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Van Persie: Emery can’t connect to Arsenal squad like Wenger

Robin Van Persie, Arsene Wenger, Arsenal, Europa League
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Robin Van Persie reckons Unai Emery won’t be a success at Arsenal as he can’t “connect” to the squad in the same way Arsene Wenger did.

Wenger enjoyed a great level of success during the first half of his reign at Arsenal, while developing the likes of Van Persie into superstars. Emery, on the other hand, hasn’t really been able to escape the Frenchman’s shadow since taking charge last year.

Statistically speaking, the Spaniard has enjoyed a respectable start to his Gunners career. He’s managed 43 wins, 11 draws and 17 defeats in 71 games across all competitions.

Arsenal’s somewhat below-par start to the new season, though, has put Emery in the firing line. Especially when you consider that the club forked out over €152m on new players in the summer.

The Gunners’ leaky defence continues to remain a big problem despite the €8m arrival of David Luiz from Chelsea.

Although club-record signing Nicolas Pepe’s late brace in Thursday’s 3-2 Europa League win over Vitoria SC, at least, gave the supporters some hope for the future.

For Van Persie, though, Emery hasn’t made the desired impact since he replaced Wenger.

When asked if Arsenal have improved, the Dutchman told BT Sport: “I don’t think so.

“I don’t think that Emery really connects with his players.

“I think they are still weak on set pieces, which was a problem at my time, to be honest. But everyone should feel responsible. Arsenal lose 12 to 15 points per season by set pieces. That should stop.

“If you want to play for the first couple of places you have to sort it out, you have to find a way.

“As a player, you want to have that feeling, you have to sprint back, now I see a couple of players jogging back, and there’s danger there. I don’t feel that in the team.

“If you have a very strong coach, and you are in midfield and you see danger somewhere, you sprint for your life, because you know if you don’t do it you get punished.”

The former Arsenal and Manchester United striker added:“I’ve had Wenger, Louis van Gaal, [Alex] Ferguson, I had so many coaches, and their main quality was to be clear,” Van Persie added.

“If I’m really honest…someone sent me a video last week of him [Emery] trying to explain something, and I couldn’t really figure out if he was saying, ‘calm, calm’ or ‘come, come.”

“That is very important, you have to be clear, you have to be the leader and the leader needs to be clear towards his players.”

Unai Emery, Arsenal
SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 21: Unai Emery, Manager of Arsenal inspects the pitch ahead of the Premier League match between Sheffield United and Arsenal FC at Bramall Lane on October 21, 2019 in Sheffield, United Kingdom. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)