Emery moves #Top4 agenda forward with another win

by & filed under News Review.

Via @Arsenal Instagram

Unai Emery hoisted 3 points up the #Top4 flagpole as he continued to progress his mission of bringing goodness, light and Champions League football back to the true home of London football.

The game was almost too easy. We burst out of the traps much in the same way as we did midweek, this time, the fight was led by the impressive Iwobi who looked inspired. The first goal came from his cross that found Mikhi at the back post, the ensuing scuffed strike found Lacazette 6 yards out for the tapped finish.

Did I just totally forget about the superb save Leno made just prior to the goal? I did. Mustafi made a mistake allowing the Redmond in on goal, the German saving brilliantly.

The second came on 15 minutes. Lacazette’s pressure from the front put Southampton under pressure, Angus Gunn duffed his clearance, the mighty Iwobes found Mikhi at the back post again, this time, the Armenian guided a stroked pass low into the near post corner.

The second half was very much taken in second gear. There’s a fair argument to be had that we should have gone hard at Southampton considering the potential goal difference issue we might butt up against, but ultimately, the three points is what mattered.

I think we saw the impact of overexertion in the ScouserManc game, Liverpool losing Firmino and Robertson, with United breaking 3 players in the first half (Mata, Lingaard, Herrera). The draw was good news for us, it looks like Liverpool are letting the title slip and the draw pegged United back two points in the #Top4 race (Matic is also out).

All in all, the game did the job. I thought it was a bit weird to start Ramsey over Ozil considering the style of game, but both landed some game time. Those two could prove vital for the run-in. Sokratis came through the match unscathed which is also vitally important for the week ahead. Additionally, I thought Bernd Leno was excellent. He made two excellent saves that stopped the game turning into an energy sapper.

I also think Kola is underrated. He made some deft touches, he was unselfish and created two very good chances that deserved more. Some additional stats: He made the most ball recoveries, he made the most passes in the attacking 1/3, he won 2 aerial duels and his pass completion rate was 86%. I know Southampton were shite, but you can only play who is put in front of you.

Xhaka had a very good game. Given time and space, he really can pick apart a team. He ran riot yesterday. Still managed to nearly gift them a goal, but I’d almost feel cheated if he stopped doing that. Lacazette was hardworking and decisive as always. Finally, Mikhi played really well. It’s nice to have some craft out wide, he gives us much needed balance.

So: A clean sheet. Our 4th halftime lead of the season. Back into 4th. That’s the way I like my Sunday afternoons.

The other big game of the day went our way as well. Manchester City won the first trophy of the season with a hard-fought win at Wembley. You had to feel for Sarri, tactically, he proved he could be flexible. No repeat of the disaster of a few weeks ago. Watching Kepa destroy the narrative of the game was quite something. I’ve never witnessed behaviour like that. Chelsea has to do something about insubordination like that. Player power gone mad I tells ya.

Chelsea will hurt from losing out on a trophy, but ultimately, the tired legs heading into a showdown with Spurs this Wednesday is likely their bigger concern. Depressed and leggy isn’t a good combo unless your name is Unai and it’s not your team that is depressed and leggy.

Things are all playing into the hands of Arsenal. We have a better run of fixtures and if we can turn over Bournemouth and Spurs this week, it’s ours to fuck up in my opinion.

Additional good news on the stats front. Unai Emery is clocking ahead of Wenger over the past 4 seasons. This stat, courtesy of powerhouse commenter, Redtruth.

2014-15: 51 points

2015-16: 51 points

2016-17: 50 points

2017-18: 45 points

2018-19: 53 points

That’s an average of 3.75 points more than Wenger. Two of those seasons, we won Champions League football. WON. Top 4 was a trophy and still is.

Right, see you in the comments. x

328 Responses to “Emery moves #Top4 agenda forward with another win”

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  1. Leedsgunner

    If I was Monchi, I would be on the phone now and ask Raul to bid for Chilwell. Brenda will want to bring Tierney in with me so Chilwell will be redundant.

    As Elneny was interesting Leicester last year, perhaps structure it as a Elneny plus £20m for Chilwell. We get rid of Elneny, and we receive a good EPL proven LB in return.

    Done.

  2. Bamford10

    Pierre

    “I don’t know why you are reluctant to admit that players like Sokratis, Torreira and Leno have improved the team …”

    Yes, these players have improved the squad, but that isn’t the end of the story. There are other things going on as well, and to assess the quality of the squad, you have to take these other things into account. Take Sokratis, for example. He has been excellent, yes, but due to injuries to Koscielny and Holding, we’ve had to pair him with Mustafi. So it’s not like we replaced the error-prone Mustafi in the starting XI. No, for the most part, we replaced Koscielny with Sokratis and have been forced to continue with Mustafi.

  3. Bamford10

    Another way to look at it is to look at what Wenger had available to him a year ago. Below is our 18 for the match against City one year ago.

    Ospina
    Mustafi
    Koscielny
    Chambers
    Xhaka
    Ramsey
    Monreal
    Bellerín
    Aubameyang
    Wilshere
    Ozil

    Welbeck
    Iwobi
    Kolasinac
    Cech
    Mertesacker
    Maitland-Niles
    Elneny

    How much better is the 18 today? A little, maybe, but not leagues better.

  4. jasongms

    “I don’t know why you are reluctant to admit that players like Sokratis, Torreira and Leno have improved the team …”

    I’m not reluctant at all, far from it, otherwise, we wouldn’t be 8points better off compared to last season.

    What I’m totally opposed too, is the incessant carry on that we bought x, y and z player and as such we should be far better off and it’s because of Emery that we aren’t somehow winning the league. Which in actuality as I have pointed out, we basically have the same squad as last season, littered with players that weren’t’ bought as first-teamers. As I see it, it is down to the work of Emery that we are currently sitting 4th with a realistic chance of 4th place, again of which would be a small miracle.

  5. jasongms

    Also just to be clear, I haven’t been impressed by the team this season at all. Our play is dire, it’s light years away from City and Emery is partly to blame for this. But if you look at it objectively with no Wenger bias, the task of rebuilding the squad into one that can make a serious challenge for the title is enormous and I don’t envy any manager the Arsenal job.
    One thing is certain though, Emery needs the support of the larger fanbase (it’s his first season for god’s sake), bloggers like Peter do the manager a disservice with his negative agenda filled bedlam.

  6. Alexanderhenry

    Jasongms

    I agree.
    I think Emery deserves more time. Overall I think he’s done pretty well even though let’s be honest, the unrest at man utd and chelsea has benefitted us.
    They have far stronger squads than arsenal’s.
    Regardless of that, arsenal is now in a position where top four is a real possibility.

    What is more to the point is this:
    How realistic is it that arsenal fc would be able to secure the services of a better manager?

    If you’re ‘elite’ or ‘upcoming elite’, why choose arsenal?

  7. Marc

    The time to fully analyse Emery’s first season is at the end of the season. As a mid point report card there’s some pro’s and a few cons but the simplest measure is if you make the reasonable assumption that we’ll beat Bournemouth tomorrow that will mean we are 7 points behind last seasons total point tally with 10 games left.

    Would any of the available realistic alternatives achieved more with the players we brought in and the squad / injuries we have?

  8. Marko

    If you’re ‘elite’ or ‘upcoming elite’, why choose arsenal?

    I sometimes wonder with that sort of thinking why a person would continue to support Arsenal. You don’t think much of the club and I’m sure you get any enjoyment from Arsenal so I can see surmise that you’re a masochist Alex.

    Can’t believe Rodgers is about to leave the cosy job that is Celtic to join 12th place Leicester City especially given how many managers they’ve gone through recently. With that in mind are we to assume that 12th place in England is a step up from the Champions in Scotland? What does that say about that piss poor league

  9. Marc

    Marko

    I agree about the mind set of some on here. Everything other clubs do is amazing – everything Arsenal does is terrible. We aren’t attractive to players or managers but if the Poch leaves the Spud’s in the summer even though they don’t have a pot to piss in and will very likely have to start selling off players on a regular basis every top manager will be clambering to get the job.

  10. Marko

    I personally am sick and tired with the criticism leveled at the manager because of the quality of football being played. We’ve been playing average to poor mixed in with the occasional good performance for years and I mean years and somehow someone’s supposed to come in and straight away improve the performances? No way. Like everything else it’s going to take time and investment and squad turnover before you see an improvement.

  11. HighburyLegend

    “Former Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby retires from injury-ravaged career at 32”

    Good for him!!
    I’m sure he has earned enough money to enjoy it.

  12. Marko

    every top manager will be clambering to get the job.

    I’m not sure there’s as many of these managers. Don’t get me wrong there’s plenty of very good managers in world football we do have one I think but elite managers there’s really only a handful of those left. Outside of Klopp, Pep, Diego and maybe Max Allegri (maybe) there’s no real guarantee of success with managers anymore. You look at Real, Bayern and Milan hiring ex players who are literally rookie managers you look at Barca hiring a coach from Bilbao then there’s speculation that he might leave in the summer and then he signs a new deal why’s that? Because there’s no proper elite managers anymore. You’re Barca (and one day City) after Pep who’s left? You’re Madrid you’ll never be able to hire Diego or Pep so who’s left? Maybe some loser from Spurs.

  13. Marc

    Marko

    You do realise that I didn’t mean that every top manager will really be after the Spud’s job – just that’s the view of many on here.

  14. Marko

    I know. I see them properly sliding if they aren’t able to keep Poch and Erikson and Kane long term. And I think to keep the players they’ll have to win something soon. Which makes the Poch comments about trophies all the more ridiculous.

  15. Dissenter

    Marko
    There are many managers who will give a lot more to work with that Leicester team.
    They have a core of very young and talented players to mold over time. That’s part of the attraction. Brendan Rodgers waited for the right team to return back to England.

  16. Dissenter

    Marko
    “I sometimes wonder with that sort of thinking why a person would continue to support Arsenal. ”

    You don’t have to think that Arsenal are all that to truly love and support Arsenal. Like any other thing in live there are romanticists and pragmatists.
    You don’t belive like Valentin stated that Arsenal are a bigger club that Juventus to love Arsenal.

    Saying that “If you’re ‘elite’ or ‘upcoming elite’, why choose arsenal?” may come across as cynical but it’s also based on realism. We do have to convince people to join us, it may be paying them over the odds or using other means.

  17. Marc

    Marko

    Well Eriksen’s gone in the summer 100%, he’ll only have a year left and there’s too much smoke about wanting to leave for there not to be something in it. On top of that they have Alderweireld and Vertonghen all getting to a year left. Danny Rose’s contract runs out in 2021 but he was moaning about the shit money at the Spud’s a couple of years ago.

    Either way the Spud wage bill will explode or they’ll have a real turnover of players.

  18. Marko

    Maybe they won’t be that bad off considering they’ll likely get top dollar for Erikson and Kane. The question becomes how do they reinvest? Hopefully when that needs to happen they’ll have a shit manager and we’ll be on the up. To be honest we can’t think about what others are going to be doing we need to focus on us and not worry about what others are doing.

  19. Marc

    Marko

    Whilst I agree on it’s about what we do in the short term i.e. getting into the top 4 what others are doing is completely relevant. If the Spud’s sold Kane for £200 million on paper that looks a great bit of business but they’ve got to replace a guaranteed 25 – 30 PL goals every season. That’s not going to be cheap and if it took the new player / players a season to settle then they’re out of the CL places.

    It’s going to be carnage for them unless things work out very very well.

  20. Dissenter

    Marc
    You do raealise that when Eriksen dooes leave in the summer, his transfer fee will be in excess of 120 million?. They bought him for 12 million in 2013 and pay him only 85k weekly.
    That’s enough money for Spurs to buy 2-3 top quality players.

    I know your North London rivalry juices are flowing and you don’t want to hear this; Spurs are in a very good place right now. The best they’ve ever been.

  21. Marko

    Not sure he’ll go for quite that after all he’s got a year left. 60-80 would probably be about right. And it’s true that Spurs should be alright if they sell the likes of Eriksson and Kane for large sums of money but the question is does it go back into the team? Are the players that replace them as good? And who will be manager then?

  22. Marko

    Anyway sure enough about that lot down the road we need to think only of ourselves this summer and beyond. Some of the links to players are very mouthwatering. Wan Bissaka, Pepe, Konate, Grimaldo and there’s even links to Dolberg. Some very good players that would significantly strengthen the starting 11

  23. Chris

    Is it around a billion that the costs for the new White Hart Lane is up to now? That is mind boggling.

    He has said as much in the press but I do get the strong feeling Pochettino is in it for the long haul there, even if they don’t win anything in the next few years.

    Let’s hope they don’t kick on further as we had the opportunity to when we moved in to the Emirates and arguably had the potential to be a superpower going forwards.

  24. Dissenter

    I just read that Almiron’s agent is staying that he turned Arsenal down last month.
    That didn’t make sense, who turns down Arsenal for Newcastle?

    Then the gist was that “Now the 25-year-old’s agent, Daniel Campos, has claimed that Arsenal approached Almiron over a January loan move – though the player was only interested in a permanent deal” —Metro

    This makes sense and is plausible because we were desperately going around cap-in-hand looking for loans.
    Our conduct in the last TW was really laughable and somewhat disgraceful