HUGE day for Emery + Guest piece from @HeartOfTheHolte

by .

via @Arsenal Instagram

Good morning and welcome to another Sunday edition of Le Grove.

Watford’s ‘new manager kick’ didn’t last beyond a single game. Manchester City absolutely trounced our St. Albans neighbours with a performance so brutal, it should have had a 9pm watershed. 8-0 is not a Premier League score.

… but don’t worry, I wouldn’t dare draw parallels.

I’m actually weak from finding out my dad is a Bud Light drinker. He went out of his way to purchase them as well. How do you live life knowing that your dad is drinking soft beer like that behind your back? The alpha male theory is a fucking charade, I promise you.

Anyway, it’s all about Arsenal and what the manager can offer up to solve our very clear frailties today.

I would personally play Saka. He had an electric game in the week and looks more than ready to do some damage to lesser teams. His pace and directness could be a real asset at the moment. He’s ready, give him some game time in home games of this level.

Secondly, the theory that Emery plays Xhaka because he’s tall seems to hold weight. What do we think about the potential of moving Luiz forward when Holding returns to the first team? Couldn’t be any worse, could it?

Ideally, we’d have LT in the pivot tomorrow, but we’ll see.

Villa have the potential to bother us, they’ll work hard and menace us start to finish. That said, we have enough firepower to make a weak defence look silly. We need a performance, one has to drop soon, hopefully today is that moment.

I know I have been beating on Emery for a while, but I truly believe he can at least offer up a sustained run of wins. He’s average, he’s not bad. Today needs to be a stake in the ground. Let’s see a positive formation. Play our best attacking players, go into the game confidently, and try and impose some sort of vision on the day.

Huge game. Let’s see what he has for us.

Before you go, Dan, from Heart Of The Holte, has penned some words for us on Aston Villa. It’s a good read. Enjoy and give them a follow @HeartofTheHolte.

How would I rate Villa’s start to the campaign? Above or below expectations?

It would be fair to say that overall our start to the season has proven somewhat frustrating. There have been plenty of positives, and most games have shown plenty of good things that can be built upon, but ultimately the cold hard truth is 4 points from 5 games isn’t the return we would have hoped for. It’s probably a start we could have expected as a newly promoted team, but there is certainly a feeling we should be at least a couple of points better off. There’s plenty of room for improvement but there’s also enough ability and desire in the squad to improve.

How would I gauge Dean Smith’s first year in charge? Are things moving in the right direction or is there any pressure forming?

Dean Smith has been in charge for almost exactly a year now, and it has been quite a ride so far, which gloriously reached its peak in the record-breaking 10 game winning streak which propelled us towards the playoffs and promotion in May. You’d be hard-pressed to find any fan who’d have a bad word to say about Smith and things are moving in the right direction. We do need a few more points on the board and to become a greater goal threat but overall, there’s a real togetherness and spirit right now which resonates from the pitch to the stands which instills confidence that we’ll get to where we want to go. 

How do Villa strike a balance between their strengths and weaknesses?

For the most part, Villa are a decent unit and with all the new arrivals this summer, the gelling of the squad has been pretty seamless. We have a solid defensive foundation in fan favourites Tyrone Mings and Bjorn Engels in front of the experienced safe hands of Tom Heaton, we have a pretty dynamic midfield featuring last season’s key lynchpins of John McGinn and captain Jack Grealish, and there’s promise in big target man Wesley. Our weaknesses lie in our wide positions, particularly in attack and the consistency of performances in our wingers and their defensive tracking back. We also have a tendency at the moment to try and force things a little and give away possession cheaply. Nevertheless, the promise and the talent is there and as we develop and start to really click as a squad we should grow into a very difficult team to play against.

How do I think Villa will set up on Sunday? What are Arsenal’s weaknesses that I think Villa can exploit? And what are Villa’s weaknesses that I worry can be exploited?

As with most teams who have played Arsenal so far, Villa will have to find a way to get at the defence, Arsenal have shown a softness under pressure at the back and their commitment to almost suicidally playing out from the back is clearly an area to attack. But we’ll have to we wary of the lightning pace and lethal finishing of the front three. Stopping Aubameyang and Pépé will prove a huge task for any defence and our wingers will have to do a lot of work in defensive support too, which I fear may not always happen. We will also have to be better in possession when we do have it and seek to shut down Arsenal’s countering capabilities by avoiding sloppiness in possession.

How do I think the game will go and what are my predictions?

Our recent matches against Arsenal, particularly at the Emirates, have hardly been memorable and yet we still have the third best win rate of any current premier league team there, so it’s not hopeless. We’re a very different team (club even) to the sorry visitors who insipidly lost 4-0 on or way out of the division in 2016. Arsenal are obvious favourites and are pretty good at home so the realist in me expects a defeat, but the fan in me is hoping we can grab a point. So with my heart ruling over my mind, and seeking to be optimistic, I’ll go for a repeat of the first-ever match at the Emirates. 1-1.

1,070 Responses to “HUGE day for Emery + Guest piece from @HeartOfTheHolte”

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  1. Leftsidesanch

    Embarrassing on here reading Vics comments and RR who is just abusive and unpleasant. He offers nothing here at all.

  2. Nelson

    I understand why our midfield has so much problem. When Emery arrived at Arsenal, he explained that he wants to press high and he wants to play a high defensive line. Now he is still trying to press high but due to our slow and weak defense, he stopped playing a high defensive line. The result is that the space between the defense and attack is too big for our midfielder to cover. To make the situation worse, only the slow Xhaka usually stays back and the other two CMs advance high up to support the attack. For each counter by our opponent, our midfield is wide open.
    I don’t know how to correct this. I hope Emery sees this problem and finds ways to correct it. Whether Emery stays or not, I want Arsenal to improve and it is more fun to see Arsenal wins games.

  3. Bob N16

    Tony, was on Hackney Marshes yesterday morning, thought I’d recorded the rugby but hadn’t, watched last 10 minutes. Gather we’re not peaking too early!

    Is Watson looking like he should play 15 instead of Daly? Hope Nowell can get fit to play right wing. Daly can be on the bench as an attacking option….worry about his tackling.

  4. Tony

    Care to share your experiences with said lady boys? I mean you were a self confessed radical hippie – so I’m guessing the free love thing we read about gave/gives you carte blanc to try everything males and females, especially in your druggy world.

    Not so in us more conservative types – you know – the types that prefer girls rather than males no matter how they’re dressed as.

    Question is, Un? Are you the porker or bitch?

    I bet you could tell some stories……………..

    🙂 🙂 🙂

  5. Guvnor

    Red truth

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but are Arsenal not above Spurs, Chelsea, Man Utd and just 2 points behind Man City….

    You are missing the point and as usual, not seeing the bigger picture.

    Emery is tactically inept. It’s not about being 2 points behind Man City but about being 5 years behind them in terms of our quality to compete for a title. Arsenal are mentally and defensively weak. Yesterday was a horror show despite the comeback.
    Emery is the Spanish David Moyes

  6. Guns of Hackney

    Emery out. That’s it.

    England will not win the WC with Australia, New Zealand and the horrible racists, South Africa still there. No chance.

    Mind you, imagine the double if you had England for the cricket and rugby WC.

  7. Un na naai


    Whatever have you the idea I was a hippie?? 😂
    I’m married to one. Doesn’t mean I am. Check yourself old fella

    But yes. I have had an experience with a lady boy actually. He never made it past first base before I clocked

    Best looking man I ever met.
    Why so defensive? I’m sure you’ve slipped in a few times being that you’re in the lions den and presumably have been far longer than I?

    And er excuse me? Druggy world? Not a chance old fella. If you are referring to me jesting on a drug and hooker fuelled bender and attempting to utilise it to insult me I suggest you try a little harder. Takes a lot more than that.

    Bitter old cunt aren’t you?

  8. EdTheRed

    Well done Emery and the boys for that second half performance. To utterly outplay the opposition with only ten men shows great strength of character.

    Some so called Arsenal “fans” are just fucking embarassing in their blind hatred of Emery. Yes, he might not be the right man to take this team further, but to waste your energy on trying to put a decent man down, instead of getting excited at riches of talent this squad posseses tells me that those people are either not real Arsenal fans, or don’t understand football at all.

  9. Tony

    Bob hard to say who is best for full back.

    Both Watson and Daly offer different skills with both not the complete package.

    Daly fluffed a golden try scoring opportunity missing a pass to the open Slade.

    The DM had Daly at a 5.5 and Watson got a 6 match rating, which was probably about right.

    Heinz looked solid enough on the world stage. He has a bit of the old Gregan in him imo. One to watch.

    Not a fan of the Ford/Farrel axis, especially as I think Ford will be too lightweight against the top contenders.

    We have the ideal match next to work on areas in the optics from the Tonga game. Then a decent step up with Argentina that should set us up nicely for the France game.

    Jones must be very happy with the game progression.

    It’s a WC anything can happen and no doubt will.

    The ABs are not invincible and we beat SA last Autumn.

    I maintain England will reach the semis where all 4 teams will be capable of lifting the trophy.

    It’s going to be a brilliant WC to savour with already some outstanding skills on display.

    That said, my heart says England but my head says The All Blacks.

    Can’t wait for the knock out stages.

    Did you ever play the game? Just curious.)

  10. Sid

    “Question is, Un? Are you the porker or bitch? I bet you could tell some stories……………..”
    Alita battle angel lololol

  11. Emiratesstroller

    An analysis of Arsenal’s season in EPL sofar reveals that we have 11 points after
    6 games. Realistically 13 points at this stage of season would have been probably the maximum expectation.

    The real concern is not the number of points, position in the league or goals scored but the fact that we have conceded 10 goals in those games most of which were avoidable and our defence is not only brittle but frankly horrible.

    Every team who plays us are totally unafraid to attack us which is why there
    are now so many shots conceded on goal.

    When you analyse our defensive performance or goals conceded our team is
    actually closer to relegation than the top of league. Indeed when you look at
    all the major leagues in Europe you would be hard pressed to find many teams
    conceding as many goals as we do. Just look at the French Ligue Table!!!

    The reality is that under both Wenger and Emery defending at Arsenal not
    just in first team but in the Academy as well is a serious problem. There is no
    organisation, discipline or common sense.

    We continue to make the same mistakes with the same personnel and no-one
    at the club seems to be too concerned about outcome least of all Emery.

  12. Valentin


    Realistically 15 points is what we should have expected. In fact 15 pts is the points tally Arsenal took in those same game last season. We are 4 points worse off than last season.
    We beat Watford 1-0 away. The only clean sheet away.
    We beat Spurs at home 4-2.
    In both games, stupid tactical decisions cost us a victory.
    The excuse that it is the start of the season and the team needs to gel, because we are on the continuation of exactly the same downward trajectory than the tail end of last season.
    Our defense is getting worse.
    Yesterday we were saved from defeat by the players. Guendouzi drove us forward well supported by Willock and Torreira. Then Aubameyang scored his customary goal.

  13. Emiratesstroller


    I suggested that 13 points was the maximum of expectation. Perhaps I should have said ‘realistic’.

    We dropped 2 points against Watford, which was a game we should have won.
    Yes we could argue that we should have beaten Spurs as well, but that was not
    necessarily an automatic outcome based on a previous season’s result.

    I don’t disagree with your assessment about team selections and tactics. These
    have been horrible over last three seasons. If you follow what I have written
    since the opening of the summer transfer window I suggested that our defence should be a complete “rebuild job”.

    Let’s be honest 27-32 year old defenders are unlikely to learn new tricks or improve. Messrs Mustafi, Xhaka, Sokratis, Luiz and Kolasinac are all defensively flawed players. I would also add Maitland-Niles, because frankly he is unsuited to a defensive role in team. He is a midfielder.

    That leaves only Bellerin, Holding, Tierney,Torreira and Chambers who could be considered potential players in a solid defence. Three of those are out injured at the moment and the other two are considered bench players.

    Realistically we are four or five defenders short of what we need in squad if
    the club is going to progress.

    Moreover it is difficult to understand this summer’s acquisitions. We allowed
    Saliba to stay at his current club. Luiz is most definitely not the solid Centre Back that was needed and Tierney came to us with a longterm injury.

  14. Valentin


    I don’t think that the defensive issues will be fixed by new better players. Better coaching would.
    With our players the defense should not be as bad it has been. I also don’t think that all of our defensive problems are due to our defenders. It is more a general combination of static midfield and overloaded defenders.

    Nobody is switched on when facing late runs into the box. In fact defense and midfield seem to be easily confuse by diagonal runs in the penalty box.
    Both goals against Villa are diagonal runs where the marker is asleep. Guendouzi for the first goal completely ignored McGin run, not blocking the cross not tracking the midfield runner. For the second, Luiz react to Wesley’s movement too late.

    That is something that good coaching should easily remedy.

  15. Cesc Appeal

    Going to find out soon how much Wenger Emery has in him.

    If he persists with Xhaka even though it’s quite clear he has a massive negative impact on the team then it can only be stubbornness or fearing for his ‘confidence’ if he was dropped now.

    Would be a very Wenger move.

    The energy, covering and dynamism in the midfield when it was Torreira, Willock, Guendouzi was night and day to the midfield of the first 75% of the game.

    Liverpool have shown your midfield doesn’t need to be spectacular, it just needs to do and job and cover all the midfield area. Set ours up to be busy and press and let it all fall into place.

    3 of Torreira, Ceballos, Guendouzi and Willock should be played.

    Unfortunate for Saka yesterday but it was the right call to sub him off, no reflection on his game at all. I’d tell him he’s going to be subbed on against Forest and start at United.