Arsenal had many issues under Arsene Wenger but playing good football, creating chances and dominating midfield of teams like Leicester were not among them. This Saturday, as Leicester romped to a 2-0 victory at the King Power Stadium, it felt like watching an Arsenal that still had all the weaknesses that it had under Arsene but had lost its strengths as well.
Many used to claim the sole vessel of problems at Arsenal was the legendary Wenger who they claimed had simply past his peak. No one ever said that the squad was the issue. The general perception was that any decent manager with modern tactical methods will be able to get Arsenal back to it’s glory with the current squad.
Emery has made Arsenal worse
But almost 15 months on and after spending in excess of 200 Million pounds under a supposedly modern manager, the fashionable view in and around the Emirates is Unai Emery has failed to improve Arsenal. But just like the fans were in wrong with regards to Wenger, they are wrong with regard to the Spaniard as well. Because, frankly, it is not that he has failed to improve us, rather he has successfully made us even worse. Tonight versus Leicester was further proof of that.
In his short Arsenal career Emery had shown a capacity to identify an issue and fix them through early substitutions. After a whole week of almost microscopic focus on his future one might have anticipated or hoped the same from him for Leicester but it was not to be. Everything that was written pre-match on this blog came true. Leicester dominated, Vardy scored, Maddison continued his brilliant form while the shadow grew darker on the Spaniard and the doubts grew larger.
Emery decided to go with a back 3 just like he did on so many occasions last season whenever he felt vulnerable. Sokratis was deservedly dropped as we saw the return of Bellerin and Holding to premier league football. Though it proved to be too early.
With a Torreira and Guendouzi partnership in middle it seemed to me from the very start that the Spaniard had already given away any hope of dominating the midfield. Instead choosing counter attacking football with the hope that his back 7 would be able to find Ozil in spaces for him to set Lacazette and Aubameyang free.
Arsenal playing negative football
Initially Arsenal happily conceded possession and sat deep in their own half. The idea seemed to be to deprive Leicester of space in behind the defense which makes players like Vardy, Barnes and Maddison so dangerous. Though these tactics did achieve what it intended, the irony of once mighty Arsenal being reduced to playing such negative football against Leicester was not lost on anyone.
Leicester slowly found their way in the game and started created chances and would have felt unlucky to go at half time still level. Credit to Chambers for being aware in the box on more than one occasion keeping the score 0-0.
On the other hand, Arsenal, as was expected, struggled to get the ball to Ozil as the midfield got pushed back to effectively making it a back-7 and whenever we got the ball Torreira and Guendouzi showed little technical ability to get the ball forward. I lost the count of how many time Guendouzi just gave the ball away in our own half. This meant that our 2 strikers were hardly in the game. Even then we had enough quality we were able to create two decent chances.
In second half, Emery forced Lacazette and Aubameyang to go wide. This seemed a bizarre tactic but it did allow Ozil to get involved in the game more which resulted in more open game and allowing Arsenal to enjoy their best phase of the night. But even then we never looked threatening.
Our midfield had a lot to do with it. Offensively it offered little but defensively it showed little to no awareness of positioning as well. Especially when Ndidi found himself unmarked and in acres of space on the edge of the box only for his effort to deflect off the crossbar.
At the hour mark, Gray replaced Perez and with that, Brendan Rodgers pulled the magic trick out from under his hat. His direct running brought energy to Foxes midfield and they sprung into life, Pereira, Tielemans and Barnes combined beautifully in almost Wengerball fashion at the edge of the box to find Vardy who finished it neatly past Leno in 68th minute.
For Arsenal, the contest was finished right there. With the failure of their plan A, there seemed like a little urgency both from the manager and the players to change the course and it seemed like almost everyone knew what was coming. Another clever interchange saw Vardy feed Maddison who, at the edge of the box, drilled one low and hard to Leno’s right to double the Foxes lead.
Getting sacked in the morning
“You are getting sacked in the morning” chants erupted in the stadium while Emery tried to throw attacking changes in the match but the game had already been sealed and it almost felt like his own Arsenal career went with it.
Recently we have seen Emery go defensive in his press conferences and once again in today’s post-match he demanded more time and patience from the fans after yet another horror show. It’s a version of Spaniard we have rarely seen before. Only yesterday, he came out attacking and claiming that he has made Arsenal more competitive. But the aggression is less frequent these days. The tide has truly turned.
We can try to dress it up in as many ways as possible but the bottom line is that Emery is an appointment made wrong and following this defeat Arsenal have registered their worst start to a league campaign since 82-83 season and sit 9 points behind 4th place even though we are still in November.
We find ourselves closer to relegation than we are to champions league and there is a an air of frustration around the club. Our manager seems incapable of not only handling the squad but also the expectations that come with the job. We are playing like a mid-table team even though we have arguably the 3rd best squad in whole England. And the idea that Leicester does not have better squad but only a better manager doesn’t stick well either.
We are a club in crisis and in every crisis fans need something to hold on to. Under Arsene, we had his legendary status, his philosophy of football build on Arsenal values and the unwavering belief in his managerial qualities. The question is what do we have to hold on to under Unai Emery?
He’s dead gone inside on the sideline. And madly ranting at press conferences.
To think we would really be blocking Granit like this… was mental not long ago, for me at least.
Every day a new low.
When the writing is on the wall, you can do whatever you want but you can’t escape it. And if kept on continuing like this, it will keep on getting worse!
Well written Omair.
We are in a downward spiral and it seems it’s a long one.
The interesting thing here is to see how far can board pretend that the things are going in right direction!
Apparently the Board, meaning Raul and Josh, is stonewalling, pretending their project is headed in the right direction. They think the international break will cool and diminish fan dissatisfaction. If that is their thinking they are far more deluded, stupid and egotistic than I thought.
Shotts the treatment and decision regrdong Rambo was a STRONG indication that incompetent greedy buffoons were bleeding the club,
And that what we are seeing with Ozil and Xhaka is just a continuation of this.
No way Raul will string himself up and call out his obedient Gimp Unai Emery.
We are living through the Emery (Kronke) Degeneracy.
Sabotage or incompetence take your pick: we can all observe that these people are:
And they are dragging down an institution famous for its now lost Class.
Emery is a proper YES man. Why would Raul want to get rid of him? With him he can be the man with power.
I think by removing Arsene, the only thing board achieved was to give themselves a bit of time to try to make things happen which they failed to during the last seasons of Arsene Wenger. He always sacrificed himself in order to save the heads of selfish board members.
But now, we are just seeing it all blow up onto their face. And fans will soon realize that their Don is not a Don after all.
Shotta it’s not easy to swallow the truth that you massively got it wrong. Because if Emery is sacked tomorrow, the guys who will be under the most pressure will be these 2 and if they appointed the next man like they did this one, then it’s not hard to tell that where things will go. Fans always have never like Korenke and the only thing that is standing between the two is Raul and if fans lose faith in him then it would be very hard to recover it. And I don’t think Arsenal can pull out transfer windows like the one we did this summer.
They don’t care about football. I think that is abundantly clear.
As George says over on PA,
Winter is coming.
The Long Night.
“Don Raul” flogged off the Prince who’d fulfilled his Promise. Idiocy or worse your call is as good as mine. Auba, Xhaka next I guess. The Don.
Yet the red & white wizard Ozil still stands amongst the flames.
Ozil shattered Emery into a thousand tiny pieces and not even Raul can pick them all up though it is much more fun watching him try to do that then it is watching Emery’s non-Football. Just look at Emery’s pressers since he had to recall Ozil. Have you ever seen someone squirm with the volume turned down so much?
What a story this has been! A tragic one but a story nonetheless!
It’s not over yet but if I may: Well played Mesut Ozil. We’ll always remember that it was Ozil who wove the spell which began the exorcism of Emery and we’ll always be grateful (I’m looking for the positives here!).
Can Ozil, Bellerin etc. continue to redeem the club? Bellerin still understandably off form on the pitch but his subtle comments…are these Gunners acting like they know who it is that they are, and what they represent? Has Ozil become entwined within the roots of the club (three fa cups in four years tends to do that kind of thing) and has that been the source of the strength of his sorcery/PR? Or will they stay with Emery and hope to still drive him out the club? In spite of failure for “The Don’s” nasty PR for over a year now.
The Kronke’s have long been the concern, since their takeover of the club a decade ago.
is this the moment the wider fan base finally realise what it was that AW was working with for so long?
The next few months will be important, I can’t say exactly why, but after our questions most prominently made by Shotts and George for over a year now there’s an appreciation that the wider fan base who’ve seen some Football over the decades had indeed seen enough of Emery by Baku (pretty much the same tactics for the LCFC game as the final…! Fortunately LCFC have less goalscorers then Chelsea) and have now as a result of more genius PR from The Don today raised their gaze.
I thought I might have misjudged it when i called out “The Don’s” hopeless PR describing how the agents of various players over the last 18 months have run rings around him. But after today’s effort it’s a fair call: he’s a clown.
It’s no shame to admit you got it wrong. Soldiering on to prove… what exactly? Addressing the Board here.
Emery’s on-field and off-field management has been abysmal, to be kind. He’s got everything wrong. Over and over. I won’t pick at the still sore wound of him choosing Europa League ‘glory’ over CL football when the chance fell in his lap.
There’s no glimmer of hope in anything this guy has done at Arsenal to think brighter days are ahead if you just give Emery more time. Running out the clock/season with this guy threatens the club’s future. All the good things fans envisioned after our adventurous summer transfer window have already been pissed away. How much more damage will keeping Emery do?
Watching City today is the same as watching any attacking team without their world class centre backs.
Same as Arsenal in 2018 with Kozza and Mertesacker needing replacing (along with Cazorla).
It was a healthy normal situation for a good team to be in, at the end of one cycle and it plenty there such as a captain and world class midfielder in Ramsey who was already a club legend.
Now they need to replace not just the above but Rambo, Monreal, Xhaka soon Auba and if these clowns had their way Ozil too.
So this “Don Raul”, who left his last job in disgrace after a court case.
Incompetence or worse?
How does it read to you?
Let’s be clear. It’s been a fuck up of huge proportions and no amount of failing to denigrate Wenger’s last multiple trophy hauling teams can cover up the horror. the horror.
the very same people who just made themselves look awful with their handling of the Xhaka situation are going to do the same with the Emery situation.
“Don” Raul “Head of Football Relations” is the fraud on display here at this moment.
“The Don” my Arsenal.
I think last season everyone was in agreement that Arsenal only needed 3 signings. A Goal Keeper to replace under performing Petr Cech, an experienced CB because of Koscielny’s injury and lack of experience in the back line due to that and finally, a defensive midfielder to add competition for Xhaka. And blimey, we got all of these 3 signings that summer.
Emery got a complete squad capable of competing for at least Top 4 spot and all he needed to do was to maintain it and build on it and improve Arsenal over the last season. But he failed miserably to do that. Even though the atmosphere around Emirates was much better and players had new focus and direction.
But it seems like our board has been hellbent on proving that Arsene Wenger was the source of every problem at Arsenal and they labelled his squad and his players as failure. So, now the new agenda is that board has taken over powers and we will build a new Arsenal team that will be successful unlike the old man who supposedly turned us into a laughing stock. But fast forward 15 months and it seems like that it was never the old man but rather the board that has made us the laughing stock and Arsene Wenger was the only man protecting them.
Now, they have no shield and once people see the mess that they made with Emery, pressure will be on them for once to make the right call for next manager and now we are seeing them ducking a bouncer.
Spot on Omi. Every goddam word.
Proverbial nail hit on the head!
That was I
“But it seems like our board has been hellbent on proving that Arsene Wenger was the source of every problem at Arsenal and they labelled his squad and his players as failure. So, now the new agenda is that board has taken over powers and we will build a new Arsenal team that will be successful unlike the old man who supposedly turned us into a laughing stock. But fast forward 15 months and it seems like that it was never the old man but rather the board that has made us the laughing stock and Arsene Wenger was the only man protecting them.
Now, they have no shield and once people see the mess that they made with Emery, pressure will be on them for once to make the right call for next manager and now we are seeing them ducking a bouncer,”
Ducking into a bouncer. face first. Blood everywhere. It ain’t pretty. That nose is bent right out of shape. Nevermind a heavy roller they might need to take a mop out to the wicket before play can restart.
that is why we are being told to have patience! It’s like that meme where everything is burning in behind and they are telling everyone to be calm and that everything is under control.
Shotts as for VAR:
How is it feasible for us to name in advance the three clubs, Utd Spurs and ‘Pool, that would be benefitting from the “errors” resulting from Riley’s incarnation of VAR?
< How was it feasible..
It was so fucking predictable Fins that I soon realized UniteForVar was an act of futility. Every prediction we made has come to past, i.e. the total prostitution and distortion of VAR. No wonder a certain former mutual friend of ours with a great familiarity with the English establishment laughed at our efforts. Lesson learnt.