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How Arsenal might look like now with Guendouzi in the first XI under Unai Emery

How Arsenal might look like now with Guendouzi in the first XI under Unai Emery

Unai Emery, the former Arsenal manager, led his Villarreal club to the Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday evening after defeating German heavyweights Bayern Munich over two legs.

Villarreal held Bayern to a 1-1 tie at the Allianz Arena, less than a week after the Spanish club won the first leg 1-0.

Emery has had a good period in Spain since taking over as Villarreal manager in the summer of 2020, and he led his team to Europa League gold last year.

After a dismal start to the 2019/20 season, the 50-year-old was given his marching orders at Arsenal. 

He had been linked with the vacant Newcastle United post following their takeover last October. He had only lasted about 18 months.

However, given how well he is performing in Spain, he may have brought success to the club if he had stayed in north London.

However, the squad would definitely look very different, as Sportdias looks at how Arsenal may now line up under the Spaniard.

Goalkeeper – Leno

Arsenal signed Bernd Leno the same summer that Emery was hired. And the German quickly deposed Petr Cech as Arsenal’s No. 1 goalkeeper.

Leno played admirably under his previous management and would almost certainly have been Arsenal’s primary shot-stopper had the Spaniard remained at the club.

Defence – Bellerin, Saliba, Chambers, Tierney

Under Emery, Arsenal’s backline was not the strongest, with Shkodran Mustafi and the aging David Luiz frequently playing in the center of defense.

Emery was the guy who signed William Saliba in the summer of 2019 – and the young Frenchman could currently be playing for the Gunners if things had gone differently.

Emery would have no doubt scouted the transfer market for another quality centre-back to accompany Saliba if he had stayed, and he might have found alternatives to Ben White and Gabriel, who arrived after he had left.

Calum Chambers may have established a name for himself in north London if Emery had been forced to stick with what he had at the time.

The 27-year-old was a regular under Emery but suffered an anterior cruciate ligament rupture just weeks after the current Villarreal manager departed the club.

After recovering from injury, he struggled to maintain his starting spot and joined Aston Villa early this year.

Kieran Tierney would almost certainly be playing left back, while Hector Bellerin may still be playing on the right side of Arsenal’s defense.

Midfield – Torreira, Willock, Guendouzi

During Emery’s tenure at the Emirates Stadium, no Arsenal player made more appearances than Lucas Torreira.

And the 26-year-old, who is presently on loan at Fiorentina, could still be playing in midfield under his former manager today.

Matteo Guendouzi was also a regular under Emery and could have been another player still providing defensive protection and midfield energy if Mikel Arteta hadn’t taken over as manager at the expense of his predecessor.

Joe Willock was starting to have opportunities in the center of the pitch during Emery’s second season as manager and may have sealed down a regular starting spot by now.

Forwards – Martinelli, Aubameyang, Saka

Under Emery, Gabriel Martinelli made his Arsenal debut. And the youngster’s apparent abilities were on display for all to see.

So he would have undoubtedly become a mainstay in Emery’s Arsenal team, just as he has done under Arteta.

When Emery was in charge, another young player who came through was Bukayo Saka.

And under the Spaniard, the England international would have unquestionably impressed. 

Martinelli and Saka would very certainly be playing in a front three alongside Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was brilliant under Emery.

Following a disciplinary infraction, the Gabonese international was eventually kicked off the team by Arteta and transferred to Barcelona earlier this year.


How Arsenal might look like now with Guendouzi in the first XI under Unai Emery

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