Guest columm: What Emery means to Arsenal

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I’m very excited to welcome new guest columnist Jonathan Blaustein (he’s NYT levels). He’s a great writer, he packs a punch and this is his first article (stay for the podcast at the end as well). Find him @jblauphoto.

Well hello there, fellas.

What do you know?

You probably don’t remember, but I wrote a guest post here at Le Grove back in 2014, as I was the poor schmuck whose DVR failed, dooming me to miss the first FA Cup victory.

(All was not lost, as I did a full media blackout, and watched a replay a few days later.)

For the last couple of seasons, I’ve written a regular column at the American Arsenal blog 7amkickoff. (Thanks, Tim.) It gave me a chance to opine on all the ridiculous elements of the Late-Wenger-Era, with a healthy dose of Jose Mourinho mockery too.

Perhaps to tie those themes together, we should keep a running tally of all the times Mourinho mocks Wenger this season? That man would fuck Arsene Wenger’s corpse if he could get away with it, just to have the final word.

All along, though, I continued to read Le Grove daily, beside 7amkickoff, Arseblog, ESPN and The Guardian.

Nearly two years ago, I surprisingly found myself coming around to Pete’s way of thinking. Instead of sounding like a cocky asshole, he came across as a forward-thinking, intelligent young man, well ahead of the curve. Sure, he was on the same message for the last 4 years, but eventually, the world moved in his direction.

Pete called for the modernization of Arsenal Football Club. He said hire a proper backroom staff. And a Director of Football. Modernize the training methods. Get current on analytics. Bring in high-level talent from other successful organizations. (Ultimately Barcelona and Dortmund.)

Pete was bitching about the red zone, and proper player rotation, at least 5 years ago.

And while I was a newbie as both an Arsenal fan and a sports writer back in 2014, now I am neither. (I’ve been a professional photography writer for 8 years, including 5 years at the New York Times.)

I’ve watched 95% of the Arsenal matches since I became a fan in 2011, and have seen 3 FA Cup titles in the interim. I’ve got a solid track record of prognostication over the last two years, and think I’m ready for you guys.

The truth is, everyone needs a change sometimes. It seemed like the perfect time to jump back to Le Grove.

I’m aiming for a monthly column, but might write a bit more than that if the situations are worthy.

But since this is my August contribution, I’ll give you my quick synopsis of the situation.

I like Unai Emery, and mostly like the summer and the squad. (I would have been happier if we’d brought in a CB with true quickness and speed, but that will likely wait until next summer’s window.) Emery strikes me as a passionate, likeable, hardworking grinder with a vision how to build this team.

Remember, he only got the PSG job because he was considered an up-and-comer who wins trophies. Sure, he’s got less shine now, (since he got sacked in Paris,) but I’m not sure he ever had a chance, once they signed Neymar.

The biggest stain on Emery’s reputation is the choke-fest against Barcelona in the 2017 Champions League. And don’t forget, one of the stars of the victory was… Neymar.

Speaking as a student of human nature, there is no fucking way Neymar was going to come to PSG with respect for a coach whose team just capitulated like that. Emery never stood a chance last year, and still he brought home silverware. (Though he gets no credit for it, given his budget, and the fact that Monaco drastically disassembled their title-winning team.)

Right now, after Saturday’s win, it still looks a bit like Wenger-ball, but with more cutback crosses from Hector Bellerin. The press hasn’t really taken root yet, but you can see where he’s going with it. And the attempts to build from the back, (to break the press,) are far-less-feeble than during Wenger’s last couple of years. (Post-Cazorla-injury.)

Even if Mustafi and Sokratis are a scary pair, (not in a good way,) with Torreira and Guendouzi potentially patrolling in front of them, I’m far less frightened than if we were stuck with Ramsey and Xhaka instead.

My belief this season is all about the Europa league, and the race for 4th. Everyone talks about the latter, but the former is more realistic, in my opinion.

Arsenal literally hired an expert in winning the Europa league, and have handed him enough talent to do it. (I’ll bet you £10 that Atletico don’t crash out of the Champions League early this year either.)

Emery has 2 cracks at the Champions League, and I think he’s a decent bet to come through on one of them, but probably not both. If he wins the FA or League Cup, but doesn’t get into the Champions League, I think he’ll keep his job, but it will be considered more failure than success.

Basically, I’m currently bullish on the post-Wenger era. (Especially now that Emery pulled out his first, very Wenger-ish victory.) And for the record, I officially called for the end of Arsene in the winter of 2017.

By then, I’d come around to Le Grove’s way of thinking, and hope you guys dig my columns to come.


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Ah chop suey j.oe Question…is there any difference between Tottenham/pochettinos situation now and Arsenal’s\Wengers situation when we moved into our new stadium. Tottenham and pochettino have spent little money ,have managed a top 4 place . and have won zero trophies ,yet he is being lauded as some magician for achieving this without having the finances of other clubs . Arsenal and wenger back in about 2006 onwards spent even less money during that period …top 4 every season..champions league final…zero trophies but was labelled a clown by the obsessives despite not having the finances of the other clubs. The… Read more »


And j.oe No one would have said city or Chelsea were big clubs 10/15 years ago …it’s the money that has made them big clubs . If Tottenham were handed a billion to spend on players then guess what …they would be labelled a “but club”. And let’s get it right ,Arsenal have never,and I mean never ,been a big club when it comes to competing in the transfer market. It was wenger who gave the new fans the illusion that we were an elite club with his superb teams he created and the quality football we played that was… Read more »


Pochettino’s team now is similar in quality to wenger’s team of ces,rvp,ade,nasri,cliche back then…both teams built with limited resources. If Arsenal had won a couple of trophies during that period then maybe he could have kept that side together … hindsight,wenger should have left as well and his legacy would have stayed intact and he could have let some other mug to try and complete against unlimited wealth of city,Chelsea and man u.. In my opinion ,pep would have been the only one to succeed (win the league)at Arsenal with our limited resources in comparison to the other clubs. Tottenham… Read more »


Most reasonable fans don’t harbour most of their resentment towards wenger for pre 2010’s unsuccessful years. Perfect consistency on a small budget is never easy and I think it’s hard nosed for people to go hard on wenger for the early barren years. But I think most reasonable fans don’t. We came close with the Eduardo leg break season and only missed out by fine margins which is forgivable. Most reasonable fans turned on wenger because what started out as an era that was a bit disappointing but still hopeful turned into an absolute shit show in the years to… Read more »


Big, good touch, pact, ability to handle himself in the middle of burly defenders, qualify as English trained, somebody will go for him.

I don’t know if it’s arsenal fans or just le grove posters, but damn, you guys like to hype up players that leave arsenal.


Basically if poch stays for many more years, dismantles this team, loses the fans and starts telling the fans that random, shite players are like messi as the club crashes out of the CL spots repeatedly then he will have matched wenger’s development curve and I’m sure he will be absolutely lambasted for that the same way wenger is/was


Pierre hindsight,wenger should have left as well and his legacy would have stayed intact and he could have let some other mug to try and complete against unlimited wealth of city,Chelsea and man u.. geez, let it go. Wenger had two options, leave or get the cash that would make him wealthier than uncle scrooge. He chose the money (while you are pretending he did for free). So basically the choice was his and the mistake was his, and here we are today where half of the fans hate his gut and know the sort of money pinching guy… Read more »


If Arsenal’s trophy haul from the last few years is good for a club of Arsenal’s size, why did the manager get fired and lose the fans?

Apparently only a small group of fans think the record was good enough


Also I’m sure it’s not just me who feels really embarrassed whenever people talk up us coming second in a season in which we DID NOT compete and the title was won by Leicester fucking city whilst every other team tanked.

That was NOT impressive. Our points tally was shite for a 2nd place team. But sure, convince yourselves we had a good season. 2nd sounds good until you actually open your eyes and see we were just the least shit of the runner ups


Bragging about coming second one time when all the good teams fucked up is like coming second in the Olympics 100m sprint with a finish time of 10.5 seconds when all the top 5 rivals tripped over their own feet or disqualified themselves with false starts

Congratulations? That silver medal is one to cherish!

Black Hei


In your own words, he was a clown only in the final quarter of his tenure.

If that was his only problem, that final stretch, I think your constant criticisms is a little disproportionate right?

In his 5 year clownish tenure, he got us 3 FA Cups and 3 top 4 finishes . I haven’t found a clown that came even close.

Black Hei


Pierre is not saying that Wenger should stay.

I think the consensus is that he should go. All the AKBs, me included, felt he should go.

We just don’t understand why you think he is THAT bad. Like an older Steve Kean kind of bad.


Not really He got given a free pass for his shortcomings in the early banter years (which he earned) because we had reason to believe it was just a phase and that he would turn the corner for us. *Hindsight* tells us that it wasn’t just a phase and that our good will in those years was misplaced. So back in the moment I extended him a fair amount of slack as most fans did understandably. But the proof is in the pudding, he was finished as a serious manager after the Eduardo leg break season. That was the last… Read more »


We think he was *that* bad for a few basic reasons 1) He lied to the fans and treated them with contempt (this for me is unforgivable from the manager) 2) He literally made us a laughing stock of top level football. The entire Chelsea team laughing about playing us. Bayern 15-3 over 3 consecutive games. This kind of shit *hurts* 3) we were so predictable that our decline was forecast for such a long time and for all the reasons that turned out to be true. The fact that the guy with the ability to do something aimed to… Read more »


Wenger had to go. We were slipping into mid table in the PL. if he stayed this year could have been worse. We could have maybe come 10th. That was how bad Wenger was, he turned us into a mid table cup team.


“Arsenal starlet Reiss Nelson is set to sign a new long-term deal – and then join Hoffenheim on a season-long loan. The Gunners have reached an agreement with Nelson, 18, after months of talks over a new contract. His previous deal, signed in December 2016, was due to expire next summer. New Arsenal boss Unai Emery is a big fan of Nelson, has high hopes for the England under-19 attacking midfielder and told him he will get his chances this season. But Nelson is keen to play regular first-team football, something Germans Hoffenheim are willing to offer.” – Mirror could… Read more »

Black Hei


I think we will just have to let that slide.

No way we can agree on this. Kind of like arguing over steak.

You order for medium and it comes well done. Your reaction can vary from “This steak is shit, I am not paying” to “Its edible but I am not coming back next time”.

The only factual conclusion is that its not medium and we are not happy.



Yeah, the new contract + loan scenario is much more palatable than him just leaving outright.

But you’re right, it leaves us short in an already threadbare position.

A lot riding on Welbeck’s fitness and productivity now…


All the AKBs, me included, felt he should go.”


There are many AKBs that are still passive aggressively defending Wenger on here.


Those posts by valentin have to be joking right


Let’s make things perfectly clear, Arsene Wenger started to lose fans trust and faith after 2008. He only started to become “shit” when he began to consistently show disrespect towards the fans. These fans then divided into two sections, aptly named AKB and WOB. The AKB’s continued to have faith, irrespective of Wenger’s obvious flaws, whilst the WOB’s saw the bigger picture. For me personally, anyone who said that Wenger should go but continued cheering the course, specifically after 2012, was not a true WOB activist. It is a fact that many who said he should leave, but kept supporting… Read more »


And let’s get it right ,Arsenal have never,and I mean never ,been a big club when it comes to competing in the transfer market. The trouble with this type of comment is it’s just not correct. Ok we are talking of a time before most, if not all of us were born , but Arsenal were called the Bank Of England Club for good reason and on several occasions broke the transfer record during what was a purple patch in Arsenal’s history. For me the biggest example of mis management in Arsenal’s recent history falls smack bang in the laps… Read more »


weren’t we called the Bank of England club because of the number of finance guys on the board?

Black Hei

Michael24 I think you have to look in the mirror and understand that your definition of “AKB” is really broad. The first is that you have to take the happiness out of everything, FA Cups included. So by your definition, China, Pedro, Ian Wright, are AKBs! The second, is that you can’t reason anything with Wenger. The Invincibles are actually shit. George Graham won Wenger the league. Wenger is this evil being, who actually has a mammoth budget but refuses to spend anything. And all other weird conspiracies. If you disagree, you are AKB too. Everyone who disagrees with you… Read more »

Vintage Gun

Your Comment HereValentinAugust 29, 2018 00:18:41



“Then again when posters like @kb Pierre arrogantly promote to us all, their ” superior knowledge of the game” ,what do you expect”

I think some of you need to get a sense of humour …


Vintage gun

Obviously valentin was jesting about sanogo…… Wasn’t he?

Vintage Gun

I hope so.

I really really hope so.


Michael “Let’s make things perfectly clear, Arsene Wenger started to lose fans trust and faith after 2008…for me personally it was 2008.” 2008 Champions league quarters League cup semis 3rd in the league 2009 Champions league semis fa cup semis League cup quarters 4th in league 2010 Champions league quarters 3rd in league me that many were spoilt by the success from wenger’s early years and regarded winning trophies as an entitlement if you believe the stats from those 3 years are a reason to abuse wenger,especially as he was finding it hard to keep his best players as… Read more »


Literally the worst post i’ve seen this year that Valentin rant on Sanogo.

Convincing myself it was a tongue in cheek comment.


Sorry Frost to disappoint you, but Sanogo post was not a rant nor was it tongue in cheek. It was a detailed explanation why abusing Arsène Wenger for Sanogo was ridiculous. Yes Wenger did made mistakes, but criticising Wenger for Sanogo does not make sense. Financially he did not cost us much. He helped us win an FA Cup. He was creating havoc in the penalty box. After two years ravaged by injuries he was released. He is now rebuilding his career in France in ligue 1. Wenger took a punt that did not pay off. If he had paid… Read more »


I note that people write on my Sanogo’s post but have no arguments against my comments on Emery.
Everybody were so happy to get rid of Arsène Wenger that they did not consider that we could replace him by a worst manager.
This is exactly what we have a petty mediocre coach, who is now upsetting half the team.