Ok, we’re in.
No more moaning from me.
The new era is here.
Unai Emery stepped out in his press conference, followed in by Ivan Gazidis who is trying to refocus the club around his leadership. The CEO spoke of extensive interviews, an 8 manager shortlist, as well as the creation of a 100-page dossier given to the board. He also rambled on about becoming the best, something we’ve heard him do many times in the past. This is now his club, he can’t hide behind Wenger anymore, and he’ll have to deliver… well, I say that… he’ll have to at the very least make us a top 4 side again.
I did like his ITK crowd jibe, dropping some Chinese philosopher gold on the chancer crowd.
“Those who know don’t talk. Those who talk don’t know”
It shouldn’t bother me, but watching people harvest followers based on lies is so tragic. This sleight of the managerial hand literally massacred the credibility of about 15 accounts all at the same time. But we know how it goes, like in politics these days, there’s no consequence for alternative facts.
BACK TO EMERY.
“I am thrilled to be joining one of the great clubs in the game,”
“Arsenal is known and loved throughout the world for its style of play, its commitment to young players, the fantastic stadium, the way the club is run.
“I’m very excited to be given the responsibility to start this important new chapter in Arsenal’s history.
His English is piss poor, it was amusing to read Arsenal fans egg him on like a toddler taking his first walk across a living room.
‘Well, his English is better than my Spanish’
Barry, mate, you’re asking for 2 pints of beer and a sausage roll at Linekers in Marbella… not managing a team of precious athletes for £6m a year.
Anyway, let’s hope that good spirit and grace is carried through the dark times this year because there will no doubt be some.
What I liked about Emery, outside his exceptional shock of dark black hair, was his ambition and vision. He stated he’d like the club ‘to be the best team in the Premier League, and the world.’
Well hose me down with sticky can of excitement juice.
He spoke of his plans for the players.
‘In my career I am very demanding for all, demanding of the players also. My idea is to be a protagnosit for all of the match. We play against teams with this personality, and I think the history here shows they love playing with posession of the ball. I like this, and when you don’t have posession of the ball I want a squad very, very intense in pressing. It’s two things that are very important for me. Being a protaganist, posession of the ball, and pressing.’
I’ll eat up words like that all day. Arsene Wenger stopped challenging players, a long time ago. Things were so bad in his final few seasons, he was scared to drop big names and he was totally incapable of rejecting a holiday form from his most expensive player.
Emery is rolling with the 3Ps like some sort of business coach. Can you imagine Ozil reading that? I bet he’s filling out a holiday form for the month of August already.
I like his use of the word protagonist. I don’t want a coach slamming players through tables, but we need one who can envision a path for young players and old, and push players to be better athletes and smarter technicians. It’s clear that a pressing style of football is something the club sought out, it’s a disruptive way of playing and if executed correctly can give lesser players an advantage over stronger ones. Just look at Spurs and how they bat above their average. Look at how Liverpool have taken a fairly average squad to two european finals in three seasons.
The club have hired a partner, that much is clear. I suspect the club wanted Arteta and Nagelsmann becuase they’d easily fit into a Head Coach structure, because they’ll have never known the glory days of a big shot manager who runs it all. When the exec team were searching for experience, they needed someone who needed the job. Perhaps why Carlo, Allegri, Enrique and Conte were passed by. Emery is an experienced name, but a damaged coach. He’ll be hugely grateful for the job, he’ll have a chip on his shoulder from the Paris experience, and he’ll work with the talent around him to prove he’s an elite part of the coaching aristocracy. He’s experienced, but Ivan is still a king maker if this goes well.
The first year is a monumental rebuild. He’ll be working with players, who as Per Mertesacker said, spend 3 hours training, with half of that time spent on their phones. It’s clear Emery is up for the challenge.
“I believe in the players we have here,”
“We can grow with these players and the objective is to work hard with these talented players, to work to be a candidate for all the titles in the future.”
He certainly has a lot of talent at his disposal. I think he has an exciting challenge ahead. He’ll have to work out how to motivate Ozil to care more often, he’ll also have to find a way to deploy him in a modern system, there aren’t a lot of pure #10s these days, so it’ll be interesting to see where he goes.
Aaron Ramsey is an all-action hero because he tries to do everything. Where will he play for Emery? What will his specific role be? Because I doubt a man as tactically strict as our new guy is going to put him in the ‘do what the fuck you like’ position. Up front, he has two world-class finishers. He has the pace of Auba, and the guts of a very exciting player in Lacazette. Is there a plan that involves the both?
We also have some exciting young defenders, so it’ll be fun to see who makes the cut. Bellerin is an exceptional talent, Chambers started to look a player at the end of last season, we know Holding can boss Diego on his day, and then we have Mavrapanos and Bielek.
I am particularly excited that we now have a group of coaches who can develop AMN, Nketiah, Willock and Nelson. If those four tank under the new regime, they’re simply not good enough. I think we’ve let some young players go over the years that really could have been something else if they’d had the proper coaching from an early age, case in point, Chamberlain over at Liverpool. Now our players will be getting properly educated and that’ll hopefully lead to more breakthrough players like we had in the early years.
We really need to hope Diamond Eyes can pull through with some proper signings. We need a top centre back, a mobile holding midfielder who can tackle and a keeper who can play with the ball at his feet like Allison or Ederson. It’s always tough finding players who can do that, but not as difficult as finding creators and goalscorers which we currently have. The brilliant thing about this summer is we have a contemporary scout with a proven track record hunting down players, we have a proper contracts person dealing with the paperwork, and we have a deal maker in Raul. Hopefully, this will be the least banter summer of the last 15 years.
Finally, it’s exciting to know that we’re hiring a coach who can help us be better than the sum of our parts. Wenger stopped doing that in 2008. The whole club will be re-energised, and hopefully, the fans will feel that when they watch players running through doors to make it happen on the pitch.
The future is certainly brighter. Whatever happens with Emery, he’s a moderniser. He’ll discipline the squad, he’ll rip out the bad parts, and he’ll leave us in better shape than he finds us. The football will be intense and exciting, something we’ve not seen in years. Going into a season not knowing what’s going to happen is a beautiful thing, it truly is.
I’m serious when I say this, I’m over being disappointed with Arsenal, so this season is going to be a very different writing exercise. I’ll still call out bullshit, but that’s the job of a blogger, even if you don’t like it. However, I’m going to give this guy a real chance because we all want to enjoy our club. We’ve just seen that it takes at least a year for new ideas to bed into a squad (Pep/Klopp), this won’t be an overnight success. There will be incredible days, there will be shocking days, as long as we’re seeing progress, we’ll all be happy.
So here’s to a new era, it feels great, I’m onboard the excitement wagon, and can’t wait to share the season with you all!
Welcome, Unai. x
P.S. Can I bitch about the kit? What happened there? #PumaOut