Emery delivers masterclass in tactical unpredictability

by & filed under News Review.

Via @Arsenal Instagram (amazing pic)

Unai Emery went balls to the wall with an outrageous line-up. He played all his best players, his two best strikers, he opted to play with one defensive midfielder (Xhaka oh my), he left Mustafi on the bench, he punished Matteo, and he took the game to OGS.

He made so many good decisions that were incredibly bold considering how bad the team was against Rennes. Playing Ozil was a masterstroke. If he played well, Emery looked the healer, if he’d tanked, he had a big fat ‘I told you so’ up his sleeve. Ramsey was inspired after being rested last week, he kept Paul Pogba under lock and key all night with a highly impactful performance. Starting Xhaka at the base of midfield on his own looked like the move of a mentalist, but boy did he have an excellent game.

Everywhere you looked, there were things to smile about.

The first half was all about catching United off guard. They surely weren’t expecting us to go so hard at them. We blitzed the first 35 minutes with free-flowing attacking football. Ozil had United off balance out right or wherever he decided to drift. We didn’t give De Gea much to worry about, hitting the target once, but the chances we created were good. The opener was interesting to say the least, Xhaka ripped a shot from 25 yards out and somehow managed to send the keeper the wrong way. My view was it was shite keeping, most seem to think it was a knuckleball like strike out the Mesut Ozil stubbed-strike-into-the-ground drawer. Either way, it gave us an edge.

We rode our luck, no doubt. Lukaku hit the bar from 4 yards, one of two times United pounded the woodwork. There were some scares, but Leno stood up to every challenge sent his way. He made an incredible save when he was one vs one with Lukaku, his German engineered wrists up to the challenge.

The second half narrative looked like Arsenal had swapped tactics with OGS. We let United have the ball and watched them do next to nothing in possession. They played double the passes we did in the second half, and only managed two shots on target. Arsenal waited patiently to strike. Our moment came when Lacazette was shoved over by Fred in the box.

Auba, a man who has come under outrageous criticism this week, boldly stepped up and sent De Gea to the left as he stroked the ball down the middle. Good fucking job son. I despise the critique Auba receives. This tweet from YankeeGunner and the article sums up what he does perfectly.

He’s an outrageous striker and I love that The Ringer calls out his next level ability to position himself better than almost anyone to score. Being in the right place is the real sixth sense. He has it. People need to lay off him.

After the second goal went in, Arsenal set out to frustrate. OGS had no answer. No one could get a foot on the game, United started to play dirty, Ashley Young putting in a standard ankle breaker on Kos, but we were more than a match for them.

OGS lost his first Premier League game after an inspired run.

Unai Emery showed his big game teeth in the race for top 4.

Conclusion

It was a masterclass from Emery. Everything rolled his way. He picked a brave 11, he focused the team after an awful loss midweek and he delivered the most important 3 points of 2019. On another day, we might have lost, but I’ve spent too many hours complaining about big games we’ve dominated but lost to shit-housery to get nitty gritty about how things might have been. Reality is, you beat who is put in front of you, we did that, so fu*k the details for today.

Bernd Leno was immense. He dropped another low-key (yep, I say that sometimes) MoM performance. He’s really come into his own of late. He was focused, brave and sharp all game. That leg he threw out for the Lukaku chance was unbelievable. He’s found his hands and his feet. We look to have finally solved our keeping issues. We have someone who can win us points. Finally. #ThanksSven

Aaron Ramsey showed why Juventus want him over there. He made EIGHT tackles yesterday. He covered so much ground, he kept Pogba in frustrated mode all day and he was absolutely committed to the cause. A brilliant run out. You do wonder if Emery misjudged the talents of the Welshman a little early. It stings to see him leaving, but at least Suarez looks a little like him and had some nice touches and a cute run.

Sokratis looked like he was heading into trouble again after a 37th minute yellow card, but he held it together and put in a monster performance. I love him. I am part of his cult. Pass me the Koolaid, I don’t care about the consequences (P.S. I’d LOVE to know what he lent over and said to Pogba when he was whining on the floor).

Also, another worthy call out is for AMN. He had a great game on the right. He stretched United when he needed to, and he defended far better than I’ve seen him do in the past. He made 4 tackles and 5 interceptions. A much sharper game from him, even more impressive when you remember he’s a centre mid. Out on the left, Kola was a pure man beast again, he even rolled over and did a vomit just because that’s a REAL MAN for you. He made 11 ball recoveries, he worked up and down that wing all day, and he whipped in some really dangerous balls.

Lacazette was a machine. His twinkle toes confused United all day. He should have done better in front of goal to make it 3, but his threat was pervasive all day. I really love him. Such a brilliant character to have at the club.

Granit Xhaka had an inspired evening sitting at the base. He sprayed balls around all afternoon like a human pitch sprinkler, he stayed focused and interjected fearlessly in defence when needed. Koscielny played on with a gashed leg to stop Mustafi entering the field of play, bravo, bravo. Mesut Ozil created a whopping 4 chances in a big game. Monreal was excellent as always. So much goodness everywhere.

The notion that these players are not good enough to make the top 4 has been well and truly obliterated. The only real question Emery has to answer is one of focus. He seems more than capable of motivating his players for the big games, but can he rally the players against Watford, Leicester and Wolves when we play them away from home? If he can’t, days like today mean very little.

I’ve seen a lot of fans citing the above as a de facto sign that Emery is doing a great job. Out of the 16 teams viably listed, 11 are either mapping to what they did last year or doing better. That’s 69% of the league tracking to last season or making progress, even Sarri who we all think should be sacked, is 7.5% better off. Numbers need context and you need more than one data point to make a case. For me, the height of our ambitions this year can’t be whether Emery did better than Wenger in a nose-dive season where the players downed tools in February and did even worse when he quit in April.

I think the step forward we’ll be celebrating is the big game mentality. We’re competitive in an area we failed for the whole of the banter years. There’s now a belief system in place. Emery creates excitement on the days the fans really care about. He even tried to say as much in the pregame interview when he said, ‘attack… the fans… big balance… performance… yes and thank you.’ This big game platform will give him breathing space to build on the defence and the other aspects that have been lacking this season.

Additionally, if he makes third and puts Spurs in the Europa League, I will put my disdain for face tattoos to one side and have Emery Ultra artfully etched under my eye… for I will be one. Again, a true progress point is the final league position. 3rd would be immense, a true reason to celebrate. Let’s not lower ourselves to Spursy fist bumps for a high points 5th.

Right now, the momentum is with Arsenal. Spurs choked this weekend to Southampton and they go away to Liverpool and City. OGS is hopefully about to deal with a big xG correction. Chelsea scrambled a poor point against Wolves late on at home. 3rd is within reach. We just need to see more of today’s focus, vs the mess that was Rennes. We need today’s mindset in every single game until the end of the season.

Advantage Unai, let’s see if he can push it through. x

P.S. I think I speak for anyone that reads the blog when I say the scenes in the Midlands derby were beyond despicable. Watching a grown man run onto the pitch and hit a kid for no other reason outside football rivalry was beyond disgusting. Not just that, how embarrassing must it be to have a run up on someone who isn’t looking and still not land your punch. He’s lucky the Villa players didn’t give him a deserved beating. A cowardly move that thankfully saw Jack get up unharmed and bang in the winner. What a top lad. Fuck the thugs.

After seeing that, it was especially disappointing to see an Arsenal fan run onto the pitch. It’s not appropriate. Especially with knife crime as it is in the city at the minute. Unless you’re going pitch invade naked, do everyone a favour and stay in your seat. Eat your foie gras on Poilâne-style sourdough bread like everyone else and leave the party drugs to the kids you absolute melts.

That’s me done, see you in hell (the comments). xxx

411 Responses to “Emery delivers masterclass in tactical unpredictability”

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  1. Dream10

    Paulinho

    Think the club will avoid loaning youngsters (particularly attackers) to lower PL sides/Championship teams. Nketiah, Smith Rowe, Nelson. The three had multiple offers from English sides all season.

    Interesting that two players on loan at English sides have done well. Martinez a mid 20s GK and Bielik, a young CB at Reading and Charlton respectively

  2. Pedro

    Dissenter, he did have a miracle moment. He’s played 80% of the season one way and now he’s switched things up. Brought back his best players into the fold, switched up how he presses and given more variety to how he attacks.

    You think that was part of the plan?

    ‘Game 29 boys, that’s when you’ll be ready for phase two’

    No way. He knew he was getting predictable and he made amendments.

    Our players come from all over the world. They aren’t tactically naive. Emery certainly didn’t have any issues his first 22 games.

    You just have to let your narrative of ‘shit players, nothing can be done’ narrative go away, it was always a nonsense and now we’re chasing down 3rd. Emery is making the right moves and the players are showing they are capable.

    Good for him.

  3. qna

    Pedro. Are you going to pick a lane and stick with it though.

    It’s an incredibly hard fixture, he has an injury ravaged squad that wasn’t that good to begin with – if he gets top 4 then will you admit you are wrong?

    If we sign Banega/Nzonzi it’s all on Emery? Fine. Does that mean if we sign a bunch of exciting players that we are all over the moon with you will admit you are wrong?

    You are just cherry picking your arguments to suit a narrative. We can all see from a mile away which way you are planning to pivot depending on the outcomes to follow.

  4. Leftsidesanch

    Pedro ease off with the positivity your going to alienate some of your posters on here, who I suspect could argue in a room with a chair in it solely.

  5. Valentin

    @Nelson,

    Partially correct.
    ManCity plays from the back, but there is nothing slow in their scoring goal play.
    ManCity scores via a change of pace. They probe and probe. Lure the opposition into a false sense of security and suddenly up the pace and quickly pounce on mistakes. One they have found an opening, they will be ruthless in exploiting it again and again until the opposition plugs it. That is why they score by burst. Like a boxer on the rope, the opposition can’t adjust their stance and ManCity scores again. Nothing slow there.

    The slow build-up, I am talking about does not lead to anything. That was I would handball passes football. Lateral Passes without any penetration for the sake of passes that do not go anywhere.

    While ManCity slow build-up has a purpose, without Özil or Mhikitarian ours does not. There is a reason why going forward we suddenly look better. Also as they are intelligent players with an excellent ball retention skills, they also improve our defense. The opposition has less opportunity to score against us if they don’t have the ball.

  6. HighburyLegend

    “who I suspect could argue in a room with a chair in it solely”

    Or with GoH… on the chair ??

  7. Marc

    Pedro

    “He has a tremendously tough run in, if he can meander that and take top 4”

    I’m not suggesting that it’s going to be easy but the other 3 teams have run in’s that are equally tough or worse than ours.

    Remaining fixtures:

    Chelsea

    Everton A
    Cardiff A
    West Ham H
    Liverpool A
    Burnley H
    ManU A
    Watford H
    Leicester A

    ManU

    Watford H
    Wolves A
    West Ham H
    Everton A
    City H
    Chelsea H
    Huddersfield A
    Cardiff H

    Spud’s

    Liverpool A
    Brighton H
    Huddersfield H
    City A
    West Ham H
    Bournemouth A
    Everton H

    Looking at all of the fixtures my current gut feeling is that ManU and Arsenal will make top 4 – no idea what order. Outside of the obvious the other issue is how will the Spud’s react to playing in their new home.

  8. Valentin

    @qna,

    Can we stop with the narrative that our squad is poor. We have the 4th best squad behind ManUtd, ManCity and Liverpool.
    Trying to pretend otherwise does not fit the reality. We have under-achieved under Wenger. We are now just performing in line with our squad.
    ManUtd were under-achieving under Mourinho and have now restored order. The big question is whether they have left too late for a late surge to 3rd place.
    Spurs was the team that kept over-achieving and is now been found running without gas. They have exactly the same number of points than year at the same point but their remaining fixtures are a lot more difficult. I expect them to fall out of the top 4 races.

  9. MidwestGun

    There seems to be this obsession with literal linear improvement to the point where I can’t tell if half the fan base is on wind-up.
    _____________
    Half the fanbase is on a windup… because they used to come in here daily for the last ten years and say stuff like … Why don’t you all support the team ?.. your too critical of the manager, your not a true fan. and your causing the team to lose confidence in itself.. And when Wenger goes I will be 100% behind the new manager because I’m a real fan..

    Except now we find out that was all bullshit as we knew it was at the time.. the cult of Wenger is strong stuff. Now to compare people to those AKB’s just because they want to give Emery a chance is beyond ridiculous.. And as the AKb’s are finding out…. Critical thinking in a fanbase is a good thing.. Every manager should be judged on their merit .. not some bizarre hero cult status..

    Also Congrats DM….. nothing more special then a little daddy’s girl.

  10. qna

    Valentin. Not a chance. We have a truly ordinary squad of players. Our best 11 is comfortably 6th and I actually believe our squad is also 6th best.

    But that is not through lack of spending on the wage bill. We have just mismanaged the wage bill, overpaying players at every opportunity.

    The squad needs to be gutted and we need to start over.

  11. Leftsidesanch

    Midwest,

    Bravo.

    I’ll be back in a few hours to watch the usual cretins, excuse me..suspects wage a phony war and argument with you.

  12. Guns of Hackney

    Sitting on a chair like Craig did whole getting roped. I paid for that once in soho back in 2002.

  13. Valentin

    @Marc,

    I agree with you.
    I believe that ManUtd will finish 3rd.
    We will finish 4th
    Chelsea 5th below is on goal difference
    Spurs 6th.

    I don’t see us having the consistency away from home to win most of our remaining fixtures.
    However I don’t see Chelsea breaking down compact teams such as Burnley, Leicester, Watford and Cardiff.

  14. Receding Hairline

    That Spurs are suffering from fatigue does not translate into having a better squad than them.,just days ago they were talked up as title challengers.

    Nobody in their right minds had Arsenal finishing in the top four when the season started…you can go on deceiving yourself otherwise in a bid to discredit the work done so far by the manager.

  15. salpardisenyc

    What a win, vital.

    Biggest difference for me w/ Emery compared to Wenger is looseness in tailoring squad to opponent. What a lineup he pulled yesterday, at home on front foot with only option to go for victory. Happy it paid off.

    Replacing Ramsay’s engine this summer is going to be critical, without him on pitch yesterday that is a very different game.

    Moment of Lacazette and PEA pre pk was gold, amount of stick this comments section gives Aubameyung is dire. Definitely has a target on his back.

    Hope Emery is able to find some consistency, huge opportunity with others wobbling to punch above expectation.

  16. RodneyKing

    I’m not sure if anyone else has mentioned it but I’m inclined to believe that had Arsenal beaten Spurs, they would’ve lost to United.

    The players, like many fans, must have viewed that draw as a loss. That plus the loss to Rennes would’ve put them in killer-mode. Here’s hoping they keep the same sort of focus till the end of the season.

    #AuballsOfSteel

  17. Dissenter

    Neutral pundits like Caraggher and Gary Neville who have openly mocked Arsenal for years agree that out squad is the weakest of the top-6 teams.
    Pedro has set up this win-win argument that our squad is top-4 quality.
    The argument is set up as
    Heads, I win- If we get CL qualification…Emery isn’t doing anything special because our squad was always good enough
    Tails, you lose-If we don’t get CL qualification… He missed out of the CL because he’s lacking in special sauce

  18. Paulinho

    Midwest – Yep, spot on. We knew it was bullshit at the time as well, and we never bought the holier than thou supporter spiel,which was nothing more than cognitive dissonance-driven deflection as Wenger continued to balls things up despite spending money.

  19. Valentin

    @qna,

    Man for man, Who in Spurs would make a combine squad ahead of their Arsenal corresponding player?
    Ericksen, Kane, maybe Alli and that’s it.
    Leno > Lloris
    Lloris has been poor this season and has committed more howlers leading to goals than Leno did.
    CB:
    Koscielny > Vertonghen
    Sokratis > Aldeweireld
    Holding > Sanchez
    Mustafi > Foy
    RWB: Bellerin > Trippier
    AMN > Airier
    LWB: Kolasinac > Rose

    CDM: Xhaka > Eric Dier
    Torreira > Moussa Sissoko
    CAM: Ramsey > Alli

    What Spurs has had on us was better organisation. They were better collectively.

  20. Dissenter

    Yesterday’s loss has made Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s fate a little bit uncertain
    Will the United hierarchy still make his position permanent should United fail to qualify in the top-4?

    I suppose they can go on and still win the CL to qualify, stranger things have happened in world footie.

    All six teams competing for the CL spots are still in Europe.

  21. Upstate Gooner

    Congrats DM! If you’re still undecided about the name, Upstate Gooner has a nice ring to it 🙂 . Kidding. All the best!

  22. MidwestGun

    Hahaha I think Henrietta Rosicky DM has a nice ring to it… myself. But I’m guessing that’s not the name. Mothers have a way of getting their name.. picked out. Although, I think my brother got to name his 5th kid… by then my sister in law had just given up..

  23. Receding Hairline

    “Leno > Lloris
    Lloris has been poor this season and has committed more howlers leading to goals than Leno did.
    CB:
    Koscielny > Vertonghen
    Sokratis > Aldeweireld
    Holding > Sanchez
    Mustafi > Foy
    RWB: Bellerin > Trippier
    AMN > Airier
    LWB: Kolasinac > RoseCDM: Xhaka > Eric Dier
    Torreira > Moussa Sissoko
    CAM: Ramsey > Alli”

    If you typed all that with a smile on your face then fair play to you but if you honestly believe it then i think we are done here on that subject.

  24. bennydevito

    I see Guns of Hackney in competition with Champagne Charlie for most miserable troll on LeGrove after an Arsenal victory.

    Fucking hell.

    These two would rather Arsenal lose so they can stick the boot into Emery rather than than see Arsenal improve from last season, it’s really weird.

    Are you not Arsenal fans? What does Emery have to do with whether you want Arsenal to progress from last season or not? I couldn’t care less who the manager is as long as there’s improvement which after the last few years of Wenger there has been. So what did you two expect? Us to be challenging for the title already?

    Before the season started we all knew the next few seasons were about transition and we expected us to be finishing around 5th, getting into the top 4 was never expected although we all thought that’s where are target was if we get some luck. We’re not there yet but we’re now in with a great chance, and as Arsenal fans that’s what we should b3 focusing on, not wishing we had lost to Utd in the desperate hope it will pile pressure on Emery to get sacked.

    It’s pathetic.

  25. Receding Hairline

    “Heads, I win- If we get CL qualification…Emery isn’t doing anything special because our squad was always good enough
    Tails, you lose-If we don’t get CL qualification… He missed out of the CL because he’s lacking in special sauce”

    Yep that’s pretty much it

    Amazing how our squad has become super qualidee over night

  26. Valentin

    @Dissenter,

    You can’t have it both ways.

    Either Wenger was under achieving and deserved to be sacked for under performing. If the squad is at most the 6th best squad, then we were on par with our final ranking.

    If like me, you thought that we were massively under achieving, then that means that the squad was a top 4 squad and in which case we are now performing at the level of expectations.

    Knowing that we make additions that improved the squad: Leno, Sokratis, Torreira, Guendouzi. So our team is now better than the previous season, so we should be better and we are.

  27. Valentin

    @Receding,

    You have no argument so you resort to put down.

    Tell me exactly which players do you believe is better than their Arsenal corresponding player.

    This season, lloris has admitted to have a poor season as a consequence of winning the World Cup. Stated a lack of motivation for his dropped level. He committed more mistakes that lead to direct goals than Leno, yet you still think that he is better than Leno.

    Do you genuinely believe that Eric Dier is better than Xhaka?

  28. Marko

    DM had a baby girl? Congrats. Knowing him there’s a baby girl now called T4ophy in the world. Or Fourth Place

  29. Leedsgunner

    In light of the performance by AMN yesterday, can we just agree not to play Stephen Lichtsteiner unless the world is coming to an end?

    Well done Ainsley!

    Well done also to Eddie Nketiah who finally made an appearance under Emery… and what a game to do it too!

    I hope we see him against play in the Europa League too… goals from another striker would very handy for this competition especially with Lacazette suspended.

  30. Receding Hairline

    “You can’t have it both ways.”

    Yet you are certainly having it both ways, you have setup this so perfectly haven’t you, he makes top four meh it’s the least he can do, he doesn’t make top four we get more articles from PSG telling us how useless he is

  31. salpardisenyc

    Sounds like Madrid may get ZZ back.
    Imagine that contract, in a word leverage.

    Going to have to rebuild and put that untarnished rep on line.

  32. Un Battle Angel

    1) that prick who hit jack grealish should have got a boot into the jaw. Disgusting little coward blind siding a kid like that. I’m sure he will get what’s coming to him though

    2) sokratis puking on the pitch? So what?? I used to do that every Saturday.

    3) Ozil created 4 chances??? Bloody hell.

    4) Pedro, come on. Giving Aubameyang credit for bing in the right place to receive a cut back but missing is a bit much. He’s been a big big disappointment for me. He goes missing far too often and when he does show up in a game he offers too little for me.

  33. Champagne charlie

    “Either Wenger was under achieving and deserved to be sacked for under performing. If the squad is at most the 6th best squad, then we were on par with our final ranking.“

    “You have no argument so you resort to put down.”

    Valentin with a couple of truth bombs 😀

  34. Un Battle Angel

    Are you watching maaaaaarkooooo?

    Are you watching maaaaarkoooo

    Why you calling people stupid letter box merchant? Hardly high IQ stuff your job is it? Did you drop out of your masters in quantum physics to pursue your life long dream of putting envelopes through holes in doors?

  35. Upstate Gooner

    Valentin
    “Koscielny > Vertonghen
    Sokratis > Aldeweireld
    Holding > Sanchez
    Mustafi > Foy
    RWB: Bellerin > Trippier
    AMN > Airier
    LWB: Kolasinac > Rose”

    Whoa! It’s only Monday, Valentin. Whatever it is you’re smoking, leave it for later in a week.

  36. Un Battle Angel

    Mako never has an argument but he still argues constantly. Like a whiny little girl. Grow a pair marko

    All your bull shit predictions and lack of footballing insight is being mightily expanded.
    Nostradamus you are not letter box merchant

  37. Leedsgunner

    Mustafi was benched. We didn’t give away a silly penalty, stupid free kick especially in the dying minutes of the first half and in the second half.

    Coincidence?

    I think not.

    Koscelny, what a fantastic warrior… stapling shut your leg so that you could finish the game… now that is a captain’s example. Hats off to Laurent.

  38. Upstate Gooner

    Valentin
    “Do you genuinely believe that Eric Dier is better than Xhaka?”

    A cardboard cutout of Eric Dier is better than Xhaka (and for the record, I don’t rate Dier at all). Yes, he had a good game yesterday but he’s still one of the worst DM’s in Europe. For every one of his Hollywood’esque diagonal passes he makes 5-6 ridiculous challenges/mistakes.

  39. Champagne charlie

    City and Liverpool have the best sides in the league. I’m sure there’s no debate there.

    Beyond that you’re splitting hairs to pick your best squad amongst the top 6, and they all have their quirks.

    SPURS: my pick for best outside the two because their first XI is (typically) excellent. It’s wank after that though and they rely heavy on dribbly.

    CHELSEA: haven’t got a striker, Jorginho is their middle, and Kepa is their GK. miss me with them having some elite squad, they absolutely don’t and are full of busy players with little/no end product.

    UNITED: the most expensively assembled group of mediocre in world football. Not ONE defender worthy of another side in the top 6, they’ve got banter Sánchez, and 70 mil Lukapoo. They’re average with a side of bang.

    ARSENAL: full of players that haven’t been coached for a few seasons, and all our quality is narrow and in some cases doubled up – looking at you Laca/Auba. But, we have the basis of a good fucking side, the spine is the healthiest it’s been in years.

    It’s all much of a muchness for me frankly, and this ‘worst in the top 6’ is hyperbolic nonsense lapped up by those eager to have an out. We have the squad for top 4, we’ve competed amongst the top 6 this season by and large. The excuse needs binned, and the over the top harassment of our own players needs a fucking reality check.

  40. gunnershabz

    Guys what you think the team will be for Rennes?

    you think he will go all out attack like yesterday’s team

    we know sokritis is suspended so our friend mustafi will be in the line up

    but I am sure Rennes will be scared of our result against man u

  41. Champagne charlie

    “These two would rather Arsenal lose so they can stick the boot into Emery rather than than see Arsenal improve from last season, it’s really weird.“

    Err, what are you on about…

    “Champagne charlie March 10, 2019 18:24:26
    This was a great time to play United, but make no mistake this was a good Arsenal performance and a good Emery one.”

    You’re one of these guys that likes to type shit for effect instead of what’s actually going on. Keep up

  42. Paulinho

    “You can’t have it both ways.Either Wenger was under achieving and deserved to be sacked for under performing. If the squad is at most the 6th best squad, then we were on par with our final ranking”

    Wenger was behind putting that squad together. So,part of his ‘underachieving’ -and reasons he got sacked – was his piss poor judgement of what constituted a squad good enough to challenge for titles, as well as managing that squad in a sub-standard manner. It’s not one or the other.

  43. Valentin

    @Receding,

    I did not say that Emery was useless, I said that he was mediocre.
    I still think he is learning on the job and made massive mistakes.
    Clearly despite what he said during his interview, he had no idea of the intensity of the premiership and the competitiveness of our league.
    He started the season with play from the back idea which lead to us being under pressure. Now Leno is hitting long passes to our wingbacks or Lacazette. Reminding me of Wenger instructing Cech of hitting our fullbacks.

    Emery tried to impose his will on the team and teach them who’s the boss and it backfired. He now relies for result on the players he wanted gone: Ramsey and Özil.

    At last he is learning from his initial mistakes, but imagine if he had not made those mistakes where Arsenal would be. Not competing for the title because we do not have yet the squad for it, but comfortably in 3rd with a 8~9 points buffer.

    Yes Sunday’s victory was a good result, but it will be for nothing if we don’t improve our away results.

  44. JDavey

    Don’t see the need to worry too much about them, just play our game and we should score 3 or 4 anyway.

    Not necessary playing 3 at the back, although we’d miss kolasinac as an attacking threat down the left.

  45. gunnershabz

    he might go for the 3-4-3 again

    mustafi, kos and nacho

    AMN and Kola as they have pace and it make that Sarr think twice going forward

    Ben Arfa, I doubt he will have a good game like that again

  46. Pedro

    QNA, my narrative is that this squad is good enough to be top 4. Remember us arguing about that?

    That’s proving out.

    Emery was failing hard, now he’s made changes. He’s playing more expansive football, he’s putting together better tactical plans and he’s playing his best players.

    He’s learning from his mistakes.

    We have a shit away record, so a long way to go, but I’ll be more than happy if he makes top 4.

  47. Pedro

    Also interesting to see the Emery Ultras out in force today, where were you all on Friday?!

    Just jokes guys, nice to have you back.

  48. Receding Hairline

    “I did not say that Emery was useless, I said that he was mediocre.”

    Yea he called me last night crying over the phone wondering what to do to gain your approval.

    “I still think he is learning on the job and made massive mistakes.”

    He has been a manager for 15 years, won three European trophies, and 7 domestic titles, a one time European coach of the year, a real apprentice

    “He started the season with play from the back idea which lead to us being under pressure. Now Leno is hitting long passes to our wingbacks or Lacazette.”

    How many of these long passes find the fullbacks and lead to us retaining possession?? Is it such an effective tactic in football?? is playing from the back also a mediocre tactic??

  49. gunnershabz

    Pedro

    do you think if emery takes his team to 3rd

    he over achieved???

    according to carragher and Neville, arsenal seem to be over achieving with this squad

  50. Marko

    Also interesting to see the Emery Ultras out in force today, where were you all on Friday?!Just jokes guys, nice to have you back.

    I think it’s because some were actually upset by the Rennes result. You know. How’d you get on? I didn’t see your post I assume it was distraught over things. Hardly a moment for I told you so.

  51. Pedro

    RH, you need to leave the snark at the door today. Every comment you’re being negative.

    We won. Enjoy the day. Debate with people.

  52. Receding Hairline

    “Emery was failing hard, now he’s made changes.”

    He was never failing hard, we hit a rough patch in the season when it looked like we would come collapsing, he steadied it and we are back on track.

    Do you think Ozil bursting his guts to track back is done by choice?? No he is doing it because he was called out for nothing doing it and now has to do so to keep his place in the squad.

  53. gunnershabz

    Pedro

    all I really wanted from arsenal this season is to be competitive towards the business end of the season and we in March. We have a chance here, I know you have some reservations about Emery but if he does get 3rd this season. The board have to really back him with some transfer money and get rid of some players.

    #monchitime

  54. qna

    Valentin: You can’t have it both ways.Either Wenger was under achieving and deserved to be sacked for under performing. If the squad is at most the 6th best squad, then we were on par with our final ranking.

    I’m not. I joined Wenger out when I still thought he was a decent manager. I hated his transfers and I could see where his socialist wage policy and British core would lead us. Exactly here.

    Emery isn’t a world class manager and he is only marginally better than a 70 year old Wenger. My guess is that Emery would be long finished before he is a similar age. So over a course of a managerial career I have little doubt that Wenger will be superior when the final score is tallied.

    Wenger’s downfall wasn’t his coaching ability. He would have thrived for much longer than he did if he was at a time when the transfers and coaching were separated out as they are now in modern football. Even David Dein staying probably would have been enough for him to have really competed over the last 10-12 years. But unfortunately he was allowed to waste our money on Gervinhos and the like. And allowed to fail to buy a genuine goal scoring striker when it was so badly needed. Or even something as simple as a half decent defensive mid.

    So I’m not having it both ways at all. Wenger’s squad was 6th best last season. He got a par. We needed a guy to steady the ship while we repair the damage that Arsene and Ivan left us with. Emery is doing that pretty well, even if we don’t make the CL.

  55. gunnershabz

    guys just read Reiss Nelson has only started 5 games for Hoffienham

    are we getting too carried away with his progress

    plus he just been disciplined now

    I do hope he comes back hungrier then ever and has a good pre -season. we may need his inside forward instincts next season

  56. Receding Hairline

    “We won. Enjoy the day. Debate with people.”

    I am debating with people Pedro, sorry i am not doing it to your taste but doing it i am. Starting a statement by calling a manager pushing for top four in a very competitive league “mediocre” is opening yourself up for a comeback

    And there is nothing to enjoy really except the pains of United fans at losing their unbeaten domestic form domestically, this result means nothing if we mess up the away games outstanding. Means nothing f we finish outside the champions league places

  57. Pedro

    RH, Emery changed things up because he was tanking. Brought ostracised players in from the cold, reduced his training sessions intensity, changed our pressing style, the way we play out from the back, how we attack so we offer more variety.

    You should stop trying to pretend otherwise, it’s a positive.

  58. Leftsidesanch

    Amazez me how Pedro is at RH all the time but you let this absolute weasal called Thomas this year, Steve for the last few years get away with his anti-Arsenal drivel…

    RH is an Arsenal fan for cyring out cloud!

  59. Pedro

    QNA, Wenger’s coaching was a problem… he didn’t change it for 16 years, it lacked intensity, it didn’t consider the things you need for a modern team (like considering the oppo)

  60. Dissenter

    “Knowing that we make additions that improved the squad: Leno, Sokratis, Torreira, Guendouzi. So our team is now better than the previous season, so we should be better and we are.”

    Valentin
    We started off with a very poor squad to begin with – the Bellerin and Holding got injured [I know you belong to the Pedro school of thought and hold Emery responsible the injuries as you must do for every bent blade of grass at the Emirates]
    Our rivals [except for Spurs] were also improving their squad so that little bump in quality didn’t go far enough. We are talking about dynamic variables not some static factors like adult height.
    We improved but not enough because we were too far behind.

  61. Guns of sf

    Yes it was puke. I noticed that too. Couldn’t be just a ton of saliva. Kinda gross knowing that happened but hell, kola is not really human anyway

    Kos had a 3 inch hash apparently

    Team gave their all .

    Amazing

  62. Dissenter

    Pedro
    Why aren’t you telling Valentin to stop being snarky?
    Receding is just debating, responding all the bilious stuff being spewed around.

  63. Un Battle Angel

    You can tell the fans who aren’t Londoners a mile off.
    Wether you believe in emery or not, proper arsenal fans relished that win yesterday. It’s a local thing. You guys just wouldn’t understand

  64. Un Battle Angel

    And there is nothing to enjoy really except the pains of United fans at losing their unbeaten domestic form domestically, this result means nothing if we mess up the away games outstanding. Means nothing f we finish outside the champions league places

    Perfectly illiterates my point

  65. Leftsidesanch

    Unai, the result would have meant alot to REAL gooners all of the world, not just ones situated in London.

  66. Receding Hairline

    Pedro i am not pretending, he was never “tanking:”, nor ostracizing anyone.

    Do you think Ozil was doing enough to simply get picked when he fancied playing and asked not to bother helping out the team defensively?? No one is crediting the manager for his handling of Ozil, everyone is pretending Ozil is some misunderstood genius.

    Ramsey wasn’t ostracized, he will not be here next season, nothing wrong in concentrating your building on players who will. Hats off to Ramsey too, he has been a model pro and will go down as an Arsenal great

  67. qna

    Pedro: QNA, my narrative is that this squad is good enough to be top 4. Remember us arguing about that?

    Yep. Absolutely. Did you think the squad was good enough to win the title? I’m not sure you did. So Emery is pretty much doing what you would have expected Allegri to do or even the great man Mikel?

    So my point is that, stick with that. Don’t pivot and make up some excuse to go back to your pre-Emery-signing agenda against the man. If he fails, you can have at it. But if he succeeds you owe him due credit. You have to admit you were wrong.

    I’m willing to admit to you and Valentin that I got it wrong if we do make top 4. I’m in shock to be honest that Unai has got us to this point. It’s been bloody ugly as hell. You will be putting that down to the manager and me to the players.

    But even if I admit that, I still want a complete overhaul. I’m not in it for top 4. I want to win big trophies. Let’s gut this squad and put in the type of players that can get you 95-100 points. This group of players? Lol.

  68. Pedro

    RH, Ramsey has been fit and he was benches from September onwards. Now he’s back in contention.

    Stop taking credit away from Emery, it’s so draining.

  69. China1

    Well the big picture is much better than last year and genuine opportunities to come top 3 or 4. We’re not out of the EL just yet either

    I know you only enjoy back to back CL wins, but compared with where we were last season that’s what I was hoping for this season

    It might not be a dream come true but it was the limit of what could reasonably be expected and here we are. So feel free to not seem like the world is crashing down when the club is overall performing to expectations for this season

  70. Dissenter

    Emery has handled Ozil excellently
    He’s set him so that all the spotlight is on him. You can actually see Ozil trying hard to be accountable to his team mates, tracking back and putting him body on the line.
    He got off too easy with Wenger and he was set-up then as the unstoppable player. Emery has successfully changed that dynamic. Emery wont let him finish a game like he was handled in Madrid. A committed Ozil doesn’t carry enough punch the play 90 minutes for the most part.
    I know Ozil is not a naturally physical player but he’s tried hard the last two games. I commend him for it. In due course he will rediscover that form that no one questions.

  71. Receding Hairline

    Battle angel we do not get anything from beating United, we avoid the depressing Thursday night football and increase our revenue streams by returning to the champions league.

    Beating United was wonderful and all, and i was on cloud nine all through yesterday but that is done and dusted now. We look ahead starting with Rennes on Thursday.

    The time high fives is when the season ends and we have achieved our objective namely champions league football

  72. MidwestGun

    This year is definitely an improvement because we also had to stop the rot… this business about top 4 .. being same as Wenger goal… is just trolling. We were heading downhill fast. Give Wenger Torreira, Matty G and Leno… and he wouldn’t have played any of them… Wenger ignored the defensive midfield and Keeper position for decades.

    Wenger didn’t get sacked by the way because of last season he quit because Josh Kroenke finally realized how stagnant the club had become over a period of YEARS .. and asked him to leave so we could move forward.

  73. qna

    Pedro: QNA, Wenger’s coaching was a problem… he didn’t change it for 16 years, it lacked intensity, it didn’t consider the things you need for a modern team (like considering the oppo)

    Yep. I accept that. At some point between his last PL title and his sacking he lost his touch. It happens. The guy was nearly 70. It was clear that in Europe there were a lot of different managers that just simply had him covered.

    But I’m just saying if you take the money that Arsenal spent on transfers and wages over that period of a dozen years or so and gave it to a top quality DoF who simply said to Arsene – “here are your players for this season”, I think he would have done some serious damage. Any half decent manager would have and Arsene was still a half decent manager right up to the end.

  74. Marko

    Emery changed things up because he was tanking

    Hardly tanking. But don’t let reality get in the way of a good point I suppose.

  75. MidwestGun

    You can tell the fans who aren’t Londoners a mile off.
    Wether you believe in emery or not, proper arsenal fans relished that win yesterday. It’s a local thing. You guys just wouldn’t understand
    ___________
    Complete and utter bullshit.

  76. Receding Hairline

    Reiss Nelson was dropped from Hoffenheim squad for ‘disciplinary reasons’ on Sunday. Sources in Germany say no decision yet on when Arsenal loanee will be considered for selection by Julian Nagelsmann again.

    — James Benge (@jamesbenge) March 11, 2019

  77. Marko

    Rabiot refused to sign a contract and is flirting with any club that’ll have him I suppose Tuchel is ostracizing him too. Ozil was hardly ostracized he’s just been shit and pulling sickies all season. Unless of course you are okay with that sort of behavior. Are you Pedro? Okay with Ozil playing poorly and pulling sickies? Suppose he should have been playing pulling that sort of thing.

  78. Words on a Blog

    Valentin/Receding
    The question about who has the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th best squads can be endlessly debated without any real conclusions as it’s so subjective.

    When “combined 11s” are dreamt up, most supporters (Grovers excepted) usually go for a majority of their team’s players.
    for what it’s worth,, what’s been noticeable in recent years is that when journalists and pundits draw up combined 11s featuring Arsenal and Man U, Tottenham and Chelsea players, they usually feature a large majority of non-Arsenal players.

    I do think that we have the 6th best squad, though Charlie is probably right to say that there’s not much in it

  79. Dissenter

    Where’s Valentin and all the little PSG tidbits he used to drop to discredit Emery.

    Has anyone gone to Nasser Al-Khelaifi yet to undermine Tuchel yet?
    What’s going on at that pseudo-glory club?

  80. Words on a Blog

    Having said that, what is clear is that, regardless of its precise ranking, this is not (yet) “Emery’s squad”.

    He’s largely playing with the hand Wenger dealt him

  81. gunnershabz

    I do think if we do get champions league football and finish 3rd

    we will sign Adrian Rabiot, he will come at a cost of ramsey and welbeck wages

  82. Words on a Blog

    Highbury,

    ZZ back to Madrid, never mind GoH being depressed, I am.

    I was really counting on a Poch move to Real for a proper “downward spiral”
    For the Spuds!

  83. Un Battle Angel

    Dissenter

    It’s true
    You don’t relate to arsenal in the same way we do. Which is why yesterday’s victory seems to mean so much more to the local supporters.
    Just an observation. No need to cry about it.

  84. RodneyKing

    Valentin
    “OGS has a philosophy. Play high octane, vertical direct to the goal with Pogba used a quarterback sending long pass over the top ton defenders..”

    Really? I get your drift but he’s been there for just 3 months. On the other hand, it’s taken Barcelona years to build a philosophy and an identity. I don’t think you would put what OGS is doing in the same category. I would like to see how he does long term.

    OGS is simply playing to the strengths of the players at his disposal. Most pundits often describe him as “allowing the players to express themselves”. Not exactly something he has “patented” unlike Barcelona’s style that has taken many years and managers to develop.

  85. englandsbest

    Shit, who would have thought it! We’re all in luv with Arsenal again.

    First, Spurs put in their place, and now Man U.

    Roll on, Unai.

  86. Words on a Blog

    RodneyK,

    Well put.

    It will take years (and if at the end of this or next season the club decides that Emery has failed) and possible many iterations for a new successor to the defunct Wengerball /strategy/philosophy/style of play to emerge.

  87. Valentin

    @Dissenter,

    The tidbits were info that happen to be true. PSG was a debatable penalty away from reaching the next round of Champions League. Nobody can honestly compare that with the complete collapse against Barcelona and Real Madrid under Emery. Why do you keep harping about PSG, when nobody is making any comments on them?

    The big uplift is Arsenal result has been the complete change by Emery.
    1) the end of ostracizing Özil and Ramsey. You may think that he played a blinder with tough love with Özil, but all his previous managers including Mourinho who is not known for indulging players have said that Özil tend to retreat when confronted. In all likelihood, a more measure approach would have yielded better and quicker result.

    2) the change in tactics that clearly were not working. You may think that they were not working due to the quality of the squad, but a coach works with the squad he has, not the one he wants. In his premiership winning season, Conte switched to a tactic that worked for his squad.

    3) change behind the scene regarding the conditioning. High intensity training session had a clear detrimental effect on players. During games, players were running the same distance, but their effectiveness was not there. It was clear, players were getting tired after 75 minutes. Iwobi used to regularly have cramps after 75 minutes. Now we look like 90 minutes players.

    4) substitutions are now back to be done for a purpose rather than made for the sake of change.

    I am happy about those changes, but disappointed that they were needed in the first place.

  88. Receding Hairline

    “Why do you keep harping about PSG, when nobody is making any comments on them?”

    Because that was how you warmed your way into Pedro’s heart, through ditching the dirt on Emery’s “mediocrity” at PSG based on your inside knowledge, so it is only fair you are asked what then went wrong in the paradise Tuchel built after the mediocre one was seen off by the players and fans according to you.

  89. Words on a Blog

    Receding,

    Any believer will tell you that there is no way in Hell that any paradise could include Neymar!

  90. Receding Hairline

    “4) substitutions are now back to be done for a purpose rather than made for the sake of change.”

    You just seem to say anything you feel like knowing Pedro will ask me to stop being snarky if i take you up on it, what exactly does the above mean, substitutions for the sake of it, a manager who has won us many matches this season by making changes at the right time is now being accused of making changes for changes sake.

    I guess you are crediting all these “admission of his mistakes” down to your “insightful” posts on here.

  91. MidwestGun

    You don’t relate to arsenal in the same way we do. Which is why yesterday’s victory seems to mean so much more to the local supporters.
    Just an observation. No need to cry about it.
    ____
    Look Battle Troll or whatever your name is now…. I have had the privilege of visiting with Arsenal supporters from all over North America… and some parts of Central America.. And I can assure you.. they know how to relish a victory over Manchester United… and know its importance… I know your the arbiter of “proper” arsenal fans … but you need to pick a different stick to beat Dissenter with…. cuz you don’t know what your talking about. Do fans in London interact with rival fans in a different manner…….. sure.. But you have no idea none how much a victory over Man U “means” to fans all over the world… considering we haven’t done it in League play for years. I think they get it..

  92. Receding Hairline

    Please enough with the name dropping of Conte and Mourinho, what they did and what they didn’t do.

    Unai Emery has been a manager for 15 years and has his own methods, he does not need to go borrowing from anyone, His methods have got him employment again and again and he has delivered relative success in all his jobs with the exception of Spartak.

    He handled Ozil perfectly his own way and Ozil now goes out of his way to show he is not lazy and works for the team,that was the way he wanted to handle it and it has worked for him, that you do not approve does not make it wrong.

  93. Dissenter

    Luis Guenreira
    “So Reiss Nelson earlier this season was just a fluke?”

    A purple patch until defenders figured him out and his team mates become disenchanted with the youthful cockiness…who knows
    Young players go through these phases which is why one has to be careful in poring praise too early.
    Holding played well two seasons ago, then slumped last season before rebounding back this season until his injury
    On a tangent, this is why I’m always I’ll never join the Mavros bandwagon until he’s played more that two competitive league games.

  94. Valentin

    @Rodney,

    OGS always has the same philosophy, the problem was that at Cardiff he did not have the players to implement it. Also he lacked the tactical flexibility to be able to adapt of different requirements.

    I also think that pundits are making him a disservice by harping on letting the players expressed themselves. That makes him look he does not do tactic. I think he does, it just that he does tend to emphasize ManUtd motto and values in interview rather than system.
    I also think that he has been working with the players on their individual technique. he clearly has worked with Rashford, Martial and Lukaku to improve them as players. Lukaku starting to make better run, better link-up play.

    Barcelona’s philosophy is really Cruyff philosophy. He went there, change the training method and build back the club. Rijkard built on that. Before that they had more a cultural identity rather a footballistic philosophy.

  95. Un Battle Angel

    Receding
    What you?? Hahahahahaha
    You marko and dissenter acting like the mean girls and claiming you’re “grown up” is rather ironic.

    What a bunch of raving sissies

  96. Dissenter

    Un na
    No one is crying at your pithy blather
    Some feel deep pity for you, mostly people just laugh at you.
    You don’t have a clue Arsenal fans in Polynesia or the international space station feel. You don’t even know how all London Arsenal fans feel.

  97. Words on a Blog

    Valentin,

    Agreed that OGS is doing much more than letting his players “express themselves”, although unlike Mourinho, at least he’s allowing them to express themselves.

    What he’s trying to do is to restore Ferguson’s style and ethos of play, and in do doing, he’s adapting tactics etc.

    What’s not clear is whether a) he’s tactically sharp enough to achieve Ferguson mark 2
    And b) whether that style and philosophy still works in the era of Pep and Klopp

  98. Valentin

    @Dissenter,

    “Ever managed a football team before at any level?”
    You don’t need to be a cook to know that McDonald is shit food.

    @Receding,

    [Emery] methods have got him employment again and again and he has delivered relative success in all his jobs with the exception of Spartak.

    and PSG.

    He handled Ozil perfectly his own way and Ozil now goes out of his way to show he is not lazy and works for the team,that was the way he wanted to handle it and it has worked for him, that you do not approve does not make it wrong.

    That does not make it right either. There were games in which Özil was missed. His unlocking of defenses against for example Southampton could mean the difference at the end of the season. We could miss Champion’s league football by 1 points or on goal difference.

  99. Marko

    What you?? Hahahahahaha
    You marko and dissenter acting like the mean girls and claiming you’re “grown up” is rather ironic.

    Don I haven’t addressed you at all today. I know it’s a waste of time given how stupid you are and how little comprehension you have. It’s basically pointless to converse with you

  100. MidwestGun

    Valentin adds a legitimate view point and concerns at least.. And can intelligently argue his position.. I have some of the same concerns about Emery.. regards to his tactics and man management. Time will tell whether he is able to adapt.. to PL over a period of more then 1 season.. So I always read his comments.

    And he definitely doesn’t deserve undo critique.. but seems like he can handle himself just fine..

    At least he isn’t blatantly trolling people with nonsensical comments.

  101. Receding Hairline

    “There were games in which Özil was missed. His unlocking of defenses against for example Southampton could mean the difference at the end of the season. ”

    He played away at Southampton and gave away the ball with an ill advised flick that led to their winning goal

  102. Valentin

    @Words,

    I rate OGS better than most do, however like you I am still waiting to see if he would be merely a good manager or a great one.

    I doubt that he will be able to emulate Ferguson, because ManUtd has now real financial competition. Also with the advance of technology, most teams have better analytics tool to counter and well defined tactics. Tactics have to be continually improved and adapt, where 10 or 15 years ago, you would be able to keep the same tactic.

    Change in tactics is exactly what has done Mourinho, on top of his clear poor man management. Teams knew how he would setup, so they setup very defensively and he could not break them down.

  103. Pierre

    RH
    “He played away at Southampton and gave away the ball with an ill advised flick that led to their winning goal”

    He came on as a late substitute and It was 75 yards from goal( and it was a dummy that was intercepted actually ) , which is precisely the area where you should try things to create a goal ….

    But you would find it difficult to understand that as you stated that Ozil was the worst player on the pitch against man United despite him creating 4 chances for his team mates .

  104. HighburyLegend

    “At least he isn’t blatantly trolling people with nonsensical comments.”

    That’s because he nose best.

  105. salpardisenyc

    Valentin fighting the good fight against a mob mentality, stay strong monsieur.

    Curious where Allegri goes if anywhere now that ZZ is back in. Possible to see changes at United, Chelsea and maybe PSG.

    All a downgrade from Torino.

  106. Pierre

    Leg end
    Of course…did you see the ovation he received from the Emirates when he was substituted, the match going fans love watching him play football .

  107. Words on a Blog

    Luteo- lol, Emery to Holding: “have you ever been affected by an accident that wasn’t your fault?”

  108. Valentin

    @Receding,

    What I remember from the Southampton game is that we were abject and sluggish during the entire game.
    Players were getting muscular injuries. See my points about conditioning and too high intensity training. Özil was being introduce quite late. We had a makeshift back 4 of Lichsteiner, Koscielny, Monreal and Xhaka. Xhaka played well for a left back.
    Leno having a poor game and flapping and missing crosses.

  109. Dream10

    Sal

    Allegri was interested in joining Arsenal or Chelsea. However, neither side would offer him a significant transfer kitty. Can see him walking at the end of the season. Take a year off and wait for top jobs to open up.

    I do enjoy Valentin’s posts. Good to see Pierre back

    We’re linked to Fabian Schãr of Newcastle.
    A likely Mustafi replacement.

  110. Leedsgunner

    I wonder if Rabiot is hoping for a monster deal a la Ramsey from us.

    He’s going to be disappointed if he is.

    Talking of Ramsey, I have to salute his performance and his professionalism throughout this entire debacle.

    No drama, just hard work.

    Aaron thanks for that. I for one salute you and wish you well!