
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- Wenger is much-beloved in north London but after years of stagnation, a percentage of the club’s fanbase wanted fresh change.
- As such, Emery succeeded the Frenchman and guided the club to fifth in 2018/19 as well as reaching the Europa League final.
- This summer he was afforded a considerable war chest to bolster his armoury.
- Having spent north of £100m the Gunners look reinvented this season already.
- And Arshavin believes Emery “needs time” because he “is not in a good position” on account of Wenger’s legacy.
Despite this, the Spaniard masterminded a Europa League final appearance – losing to Chelsea in the final – and has significantly strengthened this summer.
Arshavin – who made 144 appearances for Arsenal – believes the former PSG boss can get it right, but fans will need to be patient as he “is not in a good position” due to the immortal impression Wenger left at the club.
“It’s difficult to replace a guy (Arsene Wenger) who managed the team for more than 20 years,” Arshavin told Sky Sports. “Unai Emery is not in a good position I would say.
“But I would say the first year was not bad. He is building the team and he needs time. I hope he does well.
“I think the realistic target is to be in the top four because Manchester City and Liverpool are very strong. They are contenders for the title.”
Arsenal take on Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday with both clubs looking to maintain their perfect starts to the season.
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Arshavin discusses that performance
Ahead of Arsenal’s blockbuster bout against Liverpool this weekend, the diminutive Russian reminisced about his famous four-goal haul at Anfield in the Gunners’ 4-4 draw a decade ago.
He said: “For me it was a regular game – nothing special. I did not feel anything special before the game.
“When I came out onto the pitch and was warming up, I thought ‘we will not lose today’. That was the only thing I knew before the game.
“Of course I could not imagine before that game that I would score four goals.
“If you look at the stats, it was my best game. But in terms of playing style, I had some other games that were much better.”