Monday night football is back and the G to the Nev is out there spraying truth bullets at anyone who will take them. He had a fairly interesting opinion on Emery that kind of backed what I was saying yesterday.
The main arc of his story was that Unai should double down on his system and he shouldn’t cave to the players by adapting to their whims. He focused evidence around his time at Valencia, saying that once he caved to a simpler vision of his philosophy, the players were lost.
I agree with this thinking, and how could you not. What I would say is that management of people is more complex than just telling them it’s your way or the highway. Sometimes it’s important to understand what’s come before and be sensitive to the new environment you’re in before you start dick swinging. Anyone who has taken a senior position at a new company will know that the folk that succeed are the ones that listen, the ones who think they know best straight away usually lose the crowd early doors.
Remember, Emery went hard at the PSG players in his first season and killed their vibe to the point where his expensively assembled mega-squad lost a one-horse race to Monaco. The second season, the players took over and he let them do what they fuck they like (you’ve read the interview). By the end of the year, he was out despite crushing the league.
So, I agree that Emery needs to stick to his guns, he needs to persist with playing out of the back, he needs to enforce strict pressing and he needs to make sure that players are kept in check if they fail to deliver on the job they’re assigned.
What he needs to be careful of is behaviour that can be seen as draconian or unfair and he needs to make sure the players believe he knows what he’s doing. As I mentioned yesterday, the players he’s gunning for are senior figures who have dressing room clout. Xhaka, Ramsey, Ozil have all struggled in the first two games. All have been publicly spanked in some way, it’s telling that John Cross is writing that the other players were shocked the Welshman was dropped, probably because they felt weaker without an engine like that in the side just from a psychological perspective… and look, you know I thought JC’s enabling behaviour in the Wenger era was fucking embarrassing, but if he’s writing stories like that, it’s because he’s getting fed by AR and his extremely arrogant/entitled agent.
Anyway, my point being: when you fuck with the big boys, you have to deliver results the other end. Especially if you’re going to take on 3 of them at the same time (possibly 4 if he drops the appalling Bellerin for West Ham). Now, I’m not saying those players don’t deserve to be subbed or dropped, all I’m saying is Emery needs to pay attention to the bigger picture because Arsenal are desperate for someone who can bring cohesion and belief back. There’s a real danger he fails to prioritize and attacks too many important issues at the same time. He should prioritize. Do the most important structural things first, then when everyone loves you, tackle some of the trickier issues.
That’s exactly what Sarri has done at Chelsea. He’s made training enjoyable again, he’s giving the players a freedom the aggressively disciplined Conte wouldn’t and he’s letting them express his sexy ideas on the pitch. It’s working, his team look far more at ease than Arsenal do and remember, he inherited a total shit show there. Now, don’t get me wrong, they’ll hit trouble at some point because there’s a steep learning curve to Sarri ball. But if the players embrace you as a person and believe in you, it’s easy to work through the tough times. Which is why Emery needs to tread the line of enforcing new principles, whilst also winning hearts and minds.
Ultimately, that’s where it’ll all fall down for Jose this season. His players hate him, his style, and his approach to management. If there were ever a manager who’d struggle without money, it’s that man. Only through the sheer force of their transf budget clout are they able to make 2nd in the league.
United under Poch would be a very big worry, but I’d take it to see Spurs try and replace the Argentine with their restrictions. The thing that saves Mourinho is the power of his personality, he has Ed Woodward under his spell, along with a majority of the press who think the free-spending Portuguese has been dealt a rough hand.
Anyway, enough chatter, I’m being contrarian because that’s what blogs are for. I’m very happy with the fact we’re having conversations that challenge us.
… also, Ivan is off to Milan. What made him move? Equity. The Elliott group are no doubt offering him the chance to grow another football club exponentially and make a fucking fortune. Good luck. Enjoy the fashion, wine, food, women, beers and casual right-wing fanaticism.
ANYWAY, jump knee deep into our exciting podcast where we cover:
- Starting line-up
- Going a goal down after 20mins
- Positive performances
- Player troubles brewing
- The principles of Emery ball
- West Ham and the next 8 games