The Arsenal Way is fundamental. Free flowing, attacking football by a club with integrity and class.

Slumping From Vitoria Towards Leicester

One thing that we have learned in Unai Emery’s era is that he will do everything in his power to shift the narrative off from him. From laying it all out on players after a horror show to telling fans that they should be grateful that he has made us more competitive, the list is long. So, when the Spaniard decided to strip Xhaka from the captaincy, it was not something new.

Another off field matter decided entirely in a way that makes a section of fan base happy while the on field matters are entirely swept underneath.

Xhaka cannot deflect from poor performances

I will not delve much into how that decision shows an utter lack of class and support for the player who has been abused for quite sometime and his only crime was that he had enough. Abused to the extent that he is even given death threats but club and Emery finds it better to reward those abusers rather than to support a man who was chosen as a leader by the team. What precedence are we setting?

While Xhaka seems to be approaching the end of his time at Arsenal and Aubameyang takes over the reign, last night once again showed that these off field matters are just a way to deflect attention from things that actually matter for Arsenal Football Club which is our performances on field.

But even then everything has its limits. You can survive for a bit but can’t last forever. This is why when Mustafi rose above others in the penalty box to head Pepe’s another set piece into the back of the net in 80th minute, hardly anyone really celebrated it and hardly anyone was surprised either.

The reasons are not hard to digest. It was Arsenal’s first shot on target and that too from a set piece in a game in which Vitoria absolutely dominated in terms of chances created. This is a team that sits bottom in our group and was knocked out by a semi-professional club last month in their domestic cup.

Arsenal dominated possession but on the ball they looked like a team that had been just thrown in together and didn’t knew each other. Our passing was as slow as a turtle and our imagination was simply non-existent. There was NO PLAN!

And if it had not been for the later flurry by Vitoria, I don’t think this game would have been even worthy of a discussion on any level. Vitoria were so dominating in the last 10 minutes Arsenal had to put every man behind the ball in order to hold on to a lead. But not every day is a lucky day and when Bruno Duarte’s overhead kick found it’s way into the back of the net, no one in the Arsenal section was complaining. In fact, we should feel lucky that we even got a point to begin with. We have become competitive? Yeah, I hear you loud and clear.

Change in formation

Earlier, Unai Emery for the first time this season had decided to go with a Back 3 and put out a team that cannot be in anyway regarded as a backup because it did include Sokratis, Tierney, Ceballos and Pepe to name few. Last season it can be argued that even though this formation brought it’s own issues and limitations, it was by far the most stable formation that the Spaniard was able to deploy.

But last night was anything but stable. One of the biggest criticism of Emery’s style is his emphasis on cutbacks. But even though it is a pathetic style of play, one can argue that at least it is a plan. Last night that plan was a giant fail. Arsenal didn’t knew how to get the ball back, didn’t knew how to build it from the back, didn’t knew what angles should be made or what runs should be made to open up spaces and advance forward. It was boring without a plan and as a fan who is a strong believer of the Arsenal way, it was frankly embarrassing to watch. Next up is Leicester and God knows what is in store for us.

Vitoria on other hand looked to have started from where they were abruptly by those Pepe free kicks in Emirates. They pressured Arsenal early on and produced enough chances to be sitting 2 clear by the time the first quarter came to an end and if it had not been for Matinez (who was the only player who could held his head up high) and Vitoria’s finishing, it would have become even more embarrassing.

Now, one can simply just say that it was Europa League without our main players and that the match was not that important. But was it something new? Was this match not the continued deterioration of the performances under Emery? Was it not another miserable afternoon where Arsenal head coach looked out of his depth and where players looked confused as to what they want to achieve on field?

We can pretend that Unai Emery can go little longer but at what price?

The writing is on the wall. When will the club act?

7 Comments

  1. Great work Omi, as always an astute piece. Oh how we would have needed Rambo to marshal and inspire the team, and to control the midfield last night. Although everyone was so dire that maybe even he couldnt have done anything.

    The Kronks, the Montana office and Emery dont know who we are, they never did and I dont think they ever will, some players do, but some I doubt. Whose there to make them feel proud? Sometimes it feels like the ghost of Arsenal?

    Thanks again. Dont lose the faith, everything is always changing. Cheers!

    Reply
    • ps Omi-how did you originally get into the Arsenal?

      Reply
      • Omair JavedNovember 7, 2019 at 9:11 pm

        I absolutely agree that the man in charge of Arsenal don’t know what Arsenal means. Hearing Arsene Wenger talk about Arsenal values last night, I would say that he does better justice to Arsenal Football Club than those in charge now.

        I remind myself that before every Arsene Wenger, came Bruce Rioch. So, the hope will never die.

        As for me getting into Arsenal. My first memory is I think of 2003 seeing Arsene Wenger’s post match interview and thinking Arsenal is named after him and it is his club. Silly kid. Also, I was a fan of Henry as well. That moment always stayed with me but I only started watching Arsenal in 11/12 season which was I think one of the worst squad of Arsene era. The joy and relief that I had when we saw off West Brom on the last day is something I will never forget. I was always the fan of the philosophy of the football. Fast one touch football and Arsenal was always the unique club in England and in Arsene Wenger had a man who I absolutely idolized both in terms of a human being and a manager. Remember the Bergkamp quote? You don’t support for trophies but because you found something that you belong to and feel a part of. Since then, never missed a game.

        Reply
        • Thats a very fine story, maybe the 2003 moment was already the moment you were hooked?
          Youre right about Weng, hes a very fine Mensch, you cant say that about too many people, plus hes pretty dignified, when you look at the shite he had to deal with, the weasels and their fly overs, and the endless slaggings he took to protect the lads so they could keep doing their stuff. People starving and living on the streets and dealing with abuse that destroys lives and those people send a plane up with a message to shame a man who took the club to a new level that was beyond most of our dreams.
          And now we have to reap what they sowed.
          Places like Uncensored mean we dont have to, so cheers to you guys Shotta and co.

          Reply
          • Omair JavedNovember 8, 2019 at 8:53 pm

            Yeah early on I used to think that it was Henry that made me like Arsenal but later I became clear that it was Arsene who made me fall in love with this magnificent club.

            Arsene always personified class and he made Arsenal better than what it was. And post-Wenger we are just in conflict regarding what we want to be and what is more important. But hope is there!

  2. Mills

    I was exposed to a whiff of tripe from one of the Blaggers:

    This prize expressed the opinion that appointing a football coach is a hit and miss trial and error excercise!

    Oh.
    My.
    Days.

    As in: The appointment of Emery is understandable as the method of appointment should or is similar to Emeryball itself. Drop your pants, cross your fingers and hope that the sewer beneath your feet is not blocked.

    No wonder it took them a season to comment on the Football on the football pitch eh? Do they even understand Football?

    At the least this is one way to weakly retrospectively excuse one self from undignified awful behaviour in the past that has only resulted in harming that which you say you love. Which is psychotic and sado-masochistic behaviour.

    Which is how we end up with Mike Ashley running a club and getting less critique from the likes of the above when compared to how they treated…

    You reap what you sow?

    Reply
    • Sums it up fins. good post mate. A whiff of tripe from the blaggers is a toxic whiff for sure. At least we all werent part of that potty behaviour.
      I saw aftv squirming and lying their way out of things, lot of that around these days.
      Normally we should be all looking forward to going to Leicester and giving them a game. But Emery has even set me up to fear them. Thanks.
      But for the players how is it? Where theres fear theres a feeling of lack. 72million squid to be not good enough! A world cup winning number 10 who would still get into any team not even on the bench. Montana and Emery are forcing the Ö into early retirement? Should be the other way around!
      Oh brother, unhappy days.

      Reply

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