by .

Arsenal crashed at Southampton in what felt like a fairly predictable game and sadly, historically familiar.

The odds felt slightly stacked against us even before the game started. Two centre-backs suspended, Holding out longterm, our two returning defenders 32 and 33, and Lichtsteiner who is 34. Things were so rough, Emery once again elected to drop Xhaka into the back three.

We didn’t make it easy for ourselves, as has been the script all season. For the 17th time this season, we couldn’t manage to head into halftime with a lead. Our defending was awful, we conceded 7 shots on target, despite dominating 66% of the possession. The most damning stat? Southampton scored 20% of their goals against us yesterday. What a joke.

We went a goal down on 20minutes. Bellerin marshalled Targett out wide, the English left back whipped in a beautiful cross that evaded Koscielny at the front post, finding Ings who breezed past a dozing Xhaka. It really was an exceptional ball, but it was being defended by a player who hasn’t dropped a full 90 for 250 days, and a deep-lying midfielder who obviously isn’t going to be comfortable in a back 3.

We clawed our way back into the game, Iwobi used a burst of pace really well to release Monreal, the Spaniard found Mikhi in the box and his bullet header from 10 yards was enough to pull us level. We still managed to fuck things up, Redmond, who’d caused problems with his pace all game, evaded MG and Iwobi, floating a perfect cross between Lichtsteiner and Koscielny, finding Ings who lofted a perfect header under the bar.

The second half saw Lacazette emerge. We had a really good opening 15 minutes and drew level on 52 minutes. Lacazette rustled the ball as Southampton looked to break, he fed Mikhi who bundled home a dirty deflected shot.

I don’t want to scapegoat here, but I felt the air leaked out of our performance when Iwobi blazed over a backheel pass from Auba. It really was atrocious technique and the difference between Arsenal and the elite teams in the league. I really can’t fathom how anyone can defend that chance. When you’re an international footballer, you should at the very least be hitting the target.

Our final goal was also a calamity. Mesut Ozil lost the ball on the halfway line with a stupid stepover, the ball made it down our end, Austin is picked out at the back post, Leno came flapping and missed, the rest is history. Not good enough, and another silly error from our German import.


This is what the first season under a new manager will look like, if we’re honest, we’ve had it very nice up until today and we should be grateful. It took Klopp 3 seasons to make things work for him. We cannot expect Emery, with limited summer investment and a dirty Arsene Wenger hangover, to perform miracles. Our squad is very slim and we were exposed today.

The club needs to continue to upgrade. We need better wide players, we need to move on names that either don’t want to be here or aren’t suited to the system, and we need to focus on bringing through quality.

Emery needs to take stock of a few things that he’s been getting away with… namely, our shocking first-half performances. It’s true that our resilience to bounce back has been a joy to watch, but 17 games without leading in the first half is a semi-crisis. It means the manager is making poor decisions. We need to be seeing better selections and we need to see players more focused from the off.

I joked yesterday that an Arsenal player could play keepy-uppy in his own box and roof it into the net on purpose and you’d still have a group of fans screaming ‘FOOTBALL IS A TEAM GAME THAT’S NOT HIS FAULT’… well, in most jobs, there’s an element of individual responsibility. Mesut Ozil needs to take some stick for giving the ball away then not going hard to retrieve it. The great thing is that sort of subpar attitude might rub with some of our fans, but it won’t with Emery. The club needs to move him on. It’s clear that he’s not right for how the team needs to play, and he’s also not right for the sort of structure we need to build wage wise. He needs to move on.

We also have to do something about Aaron Ramsey in January. We have a very good player who would have been more useful than Mesut, sitting on the bench today. If he’s going to be a nothing player, let’s sell him and bring in a talent that can give our midfield the extra ingredient it needs to create and press.

That said, it is worth remembering that we don’t have a coach that’s denying we’ve been less than optimal. He said in the pre-match prezzer that there is a lot that needs to be improved upon. That’s good news. We’re dealing with a coach that understands reality and pragmatism. Let’s hope Sven and Raul have something smart lined up in January… Pepe and Cahill both available as potential stop-gaps at the back.

Finally, big thumbs up to Hassenhutl. He’s a manager we scouted when names were rumbling for Arsenal. He’s brought a lot of energy to their squad, and he bought all theb fans a beer. Can’t know that sort of carry-on.

Right, see you in the comments!

407 Responses to “Thud.”

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  1. Receding Hairline

    The problem is that our club doesn’t have money to compete. It is not easy to find good and cheap players. There are hundreds of lesser teams scouting for those players. We are one of them. Getting players on-loan is much cheaper.

    How many teams in the premier league base their recruitment strategy around loan deals?? Are we a championship team or league one and two?? What are you even saying??

    How many good players do City have in their reserves and what benefit would it be to Arsenal to have them on loan with Arteta as manager? Are we New York City FC or Girona?? Christ!!!!

    We are Arsenal Football club..enough with this crying poverty rubbish. If you are not campaigning for Cahill you are talking about City reserve players on loan..get a grip Nelson

  2. Jim Lahey

    @Pedro –

    “Again, you can bleat on all you like about Arteta, but you have absolutely no idea”

    I mean…. you can see that you also have no idea right? You’ve suggested that a number of managers would have been better than Emery, but just as you told Cesc, you actually don’t really know how they would have performed if they got the job.. its just your opinion, conjecture.

  3. Dissenter

    In fairness, the conversation has veered away from the post.
    Pedro’s criticisms were tepid at best.
    Emery made some errors yesterday, just as he’s made errors in his starting selections over the season.
    Emery still has to prove that there’s another gear left in him. It’s one thing to handle rotation with the Europa league and it’s another level rotating the squad through a busy Christmas period.
    He doesn’t fancy Elneny but why leave him out when there’s a defensive crises. He’s played him in that CB position before.
    We have to be careful not to set Emery up as though he’s immune from legitimate criticism.

  4. T

    @Jim Lahey

    Well said about manure. We should be thankfull that things are as good as they are now and going in a better direction

  5. Bamford10


    I really don’t see the point of a there-were-better-managers-out-there discussion. Emery has an excellent CV. He is doing good work. Are things exactly as we would want them? No. We are a work in progress. If Emery doesn’t have us where we want to be in a year or two, we can discuss other options. At the moment, such a discussion is pointless and frankly bizarre. How does it make sense to be talking about what might have been under, say, Ancelotti? Pointless. Totally and completely pointless.

  6. Pedro

    RH, I don’t need journalists to form an opinion.

    Jim, the next level is what Klopp has done at Liverpool. Klopp has a distinct style, he knows what players he needs to deliver that and he’s doing it.

    We’ll find out if Emery can do that. A lot of people here think he can do that, and that’s their right. As it is mine to think the opposite.

    Doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy the wins and the progress.

    Remember, Emery’s success is important to the narrative this blog set for years… I don’t want him to fail. Last thing I need is people pining for the Wenger years claiming that we should have been careful what we wished for.

  7. Receding Hairline

    We are a work in progress. If Emery doesn’t have us where we want to be in a year or two, we can discuss other options. At the moment, such a discussion is pointless and frankly bizarre. How does it make sense to be talking about what might have been under, say, Ancelotti? Pointless. Totally and completely pointless.


  8. Guns of Hackney

    Yawn. Money.

    Other clubs across the world can rebuild and find gems everywhere. All of them have tiny budgets compared to us.

    Southamptons total wage bill isn’t as much as Ozils annual salary. If money was the deciding factor, how did Southampton beat us?

  9. Jim Lahey

    @Pedro –

    “Jim, the next level is what Klopp has done at Liverpool. Klopp has a distinct style, he knows what players he needs to deliver that and he’s doing it.”

    Thats fine, lets give Emery the money and the time Klopp has been given before we decide its not possible.

  10. Pedro

    Anyway, what about a more fun topic of conversation?

    Matt Spiro reckons we’re after Pepe for £50m. Exactly what we need? Or Gervinho mkII

  11. Jim Lahey

    @GoH –

    “If money was the deciding factor, how did Southampton beat us?”

    They are in the relegation places right? Thats the difference between having money and not having money.

  12. Cesc Appeal


    I think you’re full of it to be honest and are still sulking as you have done all season.

    You’re passing off opinion as fact, Ancelotti would have done better, would he? With a £64 Million spend? You sure? For a fact? With this team? In this league? This isn’t a team that finished 4 points behind the winners last year in a weak league like Napoli did.

    Jardim was blasted by oil money? I didn’t know over half the teams in Ligue 1 were funded by oil money. Monaco were fundamentally broken as a team, he couldn’t get the basics right even and they were battered around. Again, sort of weakens your point doesn’t it? Again in a far weaker league than the EPL across the board.

    I don’t ‘bleat’ about Arteta. I just like to highlight the ridiculousness of your summer fangirling and then your post-summer sulk as context for what you are saying now. Stop hiding behind that every time you’re called out for your absurdity.

    We’re doing better than expected given our circumstances. I’m going to be patient. You’re not, fine. Stop pretending that you have some objective factual barometer by which you can factual tell us we would be doing better with someone else.

  13. Dissenter

    “Jardim would have been a better choice. The guy who beat Emery in a one-horse race, but fell to pieces when his team was obliterated by oil money the season after.”

    You’re now recycling all your favorite lines from the Arteta argument.
    What did Jardim beat Emery with?
    One of the best collections of players that any manager could ever dream of.
    The Monaco team had personnel that was just as good as the PSG team. Monaco ought to have won the CL with that team.
    It also took three seasons to acquire that squad. The same squad that only narrowly beat Wenger’s team in the CL. We lost at home to Jardkm’s Monaco …unluckily then beat them 2-0 away.
    Jardim left a mess at Monaco too.

  14. Wenker-wanger

    We lost and got out- muscled for a number of reasons..and none of those down to Emery. Sure you could argue that koscienly wasn’t ready…and maybe the rookie tall defender that came on v. Quareg could’ve played….but perhaps that was a massive risk as well.
    We lost because Southampton were really up for impressing their manager… The work they put in hassling in midfield was like relentless dogs of war. They had one tactic upfront and that was to fire in crosses at Ings and austin. We are vulnerable there and particularly without holding and sokratis.
    We are short of quality and enforcing strength. We need players that will get tough and nasty when the tackles and barges disrupt our play.
    Like I always say, Emery is doing a great job…..we are short of quality, but more alarmingly a bit short of fight when teams set out to play physical.

  15. Jim Lahey

    @Pedro –

    “Matt Spiro reckons we’re after Pepe for £50m. Exactly what we need? Or Gervinho mkII”

    Would much prefer to take that money and have a go at Isco!!

  16. Leedsgunner

    It’s clear that by choosing Xhaka as a makeshift CB, Emery is choosing players he trusts… fair enough. However this left us incredibly vulnerable to headers.

    Bearing in mind, Kos was never good in the air anyway, we were leaving a gaping hole for Southampton to exploit… and lo, they did.

    Sure Zach Medley would have been a huge risk with his inexperience, but the boy is 6’5 with a good leap — he would have given us some protection. Some protection in the air is better than none.

    Our defence yesterday was like a bucket with holes in… we were always going to leak goals… I don’t understand the sheer shock that some are experiencing today.

  17. Guns of Hackney

    I’d rather have the Peter Reid and King Kong looking lovechild Pepe than anyone who is compared to the most inappropriately named footballer of all time, Gervinho.

    If you have a Brazilian name…you damn well play like a Brazilian.

    It’s a no from me. £50m for another drench ligue bully boy? No dice.

  18. Receding Hairline

    Would much prefer to take that money and have a go at Isco!!

    We question Ozil and Mkhi’s attitude but you want Isco booed by his own fans for a lack of application??

    We need hungry players looking to make a name for themselves, not multiple champions league winners looking to coast

  19. Kay


    You put a van dijk instead of koscielny and put in a sane or bernardo in place of iwobi… We could ve won the game.

    Does it mean that Emery cant take us to the next level even with the players i listed above?

  20. Cesc Appeal

    ‘We need hungry players looking to make a name for themselves, not multiple champions league winners looking to coast’


    We need players Emery approves us with good work rates and tenacity.

    We need a Torreira style player in CAM in terms of his application and aggression. Or near to that anyway. Or at least a player who has the personality you can coach that into.

  21. Pedro

    Opinions as facts? Didn’t you just write off Arteta?

    Jardim had his team dismantled after he took down PSG with kids. Not much can weaken the argument that his side had outrageous style and captivated Europe. That was an exciting brand of football.

    I’m also not sure how you’re reading my work as sulking. I think I’ve been pretty positive about everything this season. But this is all about opinions, so however you see it I guess.

    Right, great chatting to everyone, I’m heading into work… very excited to go to the Burnley game at the weekend and unfurl my #ArtetaIn banner. Gonna be epic.

  22. Guns of Hackney


    I know mate! I’d rather the monkey one! He’s a dirty son of a bitch.

    £50m on another french league guy is silly cash. We were burned on Lacazette.

  23. Jim Lahey

    @RH –

    “We question Ozil and Mkhi’s attitude but you want Isco booed by his own fans for a lack of application??”

    Isco is a quality footballer though, puts those two to shame! If his commitment is questionable than that is a problem!

  24. Wenker-wanger

    Bring back Wenger!!! Haha….. We all know some fans would opt for that…I guess there are some peculiarly senseless people out there….

  25. Guns of Hackney

    £50m on a winger isn’t where we need to spend.

    We need to scour the world for some defenders. Russia, Eastern Europe, South America. There simply has to be tough SOBs out there who would add some muscle to our back line.

  26. Cesc Appeal


    You don’t really have much in your locker on this, and it’s understandable.

    I think most people on here have sort of seen through you on this.

    The very fact you’ve sided with a total troll like Pierre on numerous occasions this year speaks volumes about where you are.

  27. Bamford10


    “To be honest, ‘is Emery the right man or isn’t he talk’ is shockingly premature. Let’s give the guy another couple of transfer windows at least. Look at the impact Leno, Sokratis and Torreira have had already.”



    “No one is saying Emery is a messiah or the best manager around, but to jump on him after his first loss in months considering the circumstances surrounding is pretty low sorry to say.”


  28. Dissenter

    Koscielny is done at this level
    He was done before his injury so things are only going to get worse for him (and Arsenal) if we still persist with him.
    It’s similar to Vidic at United and Skertel at Liverpool, at some point the manager has to put his hand around his shoulders and whisper into his ears.
    I would give Koschellny an opportunity to I’ve back to France this winter break.

    He’s done. Thanks for the service he’s given the club but everything comes to an end.

  29. Up 4 grabs now


    Wouldn’t rush to Chuck the baby out with the bath water.
    It was our first loss in 22 games.
    Yes it was against a piss poor side, it happens to the top sides from time to time, and we’re not even a top side.

    We played with a makeshift back three. Which had koscielny who had 70 minutes under his belt the last seven months
    Xhaka whose an average midfielder and a piss poor centreback. And a 35 year old litchsteiner.
    We lost our only decent defender in bellerin at half time, if our big Greek tank hadn’t been suspended yesterday, we don’t concede those goals.

    This season is a work in progress, were 3 points off the champions league spots and five off of third with half a season to go.
    Yes auba looked lethargic yesterday as did a lot of players but look back at the chances we had yesterday and there was some great tackles as well.
    Emery got it wrong by not starting with laca, and Ramsay should have come on at half time when he did bring laca on so he isn’t blame free.
    suspensions injuries, some soft refereeing and a couple of bad tactical decisions cost us the points yesterday.
    But that unbeaten run had to come to an end at some point, now we go again.
    Could be worse we could be utd!

  30. Guns of Hackney

    BATE Borisov.

    I mean…the names of these teams are just pony.

    Arsenal are the dude who went out with a real lovely looking lady but got dumped…heartbroken, they hooked up with a girl called Fud who is pudgy and a bit rough.

  31. Wenker-wanger

    @ Leeds gunner..yeah medley is the name I forgot. I think, like you he may have been a better choice…certainly in the air…on the ground against Redmond may have been a problem though.
    But 3 headed goals really tells the story.

  32. Bamford10

    It looks like the conversation has moved on — thankfully — but I’d just like to add that to the extent that we are going to spend time criticizing what we saw yesterday, the conversation ought to be about:

    – what decisions Emery got wrong
    – why he got these wrong / why they were wrong
    – which players were not good enough yesterday
    – which players are not good enough in general
    – how we can improve

    It should not, IMO, be about whether Emery was the right choice or about what might have been under Nagelsmann, Jardim or Arteta. Given he’s only been here for six months, given we’ve just finished a long unbeaten run, given we’re competing for fourth place, given the poverty of the squad, given the improvements we’ve seen, that discussion just doesn’t make sense.

  33. shaun

    man some people…ofcourse we missed Mustaffi and yes he is a shite and Soc is not much better and I don’t rate holding either or Bellend we need a whole knew back line but the man has to work with what he has, come on Kos is about to come out with PER syndrome as he just wants to play fluffy football that he can enjoy at his own pace and was not given any instruction as he is the captain .no manager in the world will excel with the defensive options at arsenal as it is ten years of neglect and to say this defeat has been coming is not rocket science is it and all this talk of Emery is hilarious and even more hilarious is the Arteta bollocks a complete novice “did you see him giving pep instructions ” pep would be laughing his head off if could get his buddy a plum starter job at the joke club Arsenal .what is more noticeable is how Artetea sits there looking like he is the man and he is not even the number two .It’s like you listen to people and they genuinely make good points and talk sense and then they come out with this Arteta bollocks strange

  34. Akilan

    Its BATE Borisov in the EL. Should be a straight forward tie but a difficult trip away to Belarus.

    Also home leg to be played at 5 pm UK time. So, it won’t be a full stadium I guess.

  35. Leedsgunner


    Normally I wouldn’t advocate throwing in youngsters in a moment of panic but yesterday was strange seeing Xhaka in CB. Xhaka is error-prone in concentration when he’s playing his preferred position but when you throw him in CB you are doing the opposition’s job for them.

    Like I said, it would have been a huge risk, but at least Medley would have been familiar playing in the position.

    It’s clear now Emery sees Xhaka as some multipurpose utility player… someone to throw in when needs must. He’s too impulsive and limited in his footballing intelligence to do this.

    Shame that Monreal is as old as he is because he has the exact right temperament to be an utility player. Solid, dependable and instinctively makes more right decisions more often than not.

  36. Wenker-wanger

    Managers make mistakes, but the best ones make fewer. Emery has generally made great decisions. Particularly his substitutions.He has clearly demonstrated some highly competent managerial and coaching ability already.. He deserves our patience.

  37. Josip Skoblar

    Champions League draw: ManU-PSG. Ha! Ha! Poor Mourinho. I can’t see how his defence can cope with MBappe and Neymar.

  38. HighburyLegend

    “Does Allegri or Ancelotti would have done a better job with our current squad ?”

    Please stop trying to ask Pedro this question, you won’t have any answer.
    This is what we call the hypocrisy syndrome.

  39. Wenker-wanger

    Leeds. I agree totally with your view of xhaka….he isn’t the most reliable at keeping his cool…. Rash challenges, sometimes unnecessary…

  40. Up 4 grabs now

    One loss in four months and its back to was he the right choice in the first place.
    Come on fellas give at least 18 months and a couple of transfer Windows before we we get the axe ready!

  41. Up 4 grabs now

    We can pretend we’re back in the champions league,

    Arsenal are also away on February 14 but their second leg clash with BATE will be played at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday, February 20 at 5pm, a day earlier than the other Europa League last-32 ties.

    UEFA rules stipulate that two teams cannot play in the city on the same night, so Chelsea – who also topped their group and play their second leg match at home – have been given priority to play on Thursday as they won last season’s FA Cup.

  42. Pierre

    “We are short of quality and enforcing strength. We need players that will get tough and nasty when the tackles and barges disrupt our play.
    Like I always say, Emery is doing a great job…..we are short of quality, but more alarmingly a bit short of fight when teams set out to play physical.”

    Interesting you say that because I believe you will get your wish under Emery ..he will send out the team to battle and run until they drop ( possibly like flies) and our quality will also drop as we will be too busy worrying about being physical and having the best running stats .

    What one must remember is ,at the end of the day , it is quality that will win you trophies and the more quality that you have throughout the side the more chance you will have of winning football matches.

    There are only so many times that you can send the team out to battle in the trenches before mental and physical fatigue will catch up with them….. mid and lower table teams in the prem will always be physically stronger than Arsenal just as they are physically stronger than city,Liverpool and Chelsea…..

    It’s the quality in the City ,Chelsea and Liverpool sides that keeps them at the top not their physicality…..of course they have to battle but it’s their class that will be the deciding factor..

    United are the most physically strongest top 6 side and look where it is getting them…

  43. Champagne charlie

    “I haven’t campaigned for Arteta today.I’m just asking you to be honest about Emery, and your default is to fall onto Arteta because you know this manager isn’t the promised land we’d hoped for.He’ll do ok this season, we’ll fight for 4th. But even with better players, I don’t see us finding another level.“

    Am I Pedro in disguise? I’ve said all this since day dot.

    Any modern, reputable manager was going to plug gaps left by a past-it Wenger. There wasn’t a name linked that couldn’t muster a fire and freshness to a stale club. That’s an indictment of Wenger and his late 90’s ways.

    Emery hasn’t won a league title outside of PSG, so putting a little asterisk there given their domination of France isn’t belittling anything but raising genuine “concern” or more reservation.

    I’ve been impressed to date with many things, but there’s been a few patterns that I’ve not liked along the way. It remains to be seen what Emery goes on to achieve with Arsenal but the displeasure I had with Stan in the summer is coming to roost. We didn’t invest enough and Emery (judgements aside) hasn’t been helped as he should’ve been.

    Of course the usual suspects attempt to direct the narrative as they see fit. Pedro was victim of that this time comically (from my pov). January is big for us, the summer is enormous.

  44. Up 4 grabs now

    January is big for us, the summer is enormous.

    Cc absolutely right agree with you a hundred per cent, also at the moment were are a team trying to get back in the champions league not trying to win the league.

    When klopp went to the bindippers, it was to get them into the champions league, Three years later there in the title race why can’t emery be given the same time?

  45. HighburyLegend

    “were are a team trying to get back in the champions league not trying to win the league.”

    That’s why Pedro, Vic, Pierre, GoH, gambon and others wants Emery out asap.

  46. Wenker-wanger

    Look at Chelsea closely when the battle commences..they don’t crumble…and they can play a bit when they want.
    You don’t have to sacrifice quality for trench warfare….you can have both….
    Arsenal under Graham….people say it’s boring 1-0…..but it worked and I could never recall his side’s being short of fight. Oh and the 7-0 Sheffield Wednesday at Highbury springs to mind.

  47. Up 4 grabs now


    The thing that makes me laugh is we’re not in half way through emerys first season, Sat in 5th 3 points off where we need to be to get back into the champions league.

    And people are saying he can’t take us to the next level.
    One transfer window and we got an improvement in keeper although not on yesterday’s performance.
    Torriera and guendouzi, cheap quality players, and starting to improve the players we already had with the exception of ozil.

    Judge him in May, Wenger got away with that for years!

  48. Upstate Gooner

    A simple look at the table will tell you everything you need to know. Only City scored more goals than we have so far this season. Last year, similar story. I’m not a big Klopp fan but he seems to understand the system. You build from the back. Karius, Lovren gone. Allison, VVD in. People were ridiculing him for spending 65/75 mil on the keeper and defender but he did exactly what we have to do, stop the rot in the back. Result, he’s in first place with only 7 goals conceded while we’re in 5th. Emery, and Arsenal rode their luck during this unbeaten streak, and we played a lot of pub teams like Qarabag and Vorskla twice. In all honesty, we should’ve lost to Pool and even Wolves. We were just extremely lucky but finally got found out yesterday. I appreciate what Emery has done so far, namely lifting the team spirit while keeping the players responsible but for me he has failed miserably by not recognizing the most important thing, and that is that our defense stinks, big time. Not one, not two, but three headed goals that we conceded against Soton. Made them look like world beaters. How is Steve Bould still employed by the club is beyond me. But that is as much on him as it is on Emery, imho.

  49. Pierre

    Wenker Wagner
    I just think that the physical battles will catch up with the squad.

    A top team needs maybe a quarter of their games in the prem that they can get a nice 2 or 3 goal lead and coast through the rest of the game ….that’s not happening with us , half time either losing or drawing means we have to expend maximum energy to get a result and that is physically and mentally tiring.

  50. David Smith

    Lest we forget, Klopp, though he started a month or so into the season finished 8th in his first season there. They were also beset with defence issues.
    No reason emery cannot turn this around given time, though thanks to a number of factors including Ivan and wengers ineptitude, and the clubs purse strings, doubt if emery will have the money Klopp has to burn

  51. Kay

    I think Emery should deep down understand that our squad isnt good enough to be protagonists all the time.

    He must understand that, not going down by a goal or 2 in the first half means that you are not at a disadvantage.

    Fixing the 1st half brain fart performances should be top priority.

  52. Pierre

    Update gooner
    I have always said that Emery has done it Arse about face in that he should have made sure we had a solid base to build on …it has always felt that tactically he has not been a lot different from wenger except he was quicker to right his wrongs with early substitutions.
    Playing a back 4 with both full backs so advanced is a recipe for disaster but somehow,more through luck than judgement, we got away with it.

    Yes we bought defenders but the formation set up was all wrong , we had Ramsey playing a lot of the early games ahead of the striker which I couldn’t quite understand( not Ramsey’s fault by the way) along with the advanced full backs this left us woefully short of cover.

    You’re right ,scoring goals is not the problem because,despite what many think on le Grove, we have quality offensive players……..defence should have been the priority from day one.

  53. Bamford10

    Except, Charlie, that you told us that the squad Wenger left Emery was quite good and was underrated by many here.

    (You even suggested, if I recall correctly, that Ainsley Maitland-Niles could serve as a suitable starting RB in place of Bellerin if we sold the latter.)

    Now we needed a much bigger summer than we had? Now it turns out that Wenger left us with an inadequate squad? That’s interesting.

    In truth, your contradictory takes on this point are down to two of your long-standing commitments: on one hand, you wanted to defend Wenger against the criticism he got here for leaving us in such a poor state player-wise; on the other hand, you want to sling bogus arrows at Stan Kroenke for allegedly keeping us from spending adequate money this summer.

    Let’s be clear about two things: one, Wenger left us with a relatively poor squad. You argued against this claim when he departed, but this is a clear and obvious fact now.

    Two, we spent the money we spent this summer because (i) that’s what the self-sustaining model enabled us to spend and (ii) that’s what Emery, Sanllehi and Mislintat felt was needed.

    Stan Kroenke had little or nothing to do with it, aside from saying, “OK, gentlemen, do as you think fit with the money we have available to us.”

    Yes, Stan Kroenke could have said, “here’s an additional 100m,” but that’s not our model and given Emery’s comments, it sounds like the management team wanted to see what they could do with the squad they had, before they went out and spent huge sums of money.

  54. Pierre

    Are you implying that at Emery, Sanllehi and Mislintat could have had another 100 million to spend .

    Interesting that you think that when they have assessed the squad they will have”huge sums” of money to spend …

    Let’s hope that you are correct in that assumption.

  55. azed

    I’m trying to understand what people want Emery to have done this past transfer window. We had 70M to spend and you can either buy Allison or VVD but not both with that amount. Instead, the club did the right thing by buying Leno, Sokratis, Torriera and Guendozi, with that money and the team is better for it.

    January is supposed to be the next stage, get in a winger or two and an attacking midfielder then next summer, we clean house by moving on players like Koscienly, Monreal, Elneny etc.

  56. jwl

    I reckon Emery can take us to next level if club buys next level type players. Emery is competent manager who has middling players to work with and he doing best he can.

    My only complaint about manager is that he has vision of best way to play and he is trying to make players fit into his system. I think best managers learn what their players strengths are and devise system around maximizing their talents.

  57. jwl

    If we only buy one player in January, we need to replace Santi, someone who can run with the ball and create opportunities. I think our team would look a lot better if we had a proper midfield playmaker.

  58. Bamford10


    No, they did not have another £100m to spend. Not from within the self-sustaining model, i.e., from within our operating budget.

    I’m saying that Kroenke could theoretically have reached into his own pockets and made said money available.

  59. Alex James

    OK, we had a makeshift defence that couldn’t cope with the agricultural boys of Soton. But our defence comprised PL players on PL money, and some of them need a good kicking by the coach. As for our dodgy keeper, he is fast reminding me of some of the charlatans of the Wenger era. How come the Spuds can find some cheap defensive gems while we rut around in a defensive transfer muck heap?

  60. azed

    If we only buy one player in January, we need to replace Santi, someone who can run with the ball and create opportunities. I think our team would look a lot better if we had a proper midfield playmaker.

    If we had to buy someone in January, it has to be a winger, someone who can take on players and beat them consistently. We need our own Leroy Sane.

  61. Champagne charlie


    I should’ve stopped reading after “except” because unsurprisingly you rambled on to make *what you consider* my point, for me…failing in the process.

    Disingenuous is a word you brandish with consummate ease, not surprising to anyone that you yourself are the kingpin of such methods when expressing a pov.

    I didn’t simply state I’d have AMN at RB next season and that’s that, it was predicated on the idea we could offload Bellerin for 45 mil and reinvest that into the squad where the needs were greater. The reference of AMN came because he’s a player that could offer what Bellerin, to that point last season, had offered. Largely nothing.

    I didn’t suggest we wouldn’t need to purchase another RB, the point was made as methods of raising capital were being discussed – also as a nod to the relative unimportance of a RB to current squad needs (pre-Torreira after all). So your piss poor attempt to paint an entirely different picture is hilariously Banford of you.

    I argued the squad was nowhere near as bad as was being claimed, a point Pedro noted earlier when he said ‘Emery took over Europa League semi-finalists and not Blackburn’. I stated at the time that the summer was our opportunity to make a bold venture into a new era, but we tiptoed into it with 70 mil on 5 players. This is you merely taking your customary stance in absolute defence of your cuntpatriot.

  62. Pedro

    Yeah, gotta pull people on the squad thing.

    We have some issues, no doubt. But we spanked Spurs a couple of week ago with ease.

    We fucked up massively with Ramsey. Emery was burdened with Ozil who he doesn’t fancy. We made big errors with Licht and probably Sokratis if we’re honest.

  63. Pedro

    But, key point with Emery… he should have been able to bring more defensive stability to our side and I’d have hoped to have seen a little more style.

    Doesn’t mean I want him out, but also don’t want people to freak out like children everytime someone makes a valid point about Emery.

    That sort of approach is exactly the AKB behavior we loathed of the past.

  64. Al

    The question people need to be asking is has Unai met the expectations fans had?

    If your answer is no, I would say you need to get a grip on reality because the position wenger left us in we have really performed above expectations.

    Considering how unbalanced the squad was, tactically naive and down right soft/mentally weak, Unai has a difficult task and so fa he has done fantastically well in changing the teams attitude.

    We are still far off from being the finished product but it’s only been a few months with the same players. Now we really need investment in the key areas to kick us on for the 2nd half of the season because if we don’t buy we will fall short.

  65. Champagne charlie


    Surprised you think that of Sokratis, I think he’s been excellent for us. My issues are Ramsey, Chambers, Elneny etc who all should’ve been turned over for new blood.

    There’s another 70 mil right there which could’ve seen us start the season with a Pepe and a Aouar added to grow along with the new era. Or alternatively we could’ve went statement-like and said we’ll have Fekir off your hands guys and we’ll love it when he’s gassed against Liverpool to drop numbers.

  66. Jim Lahey

    “but also don’t want people to freak out like children everytime someone makes a valid point about Emery.”

    Pedro.. The people who are criticising you are also making valid points, thats the whole point of this blog, no one on here is beyond reproach.

  67. Pedro

    CC, don’t get me wrong, I really like him. Proper warrior great for team morale. Just wonder if the money could have been spent better on a younger model.

  68. Jim Lahey

    @CC –

    Sokratis has been excellent this season, easily our best defender. Also I think those players you mentioned will go this Jan, well Ramsey and Elneny and hopefully a few others to make way for some of Emery’s own signings.

  69. Cesc Appeal

    Sokratis is our best CB.

    For £10 Million we did very well.

    The thought of our defence without Sokratis is not a nice one.

  70. Cesc Appeal

    There’s good evidence there of what we need to do, £10 Million for Sokratis compared to the £35 Million we spent on Mustafi.

    It’s not about the amount per se it’s about the smarts.

    £54 Million for Fred or £54 Million for Leno, Torreira and Guendouzi?

  71. Champagne charlie


    That’s fair, I think a lot of our investments need looked at from the perspective of us lacking funds so you’re not wrong in essence. All the more bizarre we’re loaning players like chambers who could get near that value. Don’t get that.

    With budget in mind we could’ve done Evans for 3 mil for a solid addition you could argue. Various strategies

  72. azed

    “We fucked up massively with Ramsey. Emery was burdened with Ozil who he doesn’t fancy. We made big errors with Licht and probably Sokratis if we’re honest.”


    Licht and Sokratis is probably down to Sven and Raul and not Emery.

  73. Cesc Appeal


    I’ve seen some people saying £10-12 Million and some say £16-17 Million. I’d imagine it is in that ball park.

  74. Pedro

    CA< that's what I was thinking… Zagadou looks very good, similar price. Obvs less experience and maybe we needed that

  75. Guns of Hackney

    £10m for Sokratis is probably about right but that doesn’t make it deal of the century.

    Compare him to Torrier. £10m for a 30 year old defender. £22m for a 22 year old deep lying midfielder. Maybe we got lucky with Torrier but let’s hope Sven has a few more tricks up his sleeve.

    Our defence is bad. Period. It’s old, damaged and going nowhere. City spent £250m on theirs and it paid dividends. Now I know we won’t get close to that, but we need to get smart fast.

    There has to be resources that we can tap into. Africa, South America, Eastern Europe. Come on…other teams do this twice a season, every season. I can not believe the billionaires at the emirates can’t pull more than a Torrier out of the bag every decade.

  76. Guns of Hackney

    Anyone had experience with gay anal sex?


    Anyone got or knows about the Sonos 1 multi room speaker system? Is it any good…sound quality?

    I’m looking to upgrade the mansion.

  77. Joe

    Emery, 4 months into his first season, has us playing in Europe on a Wed night!

    Emery fucking knows you fucking fuckers!!!!

  78. Bamford10


    “we messed up re Ramsey”

    In that we didn’t sell him or in that we didn’t re-sign him? Your “burdened with Ozil” comment suggests you mean the latter, which on a certain level I agree with. I’d be careful on this point, though: the anti-Ramsey crowd are vicious.

  79. Dissenter

    In retrospect, we didn’t have a fulsome summer transfer window.
    We didn’t make very good choices with the defense.
    -Letting Chambers leave on a loan when we could have sold him and used the proceeds to buy a younger player was somewhat silly.
    -I’ve never rated Mavros because there’s nothing to use to assess him.
    -Sokratis is on the wrong end of 30 tjhough he’s proved me wrong,
    -Koschielny is too far gone
    -Holding wont return till next season,
    -Mustafi will always be Mustafi
    – Monreal isn’t a proper center back.
    We have to take risks in the summer window. We need a young central defenders that will be the foundation of the club for 5-10 years to come. Spuds did this with Davinson Sánchez.
    No more stop-gaps like Lichsteiner are needed. Lichsteiner keeps trying to use aggression to cover his failings.

  80. gambon

    Im as “Emery in” as anyone on this site. I was one of the only people calling for him before the decision was made, and certainly I didnt want a one hit wonder like Jardim.

    That said, there his no defending the shocking defence he has put together. He really, really needs to sort that out, or he will be gone fairly soon.

    Our defence is mid table standard, teams like Palace, Newcastle and Leicester are conceding less.

    When you consider we only signed defensive players, its absolutely shocking.

    Now, I think everyone will give him 2 years to make progress, but we’re already 6 months into that, and the improvement is not exactly huge.

    The first halfs are becoming a real issue. After 16-17 games, it really cant be just bad luck any more. The fact that we are making such significant half time changes constantly suggests Emery just doesnt know what his best team is. Again, this points to a real problem.

    We are constantly conceding the first goal, and we are constantly chasing games.

    The only way out of this is better players. And the only way to get better players is to spend money. The club will face a real problem if they arent willing to invest significantly.

    Look at Liverpool. They have got the last few seasons so right in terms of both the manager and transfers, but their improvement is really down to spending £70m on 2 quality goalscoring AMs, £75m on the best CB in the PL and £65m on a great goalkeeper.

    You can try and be a Mislintat Hipster all you like, but to sit at the top of the PL you need to either have the best attack, best defence, or both. And to do that you need the best players in the PL. To get the best players in the PL will usually take a lot of money.

  81. Joe

    Emery was never going to come in a sell of 15 players.

    He brought in some reinforcements and is using the year to assess what were supposedly our “ better” players.

    He’s decided Ramsey and Wellbeck can fuck off

    I’m sure the same is thought of oZil but not sure what options are available with his salary but hopefully he can be unloaded.

    Iwobi is probably very close to being told he’s surplus.

    Next couple TWs we will see the direction the team is going.

  82. Guns of Hackney

    I don’t want to come across as sucking dick but Gambon has hit another one square in the face.

    …and as in life, as in sport…the richer one is, the better the things one can buy.

    It really is about the money. Every league in the world is dominated by the richest club. That isn’t a coincidence.

  83. azed


    I’d like to think the stop gap measures were a necessity. Emery, Sven and Raul are less than a year with us and expecting them to make wholesale changes in their first window is unrealistic.

    I believe this past summer window was a stabilization/stock taking window. Bring in experienced pros who are leaders in the dressing room, take a stock of current players and see those who are bad due to poor training and those not good enough moving forward.

    We should be looking to get rid of Elneny and Ramsey in January, while Koscienly, Kolasinac, Chambers, Mkhi and Ozil should be on next summers chopping board.

  84. azed

    “The only way out of this is better players. And the only way to get better players is to spend money. The club will face a real problem if they arent willing to invest significantly.”

    This is not an Emery problem but a board level problem, and unlike Wenger, Emery isn’t in charge of transfers so any player related problems should be blamed on Sven, Raul and Emery in that order.

  85. Guns of Hackney

    Can I also address this issue…the “he needs time to fix the mess”.

    Right. In your job, how long did you get to get it right? How long do most people get…to get it right?

    Someone leaves, you come in and your employer expects instant results because a) there was a hiring process and you were deemed the right candidate with the relevant experience and qualifications. B) the employer is paying you to do a job based on a).

    What fucking planet do you lot live on where managers can get ‘months or multiple transfer windows’ to get it right.

    Emery sold his shit to arsenal on the basis that he was cool about working under these circumstances. That he has scouted every player and knows what to do.

    Emery isn’t getting £100 a week. He’s on about £6m ffs.

  86. gambon


    I agree. This season was clearly all about working with the existing squad, and seeing who could and couldnt cut it.

    And add a few much needed players, rather than actually replace players. Only Leno actually replaced anyone, the other signings were just because we were short in certain areas.

    That said, we signed 5 more defensive players. We spent £70m, and 3 of these 5 signings are first XI players.

    Our defence hasnt improved even 1%.

    Emery has to be criticised for that.

  87. gambon


    The board dont sign players then force them on Emery.

    We sign a player where Emery says there is a need.

    Clearly he said we need a GK, CB and DM. We signed them, and he would have the ability to veto any of these signings.

    Our defence hasnt improved at all.

    We have conceded a ridiculous amount of goal, we cant hold a lead, there are individual errors all over the pitch, our xGA is the same as it was last season under Wenger.

    Despite spending £70m on the defence.

    Now if that happens again this summer, Emery will be gone.

    Saying someone “needs time” doesnt mean the improvements dont have to start immediately.

  88. Dissenter

    You were criticizing Emery after the first two games . I’ve waited four months to make a mild point about some of the choices he made yesterday.
    He had no choiuce but to take a chance on Koscheilny [who let him down] and then Oil a sub. I can’t knock him for both these decisions.
    Playing Xhaka out of position when Elneny was fit didn’t make an sense. Elneny has played in that role in the pre-season and some lower pressure games.
    Also starting Iwobi ahead of Ramsey wasn’t the best choice. Iwobi does not deserve starts now based on form. He’s been dismal for a while. I backed him to the hilt initially because his earlier form deserved starts but he’s been flailing and getting too laid back. It doesn’t make an sense to start Iwobi and yank him off at half time in consecutive games. At some point, it should have dawned on Emery to just drop him from the starting 11.

  89. Guns of SF

    Its our defenders and defense
    Its not our style of play that leads to us being vulnerable in the back.
    Look at City/ Pool and other attacking teams- similar to us yet they dont ship goals like we do. So what can it be then?

    Even the addition of a CM/DM in Torreira has helped some but we are still leaking goals.

    This conundrum goes back to the old manager.

    Despite new coaches the problem still exists.

    Head scratching

  90. azed

    “That said, we signed 5 more defensive players. We spent £70m, and 3 of these 5 signings are first XI players.

    Our defence hasnt improved even 1%.

    Emery has to be criticised for that.”

    Liverpool’s defence improved by at least 35% after signing VVD and he cost more that all our summer signing so you can say we went for quantity because a) we needed the bodies and b) Wenger left us in such a bad state.

    Having said all that, I believe January would tell us a lot about the direction of the club. We should remember that Pep and Klopp didn’t have awesome defences in their first season at their various clubs and both teams were in better shape than ours before Emery took over.

  91. Receding Hairline

    Playing Xhaka out of position when Elneny was fit didn’t make an sense. Elneny has played in that role in the pre-season and some lower pressure games.

    Don’t know about the Elneny thing, he is no defender, why not just play Lich and Kos in defense with Monreal and Bellerin ..a back four. He tried to be too clever

  92. jwl

    Guns of Hackney – depends on how competent the former employee was, doesn’t it? Perhaps the new employee needs time to fix all the mistakes the last person made.

    My mom is accountant and at one job, she had to replace guy who had been there forty years who had his accounting training in the 1940s and never upgraded his knowledge. It took her almost two years to get accounting dept into shape for the late 1980s.

    What Emery is tasked to do was not going to take a week or two of acclimatizing to new environment and then everything would be fine.

  93. Receding Hairline

    Having said all that, I believe January would tell us a lot about the direction of the club.

    Too much is being made of the January window and lot’s of moans will follow it. You keep talking about Klopp, well Klopp didn’t just buy anyone, he had certain targets and refused to compromise until he got them. What happens if the players we have been scouting aren’t available for transfer?? We buy stop gaps we will be looking to move on in six months??

  94. Pierre

    “Our defence hasnt improved even 1%.Emery has to be criticised for that.”

    What about our offence…..improved?

  95. azed


    What happens if the players we have been scouting aren’t available for transfer??

    The type of players we are going after is enough to tell us all we need to know. There’s a big difference between trying to sign Koulibaly and trying to sign John Evans

  96. Batistuta

    Like i said the other day, criminal really the amount of money Wenger spent the past 2/3 seasons and yet not a single decent defender or goalkeeper up until the summer. It’s always going to be a struggle for a any kind of manager too to come in and spend less than newly promoted teams. Maybe we need to start taking a look at those in charge of this football club and what their goals are really. This past summer was an absolute joke of epic proportions with regards out transfer budget

  97. Pierre

    Klopp had 150 million plus to spend……it’s easy to sit and wait with that in your pocket one else was going to pay the money they paid for a centre half and a keeper.

    When you only haven 50 odd million to spend its a different story.

  98. gambon

    Agree with Receding,

    We absolutely cant fuck the squad up by signing shit in January just because its available.

    Look at Monreal. We signed him 6 months earlier than planned because of an injury crisis. Absolutely fine if we do that.

    If you look at our squad, theres no doubt what we need as a bare minimum:

    – Absolutely top class CB
    – First team LB
    – Another RB
    – 2 x Attacking Midfielders

    Now, out of that lot, I really dont see us getting a world class CB or AM in January, and I think the LB and RB will wait until summer.

    So at best I see us getting an AM, and maybe loan a CB for 6 months.

  99. Champagne Charlie

    I think it’s fantasy to suggest only a handful of players could improve us. With the network and resources available we should be able to find solutions in January, fewer than the summer by all means but it’s not a dead space for activity

  100. azed

    I know we’ve been shafted by UTD so much we shouldn’t think of doing any deals with them but what do you guys think of 150M and Ozil for Pogba, Martial and Bailey?

  101. Receding Hairline

    The type of players we are going after is enough to tell us all we need to know. There’s a big difference between trying to sign Koulibaly and trying to sign John Evans

    Well we are not going to keep looking to sign ageing players are we?? We can be targeting some young up and coming players who are vital to their teams up until the end of the season.

    I mean the idea we are going to keep targeting ageing players is ridiculous

  102. Leedsgunner

    Sokratis cost us £17m. Considering how he’s stepped up, not a bad deal… in the present market.

    Last summer was a “bad” summer for transfers not because of who we brought in but because of who we failed to move out.

    Ramsey should have and could have been sold for £50m. Welbeck for £15m. Jekinsonson for £5m and Elneny for £10m… that’s just from the top of my head…

    That’s a cool £80m that we missed out on because Gazidis was still hanging around the club like a bad smell and he was prolonging the contract negotiations for Ramsey.

    Hopefully those days are long behind us.

  103. Pierre

    So the consensus of opinion on le grove is that our defence has not improved despite having a very good defensive midfielder in Torriera and a good solid centre back in sokratis plus a new keeper.

    I believe and have always believed that the problem lies with our full backs…having both full backs So advanced leaves gaps down the channels.

  104. Receding Hairline

    Last summer was a “bad” summer for transfers not because of who we brought in but because of who we failed to move out.

    I agree

    I have to also own up to being part of the crowd that seriously over estimated our squad,

  105. Guns of SF

    2 new players are a must
    AM and Defender

    Our summer window needs to move up to now. Sure prices might be higher but even if we can do a loan to buy situation- that might work

    Question for Sven and CO- who is available in that situation? Young players on great teams who are not getting playing time? ex- Dennis at Barca etc?

  106. Leedsgunner

    No more panic buys. I rather go big on proper quality in the summer rather than buying panic buy stop gaps in January. Panic buy today deadwood tomorrow.

    Better to give our kids a chance over buying Chelsea/ManUtd/Liverpool old rejects.

  107. Dissenter

    I think the supporter groups need to force the club to deny all these rumors of a 30 million pound budget.
    I know we are still paying off Wenger [and his staff] last year but besides this there is no reason we can’t spend at least 100 million over the winter and summer windows.

  108. Guns of Hackney

    We had two billionaires on the board not that long ago. One of which made abramovich look like a vagrant.

    But yeah…we have £30m to spend.

    This club.

  109. Batistuta


    West ham, Fulham and Wolves spent more money than Arsenal this past summer, it’s a joke really and hope I’m not the only one tired of this whole self sustaining bull crap model we’ve been running for a while now

  110. Batistuta

    Any serious owner who is remotely interested in success will back a new manager with sufficient funds, no excuses really i mean even freaking Everton are spending more money than us these days

  111. Dissenter

    Sokratis was a stop gap…a good one at that I have to admit but he’s a stop gap nonetheless. He can be the old head around the defense when Koschielny is gone.
    Ishola was right about Lichsteiner. He’s done at this level and uses aggression to try to cover up his deficiencies.
    We have to replace Ramsey
    We have to replace Monreal – I really think he’s on his last legs
    We have to replace Koschielny – he was done before the injury imo.
    We still have to find a third striker, one that can dominate defenders aerially to provide another option away from Laca/Auba.
    Mustafi….seriously, I don’t know what to do with him.
    We desperately need that wide player, preferably one that can also play either LB/RB.
    Emery has to identify at least five youth team players to start blooding them in league games, not just against unknown EL opposition. Pochettino blooded an 18 year old no one knew about against Burnley. It wasn’t pretty but he didn’t wilt under the pressure.

    We cannot make these wholesome changes without taking risks. I ‘m not sure the new backroom have earned enough good graces from the owner to take the risks required.

  112. Receding Hairline

    “The last goal was a little bit unlucky for me,” he told the club’s official website . “I wanted to get the cross because Austin was completely free and it was so close.

    “No risk, no fun. Maybe next time I will get the ball or I will stay on the line, look at the ball and then nobody says ‘you came out and didn’t get the ball’. That’s the life of a goalkeeper but I would do it again.”

    Funny enough i kind of like his attitude Leno

  113. Batistuta

    5th is probably where we’ll end the season and not because we have a crappy manager but because we have an unambitious board at the club that has allowed the rot that we’re all having to watch at the moment. Lose or draw, as long as Emery doesn’t finish below 5th, then thats probably just about been a good season

  114. Guns of SF

    A lot of BS from the club about their financial situation
    its all private now, so they can BS all of us.

    We hardly spent last summer so why isnt there money now?

    If the rumors are true- we might end up with Under or Pavon- but I always recall south american players have trouble with visa/registration issues so who knows

  115. HighburyLegend

    “This is not an Emery problem but a board level problem”

    Pedro and many others here firmly disagree with you.

  116. James W

    Koscielny was dreadful yesterday, for all the goals conceded none of them were down to lack of pace or fitness, he simply didn’t take a moment to check the player 5 yards behind him. Shifting Ozil must be a top priority! It’s madness to contemplate losing Ramsey on a free when he is far beyond Ozil. Wide players a must!
    Iwobi carry’s zero goal threat. Emery and the board must be ruthless towards players that don’t meet a standard and not indulge mediocrity with ridiculous 150k plus contracts.