Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has been accused by Martin Keown of trying too hard to emulate Barcelona, with Unai Emery now charged with the task of restoring a blend of creativity and physicality.Towards the end of the French coach’s iconic reign in north London, the Gunners are considered to have placed too much emphasis on technical ability.The club was once famed for its defensive resilience, with great pride taken in shutting opponents out as “1-0 to the Arsenal” became a common occurrence. Article continues below Editors’ Picks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream Wenger sought to move things in a different direction, and enjoyed considerable success along the way.He did, however, lose control of deficiencies at the back before walking away after 22 years, with Emery now looking to redress the balance after inheriting the reins at Emirates Stadium. Based in the UK? Grab a Sky Sports Day Pass for just £8.99!Former Gunners centre-half Keown told Sky Sports: “The balance between physicality against technical players went too far one way.”I think it was done in pursuit of trying to match the excellence of Barcelona, which is the team Wenger wanted to copy most of all. The balance at Arsenal was lost.”Unai Emery is trying to get that back but he needs to get a better balance to the group because they forgot how to defend and for fifty per cent of every game, you are going to be without the ball. It is still their Achilles heel, particularly away from home.”I am encouraged by the signing of Nicolas Pepe. He is exceptionally quick with very quick feet. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette need service and I’m sure Pepe will provide that as well as weigh in with goals himself. But the squad will need balance.”Keown believes Emery is the right man to take Arsenal forward.The Spaniard offered cause for optimism in his debut campaign, despite missing out on Champions League qualification, and has opened the 2019-20 season with back-to-back Premier League wins.”I have watched Emery with great interest,” added Keown.”He has been working, urging, cajoling these players to be at the Arsenal level that you would expect. He wants them at boiling point and they lost that in the latter years under Wenger. There is a lot of pressure on him but I think the manager was inheriting a fairly difficult situation.”It looked for a while like he had solved those defensive problems away from home but then they fell away at the end of the season and the problem returned. It probably cost them fourth place and the Champions League. That pops them into the Europa League and makes life much more difficult with the calendar and the regular Thursday night football.”If I was still a competitor I would be thinking that fourth place is up for grabs. Frank Lampard is a talented manager but he’s a novice and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer isn’t much more experienced at this level. From that point of view, Emery looks a much better bet. But are the players good enough? Can he get them to be more defensively resolute?” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
The Sri Lankan Envoy on the occasion also mentioned about the recent visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Sri Lanka which ushered new era of cooperation. Minister Dar said that Pakistan was keen to follow the goal of increasing bilateral trade volume with Sri Lanka and that both countries could jointly work to achieve this objective. (Colombo Gazette) He was accompanied by Ms Wijayanthi Edirisinghe, Minister and Head of Chancery of the High Commission of Sri Lanka. Jayanath Lokuketagodage said he was pleased to assume responsibilities as High Commissioner to Pakistan. Pakistan and Sri Lanka have had talks on expanding the bilateral relationship between both countries.The Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Pakistan Major General (rted) Jayanath Lokuketagodage called on Pakistan’s Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar in Islamabad and discussed matters pertaining to bilateral cooperation, the Pakistan Observer reported. The Pakistan Finance Minister, while welcoming the Sri Lankan High Commissioner, said that all possible support would be extended to him for fortifying Pak-Sri Lanka ties in different fields particularly in economic sphere.The Minister referred to his meetings with his Sri Lankan counterpart recently in Beijing and Davos and added they shared views on advancement of bilateral economic cooperation. He said Sri Lanka strongly desired to expand its economic cooperation with countries in the region, especially Pakistan and it would be his endeavor to further build up Pak-Sri Lanka contacts.