by .

Ok, let’s get the bad things out the way first. There are two issues from yesterday’s game.

The first one was that buried in the selection, was Auba. Our only fit striker, he is imperative to our strategy because we don’t create many chances and he’s the most clinical sharp shooter in the world at the minute… so why would you risk him away at a bang average German team in the first game of the group stages?

Emery made the same mistake last season in the group stages when he over-played first teamers, that had a knock-on effect and saw us battle through two very lethargic months. It was so bad he had to lower the intensity in training to bring back some freshness.

Europa League is a pub version of Champions League. It’s not important compared to the league. It is a HUGE advantage that Arsenal can theoretically rest players midweek, while our rivals have to battle hard with a first-team squad in a comp they can’t rest players in until much later in the group stages.

We shouldn’t be taking risks. If we lost Auba yesterday, we’d be in deep shit. That wasn’t a smart move and it’s worrying that Emery is making panic decisions like that because it shows he hasn’t learned from last year. Europa League should not be a primary strategy for CL this season, because it’ll be a coin toss final again, potentially against a very good team.

Bad shit, part two.

We really struggled defensively yesterday. We were open, we gave them space and we conceded 26 odd shots against a very average side. People can rightly talk to the quality of the shots and how they were lacking from Frankfurt, but from where I was watching, the reason the shots were so bad was down to shoddy technique versus a lack of openings.

The midfield was non-existent.

We signed a defensive midfielder in LT and we prefer to play him in a more advanced position. We have Xhaka, on the FBI most wanted list for crimes against football, stinking out the place with mistakes, poor positioning and fear. Then it’s a total mixed bag what the other player in the trio does. If the captain can’t lead, how can you expect kids like Willock or Ceballos to make a difference?

Emery is out of tricks. He doesn’t know how to make his midfield work. This is very worrying.


The kids did alright, didn’t they?

I thought Emi Martinez was an absolute rock in goal. He was decisive with the short passing, making correct decisions under pressure, not falling into the ‘PLAY IT SHORT EVEN IF THE PASS IS SUICIDE.’ I thought he was very light on his feet, he made some special saves and was always alert to danger (because it was everywhere). He had arguably his strongest performance to date… he looked far more solid than Leno has this season.

Willock also had a good game. He runs with the ball like a machine, he fights for every challenge and he’s decisive with his passing and shots. His goal was a joke, but at least he was there taking the shot when he had limited options. Very Frank Lampard of him.

Finally, the main man of the night… Saka.

I have been purring about him for a while. He did not disappoint. My intel was CORRECT about him starting.

What a little gem we have there. He is incredibly quick, his movement is hard to track. He prods, he pokes, he accelerates, he drops… he is a very tough player to deal with.

Most important thing for me is this: He stood up when we needed him.

We were an utter shambles in defence, it would have been easy to sink into the melee, but he shone brightly and made that his moment. His goal was composure beyond his years, his two assists were also lovely to watch.

I think the person most concerned with that game will be Reiss. Saka was so much better than anything we’ve seen from the more senior wide man. Same can be said of Pepe as well… this is the sort of internal transfer Wenger was banging on about for 15 years!

ESR also had some good moments, but I think he’s a little further behind in minutes and form than then others. Still, he didn’t let himself down, so no shame there.

Overall, a very fun game. Our transitions in attack were much better. Saka is clearly the new Dembele for Auba, so we’ve had a win there. The main grey cloud is always going to be the absolute mess we have in midfield.

The theory that Emery likes a tall DM seems to have merit… our manager sacrifices quality for inches… a sorry situation if ever I saw one, especially when you consider the height of the best DMs in the world at the minute.

Those midfield issues, if they remain, will have Emery fired by Christmas. He has to pivot.

P.S. For all the folk that said my attack on Emery’s communication skills was unfair… this is Saka on Freddie.

“He helps so much. Sometimes when I don’t understand what the coach [Emery] is trying to communicate with me, I have a better communication with Freddie. He speaks better English”

When you ponder why Emery’s ideas aren’t translating, sometimes you need to channel a bit of Occam’s Razor… simplest answer is usually the most boring, but it’s starting to look quite obvious, right?

See you in the comments. xx

Most of this pod still holds relevant.

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238 Responses to “SAKA DELIVERS GOLD”

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  1. Valentin


    There is not a lot a club can legally do to get rid of a player who wants to see out his contract.
    We can scream, complain, boo but the law is clear. Both parties must respect their contract.
    As long as Özil respect his legal obligations, he is entitled to dig his heels.
    Same thing with Mustafi. The club has made clear they wanted him out, but he is just staying put.

  2. Valentin


    That was before our increased sponsorship with adidas, we’re now getting 30m more a year. We also slashed the wage bill by 30m.

    The AST number already took into account the Adidas deal.
    We did not slash the wage bill by 30 millions. The only big salaries gone are Mhkitaryan, Koscielny, Monreal, Iwobi. But we have added Pepe . All credible reports indicates that it is closer to 15 millions. That also did not take into account the raised salary for Willock, Guendouzi, Saka, Nelson (was on loan so loan fee compensated his salary). So the real number could be closer to 10 millions.

  3. shaun ellis

    the defending is as bad or worse then when we had the madman next level is the next level bollocks managing .It’s not only bad it is totally unprofessional and if he can’t communicate then whats the point .Lets give Freddy ago. This defending is not going to change with Emery that’s obvious as the man is clearly brain dead .he has won all his trophies in Spain bar one and that doesn’t count . lets see but a loss to Aston Villa and he’s done .what I really did not like was his comments about there not being the same pressure at arsenal and then the more recent we are doing OK because we have the same points as Manu and Chelsea

  4. Freddie Ljungberg

    Oh, and the adidas deal just kicked in this summer, are they predicting our future budget now too? Do you think they have next weeks lottery numbers? Asking for a friend.

  5. Freddie Ljungberg

    Ramsey, Cech and Welbeck were all on 100k+, guess they don’t count as big salaries.

    We shipped 11 players from the first team and more than 20 total but keep making up your own numbers to fit your the sky is falling narrative, it seems to amuse you.

  6. Graham62

    Shaun ellis

    I actually agree.

    If things continue the way they are regards our defending, against AV, Emery should be removed with immediate effect.

    No amount of chin scratching will help him on this one.

  7. Valentin

    The standard article is a financial mess. It mixes salary and payments. Also it is not a net saving, just the fact that we got rid of players, just a few lines on the players added. Also nothing on the contractual payments due to reaching a final and loyalty bonus as described in the AST document.
    For example did you know that every goal Aubameyang scored is costing us £25k in bonus. £10k in appearance and £15k per goal. On top of what he is also bagging an an extra £15k per win. Lacazette has something similar. Because those bonus are contingent they are not declared as part of the wage bill, but still need to be paid from the same pool.
    I would put more trust in AST document than a badly researched article from the Standard.

  8. Freddie Ljungberg


    Sure ok.


    mikhi 180k

    Kos 100k

    Ramsey 110k

    Welbeck 100k

    Licht 90k

    Nacho 70k

    Iwobi 70k

    Elneny 55k


    775k a week/40m a year and I’m sure I forgot some.

    then add in all the youth players and players like Ospina and Lucas Perez that we still paid a part of their salaries even though they were on loan.

    That 900k a week/ 46.8m a year figure looks pretty accurate to me.

    Ceballos 65k

    Pepe 140k (most reported figure, seen much lower)

    Luiz 125k

    Tierney 90k

    425k a week/22m a year

    So 25m off the wage bill give or take.

    not exactly 10m is it?

    Aubas and Lacas salaries are already in the budget, what’s your point?

  9. Freddie Ljungberg

    Would have been another 23m if we had managed to get rid off Mustafi and Ozil.

    I know you’re hoping that they stay out their contracts and outlast Emery but for the clubs sake we can only hope these dead weights holding us back are removed. Include Xhaka in that too.

  10. RodneyK

    Emery’s English is poor, yes we know. Saka saying he understands Freddie better shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s the reason why translators are hired. Mourinho and Sir Bobby at Barca come to mind.

    I’ve never heard Biesla speak English. I’m not really sure how good his English is now, yet that hasn’t stopped a number of posters here from wishing he was manager at Arsenal.

    The inability to speak a language is a handicap that can be overcome over time. However, there are more serious challenges in football. Like trying to teach a 30+ year old defender how to play out from the back.

    Saka’s clearly a very talented footballer and it’s about time the academy paid some dividend.

  11. Valentin

    So from £30 millions then £50 millions, you are now down to £22 millions.
    And that before the fact as mentioned in the Evening article that we pay a significant part of Mhkitaryan salary. Let just say £2 millions. So £20 millions. Closer to my £15 millions than your initial £30 millions.

    With Willock given a pay rise, so did Guendouzi. The return of Nelson on the payroll. In all likelihood that Saka, ESR will also be given new contract.

    Taking into account the contingent salary bonus and the £10~£15 millions is a more realistic numbers than £30 millions.

  12. Freddie Ljungberg


    from the article:

    “Standard Sport understands Roma will pay a significant portion of Mkhitaryan’s £180,000 a week wages and the player’s exit was the 11th from the first team this summer.”

    They’re also paying a loan fee.

    Guen hasn’t got a new contract yet, if he does and it’s what’s been reported it’s a 35k a week increase, the other youth players you mentioned are on small salaries.

    It’s 25m if you can count, 22m if you can’t .

    So no, not very close to your 10m prediction. Keep reaching though…

    This all came about because of your doomsday prediction that if we don’t get CL we would have to sell off players to the tune of 40m and not buy anyone, it’s all bs, as long as you’re entertained though.

  13. Spanishdave

    It’s nice being ridiculed in the press as to how easy it is to allow teams so many shots against us. Thanks a lot Emery, the dickhead.

  14. Nelson

    I would like to see Folarin Balagun getting some minutes on cup games. He is hot and has scored both goals for U23 yesterday.

  15. EdTheRed

    Let’s give Emery what we gave Wenger for at least 8 seasons and say: Judge him in May. Yes, that second half against Watford had shattered many beliefs, and it was totaly unacceptable performance, but things are not as bleak as many feel at the moment. The problems Arsenal fans are having in general is lack of patience, which tells me we didn’t get thos last Wenger’s years out of system yet.

    I belive we are TWO good signings (CM and CD) from having an awesome team. This squad is brimming with talent and I personally would not swap our attack for any other in the Premiership. We will score goals and we will score plenty.

    Problem is over-reliance on players like Sokratis. I have noticed many faults in his game LAST season, but perhaps because all the anger was directed at Mustaphi (statistically better than Luiz at almost everything), Sokratis got away with it. Now there is nowhere for him to hide (well, perhaps behind Luiz :).

    Lots of dead wood had been cleared in past 12 months and some credit surely must go to the Emery. And despite criticism he gets (some of it justified), I can actually see what is he trying to do with this team – play to its strenghts. If you have an attack, as fast and deadly as we have, then surely your gameplan should be to invite opposition to attack and use the space available to hit them on counterattack. It worked perfectly against Frankfurt. It nearly worked at Liverpool. It fell apart second half against Watford. But problem in that game was maily psycological, as Xhaka somewhat admitted.

    I still remember THAT loss against Blackburn in December 1997. After that game many fans were getting disillusionised with Wenger. Then a ‘team bonding’ xmass dinner happened and rest is history.

    So what I’m saying is, lay off Emery for a while. get behind this team. It’s packed with talent, it just needs supporters to believe. I for one will give them all this season, then we’ll see in May.

    Excuse any typos 🙂

  16. Cesc Appeal

    Emery speaking to the press about pressing from the front and staying much tighter as a team…all well and good saying it but we need to see it tomorrow. We’re giving away far too many chances.

    Unfortunately tomorrow we’re likely to see AMN and Kolasinac, but that shouldn’t go on for much longer now, I’d play Chambers at CB after looking decent in the games he’s played this season, Torreira at CDM, Guendouzi at CM, Ceballos at CM/CAM and then Saka, Aubameyang, Pepe up front.

  17. EdTheRed


    re- Auba playing on Thursday.

    He played a game in late Summer at beginning of the season. We won our toughest game in the group and he won’t have to play another match in group stages. How about that for great management?

  18. Batistuta

    I mean Valentin, we’ve been a joke of a club long before Emery came in, I’m sure we’ve had much worse things said about us so don’t know how a bookies odd having that much to do with us being a shit club, we’ve been shit for a while now

  19. Northbanker

    Point on Auba playing – Ed is right – we’re not going to give up the Europa Cup just because we want top 4. Playing Auba for the toughest game in the group makes perfect sense to me. Getting Saka linking up with Auba also could play dividends too.

    Not happy with Emery and think he should be chopped now, but no problems with that particular decision.

  20. Champagne charlie


    You’re on one there mate, you can’t wax lyrical about the talent of the squad and simultaneously say leave off the manager.

    Nearly all performance indicators are cause for concern, the spectacle each week is utterly lacking, and there’s no expectation for us to witness a particular type of thing because nobody can name what we’re trying to achieve as a side.

  21. Batistuta


    I mean you’re the only one still going on about the Nketiah thing, jeez give it a rest already.

    Caught the highlights of the under 23 game, just so refreshing to see Bellerin and Tierney back…..I’d also draft Folarin Balogun in for the Carabao cup, dude looks a unit and knows where the goal is.

  22. Northbanker

    We need to keep blooding Saka, Martinelli and ESR wherever possible for 2nd half of season. Chambers needs game time too as he will be main stand by and is better than Sokratis.

  23. Nelson


    “Torreira at CDM”

    It is the opinion of most of the fans everywhere I read. Torr was hired as a CDM. But I don’t thing Emery will do it. Emery’s footballing philosophy is high press, high defensive line and play out from the back. He has this slow Xhaka who can’t do high press. The only place he can put him is CDM. He told the media recently that Torreira will play more advance and do high press. I don’t have problem with that as long as we have a good CDM playing behind him.

  24. Champagne charlie

    “Emery’s footballing philosophy is high press, high defensive line and play out from the back.“

    Is that why we’re 19th in the league for pressing, and the worst in the top 6 for ‘high turnovers’ (meaning we press and win the ball 40m from the opponents goal less than any other top side)?

  25. Zimmie2652

    Transfer window podcast reporting that the board is beginning to doubt Wmery and Kroenke Jr. is becoming more reserved about splashing the cash while Emery is in charge.

  26. siddharth14

    I’m afraid Arsenal can’t take a risk on a novice if Emery is shown the door. Another season in Europa league would be terrible from financial viewpoint and for growth of the club. The increasing quality of mid table teams will mean that there will always be a dogfight for 4th place and two big teams are always going to be disappointed at the end.

    It was the perfect time for Arsenal to experiment with a fresher when Wenger left. The situation is now so volatile due to circumstances that i doubt any inexperienced newcomer will be having any breathing space to implement his own style.

    Imo, Arsenal are destined to be managed by Mourinho and restored to greatness. It would be an epic antidote to the malaise ,Wenger ingrained at Arsenal FC through his sheer ineptitude and shenanigans. Mourinho was the one who had the sheer audacity to question Wenger and point his failings when he was a sort of demigod in English football.

    Come on Raul and Edu, make it happen !!!!

  27. HighburyLegend

    Why the press didn’t ask Wengeremery his opinion about the ugly words of our so called Captain after the Watford game ??
    Maybe the press are pussies, them too ??

  28. Rambo Ramsey

    Seriously where is the bald cvnt? Used to be on all day giving it large to everyone who criticised Emery. Now he’s gone into hiding? Guess his bravery is Receding.

    Can’t hide forever.

  29. S Asoa

    Peter Crouch

    “ You can play out from the back by clipping high balls to your full-backs – watch Ederson do it for Manchester City. ADVERTISEMENT ‘To keep doing what Emery wants Arsenal to do, with little passes around the penalty area, is just asking for trouble.

    Read more:

    from the mouth of babes ..the bare truth

  30. HighburyLegend

    “Unai Emery has urged Arsenal to improve defensively and has called on the whole team to help out.”
    At least he’s a funny guy.
    (He’s not ??)

  31. Nelson

    “Unai Emery has urged Arsenal to improve defensively and has called on the whole team to help out.”

    Sounds like Emery is out of ideas.

  32. Valentin

    Looks like Pierre may have been right in that Nketiah is still view as back-up to Bamford.
    Bamford is also showing why he is a championship player unlikely to attract bid from premiership clubs. He is not lethal enough, he needs too many chances to score. Also his movement inside the penalty box is not that great. There are times where he is not running into the most likely position to score.

  33. S Asoa

    Keown on passing from the back. Arsenal should use tactic to play to players strength not like force fed Emery purgative

    “ Sokratis seemed obsessed with passing to Matteo Guendouzi and, well, we know the rest. For all his faults defensively, Luiz is a good passer.

    It’s time to play to his strengths. As their most proficient player in possession, Arsenal ought to consider leaving him as the only outfield player in their box. Him stood next to Leno can be like having two men stood over a free-kick.

    He can receive a short pass from Leno, control it with his left foot then pick a pass with his right. In this era of statistics, it is interesting to note how no player attempted more through-balls than Luiz in 2018-19. The Brazilian managed 42 – the next nearest defender was Antonio Rudiger on eight.

    Unai Emery has to try to use that to his advantage. Luiz could act as his quarter-back.

    He does not only have to pass to Sead Kolasinac on his left or find a team-mate in midfield or out wide. If he wanted, he could play a long diagonal ball over the top for Nicolas Pepe to chase. We know he is capable of it and with the opposition pressing high, their defenders will be close to the halfway line. “

  34. Cesc Appeal



    I think early last season we saw what Emery wanted to do but one of my big gripes with him is the fact he abandoned it instead of trying to find a line up that allows his system to be carried out.

    Xhaka really does throw the spanner into the works of any kind of high tempo pressing system…but then Emery keeps playing him and he frequently is as deep as a CB almost which means with the high press there is then a giant hold in the middle.

    But again, Emery keeps playing him and allowing him to do that.

  35. Bojangles

    The other side of the coin is, if he can’t break into a Championship side maybe he’s not as good as we think he is.

  36. Valentin


    The clipped pass from the goalkeeper to the full back was Wenger preferred method of restart. A clipped pass to Sagna then later to Monreal.

  37. Batistuta

    If he can’t dispose Bamford then of what use would he be for us? The whole Nketiah thing is a non-story and is now a very boring topic

  38. Batistuta

    Plenty of stick to beat Emery with and i mean plenty but even the player wanted to go on loan so why the constant reference to what he would have done if he was here and not at Leeds

  39. Receding Hairline

    Always found it sad posting about a poster who hasn’t been about for days in s derogatory tone and bravery was even mentioned. Always knew something wasn’t quite right with u.

    Leicester not as good as many will have you believe they are.

    Always thought Saka was our best prospect and would have helped us late last season, Emery messed up there

  40. WengerEagle

    Poch going to have a meltdown in the post match presser.

    From 2-0 up to having the goal chalked off and now 2-1 down, after throwing away a 2 goal lead in midweek in Greece.

  41. Dissenter

    Spurs fans have that nice sing about VAR
    They had been the greatest beneficiary of VAR….until today.
    Poch needs to shut his gob.

  42. Dissenter

    That’s bad management from Brendan Rodgers
    When a player is that injured, you pull them off.There’s no need to exacerbate an injury.

  43. Graham62

    Imo it’s come to the stage where Emery needs a translator.

    I’m finding his press conferences and interviews practically impossible to understand.

    Manuel made more sense.

    After years of switching off from Wenger’s rhetoric, it’s got to the stage with Emery, where I’ve already had enough.

  44. Dissenter

    Off-side-is Off-side when reviewed by VAR
    However there is still some objective arbitrariness about these lines. Who draws the lines?

  45. Trask

    What a thrilling game. Leicester hands down play better football than us.

    Sure they are a bit open at the back but that midfield sure helps out a lot.

    We need two players like Ndidi in our MF. Dude just gobbles up ground relentlessly and wins a lot of possession.

    Spurs goal should have stood but who cares

    What a strike by Maddison BTW

  46. Batistuta

    Spurs have been in very very horrible form and you get the feeling their fans have just about had it patience wise with Pochettino, has to win a trophy this season to stop a vast majority from getting on his back

  47. Trask


    Really I would not mind Brendan for a year or two as we wont me winning anything major in that period.

    He would atleast play good risk/reward football and seems good with young players which would advance their development for the next manager to take us to the next level

  48. Leftsidesanch

    Spuds winless in their previous 9 away games, I wonder how much this is mentioned.

    United winless away since the PSG victory.

    Much will be made about us though, most of it by our “own”.

  49. Cesc Appeal

    The Mail asking was it ‘right to call a marginal offside as offside’.

    That’s a question that answers itself.

    Really love watching the media when their beloved Spurs lose or suffer.

  50. Plato

    “Spuds winless in their previous 9 away games, I wonder how much this is mentioned”

    Don’t let facts ruin a good story, anything derogatory against poch is an automatic bin.

    One can only imagine what this place would be like if we go 9 games away without a win

  51. Pierre

    “I’m finding his press conferences and interviews practically impossible to understand.”

    Just about every comment you make these days about Emery is replicating my comments of a year ago.

    The difference being is that I took continuous abuse for being the first ( with GOH) to highlight the faults of Emery including tactics , formations , selection policy , incoherent press conferences and his pathetic antics on the touchline.

    And now 95%+ on le Grove agree with me which brings a smile to my face, and yes I will feel smug about it in the knowledge that I was right all along after the copious abuse aimed at me.

    Graham.. Just need you to go full circle on Ozil and you will be cured of talking nonsense.

  52. Redtruth

    “The difference being is that I took continuous abuse for being the first ( with GOH) to highlight the faults of Emery including tactics , formations , selection policy , incoherent press conferences and his pathetic antics on the touchline.”

    Sounds like Wenger

  53. Dissenter

    There’s a shellacking of the ages going on at the etihsd
    City beating Watford 5-0 after 17 minutes

    Just goes to show how pathetic we are.

  54. EdTheRed

    You mean City that lost to Norwich, who are currently losing to Burnley, which we have beaten.

    Just shows how silly is to take on singular result to prove your point.

    I’m amazed no one’s asked for Sheff Utd manager yet.

  55. terraloon


    We have no idea yet the wage expenditure will have been for year ending 31/5/2019.
    So what do we know? Well the last figure we can rely on is the £240 million shown in the last published accounts which was for the period ending 31/5/2018
    That PEA signed on 31/1/2018 so only 4 months of his payments from Arsenal were shown in that £240 million figure. It’s reported he is on a basic wage of £10million + wages.
    I suspect that ASTs predictions for the year ending 31/5/2019 will be reasonably accurate so as Valentin suggests a sizeable loss.
    So to this year.
    Savings in wages are likely as you say although nowhere near the sum that the press are reporting because you need to factor in contract extensions signed off last year as well as significant loyalty payments to players like Ramsey and Cech who completed their contracts.

  56. Trask


    He is going with the diamond mate.

    I would be shocked if he did otherwise.

    Dude is on safety first mode rn. Will go with tried and tested instead of playing a young winger 《martinelli perhaps as I think Nelsin is a waste of gametime》