The dangers of the #Top4HighLife

by & filed under News Review.

‘NO Moura, less than two points’

Legend of Le Grove’s 1st comment… DM… had a first of his own yesterday as he welcomed a new baby girl into the world. Everyone raise a FIRST to him in the comments today to celebrate. Congrats, Thierryrina is a beaut of a name!

ONTO SERIOUS FOOTBALL STUFF 👇👇👇

How many articles did you read yesterday about the erosion of civil society because two dickheads ran onto football pitches? Our press LIVE for a moment in which they can condemn every living/breathing person and wrap it in a football narrative. Idiots are always a byproduct of something they don’t like. Social media, Brexit, porn, cats…

Dickheads have always been a part of modern culture and they always will be. Don’t try and make sense of it. Just let it be and make sure that if the person sitting next to you suggests running on the pitch, you demand they get naked or sit the fuck down. Do the same if the person next to you at work asks if you want a tea, see how that works out.

UNITED COLD TURKEY

As the joy subsides post-United, the stinging slap of reality has set in for some.

We’re back in prison, we’ve been locked in a cage with 3 other big boys, we’re now fighting it out in the #TopDog race, with a whole bunch of nasty weirdos looking to shank us along the way.

What I’m trying to say is this… let’s not get carried away thinking this race is done. Things have fallen into place very nicely over the past month. Spurs, Chelsea and United have all slipped in and out of ecstasy. Now we’re on high #Top4Life, but things could get testy very quickly.

I liken this moment to the Champions League semi-final when the club first gave us flags, we started waving them like lunatics, then CR7 stepped up and spoiled the party. Away form is our CR7 brooding over a free kick.

When you look at our easy run, you realise it’s actually not easy. It’s really hard. Our struggles have generally come on the road this season, and against the unsexy teams.

Everton, Watford, Leicester and Wolves are the big worry for us. They are Xherdan-Shaqiri-in-a-Borat-one-piece levels of sexy. They are tough, gritty, tiring games to play. This is where the weakness of our season has generally sat. BATE, Brighton, West Ham, Rennes are the games we should have won but didn’t

Is it a talent thing? No. I think it’s a focus thing.

Unai Emery has to take the same sort of attention to detail he had for Spurs/United and channel it into the games that aren’t as interesting. He has to keep the players interested. He has to make sure they feel the fire of importance. He has to make the end goal feel important to the players.

That could be super basic. Maybe a little reminder there’s serious money in it if we make top 4. It could be flashing the excitement of elite football next season. It could be the threat of getting booted out if the socks are not pulled up hard enough. Or it could just be the hit of adrenaline from United that carries us through.

Each game is now a Cup Final… but, before we turn the league into a cup, we have to deal with Rennes on Thursday.

We are more than capable of taking them down by two goals. The challenge is they are protecting a lead and as a counter-attacking team, what better position to be in than waiting for Arsenal to overextend themselves?

I’ve read some people say we should throw the game. I think that’s silly. Emery could really do with a cup win to bolster his rep going into the summer. It’d also be smart to keep both routes to the Champions League firmly open. I’d also personally like to see Emery give it some back to Ben Arfa for his premature gloating the other day.

The real work starts now. We have momentum with us. We have two routes to the promised land of Champions League football. We look like we’re firing on all cylinders.

Let’s make the run in something special!

492 Responses to “The dangers of the #Top4HighLife”

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  1. Dissenter

    Valentin
    There’s nothing wrong with a system of great players, without egos who are ready to sacrifice themselves for the team
    I do think every manager has to bend somewhat to accommodate exceptional game changers like Messi, Ronaldo…and maybe Neymar [to an extent]
    Ozil is not that match winner, he’s the cherry atop the ice-cream. He does not deserve to be treated differently.
    The Salgado article did repeatedly say that Emery is a quality manager, something that you have tried repeatedly to disprove.

  2. Redtruth

    I seriously have never seen Ozil play well.
    On the rare occasion he scores a goal he’s hailed as an artist which sums up how low the bar his supporters have set.

  3. MidwestGun

    Well Red.. you have never seen Messi.. play well either.. so not sure you can use your judgement to set the bar on any player. Just sayin . Although Ospina is a high bar to reach for any keeper no doubt.

  4. Words on a Blog

    Valentin – Manchester City are so dominant in terms of football philosophy/tactics, quality of players, depth of squad and financial resources that it is going to be very, very difficult to dislodge them – unless

    It’s taken Klopp four years to get Liverpool to threaten to dislodge them and challenge for the league, and he may yet well fail.

    Under late-era Wenger we were sinking from “elite mediocrity” (@Pedro) Wenger to mid-table irrelevance. With Emery on board, there are clear signs of course correction, with tactics, formations etc upgraded.

    I don’t think too many expect we’ll be challenging for thePL in the next couple of years.

    It remains to be seen whether Emery is the “special sauce one”. But at the moment he is more than an effective interim 2 year manager.

    After that, and a few more incomings and outgoings, we’ll see

  5. Graham62

    Valentin

    Did I say that?

    My perceptions were based on competing, which, as a fan, is all I ask for.

    Wenger had more than enough time to sort things out, but he never did.

    Sorry Valentin but you seem to have got the wrong end of the stick.

    I see rolling the sleeves up as a step forward. Better than throwing in the towel.

  6. Marko

    The obsessives will celebrate top 4 as if it is a trophy , it’s just a shame that it has taken them until now to recognise what a good job our previous manager was doing

    Yeah we’re only going to celebrate top 4 after two 5th and 6th place finishes. I would have thought that was pretty obvious but it’s Pierre after all. Your daily Wenger/Ozil routine continues to be hilarious pal made all the more funny when you realize that in the summer it’ll be Ozil gone not long after Wenger and we can finally move forward as a club. The cherry on top is that somewhere in the world there’ll be a miserable grown man called Pierre contemplating moving his support to Besiktas or some Chinese club. Win win all round.

    And no I don’t believe the stories of a 40 million budget. It’s been 30 then 35 then 40 then 50 million and Ornstein said something closer to 100 million depending on the league position. Somewhere in the middle more likely but I don’t think anyone knows what the budget is until the league finishes

  7. MidwestGun

    Hahaha Red- And here I was loving the new positive Red.. Good to see you still on here.. Maybe you should bring back the MarbleHalls moniker .. I liked that one better.

  8. Freddie Ljungberg

    See that Pierre is up to his usual tricks, just trolling away.

    Comparing a manager with 20 years of total control over every facet of the club to a new manager trying to stop the rot of the last 5 years in his first season with a steadily declining squad to deal with. Makes sense right? Smh.

  9. Receding Hairline

    “The Salgado article did repeatedly say that Emery is a quality manager, something that you have tried repeatedly to disprove.”

    Mediocre he called him

    While suggesting we go for the manager of Rennes because he won a few games.

  10. Valentin

    @Dissenter,

    Salgado thinks that Emery is a special manager. I just disagree on that assessment.
    To me man management is part of being a good manager. So when Salgado states that he is a special manager but that he can’t handle ego that automatically disqualify Emery from being a great manager.
    Also I think that he overestimate Emery’s tactical acumen.
    There is a reason why we have lost games against team that we should have easily swatted.
    Complacency and hubris. Against those teams, no proper plan or the incorrect one was put into place and then when things go bad, we had no recourse. There werea few game where you could see he had no idea on how to fix it. We could not even rely on our star players to compensate for the tactical mistake because Emery had ostracised them.

    To me that is the textbook definition of mediocrity. You think that you are better than you are and mistakes crop up. Instead of owning to them, you find a scapegoat.
    Instead of trying something new, you retrench in your own certitude until you face the abyss. Emery pivoted and brought back Özil and Ramsey because he knew that failure was a strong possibility and that means the sack. But also any chance of being considered for a top job again. Fail twice at a top club under those circumstances and you will never be admitted to the circle of top managers who get the plum managerial jobs. You get one chance to be top dog, if you are lucky maybe two, but not three.

  11. Marko

    Wenger honestly shouldn’t be brought up or at the very least his last 10-14 years. We steadily declined under him for about a decade and his apologists and fanboys can’t rewrite history as much as they want to. He’s gone thank fuck let’s move on… maybe get behind the new manager?

  12. HighburyLegend

    “The obsessives will celebrate top 4 as if it is a trophy”

    While we could have easily being in the top 2 race, such a shame, indeed.

  13. Dissenter

    Valentin
    You think we are playing well because we returned Ozil back to the starting line up
    I disagree. I think we are doing better because our injury crises has improved somewhat.
    We have a full squad to chose from with the exception of Holding and Welbeck. We didn’t have that luxury for most of the winter.
    Emery has handled Ozil perfectly and now has him putting in a shift because the spotlight is one him. We aren’t going to agree on that.

  14. Receding Hairline

    “Salgado thinks that Emery is a special manager. I just disagree on that assessment.”

    As you are 100% entitled to. It’s your opinion, Salgado has his, everyone here has theirs ..life goes on.

    The long post was unnecessary

  15. Receding Hairline

    Dissenter i don’t even understand how people talk about “special players with big ego” and lump Ozil into that bracket.

    He is not a special player, hasn’t been for sometime now, he does not win you games out of nothing, he is not capable of dominating a game from start to finish. Why then should such a player be allowed to pull sickies and stroll around the pitch while others recover the ball only for him to have some “nice touches”

  16. Marko

    Valentin quick question before you bore the fuck out of me with your inane commentary for the day but what would you have done with a player who was playing poorly has been declining for the previous two seasons and then faked injuries and illnesses to get out of games? Do you then remove all evidence of balls and quickly draft him into the starting 11 or do you bench him? Know what don’t answer that I’m sure you’ll find a way to worm your way out of taking a balanced and objective view.

    What I don’t understand is how people continue with this notion that Emery completely ostracized Ozil from the team for a few months there it’s absolute bollox. He was out because he was faking injuries and illnesses and then when he decided to make himself available he was on the bench. On the occasional start or sub appearance that he made he was ineffective. None of which is ostracized or banned or frozen out from the team. Again I say there isn’t a manager in Europe who would have done things differently. In fact people like Simeone and Mourinho and even Klopp would have been way worse to the bug eyed twat.

  17. salpardisenyc

    Top four this season would no doubt be a big achievement, league is at a very high level.

    As it stands a team that has 1 loss may not win the title, i’m doing my part in burning the evil sage in hopes Liverpool flounder.

    3rd and 4th are being fought out by 4 sides all within 3 points of each other if Chelsea get result with game in hand with 8 games to play.

  18. Valentin

    @Receding,

    I said that if we can’t get the top manager then we should take a gamble on a young upcoming manager.
    Looking at his results since hr took over at Rennes, Julien Stephan qualify as an option we should look at.
    He has had good results, and his behind the scene has been praised by everyone. Brought the entire club together. Involved every players. Tactically flexible and innovative he has also shown good man management skill. For example he has been able to handle Ben Arfa (things that Emery could not do).

    Looking at our current situation, most of the top managers would not join us. Too small transfer kitty, a structure where they would have no control on the transfer itself, Small salary compared to other club. We were 8 millions short of what Enrique wanted! So the young upcoming manager is definitely the way to go.

  19. Graham62

    It could have been worse.

    I came onto this site in 2017. If I’d known about it in 2008, when my trust and faith in Wenger ended, just imagine the flack I’d be getting.

  20. Receding Hairline

    @ Valentin

    The mediocre one we have has us one point behind Spurs and competing for a top four finish.

    You guys and your obsession with the words “young”, “Upcoming”, “Unknown”..it’s getting boring

    No one, least of all myself, expects you to back down on your over the top criticism of Emery and his coaching career, so no need to keep doubling down on it. We all know what you think about him and frankly it’s getting boring reading it daily

  21. Marko

    We could not even rely on our star players to compensate for the tactical mistake because Emery had ostracised them.

    I assume that this is in reference to around and after Christmas where we struggled. Yeah the likes of Mhiki and Sokratis/Mustafi were injured. Ozil if you remember was on the bench at Bournemouth pulled a sickie for Spurs and a couple more games around then came back for the Brighton draw was criticized for making no impact and then pulled a sickie again. This whole ostracized nonsense especially with regards to Ozil has to stop. It’s Ozil who made himself unavailable for so many games this season. He faked the injuries and the illnesses and then didn’t show enough fight it’s totally and utterly on him. And I don’t blame the club or the manager for wanting rid. It takes a real piece of work to apportion any of the blame for Ozil onto someone else

  22. MidwestGun

    Emery will crash and burn … no doubt.. how do I know this.. because every single manager ever .. eventually crashes and burns it’s only a matter of how long. Unless they change jobs enough where people forget the bad stuff. Pep is a good example.

    But I’m surely not gonna sit around and wish for it Emery’s first fockin year or try and be the first to say I’m right.. or to make the former manager look better. I don’t care about any of this.. I care about winning and how we are doing now. and top 4 finish will help us move forward and guess what I will celebrate it.. if we achieve it.

  23. Valentin

    @Receding,

    How do you know that he was faking injury?
    Because the Arsenal PR machine was telling us that.
    Emery himself said that he was not injured, but that for tactical reason he had not selected him.

    According to Ornstein, management wanted Özil out and he should not ever play for Arsenal. Same thing Ramsey that we seriously considered selling to the Juventus In January.
    Strange how after the BATE fiasco, suddenly journalists were briefed that Özil was now back into the fold.
    Arsenal management felt the wind of the bullet and got scared. They told Emery do whatever is necessary to get us out of this mess. If that means eating humble pie and bring back Özil and Ramsey, just do it.

    The idea that top manager would ostracise a player of Özil quality is ridiculous. Mourinho found way to accommodate him at Real Madrid. And he is not known to indulge players.

  24. Marko

    For example he has been able to handle Ben Arfa (things that Emery could not do).

    I’d say he handled him pretty well to be honest. Ben Arfa has been a problem player his whole career. Been at so many clubs and hasn’t come close to 100 appearences for any of them. That should tell you everything you need to know about the player

  25. Receding Hairline

    “The idea that top manager would ostracise a player of Özil quality is ridiculous. Mourinho found way to accommodate him at Real Madrid. ”

    5 years ago in the Spanish league surrounded by superstars. Wonder why same Mourinho did not break the bank for him just a few months ago when he was available. Anyway i am bored with this now……………..

  26. Marko

    According to Ornstein, management wanted Özil out…that Özil was now back into the fold.
    Arsenal management felt the wind of the bullet and got scared…They told Emery do whatever is necessary to get us out of this mess. If that means eating humble pie and bring back Özil and Ramsey, just do it.

    I’m confused did he ostracized him or did management tell him to do it? Or don’t you know? Or are you just spitballing? No mention of his faking injuries or illnesses you won’t believe it.

    Mourinho found way to accommodate him at Real Madrid. And he is not known to indulge players.

    He is. Yeah no examples of him indulging players.

  27. Dissenter

    Valentin
    If you don’t think Ozil was faking injury, how can you then blame Emery for not picking him when he was on the injury list?
    Ozil needed a big jolting because Wenger set him up on a pedestal separate from the rest of the team. Emery confronted him…Ozil is stepping up to meet that challenge.
    Any new manager coming would have had to challenge that false equilibrium, disrupt things to regain control of the club dynamic.
    Pep Guardiola does the same as well. His problems with Samuel Etto and Zlatan are public knowledge.
    There’s ego … and then there’s hubris

  28. Valentin

    @Marko,

    Ben Arfa was voted player of the year the previous season at Nice. That is why PSG bought him. He may be a nutcase but he definitely has bag of talent.
    The problem as soon as he find a coach who can manage him he shines and everybody want to buy him. He then goes to a club where the manager can’t handle him.
    That same pattern has been repeated along all his career.
    That says a lot of Julien Stephan that he can handle him. He has been able to punish him for some indiscipline without making a drama out of it. So he is not a push over in awe of a magical player.

  29. Pierre

    Mid West
    I wanted pep 5 years ago when he left Barca , it is one of my biggest regrets as an Arsenal supporter not to see him manage the club.

    If Arsenal ( under Kronke) had shown ambition to want to reach the pinnacle then he would have gone all out to get pep and promised him the world to get him to manage The Arsenal.

    Sadly we have an owner with no ambition and no idea about football ….I believe Pep would have come to the club as it would have been a perfect project for him,everything was in place except kronke took the easy option and stayed with wenger .

    Some say that wenger should have left on his own accord but he obviously believed that he could return Arsenal to the top of the league and was allowed to continue due to kronke’s lack of ambition.

  30. Valentin

    @Dissenter,

    I am not the one who kept repeating Ornstein assertion that management wanted him out.

    My view is that management wanted Özil off the wage bill and Emery was only too happy to ostracise him.

    Their problem is that it backfired. The team started to lose. The football became dire and nearly unwatchable. With the added risk of not even meeting the expectation to at least reach the semi final of the Europa League (the new manager was not expected to do worse than the manager who had been sacked), everything looked terribly bleak.

    When your clients (that what we fans are for them) start to boos and scream for Özil, then management knows they have a problem. If you were to physically attend game, you would know that most of the public were clearly siding with Özil over Emery.

    Imagine you invite your son’s boss to an easy game to impress him and all he will be able to report is that the stadium is only half full and the native are restless.

    Not a good look for your prospect.

  31. Marko

    Ben Arfa was voted player of the year the previous season at Nice. That is why PSG bought him. He may be a nutcase but he definitely has bag of talent.

    No one’s disputing his talent or him being a problem player either. It’s like with Ballotelli no one disputes that he’s talented but he’s such a prick that he’s wasting his career with his reputation. I bet he was player of the year for nice too.

    The problem as soon as he find a coach who can manage him he shines and everybody want to buy him.

    So once. And PSG got him on a free so what does that tell you. In fact the most anyone’s ever paid for him was Marseille for 10 million and Newcastle for 5.

    That says a lot of Julien Stephan that he can handle him. He has been able to punish him for some indiscipline without making a drama out of it. So he is not a push over in awe of a magical player.

    Just had to check…yep he is in fact only at Rennes this season. Just to check as well yep Stephen has been manager since December 3rd. Wow a whole 3 months. You telling me he’s been able to handle Ben Arfa for 3 months and 10 days??? Unbelievable. He’s played 15 games under him well that’s something

  32. Receding Hairline

    Watford, Wolves and Burnley…these are three difficult away games.

    I won’t add Leicester and Everton because he can thrive on those type of grounds with the style they play

    We are yet to see a dominating performance from Ozil away from home, so all this attributing everything good about the season to him and everything bad to the manger is desperate to put it mildly

    New post by the way

  33. Marko

    https://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/mesut-ozil/leistungsdaten/spieler/35664/saison/2018/plus/1#gesamt

    I feel like this is a good indication of how ostracized Ozil was this season and perfectly shows up the player for what he is. Unfortunately doesn’t show the “illnesses” but there’s strong evidence of him being benched after the fake injuries. November 8 for example not in squad coincides with being benched for Bournemouth and then him pulling a sickie for the next few games. It makes for bad reading honestly

  34. Dissenter

    Valentin
    Ben Arfa is a known trouble maker. I believe he was released from hi Newcastle contract if my memory serves me right.
    PSG were wrong to sign him and are paying the price for the poor scouting.
    Emery did to him what managers at Marseilles and Newcastle had done, nothing new there. A cun*ish player will always be a c*ntish player.
    He is Balotelli’s brother from another mama.

  35. Un battle angel

    El hadji diouf has to be the lord of all cunty players though
    At least Joey Barton is looking for redemption and to better himself through a philosophy degree.

  36. Un battle angel

    Receding

    Why are you trying to soften the blow
    They are only difficult games if your team is sub par
    Arsenal haven’t beaten Manchester United, spurs and Chelsea this season and we unlucky not to have beaten Liverpool
    Our goal tally is only just shy of Liverpool’s
    We should be winning these games. Not always easily. But it shouldn’t be doubted that arsenal football club should be beating wolves Watford and Burnley

    Three teams who have been promoted fairly recently and haven’t been swimming in premier league cash like we have for decades

  37. Un battle angel

    On the ozil debate

    I watch this man play and I don’t see anything to justify his inclusion. But then you read that he dropped for chances created against United and think, WHAT?
    How did I miss that? The problem is that this team is sorely lacking creativity since we lost wilshere and cazorla and ostracised ozil and Ramsey for a while.
    Xakha and iwobi were our only creative outlets. If emery knew he had no cash to replace these men then why cut out 4 attacking players from your otherwise creatively bereft squad? He was either lied to or made some terrible decisions

    If he was lied to then it is as many of us feared. The suits are screwing over the football team for profit.
    If it’s poor decision making then it’s just plain old bad management. Let’s hope he continues his Manchester United form for the rest of the season and we nail a top four place AND win the Europa league. Popping spurs to third in the process would be the cherry on top

  38. Valentin

    @Marko,

    I could say that Emery has had problem with Özil and Ramsey in less than 3 months. Also it took him less than 3 months to ostracise BenArfa.