Unai Emery’s gruelling training sessions have helped provide the spark that has given Arsenal a chance to conclude their campaign with some success. That’s the view of former Gunners ace Lee Dixon, who says that statistics reveal the Spanish coach’s revolutionary approach has impacted on the fitness of his charges during games.
Former England right-back Dixon, who won a clutch of honours during a highly successful stint at the club under both George Graham and Arsene Wenger, says people he knows who are still at the club have lifted the lid on the regime. And it is proving to be a winning one.
Arsenal are in currently in fourth position in the Premier League table and have a very real chance to grabbing Champions League football if they can maintain their form as the season comes to a close. They are also through to the quarter-final of the Europa League where they face Napoli, so a chance of silverware remains.
Dixon, who formed a famous Gunners back line with David Seaman, Tony Adams, Nigel Winterburn, Steve Bould as well as Martin Keown, said that the training “intensity and the accountability in training with what is expected of them” has risen and that the benefits are apparent for all to see.
He added: “I know that for a fact because I’ve still got a few people knocking around the training ground that I can ask how things are going. The little insider has kind of said training has completely changed in that respect, which I think is a good thing.
“We’ve seen this season some of the results have been fantastic, some of the performances have been brilliant. Tottenham at home (a game which the Gunners won 4-2 and did so with some style) they were sensational, they played well away from home as well, the game against United recently. But then they’ll throw in a Rennes performance away from home (which was a disappointing 3-1 reverse).
“Some of the results they had in that unbeaten run they went on at the start of the season, they should have been 3-0 down against West Ham at home and they won the game easily.”
Meanwhile, the Arsenal squad is currently at a warm-weather training camp in Dubai. Boss Emery has used the international break as a great chance to keep his players keen as the business end of the campaign approaches.
Emery chose a 23-man squad for the trip, with a friendly match against Al Nasr on March 26 before Arsenal jet back to England ahead of a return to Premier League when they host Newcastle United on April 1.
Emery and his backroom staff will oversee open training sessions throughout their visit and the head coach, who replaced Arsene Wenger last summer, says it is a good move to seek out some sun. He said: “It will be great to get some warm weather training and break up the usual routine as we enter the final stage of the season.”