Arsenal manager Unai Emery says that his habit of early substitutions in games this season is down to his desire to spark change in matches rather than with any premeditated strategy.
The Gunners’ replacements have contributed more combined goals and assists than any other team in the Premier League during the current campaign, with their manager’s knack for injecting fresh legs at the right moment reaping the rewards.
Emery however has played down his decisions to make changes sooner rather than later is dependent on the moment and the match in question, but that the philosophy comes from a mentality that any alterations will have an effect on the encounter.
“[When] he was my coach, he said to us: 'When I change it is because I want some change. Maybe it is positive, maybe it is negative but [it is a] change.'
“This was the first idea I received and I do in my mind. At other teams I have coached, some criticism of me was that I changed usually very late. Here for example you are saying I change usually quickly.
“It depends on the moment, how the match is going, but one situation we are living here is in the first half we couldn't finish winning in the 15 matches in the Premier League. That is one reason, I need to [make changes].”
They will likely do so without Rob Holding and Aaron Ramsey, however, after the pair were injured against United.