Thursday 18 July 2019

Hodgson: Emery’s Arsenal reminiscent of Wenger’s Gunners at their best

The Spaniard has guided Arsenal to 11 successive victories in all competitions

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has been impressed by Unai Emery’s start to life at Arsenal (John Walton/PA)
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has been impressed by Unai Emery’s start to life at Arsenal (John Walton/PA)

By Declan Warrington, Press Association Sport

Roy Hodgson believes Unai Emery is proving such a suitable successor to Arsene Wenger as Arsenal manager because he has revived so many of the qualities that made the Frenchman’s teams great.

Thursday’s Europa League victory over Sporting Lisbon was Arsenal’s 11th successive win in all competitions, and came four days after their performance against Leicester evoked memories of Wenger’s side at their very best.

Wenger’s departure this summer came after years in which Arsenal’s critics insisted he had become too stubborn with his methods and that they required a significant change.

Emery has also resisted making a drastic overhaul, preferring to encourage the same stylish football his predecessor once inspired, and his efforts to date have impressed Crystal Palace manager Hodgson.

Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s visit to Selhurst Park on Sunday, Hodgson said: “(Emery’s) brought back that energy and quality of play that Arsene also had for many years. Certainly when he took the league by storm playing that type of football.

“People used to talk about Arsenal walking the ball into the net, because they were so good around the box; they didn’t shoot on sight, they played around you two more times before setting someone up to walk into the goal.

“To do that you need the quality of players that have been accumulated over the years, and a lot of players that are doing very well are players Arsene actually brought in, and (Emery’s) inherited them and is getting the best out of them.

“Eleven straight wins is an incredible record; we’ve got to try and do our level best that they don’t make it 12, because we need the points.

“He (Emery) has started extremely well. I know a lot about him and his career, because I’ve followed his work, in particular at Sevilla and Paris St Germain, and I know what a good coach he is, and he’s proving that.”

Palace again have Max Meyer and Alex Sorloth available after their recoveries from viral infections, and the former is pushing to start following three successive defeats.

Hodgson was also asked about the reported prospect of a rule change regarding the banning of substitutions from added time, to avoid time being wasted, and he believes that only a model similar to that used in basketball would succeed.

“The only way you’re going to definitely get that is by having a stopwatch and stopping a game like you do with basketball,” the former England coach said.

“That’s something that’s been mooted in the past, and the idea’s been dismissed, but that would be the only 100 per cent, serious way of making certain.

“If you say ‘The game’s 90 minutes, but we’re only going to see 60-65 minutes of play’, every time the ball goes out of play you’d have to stop it.”

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