Get updated on Team news 24/7

Unai Emery masterminded previous Europa League glories and what it means for Chelsea clash

Can the Gunners boss add another Europa League title to his collection?


Arsenal and Chelsea will head to Baku’s Olympic stadium as they contest this season Europa League title on 29th May. It will be the first major European final between two English clubs in 11 years.

For Arsenal, the competition provides a lifeline in terms of securing a major European trophy and indeed bringing Europe’s marquee football competition back to the Emirates next season.

The implications of the same could prove huge in shaping the course of Arsenal’ssummer and indeed their Premier League campaign next season, with the transfer funds available in this summers window very much dependant on if the club can secure Champions League football.

Arsenal boss Unai Emery knows what it takes to win the Europa League having previously conquered Europe’s second tier competition in three consecutive years from 2014 to 2016. He can also boast a track record in defeating English opposition in the final too.

After seeing off Benfica in 2014 and Dnipro in 2015, Emery’s Sevilla side met Liverpool in the 2016 final. Just like there is now, there was huge pressure on the Spaniard back then to deliver a third success crown and indeed Champions League football, but how did his side manage to defeat the Jurgen Klopp’s men?

In that final, his side lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, very much a blueprint of his time at Sevilla.

Emery’s side struggled to impact the opening 45 minutes and spent the bulk of the half on the back foot. His side were unable to build any momentum in their play or threaten Liverpool’s goal, in fact they managed zero shots on target.

A big issue for his team was the fact his side seemed to show too much respect to Liverpool. Without the ball, they dropped into a narrow 4-4-1-1 and although they deployed an aggressive press, it wasn’t coordinated allowing Liverpool to easily play around them and build through the wide positions.

Without the ball, Sevilla dropped into a narrow 4-4-1-1

The below demonstrates that the bulk of Liverpool's attacks in the first-half came down the wide positions.

The bulk of Liverpool's attacks in the first-half came down the wide positions

This also left a disorganisation in their own attacks. As can be seen from the below, there was no bridge between the defence or attack, leaving large areas in the middle exposed. In this example, Sevilla’s attack breaks down and Liverpool can break. There are four Sevilla players ahead of the ball with no player in the middle section of the pitch.  

Sevilla failed to utilise middle areas and there was no bridge between the defence or attack, leaving large areas in the middle exposed

It was clear Emery identified these problems and at half-time and he adjusted his sides tactical focus, ordering more intensity in attack and more width from his wide players. This cut off Liverpool's ability to build down the flanks as easily.

From the kick off, his side manufactured an attack and scored an equaliser after 17 seconds, setting the tone for the remainder of the game.

The Spanish coach also instructed his attacking players to occupy the spaces in between the lines that had previously been bypassed in the middle of the pitch. This can be seen below in the build up for the second goal. 

Sevilla midfielders occupied the spaces in between the lines that had previously been bypassed in the middle of the pitch

Sensing Liverpool were tiring, Sevilla increased their number of short smart progressive passes through the middle of the pitch and avoided playing longer direct balls. Notably, there was a 30% reduction from his side in terms of long direct passes in the second half, compared to the first.

Vitolo, Ever Banega and Coke were able to interchange positions, making it difficult for Liverpool midfielders to track and stop threatening runs in behind the defence.

In the below, that midfield three link in short sharp triangles. As they pass and move through the Liverpool midfield, the opposition midfielders struggle to track their runs.

Sevilla's midfield three link in short sharp triangles as they move through the Liverpool midfield

Sevilla’s midfielders continue smart passes and movement as they progress towards the Liverpool goal.

From the edge of the box, Coke can latch onto the short pass into his feet to fire Sevilla into the lead and complete the turnaround.

From the edge of the box, Coke can latch onto the short pass into his feet to fire Sevilla into the lead and complete the turnaround

Sevilla of course went onto grab a third a seal a famous 3-1 victory, handing Emery his third successive Europa League crown.

Following his in-game adjustments, Sevilla dominated the second half and managed 11 shots on Liverpool’s goal, four of which hit the target and bestowed an xG value of 1.38. This was much improved on their first half xG value of 0.18.

Emery’s ability to adapt his tactics in game to achieve a winning result make him invaluable in these big games in European finals. It’s why in that three-year period, his team managed to see off the tough and differing tests provided by Benfica, Dnipro and of course Liverpool.

Arsenal fans have already had glimpses of Emery’s in-game tactical adjustments in big matches, notably when he brought on Aaron Ramsey in the North London Derby in December and switched from 3-4-3 to a 3-5-2, masterminding a 4-2 victory after going down 2-1.

Setting up to exploit Chelsea’s weaknesses whilst simultaneously enhancing their own will be key, but knowing Emery has the ability to adapt should he be required too may just prove the decisive factor in Baku.

Share:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Next Match

Articles Writing Pro.

"Looking for a good writer? Why stressing yourself ask the LEGEND for way out, because they are here, Contact us on WhatsApp: +2348169309016"

Follow by Email