Emery’s mediocrity shines bright in Europa League disaster

by .

Well my darlings, here we are, JUDGE ME IN MAY has landed and the judgement is that we made a terrible mistake with the hiring of Unai Emery.

We have nothing to show for the season. No underlying improvement in positive statistics, no sense of style on the pitch, and no belief from the players.

Emery added £73m worth of talent last summer, mostly to the defence, and after a full preseason and a year with the players, we actually look worse.

For a manager that boasts of being the king of video analysis, I again find myself asking what the fuck he’s watching. We had no game plan for one of the most rigid managers in the league.

Emery regularly talks about passion and character, where was it yesterday? He couldn’t motivate his team to turn it on in a cup final.

He speaks of making big decisions, well, it seems like the biggest decision he made this year was binning Aaron Ramsey, but when it came to benching Chelsea’s new Sporting Director, a man that jibed the lack of pressure at Arsenal this week, he faltered. I love Petr Cech, he’s going to be a banging asset for Chelsea now, but that decision set the tone for the evening. Sentimentality over winning.

But be real people, Emery has said on two occasions this season that the reason he likes Arsenal is there isn’t the same pressure to win. He literally said it this week. That thought is a sporting atrocity that could only be said out aloud at Arsenal. I don’t like that anyone is comfortable enough to opine like that as a manager, to say it twice, the second time on the eve of a cup final is outrageous.

The game itself was bland. Both teams were shite. Yet somehow we were the team to concede 4 goals. The defence was utterly shambolic, we had no power in midfield, we created next to nothing for most of the game (two shots on target all game). Ozil hid in the shadows, not his worst game, but yet another example of how uninterested he is in playing for Emery, and how badly the manager has worked with him. Willock came on and immediately looked more dangerous. Chelsea seemed to let Xhaka have all the space he wanted, presumably because his searching balls were mostly feeding players not fit for the one-track system of findings players on the overlap.

The one highlight of the game was Iwobi who scored an absolute screamer. An unreal strike that deserved to be a winner.

So where do we go from here?

Emery finished 5th in the league. He bet it all on Europa glory, in my view, because winning four trophies on the bounce was more attractive for his resume. That adversely impacted our season. We blew games like Palace because of Europa. We took strong teams away to weak teams. We allowed Aaron Ramsey to play injured, because of Europa. We held our judgement on a poor body of work, because of Europa.

Now it’s all said and done, Arsenal have reaped what they hired. We shot for Europa League and we missed. We bottled our hiring policy last year, and we paid the price.

In football, there is no such thing as an interim manager. That’s a mythical crock of shit. You hire for what you aspire to do as a club. We hired in a supposed safe pair of hands that knows Europa League. When you aim low and miss, the consequences are thick, bland and tasteless. We should have hired someone with a vision, someone with ambition, some with charisma and firm grasp of the English language.

The only good thing to come out of yesterday is that Emery’s demise just took a shot of steroids to the arm. That failure was brutal. 4 points from 18 at the backend of the season was a world-class bottle job. 4-1 in a final to a team that’s been shite all season was hugely embarrassing. This was a Kevin Keegan-eque collapse. Tell me this, now the dust is beginning to settle, would any other club aiming to be the best tolerate what has happened at the tail end of the season when ideas are supposed to have settled?

Absolutely not.

Raul can talk about beautiful structures. He can point to a tepid vision of proudness. He can excite you with buzzwords. But the brutal reality of elite sport is if you fill that structure with average talent, you’ll always be average. Arsenal’s owners need to take a realistic look at what they are building and map Raul’s words to reality.

Do we have the best manager for what we’re trying to achieve? No.

Do we have a footballing vision anyone can believe in? No.

If stasis was acceptable, we should have taken a risk on a bolder hire.

If great football and results is what we’re aiming for, we should fire the manager right now and go all in on Allegri. He’s out of a job and nothing looks like it suits him right now. You’d be hiring in Juventus IP, a winner, a man of great charisma, a person that could address a defence inside a year, a manager that up until last year was making Champions League finals with free transfers and small transfer budgets.

David Dein would do it. This is our Bruce Rioch moment, except we’d not be moving on a manager that achieved his goals. We’d be course-correcting a mistake that’s been glaring since November.

Arsenal is at an important crossroads. We have no Technical Director, no Chief Scout, and an average manager we’re about to let loose with a small budget.

Decisive action needs to be taken, otherwise we’re heading towards a mediocrity that is going to become harder and harder to escape.

See you in the comments.

627 Responses to “Emery’s mediocrity shines bright in Europa League disaster”

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  1. Valentin


    The flat Earther scorpion is back to his natural self after being banned.
    All you do all day is writing petty vindictive tripe and belittle people.
    Write something of substance with logical arguments for a change.

  2. Un na naai


    So he may or may not score 30 goals next season but after that he’s 31 and the vast majority of strikers in the premier league don’t tend to do well at that age.

    It’s short term thinking to keep a player who’s got two seasons at best in him when we could use the money from his sale to invest in two potential stars that could not only replicate his goals out out but improve on our assist rate and all round threat going forward.

    Yes defence needs surgery but to not cash in on an asset in decline would be foolish for me: we have to be ruthless right?

  3. Dissenter

    Respectfully, you have to know that suggesting that Willocks should have started in the place of Ozil would evoke strong reactions.
    You wrote it [it takes balls I admit] so own the moment. It was an audacious idea so expect flak for it.

  4. Marko

    Signing a 20-25m RB likely means no LB.
    That is a disaster

    That’s not true. We need a LB and a RB it’s not an either or situation.

  5. Marko

    Valentin I thought I did. Osei Tutu at 20 and who’s never made his debut should be nowhere near the Arsenal starting 11 and Joe Willock is at the very least in need of a loan move and should not be starting a European final. Is that substantive enough for you?

  6. Jamie

    Maybe we should’ve started Nketiah over Auba or Laca. After all, during a 15 minute cameo last season at the end of a cup game, he scored a late brace. Obviously much better than either Auba or Laca managed in the final. Case closed, right?…

    Impossible to argue against a hypothetical, especially if the person offering the hypothesis is married to the presumed outcome. Don’t get sucked in.

    If it was as simple as playing our under 23 squad in order to stack the odds in favour of us winning the final, that’s what would’ve happened.

    Next season is different. Introduce kids and reduce the wage bill, because we’ll have literally nothing to play for. Forget about top 4 or a cup.

  7. Marko

    Dissenter it wasn’t audacious though it was stupid. If it was left to him we would have started with a bunch of kids (most of whom won’t make it here) lost miserably and then he would have complained about Ozil and the like not starting. That’s his routine. He complained about Ameachi being on the plane to Baku having never been integrated prior to the final. Blissfully ignorant to the fact that the kid isn’t remotely ready and that we were allowed like 12 subs we had to bring some bodies. Chelsea had a Jaime Cumming on their bench. He too wasn’t ready and hasn’t made his debut. They were smart enough not to start him too

  8. Marko

    Don’t just introduce kids for the sake of introducing kids or some perceived notion that we can’t afford any better. I do hope that fans realize that at best next season you’re likely to only see Reiss Nelson as a part of the first team squad. And he’s likely to be nothing more than a squad player. Saka, Smith Rowe and Willock will likely be loaned. Osei Tutu and the likes will likely get binned.

  9. Spanishdave

    Nothing going to happen for a couple of weeks Everyone will be on the beach.
    Emery will have his Earphones on learning Spanish English, Raul will be cutting out the coupons from the cornflake packets to boost our summer spending. They will be so busy.
    Ozil must go because they other players must think how much he gets against how little he does.

  10. Champagne Charlie

    “Exclusive interview with Liverpool owner John W Henry on all Sky Sports News platforms now. Says winning Champions League won’t make up for missing out on the title. Liverpool will go again and invest this summer to make sure they win Premier League next season”

    Dissenter, there’s what I’m talking about regarding mentality and approach.

    Compare these utterances with Vinai’s INTERNAL message of ‘stick together guys, we’re mint’.

  11. Champagne Charlie

    Read that Real Madrid have a 6 mil euro buy-back option for Mario Hermoso (CB target).

    They’d be mad not to activate that and just sell him on for triple.

  12. Un na naai


    Well clearly you were not watching the final because our two best players were youth players
    Iwobi and Willock added drive and purpose to our lacklustre paycheque foreign contingent. Willock’s few minutes pissed all over anything offered by Torreira during the final and guendouzi for any point throughout the season.

  13. Un na naai


    I’ll guarantee you that Willock will not be loaned
    Neither will Maitland Niles

    Wishful thinking on your part
    We have £40m to spend. Emery failed to attain champions league status
    Have you not been watching us over the last 6 weeks? We are about as appealing as thrush thrush right now and the club have made clear to expect youth to be pushed forward next season

    In short: don’t get your hopes up for shiny new toys, you’re going to be disappointed.
    Same shit different manager.

    The club have been talking the piss out of fans from the day we moved stadium and worse so since Kroenke got involved.

    I’d say we are going to lose Europa league status in the next 5-10 years unless something drastically changes in the way the board room operates. Small club mentality now from top down
    Get used to it. This is our level now

  14. Champagne Charlie

    There’s something wrong with the fact Willock didn’t get a look in all season except the Europa League final out of desperation.

    I’ve no idea who of the current youth will make it, if any, but their integration over the season has been absolutely tragic.

    Nketiah, Willock, Saka, Mavro should’ve all seen decent minutes this season with the odd start here or there.

  15. englandsbest

    Judging by the posts, the consensus on here (such as it is), does not match that of the season ticket holders. If it did, the Emirates would be half-empty.

    Of course, their view might change when renewal time arrives.

    A question: is anybody on here a season-ticket holder?

    Another question: is anybody on the season-ticket waiting list?

    A final question: has the Club offered anybody a season ticket?

    I am not being nosy, simply trying to gauge what the future holds for the Club.

  16. Bunga Party

    I wouldn’t say small club mentality, but a badly managed club. Gazidis and to some extent Wenger fucked it up majorly.

    Get more people in the executive suites that will solve it, right? LOL

  17. Valentin


    Marcus Rashford was introduced by Manchester United in a must win game. Three days later he was playing against Arsenal and scored again.
    As a manager, you either have the courage of your conviction or you don’t.
    In 1998, Aimé Jacquet chose to drop Ginola and Cantona Because they inhibited Zidane. He then called Henry and Trezeguet to the team and the rest is history.
    Emery did not trust Özil. He tried to get rid of him, but when it got tough going instead of replacing him by a young hungrier player during the season, he brought him back into the fold. His Some says pragmatism (I would say cowardice) has been repaid by an insipid display during the final and insults from the bench.

    He had all the season to make those adjustments. He did not and basically thought that he could blag his way to the CL. It failed both in the league and in the cup competition.

    If a 20 years old player is not good enough in his favourite position to help in case of emergency, then he should not be at Arsenal at all.

  18. Emiratesstroller


    Your analysis is more or less how I feel.

    I accept that Arsenal are unlikely to bring in more than three new players who are good enough to play REGULARLY in a staring lineup when you factor in that our potential budget is likely to be well short of £100 million.

    Last summer’s purchases were three players who could be considered first
    team regulars ie Leno, Sokratis and Torreira. Guendouzi has been given game time but I would not classify him more than a squad player in any top level team in EPL.

    So if we are adding in players of potential who are promoted from U23 squad
    like Willock and Nelson I would expect them to play in Cup games and sit on the bench in League games and build up their experience.

    Willock is in my view on the same level as Guendouzi although perhaps with more end product.

    So for next season I would keep Bellerin and Sokratis as two starting eleven
    players and recruit decent CB and LB who can defend properly.

    The other starting lineup player should be a goalscoring/assist midfielder
    to replace Ramsey who can link with the strikers.

    Selecting first team players in those positions will cost at least £70-80 Million.

    Insofar as Ozil and Mkhitaryan are concerned I would offload them if someone comes in with an offer, but not shift them out if we are having to
    reduce our incoming budget to compensate for their departure.

    The idea that we are paying £10-20 million to shift them out of the club is plum
    ridiculous. The best option would be to get the club in Turkey or Italy to agree
    to pay their full wages. That would cost them in case of Ozil about £18 million pa. Clubs like AC Milan or Inter might just pay that.

  19. Moray

    What was the story with Suarez? He didn’t seem much worse than the rest of the squad who mostly all good a look in. Did he upset Emery in some way?