10 months agoDyche’s bully reality: How Arsenal & Emery passed their latest test

first_imgTagsOpinionAbout the authorChris BeattieShare the loveHave your say Dyche’s bully reality: How Arsenal & Emery passed their latest testby Chris Beattie10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveCOMMENT: Intimidation? Stand over tactics? That is, literal stand over tactics? Oh no, not on this Arsenal. It may’ve worked in the past. But as Sean Dyche and his Burnley discovered on Saturday. Unai Emery and his players are a very different proposition today.They tried, did Burnley. They really did try. Going into the game, Dyche promised Emery and Arsenal a dose of reality. “Reality tactics”, he dubbed it.And the Clarets manager was good to his word. The visitors threw everything at Arsenal. Wrestling. Stamping. As Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remarked after his two goal performance, “Yes, it was a physical battle, it was really, really hard”.But this lot are no southern softies. Not when you have players like Sead Kolasinac and Sokratis ready to fight your corner. Not when even your manager is ready to give the opposition an earful. But they did try, did Burnley.Not once. But twice. Twice Ashley Barnes did his best Sergio Ramos impression, wrestling Sokratis to the Emirates turf. The first time ended with Barnes having the Gunners defender in a headlock. That was only after he had stood over his marker. But Sokratis was never going to be intimidated. Indeed, it was his reaction to Barnes’ antics that helped the Clarets striker escape a booking.Barnes only received a short word from ref Kevin Friend – no doubt helped out by Sokratis, as he put an own arm around his shoulder before asking, almost laughing as he did, “what dya think ya doin'”? The pair would be at it again later in the game, this time in the middle of the pitch. But just as before, they broke up without Friend brandishing a card.Then it was Matteo Guendouzi’s turn to be tested. But even this 19 year-old from France wasn’t to be cowed. Barnes – again – was the instigator, stamping a prostrate Guendouzi square on his chest. Again, there was no action shown by Friend. And for all the complaints about diving from Dyche in the aftermath, Guendouzi’s reaction was more Roy Keane than Neymar. Just as Sokratis had previously, Guendouzi’s response went some way to Barnes avoiding punishment. That Dyche complained about diving from the home team was baffling given the spot fires sparked around the pitch by his No10.But perhaps he was still coming down after copping it from Emery at the final whistle. A team reflects it’s manager. And this one – like so many on the pitch – is no shrinking violet.To be fair, this wasn’t Emery’s fight. And there really was no need for the Arsenal manager to get involved. But he’d had enough. Enough of Dyche’s bellowing. Enough of his complaining. Grabbing Dyche’s arm, he let him know what he thought of his antics. The pair squared up. It wasn’t Barnes versus Sokratis. But Emery wasn’t going to turn the other cheek.On paper, Arsenal should always be defeating Burnley at the Emirates. And the 3-1 scoreline stuck to script. But the manner of how these three points were achieved tells us everything about today’s Arsenal.They’re not a nasty team. Nor an overly physical one. But there’s a presence about them. There’s a bit of steel in there. From Soka and Seo to the kid from Lorient. You’re not going to intimidate this lot. There’s enough heavy duty in there to allow attacking players like Aubameyang the room to do their thing.Gary Neville, the former Manchester United captain, has branded past Arsenal teams, the ones of Arsene Wenger, as “soft”: “Technically they were as good as anything we’ve seen in England in my time. But there are all kinds of attributes that make up a football side and they didn’t like it when the contest became physical.”You always felt you had a chance against them because you could get about them, bully them.”And you fancy Dyche went into Saturday’s trip with the same sentiment.But this is a very different Arsenal from the team of the past decade. And the manager is certainly a polar opposite to what Dyche had grown used to finding upon Burnley’s visits to North London.As those around the Pemier League are fast realising. Emery’s Arsenal can outplay you. And outfight you. Whether it’s on the pitch. Or by the touchline. You can’t intimidate this lot. Just as “reality” snapped back at Dyche on Saturday.Dyche & Emery having a disagreement at FT. #twitterclarets#UTCpic.twitter.com/6Bi28yhv4p— TurfCast (@TurfCastPodcast) December 22, 2018 last_img

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