Five things that have changed at Arsenal a year on from Unai Emery’s sacking

It was a year ago today that Arsenal and Unai Emery parted ways after a 2-1 defeat to Frankfurt in the Europa League.

The Spaniard had been in charge for 18 months having been chosen as the man to succeed Arsene Wenger.

But after signs of promise in his first season the wheels quickly began to fall of.

Arsenal were without a win in seven games when they axed the former Sevilla and PSG boss.

They sat eighth in the Premier League but were far from convincing with Emery needing a stoppage time winner to draw against Southampton in his final league outing.

Defeats had already come at Liverpool, Sheffield United and Leicester and the Gunners hierarchy decided it was time for a change.

Freddie Ljungberg took charge for an interim period before Mikel Arteta was appointed on a permanent basis.

A lot can change in a week in football so a year is something of a lifetime.

We take a look at five points of difference 365 days on from Emery’s sacking.

Unai Emery has sacked last November

Trophies have been delivered

Yes Emery made it to a Europa League Final – but he seems to do that in his sleep so perhaps not so surprising.

However they were duly sent packing by Chelsea and that was the only flicker of silverware we got in the Spaniard’s spell.

Arteta meanwhile has delivered the FA Cup and Community Shield – the former with a group of players he inherited and only had half a season with.

Those successes make Arsenal a far more attractive proposition and give their ambitions some legitimacy.

Wenger’s latter years were no doubt helped by the capture of three FA Cups and Arteta has picked up that mantle.

Seeing off Sheffield United, Manchester City and Chelsea is nothing short of impressive.

Mesut Ozil is out in the cold at Arsenal

2. Ozil saga nearing conclusion

We knew that Emery didn’t fancy the German during his season and a bit in north London, but what did he really do about it?

He left the club’s top earner on the bench and then willingly took questions on it.

A statement yes but by no means a solution.

Arteta wasted little time in asserting his authority after concluding that the playmaker would not be part of his plans going forward.

Ozil has been left out of Arsenal’s Premier League and Europa League squads.

He has said he will see out his contract – which expires this summer – and that should be the end of that.

The forward remained at the Emirates but has struggled for goals this season

3. Aubameyang stays but drops off

It is a tough one this. Has the Gabonese star played Arsenal? Only time will tell on that one.

He is certainly not firing on all cylinders currently and getting him back scoring will be high on Arteta’s to do list having seen Aubameyang sign a new deal in the summer.

But let’s take it back for a second – he scored both goals in the FA Cup semi against City, scored both against Chelsea in the Final.

Again scored in the Community Shield win over Liverpool.

He is a big match player and his decision to stay put underlined the fact that he, despite presumably having more attractive offers, saw reason to stay at Arsenal.

You get the impression that, had the Gunners persevered with Emery and meandered to a mid-table finish, Aubameyang may have sought pastures new.

Thomas Partey has been a big hit thus far in north London

4. Optimism around the Partey

We may look back on the capture of Thomas Partey as a defining moment in Arteta’s Arsenal reign.

So much about this transfer was not in keeping with the Gunner’s trend over the past decade.

Arsenal for starters targeted a prime target in a position that had need addressing for some time. Already Partey is being held as Patrick Vieira 2.0.

Secondly, he was going to cost a pretty penny and Atletico Madrid sorely didn’t want to lose him.

They remained firm on their £40m valuation and eventually the Gunners stumped up the cash.

Already it looks money well spent and is proof that Arteta’s Arsenal can attract big names.

Partey was giving up Champions League football to head to the Emirates, early signs are that he may also now miss out on a La Liga winners medal.

But clearly the long-term vision of the north London outfit was enough to persuade him.

5. Arteta shifting spending culture

On so many levels Arsenal look like a club who are acting differently.

Arteta learnt from one of the best in Pep Guardiola and bought with him a culture of winning that few Arsenal players would’ve been used to.

But perhaps the Spaniard’s biggest moment was succeeding where his predecessor failed – getting the club to spend.

It was well documented that Emery had a small transfer budget in his final summer which is why deals for Kieran Tierney and Nicolas Pepe are being paid in installments.

Arteta though put it to the board late last season – do you want to be competitive or not? If you do, back me.

Where will Arsenal finish in the Premier League? Have your say here .

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