Emery in spotlight as Arsenal begin life without Wenger

first_img0Shares0000Arsenal manager Unai Emery launches the post-Wenger era on Sunday © AFP / Jonathan NACKSTRANDLONDON, United Kingdom, Aug 11 – Unai Emery faces a daunting task to lift Arsenal out of the doldrums as the Gunners head into a new Premier League season without Arsene Wenger as their manager for the first time in 22 years.Emery was hired to replace Wenger following the Frenchman’s exit at the end of a dismal campaign which saw Arsenal labour to a sixth place finish in the Premier League. Arsenal’s Premier League opener against champions Manchester City on Sunday will provide an early look at how Emery is faring in cleaning up the mess left by Wenger at the Emirates Stadium.Arsenal had been stuck in a downward spiral for years and with Wenger unable to reverse the decline, owner Stan Kroenke finally dispensed with the most successful manager in his club’s history despite the Frenchman’s desire to stay.Finishing 37 points behind City was a fitting ending for the dispiriting final season of the Wenger era — a torrid campaign layed out to a soundtrack of angry protests against the manager from frustrated fans.Wenger’s remarkable feats in the first half of his reign will stand the test of time, but few Arsenal supporters lamented his departure after 14 years without a league title.Arsenal have fallen so far behind their top-four rivals that, at present, it is unthinkable Emery could ever match his predecessor’s haul of three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups.Yet despite Arsenal’s reduced status, Emery, who parted ways with Paris Saint-Germain at the end of last season, jumped at the chance to follow in Wenger’s footsteps in north London.The 46-year-old Spaniard arrives with an intriguing pedigree, having enjoyed success with PSG, only to pay the price for failing to fulfil the club’s desire to win the Champions League.A cynic might suggest Emery’s feat of winning the Europa League three years in a row with Sevilla was the most relevent achievement on his CV prior to his appointment at Arsenal — who will compete in Europe’s second tier competition for a second successive season.– Energy and steel –Returning to the Champions League via a top four finish in the Premier League will be Emery’s main target, yet knocking one of City, Manchester United, Liverpool or Tottenham from those positions, and also overtaking Chelsea, is a tough proposition.Regarded as a football savant cut from the same cloth as the obsessive Wenger, Emery has impressed Arsenal’s players with his detailed video analysis, spending up to 12 hours ahead of each game working on footage for his squad.Emery has also pored over film of Arsenal’s woes last season and his pre-season transfer dealings suggest he has already identified the problems that Wenger struggled to resolve.Swiss veteran Stephan Lichtsteiner and Greek international Sokratis Papastathopoulos were signed from Juventus and Borussia Dortmund respectively to bolster a creaky defence.Bernd Leno joined from Bayer Leverkusen to offer an alternative to ageing goalkeeper Petr Cech, while Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi have been bought to add energy and steel in midfield.But without Champions League action, Arsenal are no longer a big draw for Europe’s top stars.Instead, Emery must focus on getting the best out of Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who made a fine start with Arsenal following his January move from Dortmund, while also finding a way to dovetail the creative talents of Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.It might be a while before the Emery revolution bears fruit, but his attention to detail and desire for a high-tempo pressing game should make Arsenal a tougher unit than Wenger’s skilful but spineless group.“In the past, Arsenal have won games on great football, individual brilliance and having great attacking players,” former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher said.“What we’ll see Arsenal do more this season is win games tactically. You will look at games and say ‘That’s the manager, he has set up a certain way’.“He makes it difficult for teams to play against them.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

TRAVEL: PORTAVENTURA’S HALLOWEEN SPOOKTACULAR

first_imgAS autumn winds finally arrive in Donegal, thoughts may turn to warmer climes for the mid-term break.And if you’re looking for something different this Halloween you can combine all that Spain has to offer with some spooktacular fun for all the family at Portaventura.Those who’ve been to the theme park at any time will tell you all about the spills and thrills of some of the biggest rides in Europe. But from now until mid-November – and throughout Halloween – Portadventura is hosting it’s very own Halloween season.So as well as the usual fun in the theme park, there’s loads of fun to be had just walking around the park….as ghouls and ghosts can pop out from almost anywhere.Walking through the resort with its Hallowe’en decorations in gorgeous sunshine is bliss.The park is filled with pumpkins, giant spiders and there were specially-themed Halloween shows taking place. The lack of queues for any rides is a huge advantage of travelling at this time of the year.Despite the Aqua Park being closed for the season, there are enough water rides and heart-thumping roller coasters to keep everyone happy.Screams from the Shambhala, Europe’s tallest roller coaster, were warning enough for the faint hearted to avoid.Scary characters such as the Addams Family, the Mummy, and Dracula will parade through different areas of the park while monstrous creatures will lurk in the darkness of the Polynesian jungle walks, ready to freeze the blood of visitors eager to have fun and enjoy being frightened.Alternatively, visitors can brave “Horror in Penitence”, a macabre and inhospitable maze in the Far West with a gloomy and creepy atmosphere from which it is difficult to escape. Halloween 2014 brings terror shows that are fun for all ages. The Gran Teatro Imperial is decked out to host “Rock Symphony-Mystery”, an impressive mystery tale with dancers and acrobats in a gothic atmosphere to summon the souls from the beyond.The most daring may also enjoy the terrifying menu of “Vampires: Dinner Show”, in the legendary Far West Saloon, where dancers, actors, acrobats, magicians and singers sow panic and occasional laughter among the guests. Finally, the Mexican La Cantina will host “La Gran Fiesta (The big party)”, in which a cast of dancers and Mexicans perform the country’s traditional repertoire.What should I do?So what’s the best way of doing Portaventura from Donegal? The easiest way is by flying Easyjet from Belfast International Airport (Aldergrove) into Barcelona.You can stay in the city and take the train to Portaventura; or you can stay in the resort and be close by for days of fun.You can book tickets and hotels at this site with some fantastic offers for mid-term.http://www.portaventura.co.uk/How to get there?By Train :PortAventura has its own train station. Check all the information on www.renfe.es. or at this number 0034 902 24 02 02By Car:From Barcelona 1h : Take highway A7 (La Junquera-Valencia). Exit 35, direct access to the Park.Also accessible with the National highway N-340 (Barcelone-Valencia),the N-420 (Tarragona-Teruel) and the N-240 (Tarragona-Lleida).More information:Try Portaventura’s English Facebook Page here:https://www.facebook.com/PortAventuraOfficial/infoVideo promo here:  TRAVEL: PORTAVENTURA’S HALLOWEEN SPOOKTACULAR was last modified: October 2nd, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:donegalHalloween 2014Hotel offersMid-Term breakoffersPortaventuralast_img read more