The monthly guest post from Jonathan Blaustein. Enjoy it people, just enjoy it.
My son Theo thinks Unai Emery is ugly.
He once remarked on his resemblance to a vampire, and often mocks his “British Guy Teeth.” (I am not making this up.)
I too have a curved nose, and therefore empathize with Arsenal’s Head Coach.
I never thought he was ugly, (if I ever thought about it at all,) but my son has been emphatic. (He’s 11, so he’s emphatic about a lot of things.) Just yesterday, he tried to argue with a Chicago-born barber, in his own make-shift-barber-shop-located-inside-an-accountant’s-office, that LeBron James was definitely better than Michael Jordan.
(That takes balls, or a child’s lack of perspective.)
I figure Unai Emery has enough money to fix his teeth, if he wants to, so he must not want to.
What does that say?
“I’m Basque. I don’t care. You may call them tapas, but really, they are pintxos, and we, the Basques, invented them. When I eat squid, I eat every part of the squid. If I eat the octopus, you will know that I have eaten the whole octopus.”
How can you not love this guy?
Wayne Rooney had them cut hairline from his neck and sew it onto the top of his head, but Unai Emery doesn’t bother to get some teeth whitener?
Why? Because he’s too busy not-losing football matches.
The last time Arsenal lost was back in August. (Pause.) August 18th.
I’m writing this on November 26th here in America, and we’ve just had our Thanksgiving holiday. I’m on a couch at the moment, and certain parts of my body are sending clear signals that I need to stop with the holiday binging.
No more sugar. No more booze.
Back to normal life. Burn off these extra 4 pounds.
Christmas comes next. That’s what we think of here in America, as soon as Thanksgiving ends.
So I’m thinking of Christmas, and Arsenal have not lost since it was still high-summer-hot, and we were all walking around in T-shirts, shorts and flip flops, saying things like, “I love summer. Summer’s cool.”
Back then, on August 18th, Arsenal got beat by Chelsea, away, in a game they certainly could have drawn, or perhaps even won. They lost, sure, but at least it was respectable.
And Unai Emery’s team hasn’t lost since.
I don’t care how small and cold your heart may be, how are you not erect-nipples-excited about at 17 match (18 now) undefeated run? There are always things that can be improved, even in wins like Sunday’s against Bournemouth, but being 1 point behind Chelsea, and 3 behind Spurs?
As a monthly pundit, I’m extremely pleased. I think Emery deserves time to bring in his guys, (or at least ask Raul and Sven pretty please to include some names on their shopping list,) to fairly compare his rebuild to Klopp’s or Guardiola’s.
Even setting aside the overall volume of money we have to spend compared to those teams, it still is more fair to judge 3-years-in to 3-years-in.
But in the 3 months since August, have I mentioned that Arsenal have not lost?
Sure, within days of this article, maybe Suprs beat us, thereby rendering my main point moot. (And increasing our distance from the Top 4.)
That’s possible. But if so, I can consider that in next month’s column. This one reflects life through Bournemouth, and I think things look pretty great, for where they are.
The only place I feel like we have true egg on our faces, at the moment, is with the Aaron Ramsey situation. Why on earth would Arsenal have given up 50 million pounds for a player, last summer, only to have Emery turn on him a few weeks later?
It makes no sense.
It is possible there were no offers last summer?
I’m wondering if this isn’t an area where Arsene Wenger was a bit prescient, with European football approaching a more American version of free agency.
Over here, players have immense power, in particular in the NBA, for deciding where to play.
The only way to use that power is to run down your contract. If you promise you’ll never, ever sign with a team, as your contracts dwindles, than anyone who trades for you knows it’s a short-term rental.
It’s possible that Ramsey is unwanted, or that the clubs that wanted him realized they could wait half-a-year, (foreign clubs,) spend nothing to buy him, and keep their resources, plus get the player.
To put this in a Kroenke-centric perspective, it’s like the New York Knicks panicking and trading a ton of assets to the Denver Nuggets for Carmelo Anthony, mid-season, instead of waiting 5 months and getting him for free.
The Nuggets were lauded for their wisdom, and I wonder if Ramsey isn’t an example of the tip of the iceberg.
Sure, Arsenal could have signed him for a likely-exorbitant wage, but barring that, they had to let him walk.
Is that as likely as them bungling the situation this badly? That he had them over a barrel? And they chose to walk away?
Honestly, I don’t know, but seeing him leave for nothing seems like a big failure. I guess it hasn’t happened yet, so perhaps we’ll know more by the December or January column.
On the fresh news front, Mesut Ozil was dropped for the Bournemouth game, a sure warning from Emery as to who wears the pants at the moment at Arsenal.
And that Szczesny/Fabianski interview popped up, thereby proving what Pete had been on about for years: that Arsenal’s goalkeeping coach was more clueless comedian than proper teacher.
It’s kind of amazing to think that Wenger was allowed to keep plodding on with the same old tired methods, year after year. I suppose he earned his last few years with the FA Cup trophies, (in fairness,) but here in America, coaches and GM’s at high profile franchises never get to stay around that long, and keep all the power, unless they deliver time and again.
Doc Rivers, who was considered a legend once he won the NBA title as coach of the Celtics in 2008, was stripped of his General Manager duties for the Clippers a few years back, when it was clear that Lob City had run its course. He was allowed to keep his Head Coach duties only, and now they’re winning again, and playing fresh basketball.
This idea that one person can do it all, and do all the parts well, seems outmoded these days, and I’m extremely glad that Arsenal are finally run like a modern outfit.
So I guess that’s where I’ll leave you. Unai Emery wears the pants in the dressing room, and may or may not be ugly. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang wore a haircut on Sunday that made me say aloud, “No American would ever wear that haircut!”
And then today on Twitter, I saw a video about our-new-hero Lucas Torreira drinking maté, Uruguayan-style.
It’s a truly global product these days, gents, and we best all get used to it.