On April 20, 2018, Arsene Wenger announced that he would step down as Arsenal manager at the end of the season, bringing his 22-year stint at the club to an end.
Unai Emery was selected as Wenger's successor, and the former Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain coach brought up his 50th game in charge of the Gunners in style on Thursday, as Arsenal claimed a 3-0 aggregate win over Serie A heavyweights Napoli in the Europa League quarter-finals.
The 1-0 victory on the night – which came courtesy of Alexandre Lacazette's superb free-kick – was a 32nd win across all competitions for Emery, and he has the best record of any Arsenal manager in their first 50 matches.
And, using Opta facts, we have taken a look at just how Emery's opening 50 games compare to Wenger's final 50 at the helm as we reach the business end of the Spaniard's first season.
GUNNERS ON THE UP UNDER UNAI
Emery has won 32 of his 50 games in charge of Arsenal in all competitions, a win ratio of 64 per cent. In the final 50 games of Wenger's tenure, the Gunners won 25 games, drawing nine times and losing on 16 occasions – compared to seven draws and 11 defeats respectively under the new boss.
Indeed, across most areas, there has been clear improvement for Arsenal when contrasted with the final days under their former manager. They have scored 97 goals, compared to 95 in the same period under Wenger, while defensively the team has also improved, keeping one more clean sheet and conceding eight fewer goals in total.
Arsenal do average fewer shots than they did under their last manager, but, perhaps thanks to the fine form of Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – both signed during Wenger's final season – their efficiency is up, with a shot conversion rate of 15.3, in comparison to 12.67.
46 - Since his debut for Arsenal in August 2017, Alexandre Lacazette has had a hand in 46 goals in all competitions (33 goals, 13 assists), more than any other player for the club. Spearhead. pic.twitter.com/smYd5Gzc9X— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 18, 2019
DISCIPLINARY ISSUES A CAUSE FOR CONCERN
One area in which Arsenal have not improved – and have indeed gone backwards in under Emery – is discipline. In his 50 games to date, Arsenal have had four players sent off, double the amount of red cards received during Wenger's final 50 fixtures at the club.
The number of yellow cards are identical, but it should be noted that, with the introduction of energetic, tenacious midfielders such as Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi, who have picked up 16 bookings and two red cards between them, Emery's side has more bite than under Wenger.
While Emery is perhaps renowned as a more conservative coach than his predecessor, Arsenal have actually been more open during his tenure so far – they have faced more shots in his opening 50 games than they did in the 50 matches preceding his appointment.
THE BEST OF THE REST?
We have seen how Emery compares to Wenger, but how does he stack up against the rest of the top six managers in the Premier League?
It is a good omen for Arsenal, with Emery's record of 32 wins from 50 games an improvement on former Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho (30), Manchester City's Pep Guardiola (29), Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino (26) and Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp (23).
In fact, Emery is level with another Premier League newcomer – Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri – at the top of the pile, with the Blues boss also winning 32 of his opening 50 games in charge.
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