Head to Head: Wenger vs Emery (ouch)

by .

via @Arsenal Instagram

Well hello my darlings.

What’s new? Not much. Mesut Ozil has been ‘rested’ for the Frankfurt match. This is Emery.

“We are playing a lot of matches and I want to use different players, and also have some rotation in the first 11 and in the 19 players in the squad for [Frankfurt],” Emery said.

“We are going to play another match on Sunday. My decision is because he played, and I decided who the players are who can be the best for tomorrow, and also the players not, and those are Sokratis and Mesut.”

You could be kind and suggest that he’s taking the precocious German out the firing line of German fans who might STILL take offence to the Erdogan press disaster, but that would suggest that Germans are unforgiving humans… which I cannot say I believe.

You could also say that this is Emery playing it sensibly, resting a ‘top’ player.

Or maybe we could call a spade a spade and simply accept that the German is a bit-part player he can’t rely on.

There’s a quite extraordinary article on Sky Sports that compared Wenger’s last 43 games to Emery’s first 43. If you accept that 25% of Wenger’s final games he was fired (ish), then you accept that that season was his worst EVER, then these numbers really make grim reading for the ‘give him time’ crowd.

Remember, Emery has spent £200m. He’s drained the Arsenal coffers for next season. Below is what we’re dealing with.

Factor in we’ve conceded the most shots in Europe, our defence has a worse xG against than Newcastle, and the football is utterly dross… you have to ask yourself, what are we buying with Emery?

He’s not an innovator. He has no brand.  He cannot implement ideas that help meet his publicly shared objectives. He can’t communicate. He’s a one-trick pony, and everyone has sussed him.

Still, I would say this: It’s not going to last past this season.

There are patterns commonly associated with managers that are on the out, and many of them are happening a month into the season.

Players aren’t playing to their full capacity, this is dripping through the stats. The level of mistakes in our game are so far out of the ordinary, you have to conclude that it’s a kind of downing of tools. We are 19th for pressing intensity, that can’t be a tactical choice.

Also, these are expensive athletes that are at the higher end of talent. Mistakes often point to a lack of motivation, but more pointedly, a system that doesn’t protect against them, and a group of players that aren’t confident in what they are being asked to do. Do not fall into the trap of thinking mistakes are acts of god. They are not.

Additionally, say what you will about Arsene Wenger, the man ran a tight press ship. No leaks, ever. Part of that was due to the fact the players knew they couldn’t out him, so leaking was a pointless endeavour, part of that was he was an institution like Ferguson.

Unai Emery has Auba and Xhaka criticising each other and the system. He has AMN complaining about passing out the back. He has leaks about the lack of pressing in training. He has Alan Smith getting whispers about the players not understanding what the fuck they are doing.

Arsenal is not a happy camp. I heard that last season was not Arsenal class behind the scenes, it was not good. There was a pop of excitement about the freshness of the system this season, but that has all evaporated since. It is not a great place to be again. The vibes aren’t good and the omens are ominous.

Do I think Emery will be gone before Christmas? I think there’s a chance. I also think there’s a more likely happening… a 10 game unbeaten run and a stay of execution. The same thing happened last season. Rest assured though, he won’t see it through, things will go south. I think the players will see to that at some point. David Luiz is a trojan horse, clearly connected to Edu, divisive and a guy that has seen off bigger names. Emery is a little fish to him.

The big mistake that I think is coming is Jose Mourinho. The club is more than capable of inviting hell into the backroom. That would be the biggest disaster we could enable, unless Josh wants to handover another £200m in the first window. Jose is a destroyer, not a builder. He will not shop in Aldi, because he’s a Harrods kind of guy. He will make Arsenal in his name, and that name is dated and tarnished.

… this is the sort of panic hire I thought we’d end up making if Emery didn’t work. I specifically wrote about this eventuality. I am worried I will be right. The Arsenal leadership structure is very close to following the path of United. We have the Spanish David Moyes, I pray we don’t double down with another disastrous move. Trouble is, Mourinho is intuitive, it’s safe, it feels logical… but it is not.

Young, innovative and visionary is what we need… Nagelsmann.

Anyway, I digress. We’re about to play in the Europa League. I want to see energetic young players showing the first team what they’re doing wrong.

Leno, Martinez, Maitland-Niles, Mustafi, Luiz, Holding, Chambers, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Torreira, Willock, Ceballos, Pepe, Nelson, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang, Lacazette, Martinelli.​

Get me Saka on the wing. Someone tweeted me he’s definitely starting. I hope so. We need a really confident performance from him.

We need a hero, I think it’s him.

See you in the comments.

707 Responses to “Head to Head: Wenger vs Emery (ouch)”

Jump to comment form ↓

  1. DivineSherlock

    Lay Off Emile Smith Rowe for a while , he’s only returning from an injury , hes young bound to have a few inconsistent games . Doesn’t help when he gets played out of position too.

  2. Tony

    Xhaka is just not suited to the pace & physicality of the PL.

    French Italian and German leagues are his forte.

    Hence his reasonable showing last night. Albeit I have only seen highlights so can’t fully comment on his overall performance.

  3. DivineSherlock


    He was good in first half , reverted to type in second . I think he almost gave a pen in second with his tackle . Saka , Martinez Willock were the 3 best players all night. Chambers too I guess

  4. Claver

    ProdigySeptember 20, 2019 04:18:39
    Am I the only one that thought Xhaka was very good today ?

    Psh. Yeah. So was frigging Mustafi.

    But I still wouldn’t touch a rabid dog cause it is asleep.

  5. Tony

    Thanks for the update.

    Let’s hope Emery has more trust in Saka, Martinez and Willock than he does in Xhaka and Ozil.

    Thanks for your kind thought.

    Not really brave these days but perhaps maybe when I was on life support with a balloon keeping my heart working in the Dutch hospital.

    All you can do in life is keep being positive and proactive in finding solutions. I’m used to it now ad much better understand the risks and what to look out for.

    I’m extremely contended with my life and family in all other aspects so I count myself lucky.

    The bravest guy on here is Alex Cutter who has my full respect and hope for a recovery.

    My issues fade into comparison to Alex’s health matters.

    Hope your days are improving with the treatment Alex.

  6. Graham62



    In what respect?

    Actually if you count dealing with the ever increasing number of Lycra Louts on the roads over here, I have a fair few senior moments.

  7. Tony


    Good morning.

    The Thai lycra louts here are something else riding in their all black lycra suits and helmets on the airport dual carriageway with no lights in their bikes and no street lights on the carriageway.

    The irony is if you hit one in your car or motorbike no matter what the circumstances you are wrong in the eyes of the law here.

  8. Graham62

    Tell me, why do these Lycra Louts have little or no understanding of the Highway Code?

    Cyclists should pay road tax and insurance.

    It’s only fair.

    Basically though it all boils down to one thing,our road network can’t cope.

  9. Tony

    Actually good to see you back from your hols or time out.

    Like N5, Mid West and many others here you have a great and amusing outlook in life.

    You cracked me up with your clown bullfighter jibe, especially the bit about those gettin gored here.

    At the time it was only Charlie keeping Marko in his place in terms of verbal jousting with Un championing Charlie’s corner where I thought we’d been unusually kind to each other for some time.

    But then Pierre steamed in trolling and frothing at the mouth because Ozil had been correctly castigated by me and then hard case Normski AKA (take your pick from previous monikers) who is too dumb to change his writing style wades in as macho man hurling insults all over the place and I thought ok Le Grove normal service resumed.

    There was me thinking this is a blog of love prior to that.

  10. Left Testicle

    Tony. I apologise about my comments yesterday – it was honestly intended as good natured banter. Obviously I don’t want anyone banned for telling us how many ab exercises they’ve done but I will think twice about my comments in future. Maybe I’ll keep my sarcasm for the posters who dish it out. Keep us up to date on your exercise regime, not that you need anyones permission. I might pull your leg for not doing more but it’s Le-Grove and it wouldn’t be the same without the banter. Now get on and give me 50! Best wishes. LT

  11. Graham62


    Oh yeh.

    To be honest I often find the life stories of other posters more interesting than some of the nonsensical Arsenal stuff.

    What was your take on last nights game?

  12. Graham62

    It is so concerning that teams seem to be able to attack us at will and that our intensity and concentration when it comes to all aspects of our defensive play is so poor.

    Emery has had ample time to solve this very “basic” problem.

  13. Un na naai


    The man doesn’t seem to know what he wants his team to be. Like he just can’t get it right. He’s had 18 months now and we are further away than ever from looking like a unit that knows what it’s doing.

    Sooner he gets the bullet the better.

  14. Steveyg87

    Wow, really impressed with the kids last night.

    Martinez, Saka, Xhaka and for parts of the game, Willock should be proud of their performances last night, stand outs being Saka & Xhaka, who I thought was an absolute menace. Auba was a bit wasteful, but, took his goal with great composure.

    What was evident last night is that England fans have nothing on the Germans, my wife told me to put the TV softer due to the noise from the stadium, this doesn’t happen when we play at home

  15. Tony

    L T
    No problem I knew where you were coming from and didn’t take offense.

    Just thought I’d set the record straight here this morning as to why I love training and why mundane

    You’d piss yourself watching me try kick boxing with only the right leg. Left one is fcuked and just about supports me when trying to kick to the head where only midgets need worry.

    My wife’s brother is into his kick boxing and cracks up laughing with my kick attempts, but I’ve sat him on his arse a few times on the boxing side so it evens out in the end. He takes the piss and I find ways of returning the humour from my side normally with an elbow. 🙂

    50 done can I shower now?

  16. Tony

    Just got the whole match downloaded so will comment later today.

    No worries with your comments. I take them in good fun from people like yourself.

    I echo your enjoyment of people’s stories here because it humanizes them to us.

    Same when Pedro narrates his life’s events.

  17. siddharth14

    We were lucky against Frankfurt. Even if they had showed a bit of composure when presented with the chances then we would be having an Armageddon here. Secondly, the red card was a big hit to their momentum. Else, it was looking increasingly that Frankfurt were going to equalize.

    I thought we had better movement last night though we have absolutely no clue in playing within a compact structure. It is pretty clear, as is pointed out by many posters, that we have almost lost the ability to win first, second and third balls in the midfield. Hence, the insistence to play out from the back.

    But it appears, the opponents have sussed us out in that aspect already. I can see normal struggles being resumed when we get back to the Premier league.

  18. Sid

    Mosdafti and Haka should be played in europa then arsenal might be able to sell them in the summer. They are okay in other leagues

  19. Sid

    The difference is play pacy players on the wings pepe, saka martinelli and the technical in the midfield ceb, willock, proper dm in torr keep it basic, the fancy formations are overatted.

  20. gnarleygeorge9

    This time yesterday I was wanting Emery/Board (& Stan) out, now after Willock & Saka weaving their magic I hope they have a Big ticket CB lined up.

  21. Nelson

    True to his word, Emery wants to win 5 – 4 instead of 1 – 0. We’ll have to get used to given up many shots on goal. What bugs me is that our three midfielders always look forwards to the ball and never look back to check where the opposing attackers are. So often, there are two three attackers hiding behind them, ready to receive the ball and shoot.
    Emery is supposed to spend a lot of time on video analysis. Couldn’t he see what the problem is?

  22. Dark Hei


    Lol, now I understand why you hate Wenger so much.

    He must have given your heart a lot of un-needed exercise.

    You eat right and work out right, and then it all goes out of the window.

    How you can survive something like that 7-5 Reading game is providence.

    At least for Emery, it is just a slow motion car crash. Before you hit the wall it is a long snooze-fest.

  23. Gentlebris

    Villa should be easy if the tactical genius doesn’t complicate things.

    Saka Auba Pépé.
    Willock Torrey
    Kola Luiz Chambers AMN

    Bring in Martinelli for Saka at some point. Bring in Guen for Torrey at some point. Mix things up, don’t play out from the back when not appropriate. Tell Torrey to sit deep. Tell Ceballos, AMN and Torrey to find Pépé, while Willock and Kola find Auba. Get it organized, let Auba and Pépé know when and what to anticipate(especially Pépé). Close it up in the middle a bit and do less of the high press that people find easy to evade from us.
    If we are ahead and Villa start to get clever, take Saka off and bring in Sok, change formation to 442, and push Luiz up field beside Torrey, Willock and Ceballos. Block things up by all means and win 1-0 if you have to.

    I expect a guy raking in £6m p/a to use his brains if he has any!

    Hey Tony, good luck with your health. You have been wrestling with the shit for 30 years so you are a survivor who needs so little cuddling. And I wish that head case saying you bought a Thai wife could know you bought a rich one😎😎😎😎😎

  24. Gentlebris

    Hey Pedro,

    One of the clubs where Jose dropped his toxic bomb are just one step from hiring him again. Yes RM are close to ushering Jose in. When you want to survive in any fiercely competitive Industry you got to be low on the sentiments dose.
    Of all the football coaches available anywhere on this planet, only Pep is more of a winner than Jose.

    I guess RM feel they need a winner right now and not a kid with high a ceiling.

  25. Graham62

    There is no doubt that Joe Willock going forward is a frightening prospect but when it comes to tracking back, he is a slow motion replay. He is not the only one.

    Where does this lack of “fire in the belly” attitude to defending and winning the ball back come from? We have to be the slowest/ laziest team in Europe at this aspect of the game.

    Emery must see this. Is it something that is indoctrinated into the players through the coaching system? When you lose the ball just get back into position with minimal of effort and don’t pressurize your opponents at any cost.

    For years and years we grew accustomed to this defensive naivety under Wenger but for christs sake Mr Emery, what the fudge are we paying you for.

    Sort it out quick because averaging 25 shots against in games will ultimately lead to disaster.

  26. Emiratesstroller

    Martinez v Leno

    Martinez had a very good game yesterday and whilst Eintracht Frankfurt’s forwards were fairly inept he did make some decent saves, but more significantly his distribution was significantly better than that of Leno this

    On current evidence I see no material difference between the performance
    level of both goalkeepers in shot stopping, but I do think that Martinez is a
    better distributor of the ball and puts his defence under less pressure in that

    One final point my recollection is that Martinez has a better track record of
    reading and saving penalties than either Leno or Cech. As yet that is untested
    this season.

    In any event goalkeeper is not the major concern when discussing our defence this season.

  27. R.S.P.C.Arsenal


    What you mean is we now have good competition for the keeper postition…

    I would also add that Martinez comes to catch the ball always , not relying on the punch out.

    Close call

  28. HighburyLegend

    Favourite new song : “Won’t get fooled again” by the Who.

    Don’t let Unai fool you, he’s the best for motivate his troops for his darling trophy, but when it comes to the PL, it’s a totally different song…

    And of course it will work until the semis or the final… ZE moment when all will collapse – remember the last final ??

  29. Pierre

    “There is no doubt that Joe Willock going forward is a frightening prospect but when it comes to tracking back, he is a slow motion replay. He is not the only one.”

    This is nothing new , I would say it has been an ongoing problem for the last ten years .

    Maybe willock has been learning from watching Ramsey with his lung bursting runs forward and leisurely stroll back.

    The problem I feel is that when attacking , we have too many players that want to get ahead of the ball .
    This creates a problem as when the attack breaks down we are leaving the defence exposed to the counter.

    The simple solution is to play with 2 holding midfielders who rarely if ever get ahead of the ball.

    These 2 midfielders do not have to be big bruising players, they just need to be positionally disciplined, with an awareness of where the danger is and work as a partnership.

  30. Emiratesstroller


    A fair point.

    On basis of yesterday’s performance I have no qualms in selecting Martinez,
    but of course this is just one game.

  31. Pierre

    I also was impressed with Martinez, he gives out an air of confidence and commands his area and , as you say , is much more comfortable catching the ball.

  32. Pierre

    Left T
    Your link regarding Emery using Torreira as a box to box midfielder typifies his management style

    Instead of looking as to why 2 average opposition teams have had 50 shots at our goal this week , he is talking about using our best defensive midfielder in a more attacking role.

    That’s worrying.

  33. Left testicle

    I have just gone back and read all of your post (04:14:02) as I was a bit rushed this morning. If I was wearing a hat I would take it off to you, as I’m not wearing a hat I will just say good on yer fella, inspirational stuff

  34. Left testicle

    Reminds me of the Song situation with Wenger. Started off as a half decent DM and then thought he was Messi Lite.

  35. Dissenter

    Don’t you wish we could play Frankfurt every single week.
    This mini-league win doesn’t wipe off the 🥚 on Emery’s face. I’ve rewatched that Watford game twice, each time I wonder why he’s still manager of Arsenal football club.
    The look on Auba’s face after that first goal was given away was priceless.

  36. Emiratesstroller

    Saka v Greenwood

    The media and press are drooling over the performance and potential of Greenwood who is rated at Man Utd the best thing since sliced bread.

    Factually he is a 17 year old but it should be pointed out that he is just three
    weeks younger than Saka who turned 18 at start of this month.

    Man Utd put in a turgid performance against Astana a Kazakhstan Premier
    League Team so Greenwood scoring a goal against them is not exactly

    Eintracht Frankfurt were not exactly outstanding but they are in Bundesliga
    and took Chelsea to a penalty shot out in last year’s Europa Cup S-F last year.
    They are also difficult to beat at home.

    I watched both games and frankly I thought Saka’s performance was far more
    significant not just the goal he scored, but his overall performance. He is raw
    but there is no question that he has got talent.

  37. Dissenter

    Frankfurt sold their best strikers [Jovic and Haller] for a combined $110 million in the summer.
    We played a team with almost 17 new arrivals over the summer. Jovic and Haller would have banged in a lot of this chances they had.

  38. Dissenter

    What do you want them to say
    If they are as competent as they showed in the last window then one has to expect contingency planning is underway.
    The more he talks about that second half, the more I find myself detesting him.
    That second half was mainly the manager’s mistake, one full season in England and he still can’t organize a team t protect a lead.

  39. Emiratesstroller

    I think that we have now got a very clear idea about the strengths and weaknesses of Arsenal’s squad/team this season.

    Our strength is that we have got two decent strikers. We have brought in also
    four wingers. I think that the jury is still out on Pepe. He has got pace and we
    know that he could score goals in France. The question is whether he can adapt to EPL. Time will show whether he can adapt. The youngsters at club including Nketiah out on loan are all promising.

    Midfield should be divided into offensive and defensive players. Ceballos and
    Ozil when they play well are good players. The million dollar question is can
    they play ‘consistently’. Willock is for me the most ‘developed’ youngster at
    the club.

    Defensively I think that Xhaka plays better alongside Torreira than he does
    with Guendouzi. None is brilliant, but there are limits on our financial budget
    if we keep on spending money in midfield department.

    The real problem at Arsenal is our backline. I made the case at start of transfer
    window that this should be our priority. Sadly it was not. Luiz is most certainly
    not the solution and as we know Messrs Sokratis, Mustafi , Chambers, Kolasinac and Maitland-Niles are not good enough.

    Let us hope that Messrs Holding, Bellerin and Tierney when fit prove to be
    an upgrade.

    What I do know is that if there is any transfer budget left in January or next
    summer finding a world class and proven CB has to be the priority.

  40. Cesc Appeal

    ‘What I do know is that if there is any transfer budget left in January or next
    summer finding a world class and proven CB has to be the priority.’

    A big, powerful, athletic CDM is every inch as important as a CB. It’s becoming clearer and clearer we have nothing in the side approaching that type of player and we have nothing coming through the ranks either.

    A Partey, Sangare etc type player is what is needed.

  41. Nelson

    “The simple solution is to play with 2 holding midfielders who rarely if ever get ahead of the ball.”

    It doesn’t have to be so rigid. I prefer a 4 3 3 formation. When one CM is charging forwards, the other two stay behind.
    Next we have to speed up the transition from attack to defense. Not only the three midfielders, but also the two wingers should move into a defensive shape as quickly as possible. From 4 3 3 –> 4 5 1
    Finally, the midfielders should not be watching the ball only but also track the opposing players.
    Our defense should be improved when the above is taken care of.
    Next plase, buy a better DCM and a better CB next Summer.

  42. Dissenter

    That Auba third goal goal highlighted the difference between Laca and Auba.

    Laca would have passed that ball to Pepe.,,to help him get the monkey off his back.
    Hopefully, Pepe has a barn stormer against Villa but Tyrone Mings is proving to be a solid defender.

  43. HighburyLegend

    “I’ve never been someone who begins a war when something doesn’t work out… I am an Arsenal player and still got two years on my contract.”

    Mustardi has spoken.
    Joke friday.

  44. Dissenter

    Emery needs to drop the notion that Reiss Nelson is the ‘senior’ player above Martinelli and Saka on the pecking order.
    He needs to let them compete for that winger position alll through the first half of the season.
    I would start Saka against Villa, next to Pepe and Auba to reward him for his good performance yesterday. Ozil stays on the bench.

  45. Emiratesstroller


    The test of Emery’s management will come when Messrs Holding, Tierney and
    Bellerin are playing.

    Realistically I think that all three would rate as first choice players if match fit.
    We know as I said in my previous post that the defence selected this season is
    not fit for purpose so the question I pose is whether Emery is to blame for
    that situation or that he is saddled with duff players?

    In the case of midfield I would agree that Emery’s team selections and tactical
    game leaves a lot to be desired. As I have posted I rate Torreira a more solid
    and more compatible player alongside Xhaka than Guendouzi.

    That has been my opinion for a long time. Emery of course rates Guendouzi

    Also despite all the negatives about Ozil I thought that he played quite well in
    first half against Watford. What is blindly obvious is that he is not match fit.
    How can he be so when he gets so little game time?

  46. Dissenter

    Highbury legend
    I think to need to start to rewire your brain circuitry regarding Mustafi.
    Is he really worse than Sokratis and David Luiz…or Xhaka
    I think not.
    He’s still an Arsenal player so let the battle of the baddest begin.

  47. Dissenter

    ‘Also despite all the negatives about Ozil I thought that he played quite well in
    first half against Watford. What is blindly obvious is that he is not match fit.
    How can he be so when he gets so little game time?’

    Actually the burden is in Ozil
    How can he be so unfit when he had a full preseason? The manager cannot play a player who’s always having niggling illnesses. They have metrics they use to determine fitness, based in what they club is saying -Ozil is not full fit.
    Is he still a serious footballer?

  48. Cesc Appeal

    Yeah anytime that Emery is thinking of giving Nelson should be given to Saka or Martinelli.

    Saka showed more in that game last night that Nelson has in any of his appearances this season or in preseason.

    Always said I thought Nelson would end up sold next summer to a low level EPL or high level Championship club and I stand by that.

  49. Ishola70

    Dissenter I thought you weren’t going to look at the match.

    What you previously said though about not being interested in the match is ironic and not just yourself but so many others.

    So many jump to conclusions about players in such a match. Concrete conclusions.

    I suppose we will have the same after the Nottingham Forest League Cup match as well.

  50. Emiratesstroller


    A fair point, but by all accounts he played well pre-season.

    The attempted burglary has also knocked him back. In the case of a stronger
    personality that would not be as big a problem, but as Kolasinac has suggested it has had an impact.

    The point is that Ozil when he plays well is a gifted player albeit a luxury. So
    long as he is at the club and being £350K pw.

    The Head Coach should try and get the best out of him. That is what most
    top managers would attempt to do.

  51. Ishola70

    No new post yet of Unai’s slaying of the Frankfurters.

    Anyone would think there is a lack of enthusiasm about the win.

  52. Ishola70

    Unai is always capable to go on unbeaten runs but more than likely not as long as the one last season.

    And probably a few too many draws as well.

    Then we will get hallucinations of Torreira sitting.

    Never mind who Arsenal are actually playing. The actual calibre of the opponent.

    lol this is still so Wenger territory. Like Wenger Unai as well still has enough to flat track bully just like the master :proud:

  53. Valentin

    Tactically against Frankfurt, we were as clueless than against Watford. The difference in the results was that Deulofeu did not play for Frankfurt.
    We never have control of the midfield. So even when we are ahead, we are susceptible to attack via the wings or via the middle. When it is via the wings, we blame the fullback and accusing them of not being good enough. When it is via the middle, we just conceded penalty and then accuse them of being clumsy and clowns.

    The reality is that the problem is the midfield and the stupid tactics imposed by the coach. We went and bought a winger completely unsuited to our slow ponderous style of attack when we needed a solid dynamic central midfielder.

    Guendouzi and Willock are just too inexperienced to last a full season without at one point making mistakes. Xhaka the senior player is just not good enough technically, nor tactically to help them out. Torreira is not physically suited for high energy, stamina sapping pressing game that he is asked to play.

  54. Micheal

    Watching back-to-back games (Watford and Frankfurt) in the space of a few days has been very helpful in seeing the glaring weakness in our midfield.

    Last night Xhaka looked comfortable and unhurried strolling around the centre of the park, pinging off long bals at his leisure. He almost looked a good player because Frankfurt did not put him under pressure. Rewind to Sunday and he was a whale out of water against a bustling Watford side whose energetic midfielders chased and closed us down. Watford showed up Xhaka’s lack of pace, positional awareness and tackling ability which, inevitably, put our shaky defence under intense pressure every time they went forward. Xhaka offered no protection.

    Watching the two games once again emphasises that Xkaha is a Europa League player – not a Prem League player.

  55. Cesc Appeal

    Looks like there’s a lot of buzz around the U23 game tonight as fans try to find a stream to watch Bellerin and Tierney.

  56. Marko

    Emery talking about Torreira being used more higher up the pitch. My only concern with that is it leaves Xhaka as the deepest midfielder when he should be binned. Looks like that glaring problem won’t be addressed until Emery leaves or the higher ups sign someone forcing him to play said signing

  57. Dissenter

    I didn’t watch the match against Frankfurt. It’s bang in the middle of my workday. I said I’ve re-watched the Watford match twice since Sunday.
    There goes your gotcha miment7.

  58. HighburyLegend

    “I said I’ve re-watched the Watford match twice since Sunday.”

    Seriously ?? I mean, the first half, ok, but the second ?? You are totally masochistic!! lol

  59. Marko

    That’s not to say that Torreira is necessarily being played out of position he played that exact box to box role for Sampdoria he can do it. But if he’s in the midfield three with Ceballos and Xhaka for example we don’t need two box to box midfielders with just the carthorse on his last legs the only one providing protection. That’s not to say that you need two deep midfielders protecting the midfield you can have one but it needs to be a competent one. Madrid have Casimiro, Atletico have Partey, City have Rodri. The problem is if he’s bad like Xhaka then we really should have two holding midfielders playing

  60. Dissenter

    We are going to struggle to breakdown Villa and I can see David Luiz doing his best Santa clause impression again- he may give away another penalty.
    Like Valentin said, We never control games, never, never never …. never control games.
    It’s always chaos with Emery’s Arsenal.

  61. Carts

    Villa will press the fuck out of us hoping for individual errors in areas were weak.

    It’s not groundbreaking science but it’s definitely an affective tool to use against Arsenal.

  62. Chris

    No matter what our troubles are , and we all know what they are, I doubt Villa have the attacking edge to take full advantage.

    I doubt we will see much of last nights academy heroes if they are expected to play midweek in the league cup.

  63. Paulinho

    “Emery needs to drop the notion that Reiss Nelson is the ‘senior’ player above Martinelli and Saka on the pecking order.”

    Yeah, I would like to know when, he got the notion.

    Maybe Nelson is seen as the senior member among those youngsters, and Emery doesn’t want to rock the boat by not giving him rope to prove what level he is at.

  64. UTarse

    If Raul / Edu / Josh are worth their weight in salt they will have concluded that for Emery to be afforded the opportunity to rectify his stuttering start to this season then 6 points is a must in next 2 games villa and manure.

    Otherwise, they need to make a statement of intent and show him the door.

    I would imagine that IF he gets 6 points in next 2 games, they will set a monthly target for October and so on…. he misses one target and he’s gone. It’s definitely last chance saloon.

    Either way, he’s gone by end of the season at the latest.

  65. Ishola70

    “I doubt Villa have the attacking edge to take full advantage.”

    They looked toothless against West Ham and their defence basically had their striker Wesley sewn up all match. Their attacking options off the bench are pretty weak as well.

    They don’t have much creativity in the side either and rely too much on the erratic Grealish for that.

    Saying that only takes a couple of moments for danger to occur.

    But not winning away from home to any EPL side is a different matter to failing at home at The Emirates to a side such as Villa who look relegation material.

    Should be a home win then Unai’s record so far this season will read one defeat in seven matches since the season began.

  66. Nelson

    I start to believe that having an idol will have an effort on one’s game. Playing professional football will require more than just skill but also mental strength. Saka has Ronaldo as his idol. He played with so much confidence beyond his age. Emile Smith Rowe was timid. A few of his back passes going nowhere. Hopefully, he doesn’t have Ozil as his idol!

  67. Valentin


    From ESR’s past interviews his idols were Özil and Ramsey.
    I don’t think the issue is with his temperament. Even at U21 level he would show flashes of brilliance but then disappear for long period of matches. Also he is a CAM not a winger, he does not have the pace or trickery to make the difference on the wing.
    I always thought that he will have a career at la Wilshere. Flash of brilliance that will get everybody excited, but then his body will let him down. Because of the injuries he would not learn as much tactically as he should have, so by the time he is 26 he is still a prospect and better more hungrier academy players are ready to take his place. He would then drift out of Arsenal and people will reminisce about some games where he was the best player in the world.

  68. Valentin

    Villa does not need to have better players than us. They just need to copy Watford template on how to score against us.

    Overload the midfield with powerful players in the middle and pacy/tricky players on the wing.
    Use Grealish in Deulofeu role to create an overlap against one of our fullback. At set pieces bully our lightweight midfield with two powerful centre half and cause confusion. Do not allow Arsenal to restart from the back, and use any mistake.

  69. Valentin

    Perez is ready to sack Zidane and rehire Mourinho. If Raul wants Mourinho he better act quickly, and make him an offer pronto.
    I genuinely believe that Mourinho would rather join us rather than Real Madrid. At Real Madrid, there is still influential players who would remember his last stint and may not be so welcoming.