The most alarming thing about Arsenal’s surrender to Manchester City last weekend, Sam Dean observes, was how the players reacted to the situation. It’ll be a rather different test of character today, of course, but doubts still remain over this squad’s mental resilience.
Emery often speaks about playing with intensity, about selecting players who have the right mentality. He is not just a technician, but a fighter. He is a fist-pumping, chest-thumping ball of energy on the touchline, where he has been known to celebrate a slide tackle as enthusiastically as a goal.
Those are qualities he has tried to inject into his team since arriving in north London and, by and large, he has been successful in doing so — only the most blinkered Arsenal fans would say there have not been general improvements in the team’s physicality, intensity and fighting spirit since Emery replaced Arsene Wenger.