Arsenal’s loss to Leicester may not have been the best way to enter the 2 week long international break. One could choose to stew in it, but I think the majority of supporters treated it as a welcome break from all the drama around the club. Things seemed to have calmed down, even regarding Emery’s future. For me personally, I had an eventful fortnight. Got sick, spent some family time, and applied for a new job.
One person who finally got a new job this week was Jose Mourinho. Was a bit of a surprise move from our neighbours. Pochettino had got them to the Champions League final after all. Thankfully, it was the history of the Tottenham which prevailed and they were left empty handed again. It did also leave them disheartened with nowhere to go. At least that’s how it appears from the outside. Strange as the change is, even in financial terms, I think Spurs have made the right decision here. It’s no knock against Pochettino’s ability as a coach either. Sometimes things just get stale.
Spotlight shifting from Spurs to Gunners
One of the side effects of this move is it shines the spotlight on Arsenal a bit brighter. I watched Emery’s press conference, and all the zen from the international break left me. So much in fact that I have to write about it, more than the football, which literally hasn’t been much to write home about anyway.
Southampton – He genuinely perked up talking about how great they are away from home. To illustrate this he said they beat Sheffield, and then listed their narrow losses to ManCity and Spurs. Later, when asked about the 9-0, he said his focus is to think of them at their best and to prepare accordingly. That’s a sensible stance to take, but I was reminded of the Wenger quote ‘It is the media’s job to imagine the worst and a manager’s job to imagine the best’ (I am paraphrasing). I think Emery prepares so intensely for each game, he starts imagining the best….from the opposition. I even noted this on Twitter a few days ago. That I’d just realised Emery had had 2 full weeks of watching tapes of Southampton and this must have left him terrified. I predicted #Respectball.
Spurs – Emery was not shy of his praise for Pochettino. I wouldn’t have thought much of it if it were once. But he repeated how great a job Pochettino was doing (even calling his last season ‘perfect’) and tried to distance the Arsenal Way from Spurs. He also praised Mourinho but I found it interesting he didn’t mention that he’d earlier named Pep and Jose as two of his coaching inspirations. No wonder he’s so confused about identity.
Xhaka – This might have been the most infuriating aspect of the presser. He talked about how Xhaka seems more mentally ready to come back into the side. Said he’s been training well, but then says he’d also been training well before the break. Says he had a good conversation with Xhaka and he’s feeling like Arsenal is his team again. Says his (Emery’s) objective with Xhaka is for him to connect with the supporters again and let them see he’s giving his best in his ‘short…or long future with us’. WTF is that?! You’re ready to bring a player back into the fold again, want his full commitment, say he is fully committed and then for no reason at all, mention it might be a short career with us? I swear Emery is a boss from hell. (Or from SanHELLi)
Anyway, connecting with supporters was a big theme for Emery. Playing better was almost an afterthought, though he said the two things together like a mantra.
He also said we’re 5th in the table. That surprised me. Does he not know we are 6th? Did he forget? It seemed like he didn’t want to acknowledge Sheffield being ahead of us on Goal Difference.
When talking about bridging the gap to top 4 he brought up last season as some sort of model to follow. We started with 2 losses last season and came back. We have experience from last season. What experience? How to throw away games and bore people?
Honestly, whatever little confidence I had was once again destroyed by watching Emery’s press conference. Initially I was hoping that the players would be recharged to some extent. Some of them, like Xhaka and Torreira for instance, had very good games with their national teams. But now, I think all of that will be for nothing. You can call me defeatist and I wouldn’t even fight you. Emery makes me not care.
I don’t know what’s left to say. Southampton are 19th in the table with 8 points from their 12 matches, and a GD of -18. They don’t pass it around much, don’t take a lot of shots, and don’t score a lot of goals. But, because Arsenal do all of those things only marginally better than them, I am not confident of a win, even at home.
Pepe came back late from his travels, and didn’t train with the team on Thursday. Saka, Kolasinac and Holding didn’t train because they have minor injuries. They should all be fit for Saturday though.
I doubt we’ll see this front 4, but I’d go with a team of
Starters: Leno, Bellerin, Sokratis, Luiz, Tierney, Torreira, Guendouzi, Pepe, Ozil, Auba, Laca
Subs: Martinez, Chambers, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Ceballos, Saka, Martinelli
Whatever team plays, we know we have the talent to not just win, but really put Southampton to the sword. I’m sure no one’s expecting that though. Not even Mr Raul ‘we’ve got the right man for the job’ Sanllehi. I’d be delighted with any sort of win.
Head: 1-1 draw.
Gut: 2-1 loss to Arsenal.
My fear we’re going to lose is undoubtedly a reaction to the press conference. Since this isn’t an exact science, and it’s my match preview, I think I’m entitled to go with my gut.
Am happy to be proven wrong of course. But, one thing is for certain, we’ll have more corners and would have played to our game plan. Enjoy!
Good job Shard. I have read a lot of match previews since last night and none of them presented as much context as you have done here. Just the usual boiler plate bull shit that is standard on News Now. Footballistically, with all the midfield injuries, I see the usual weaknesses with Emery’s approach getting from bad to worse. Southampton has had two weeks to prepare for us and take advantage of these weaknesses. We should win at home but I predict a 1-1 draw and poor old Ozil will get blamed as usual.
Oh I forgot Ceballos is out with his hamstring injury. Don’t think he was mentioned in the press conference, or I missed it. Enter Joe Willock then. A positive!
Every week it gets worse. Just when you think these cowboys couldn’t get any lower, something else takes your breath away.
I swear Even the Spuds now have a better coach then Raul’s muppet.
(If Poch was anything more then a half decent coach he’d have done better with all those dodgy calls and PgMOB in his favour, he is probably ten times the coach that Emery is but that’s not saying much as Mourinho is probably a hundred times the better coach even though his style is awful and he stinks. Hehe.)
Fins: Seems this blog is too honest and outspoken on the disease that is destroying this club. Along with PosArse we were the 1st to identify Emery as a poor coach, 1st to identify Raul as the tumor at the root of the disease. Why are so many afraid to point out the obvious?
I don’t know Shotts.
I disagree with you and Shard as I expect a victory for the Gunners tomorrow.
Raul can’t let Emery go, not so soon. Not until he can figure out a way to keep his job.
two wins out four in the upcoming run will be enough allow Raul to deflect. A midfield general from amongst the disaffected Torreira or the inexperienced and positionally and defensively raw overused and overplayed Guendouzi (he’s been poor!) might put even that in jeopardy.
Emery needs Xhaka back in his midfield.
As with Rambo last year and Ozil last year and this, the predictable slosher will have him back in sooner or later but not before it costs the club more points. Should I put a bet on it? Could be wrong…but, what a horror show.
I had a thought yesterday that Raul is sticking with Emery through what is likely to be the disastrous run in December. He’ll wait till we’re knocked out of the FA Cup 3rd round too. THEN he’ll sack Emery, blaming him for ruining the season. But along with that he’ll also sell Aubameyang, Xhaka and Torreira to bring in more players via his agent buddies. Who knows, maybe even Ozil will decide to go.
Hey Fins. Am sticking to my prediction of a draw. The next likeliest outcome is a win for the Arsenal. Unlike Shard’s gut I don’t see us losing.
The basis of my forecast is the absence of decent passers in midfield especially a deep lying player like Xhaka. There is nobody to consistently get the ball forward to Auba. Ozil or Lacazette. Emery will have to rely on cutbacks, his default tactic. Surely Southampton must be well prepared for this after a long 2 week break.
Meanwhile I have a number of conceited, deluded Arsenal fans on Twitter enraged because I exposed this stupid anti Xhaka cult that has taken over parts of the club.
Shotts as you recall some of us were not sure if Xhaka could hit the Arteta/Carrick level in that role, but we understood he’d only have a chance at it after a few years as both Arteta and Carrick only peaked in that demanding role at the top level when they had the experience.
However only the kind of prize idiot that thought Rambo & Ozil couldn’t play together after they won 3 cups in 4 years with the club could ignore
that Xhaka is the best CM currently at the club.
Another long term investment by the club (IMO for the reasons above Xhaka would’ve returned the patience over the next few seasons) flushed down the tube by these cowboys? Looks like it.
Torreira has been the best CM in this game at HT so far as he’s been allowed by the appalling shill representing the pgMOB math fixing clowns.
another long term investment for the future being flushed down the toilets by these clowns.
1st strike to Shard. 5 at the back by Emery against the might of Southampton. #Respectball at its finest.
Should have put my money where my mouth is.
Full marks to Shard. He can read Unai like a nursery book,
and so can all of the opposing coaches!
Shotts at the start of the season i wrote Emery was amongst the bottom six coaches in the league.
Then I revised it to bottom three.
I think I might need to again revise that league table!
So that’s this week’s low, after the incremental process over the recent weeks:
Confirmation that Raul’s gimp is actually, observably, objectively, the worst Football coach in this league.
Clowns? Frauds? Idiocy, bland corruption or sabotage? Your call is as good as mine.
How long will Daddy Raul be able to fool the wider fan base with the aid of his PR clowns?
There is hope Fins. The longer Raul persists with Emery the more untenable is his position as more and more people agree with my call that he is the “Fake Godfather” (title of my blog at the end of the last xfer window). Out of sheer self-preservation he and Josh will have to act. The unrest in the Emirates before the equalizer was palpable.
I’d like to think so Shotts by when you look at the sequence of horrific decisions over the last 18 months which has brought us to where we are today it is more then safe to conclude that the Kronke’s were spoilt by having AW.
Apart from being “pashunate” about the washing (otherwise how did they even hire the muckmeister Raul?) they literally have no idea.
But I share your hope and even anticipation that the attempt to hold on to Emery will be as successful for Raul as his PR wars with Ozil, Rambo, Koscielny etc. He is most certainly a clown.
I hope Ozil outlasts not Emery but Raul.
The leaks & quotes from “long standing staff”, the comments from the BFG about Arteta, the palpable sense that they’ve all implied they wanted Arteta previously, the grumblings from the powerless board who’ve been quiet for many a year till recently, all of it implies that hopefully:
Ozil will outlast Raul? I hope so.
For sure Ozil’s agent is a damn site better at the old Football Relations and none of the Blaggers our there can deny that no matter how many of these parasites “really like Raul”. I’ve never seen people write their own epitaph…
If it it wasn’t for criminal finishing by Southampton, Shard would have nailed his predictions. Easily 4-1.
That was kack with shite sauce on top. Raul Fc heading for the bottom half of the table. Always works well when you employ people who know 0 about football.
I missed the game.Will watch it today…if I dare. I was a minute away from being right only for Laca to spare some of our blushes.
Heh, we were outshot by Southampton who had only 13 shots in their previous 3 games. 21 yesterday.
How bad do you have to be to get from where we were at the start of last season to where we are now? But, Fins, you are wrong about Unai Emery being the worst coach in the league. Because Ozil already told him the truth. That he’s not a coach at all.
Some rumblings that our Chairman wants to quit because he’s being overruled about appointing O’Leary on the board. So Gazidis couldn’t have his choice of coach. Sven couldn’t have his choice of players. Now our fucking Chairman can’t even pick a board member, the guy with the most appearances for us btw. Remind me again how Wenger was a dictator and the new structure is balanced? People aren’t being allowed to do their jobs. Except the ones who are shit at it. They have free rein. This includes Emery, Raul and Josh. And why the fuck is Huss Fahmy, a contract lawyer, getting a major say in running our club. What does Edu do? And can anyone tell me why Vinai exists?