I am leaving emotion at the door. Yesterday was hard for me. Firstly, being taken down by the Emery Ultras over my love affair with Thomas Tuchel (‘Who lost worse?’ the shortest lived attack of all time), secondly, having to bear witness to another Arsenal away day disaster.
Here are some of my opinions dressed up as bona fied facts.
Arsenal will win the return leg
Don’t fall for the drossy idea that Rennes are some sort of secret team of elite mercenaries that were placed in France just to show Arsenal up for one game. They are 10th in an inferior league, their squad cost about 50 pence to put together, and they are more than capable of being beaten by two goals in the return leg.
Emery has to rally the troops, get a decent game plan together, and make the magic happen. I can tolerate exiting the last 16 in the Champions League. The Europa League? No flipping way. Winning Europa is literally Emery’s only speciality. Make it happen.
Emery needs to inject a bit of fear into the players. Our lads make so many dim mistakes game after game, and it’s starting to look like a focus issue. Sokratis was sent off for what looked like a clumsy error versus an intent-laden foul, but when you’re on a booking, don’t do something rash in the first half of leg one, away, in a cup competition.
Mustafi is a lost cause, so why do we continue to play him? Could a youth child do any worse? Xhaka, a serial offender of ‘WHY WHY WHY’ moments, tends to drop a terrible performance that usually coincides with a Four Four Two hot take patronisingly headlined ‘WHY XHAKA IS UNDERRATED AND ARSENAL FANS ARE DUNCE PERVERTS.’ Wake up chaps, he’s not underrated, he’s an error terrorist that earns a pass from the ‘I WORE COPA MUNDIALS TO MY WEDDING’ journo crowd because who the fuck would dare challenge a pass completion percentage on the Stats Zone app?
Guendouzi being outpaced by a player 10 years older who has signed a deal with another club… shocking, really shocking. I love him, but that sort of carry-on is a very new issue. What’s going on?
We are in March. It’s hard to say that focus is beyond these players because they went 22 games unbeaten and put in a brilliant performance away from home against Spurs. Whatever the mental block, it needs to be addressed by Sunday.
Emery once again went all guns blazing in a cup with a first team, once again coming up woefully short. Why did he pick such a strong side? One would assume to DESTROY Rennes in the first leg. So what happened? I can understand that a red card against Manchester City is likely a death sentence, but Rennes? Embarrassing. Did the changes Emery make look smart or feel ambitious? Not to me. Auba didn’t have a great game, but why take him off for a full back when you could do with a second goal on the counter?
I heard whispers that the manager dropping Auba and LT for the Spurs game wasn’t communicated optimally. Whatever is going on, both players were utterly miserable. Auba looked like he’d just been sent down by kangaroo court for whistling too loud in the toilets at a Mick Hucknall gig. So much anger in his benched face.
I hope that the training camp is strong because if there are fissures appearing at this stage of the season, we’re in trouble when United come to play this weekend.
Tough to call last night a freak accident. We did almost exactly the same against BATE. We’ve come off the back of a fairly glorious run against teams that are in bad form or just, you know, poor. Rennes wasn’t even a test and we flunked it. We’re not doing well away from home. Now we’re in a situation where our best shot at CL football is… qualifying via the top 4.
Here is the absolute craziness about it all. Who would be surprised if we dropped an incredible performance on Sunday? I wouldn’t. There’s no consistency or rhythm to our season. Our mental strength is determined on a whim. Our tactics are either bang on or non-existent. Sometimes there’s a style formed, sometimes it looks like cat faeces on a lightly toasted cream cheese bagel.
Who knows what’s coming… but unpredictable it shall be.
Anyway, like I said. No emotion from me (ish). You know my opinion. He’s not going anywhere, just pray that better players solve issues like defensive solidity, on-field identity, and squad mentality.
HUGE game on Sunday.
Let me know YOUR thoughts below. x
P.S. Monchi is heading over… more on him tomorrow.