Arsenal have one of their most significant challenges of the season with their opening game against Manchester City at the Emirates on Sunday to kick-start the Unai Emery era. Michael Cox looks at the tactics, Alan Thompson provides the betting lowdown.
Unai Emery faces a daunting task to lift Arsenal out of the doldrums as the Gunners head into a new Premier League season without Arsene Wenger as their manager for the first time in 22 years. And underdogs they will be against Pep Guardiola's side. He was a crucial part of Pep Guardiola's tactics, dictating the tempo of matches and dominating English football last season.
The Gunners appointed Emery early in the summer so he had ample time to prepare, but he was not the Arsenal board's first choice and their primary target, Mikel Arteta, will take his seat on the visitors' bench on Sunday.
Whereas other sides are struggling to find 11 fit players because of injuries and World Cup hangovers, Arsenal seem in decent shape for the new campaign.
The uncertainty over Monreal meant Ainsley Maitland-Niles was set to deputise at left-back but the experienced Spaniard could now take his place in the team. Sergio Aguero hit the ground running with a brace in the Community Shield win and will lead the line against Arsenal. Hector Bellerin, meanwhile, will need all his speed against Leroy Sane.
Bernd Leno joined from Bayer Leverkusen to offer an alternative to ageing goalkeeper Petr Cech, while Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi have been bought to add energy and steel in midfield.
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He scored five goals and provided ten assists last season. "After that my mentality is to work every day and be prepared for whatever comes".
Guardiola's teams are known to evolve into a deadly combination of adroitness and application over prolonged periods of time and it will be intriguing to watch how Manchester City tackle opponents who have specific plans to counter their approach.
The German should be flanked by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the left and Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the right.
If it's a 4-3-3 Ozil will play from the right, although won't relish the prospect of tracking back with Benjamin Mendy. We want to give him confidence. Kyle Walker will overlap more for City than for England, where he was shifted inside into a back three.
It might be a while before the Emery revolution bears fruit, but his attention to detail and desire for a high-tempo pressing game should make Arsenal a tougher unit than Wenger's skilful but spineless group. In fact, they have an abundance of them and top class ones at that. Ederson, meanwhile, has a very long kick he's not afraid to showcase, despite City's focus on possession.
"My main thing is to start the Premier League, the cup, the Europa League and then my objective is to improve each player with their qualities and our work with them". That said though this is still a tricky opener for the Champions.