There is a smell and feel of decay and decline around Arsenal Football Club. don’t get me wrong. The club is not dead, it still competes in the Premier League and in Europe, many fans still turn up for home games, diehards still travel Away and shout themselves hoarse within the bowels of the enemy and millions of overseas fans still tune in whenever a match is broadcast.
Don’t be fooled. It is not the same as before. There is growing anger and resentment of the type of football being played by the club. That anger is mostly targeted on Unai Emery who as head coach is responsible for the way we play, for preparing and selecting the team as well as choosing the tactics. Ever so slowly but surely Mr. Raul Sanllehi is also coming into focus as the main man pulling the strings. In effect the puppet master behind Emery.
Two tweets by well known Arsenal fan, Tim Stillman, during or after the match with Vitoria, sums up the new mood:
‘Don Raul’ my absolute ballbag.
— Tim Stillman (@Stillberto) November 6, 2019
Initially, when the new man took over and went on a 22 game unbeaten run, most fans ignored the lousy football on show. In seven straight matches Aubameyang had to save our asses by scoring on his nine shot attempts. Statistically he was bound to return to his norm of about 20% shot conversion. Most refused to accept the notion that these results were unsustainable.
In life nothing is a greater teacher than harsh reality. By January-February of this year the unbeaten run came to a screeching halt and fans began to question why the midfield was so non-functional while Ozil and Ramsey were being kept on the bench. Play your best “effing” players became the battle cry, everywhere, forcing the hand of Emery.
In response to the growing criticisms he chose partial appeasement. In the second-half of the 2018-19 season he often alternated Ozil and Ramsey in his team selection, rarely playing them together. Eventually he became known for his “chameleon” tactics of playing down to the level of the opposition. Instead of trying to dominate teams in central midfield, Arsenal became known as Cutback FC as Emery’s wide players, Kolasinac in particular, were depended on to motor down the flanks and either cross or cutback to an onrushing attacker.
This clear departure from the more midfield dominant, expansive approach of Wenger, his predecessor, did earn Emery some brownie points as Arsenal made it to the Europa league final but it was to prove a pyrrhic victory as in the end Arsenal were comprehensively trashed by league rivals Chelsea.
More damaging in the eyes of many fans is, despite multiple chances to confirm that the club was by merit a top-4, champion’s league team, Emery’s Arsenal conspired to have two wins in its last seven matches of last season, amassing seven points or an average of one point per game. Unbelievable!
Among the team’s many failures, most galling was on May 1st drawing at home to bottom of the table Brighton with Arsenal needing a goal and Emery making three substitutions in the 77th minute, none of whom was an out-and-out goal-scorer.
Without a doubt the “Emery degeneracy” has carried over into this season.
Despite £200 million pound in new players the club is barely mustering an average of 1.4 points per game. Most telling, Arsenal is conceding more than it is scoring even with a £72 million record signing of Pepe, an attacking player.
Even a forensic pathologist is astonished at the rot and ruin that has set in.
Seriously, it’s not the position in the table, or even the points. It’s the NEGATIVE goal difference. With last year’s Golden Boot winner, a 72M£ winger and Mesut-fucking-Ozil in your team. Just…how?! 🤷🏻♀️ https://t.co/MnOTgW6GZQ
— Kelly Wood (@kmwood02) November 10, 2019
Not even Aubameyang is able to make a difference according to data miester Orbinho:
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang has had three shots in this last three Premier League away matches.
One of the best strikers in world football and we've managed to create just three chances for him in three games.
— Orbinho (@Orbinho) November 10, 2019
As Blackburn George, aka the Arseblagger, explained in the most recent Uncensored Arsenal (click the following link) podcast, by extrapolating the trend of the last 19 games the prospect is for Arsenal to finish the 2019-20 season at or above 48 points.
It is unthinkable that a club of Arsenal’s stature with so many quality players should be hovering above the relegation zone by the end of season. So unthinkable that George was generous and predicted a struggle to be among the top-10. But the data is not as kind indicating an average of 1.26 points per game and a continuing negative goal difference. That is relegation form.
Meanwhile legendary ex-captain, Patrick Vieira, who is now a fully paid up member of the coaches union, has suggested uniting behind Emery:
“It’s true Arsenal are going through a tough spell,
“But I haven’t watched all their matches, so I can’t talk about their game.
“They have a coach who is qualified and who works well. When a club is having a difficult time, it’s important to be united.”
He hasn’t watched all our matches but he is convinced things will get better. Hmm.
Some of us who watch virtually every match would beg to differ from Patrick. The performances, results and data are there for all to see. There is a massive car-crash or crash of canons shaping up if this is allowed to drag on.
Like every prediction made by George and yours truly in our podcasts since last January, the statistical trend is unerring. Under Emery results are likely to remain as bad certainly not better. The degeneracy of Arsenal still has a ways to go.