Well, well, well.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find a line of defence when it comes to the rapid decline of the Unai Emery maiden voyage. Last night’s loss to BATE is a tough result to compute for many reasons, but before we jump into the details, let’s be real here… we will beat them in the return leg. It’ll be a destruction.
I’m just going to bullet out some concerns that the game threw out.
- Chelsea is in freefall, United were totally outclassed by PSG and have a nasty run of games that will leave them fatigued and sad. We have just clawed our way back into top 4 contention. It’s incredibly important that Arsenal remain fresh until the end of the season. Emery just tanked away from home against a shite team and now he’ll have to rescue the game with a hard return at The Emirates when he should be resting players.
- BATE is an out of season pub team. Their last game was December 13th vs PAOK. How can there be any excusing a loss like this with a first team that is in PEAK fitness mode? We’d be furious if the kids tanked that game. Alex fucking Hleb played. This is what he had to say on the game prior:
‘Arsenal are at the peak of readiness – for them this is a huge plus,’ Hleb told Pressball, a leading sports newspaper in Belarus.
‘It will be hard for us, and very much so. But we will try to squeeze the maximum out of the physical form that we have gained.
‘We are not yet ready (to play at) 100 per cent, but the coaching staff decided not to force anything – realising that the guys had to rest after a hard season. And now we are working – in general, everything is according to plan.’
- A lot of fans are blaming the TERRIBLE PLAYERS EMERY INHERITED from dear old Arsene Wenger. That excuse took a sharp slice to the jugular last night because Wenger put 10 goals past them, winning 6-0 and 4-2. In the 2017 6-0 game, do you know who scored? Debuchy, Elneny, Giroud, Theo Walcott, Giroud and Jack Wilshere. Emery added £70m worth of talent and still took an L away from home. To repeat: Wenger, with a squad that had given up on breathing, still managed to turn over a pub team twice.
- Also worth remembering at the start of the season, the people celebrating the WINNERTIVITY Emery had brought to a limp squad of Wenger babies (me), are now saying nothing can be done with Wenger’s limp lizards (not me). Are we really blaming Wenger for an away loss to Bate Borisov in mid-February?
- The manager didn’t take Mesut or Ramsey away (the Welshman damaged a knee carpet sliding after that deal), leaving our creative outlets to be our fullbacks again. This isn’t bearing fruit. Why does Emery persist? Why not use the players who can help? Mend those collapsed bridges, because we are literally throwing away any chance of success this season by leaning on failing strategies that the players seem to have given up on. This was BATE away from home. Emery can’t even be bothered to humiliate Ozil in the hope that maybe he’ll drop a performance worthy of a Premier League start (or, dare I say it, a performance that might invite a bid this summer).
- When the players lose faith, it cannot easily be rectified with additions. You can’t replace an entire squad, gossip memory is a thing. That’s why it’s so important for Emery to turn this around. The cracks need to be filled this season with good coaching, adding a layer of class to proceedings in the summer. You can’t prop up a toxic squad with more bodies. That’s not how it works. If Emery doesn’t have the player believing by the end of the season, he’s done by December.
- Additionally, does anyone think the effort output of anyone in the side is greatly outshining what Mesut would bring? Is Mikhi really putting in a shift? Iwobi? Is it not time to make Mesut and Ramsey work for their money. I’d prefer lazy and class, versus meh levels of effort and meh levels of ability. We had 3 shots on target today. In the second half, we didn’t hit the target until the 92nd minute. That is shite. We need to create. A lazy creator feeding outrageously clinical strikers sounds a better plan than average creators feeding nobody.
- We are in February and the same predictable approach of using our fullbacks to create cutbacks is being used. We have no interest in working through the middle. We are so dull to watch. If you are predictable, you are easy to plan against. This used to happen under Wenger.
- The players can’t motivate themselves for the small games. That tells you a lot about how interested they are in the manager and his ideas. Motivation should not be an issue with top level footballers. It certainly shouldn’t be an issue in a new managers first season.
- Emery stands on the sidelines like he’s just found out The Daily Mail has accessed his ephemeral SnapChats from 2015. Zero sauce. Total panic. You might think that’s a minor observation, but come on, who isn’t going to be affected by the weak body language?
- If Emery is such a demon with the video analysis, why didn’t he realise the pitch would look like a WWI trench warfare simulation rehearsal had taken place on it? Playing it along the ground was never going to work. As someone pointed out, Chelsea complained about the pitch. We had no plan to deal with it.
- Suarez. Can someone hit me up with the ‘why’ here? Light-weight, weak passing, can’t even take a corner. Why did we bother with him if he wasn’t ready to hit the ground running?
- Finally, a lot of folk gossiping that the lack of Emery funds were down to the board worrying he wouldn’t make it past this season. Does Raul see Emery as an Ivan signing? Does he identify the folly in giving a £100m to a man who needed £300m to rectify PSG taking a spanking from Monaco in his first season? Doubtful. But come on, it’s not unreasonable to be logical about Raul and his thoughts, is it? If you’re a real football man, and you watch the game with clear eyes, do you truly believe Emery is any good? Of course not. Zero vision or style in 9 months is alarm bells for real football people. Telling the world you’d be the protagonists whilst fixing the defence needed tangible results, and they haven’t come. Why waste a summer on someone who can’t craft a style or vision with a squad that costs £220m a season is a joke, especially when you can see what Bielsa did with Leeds (a 7th place team in a lower division that had never played expansive technical football).
Before you go, GFFN has a supportive article on Emery you should read here.
“There is no success without a real relationship with the players”. Right from the start, he has been making pain-staking efforts to create strong bonds with his players. For example, he went to meet Neymar before the Brazilian left for the World Cup. “That’s the great difference between him and Emery”, surmises Canal + pundit Eric Carrière. “The Spaniard saw players as “X”, like tools he could use to win. It is the opposite for Tuchel. For him players are human beings, with a name, a personality, a sensibility and proper characteristics”.
And to whom you must show affection through a little hug, a little text message or some extra holiday time. “His management relies on benevolence, which doesn’t exclude authority and discipline, just like Rabiot and Mbappé experienced after being late at the pre-Classique speech and therefore sent on the bench at the Vélodrome,” says Carrière. “The strength of this manager is his ability to unite. Today, if a player doesn’t feel the kindness or thinks it is fake, he won’t fight for you. And you can tell that it is not fake with Tuchel. It is way easier to win trophies with such a team… Emery was a good tactician but didn’t have this ability”.
My narrative on Emery is fueled by good intel, not gut feel. Watch this space, Le Grove will lead the way on this one, I can assure you. He’s the Spanish David Moyes, or hopefully, the 1996 Bruce Rioch. Either way, he’s not leading us to the promised land. Be sure of that my friends. x