The Unai Emery Mirage

by .

We won.

We’re 3rd, 1 point behind Manchester City.

This should be a joyous occasion, but it’s not.

The table is a liar, she did it to us last season and she’s doing it to us again. We’re not very good, but we’re falling up the stairs. The ‘on-paper’ monkeys can point to ‘the only reality that matters is points’, but as a casual reminder, this is what happened last season.

You cannot continue to ignore what your eyes see week to week.

Unai Emery cannot find a performance. He cannot find a balanced starting 11. His in-game decisions lead me to believe he doesn’t actually see what we’re all seeing.

Winning ugly is not a sustainable strategy for a club that can’t defend or create chances.

Bournemouth are a terrible side. Their position in the league is also very kind to their reality. They don’t press, they don’t create meaningful chances and they leak shots. Rounding up, they’ve conceded about 17 shots a game this season. They are relegation fodder unless Eddie finds some magic. Perfect opposition for us.

The first half saw exactly what we all expected. A bad team struggling to find confidence away at a big club. They didn’t press, they looked nervous and they offered us up oceans of space to enact whatever the Emery vision supposedly is.

We offered up very little. Arsenal were comfortable, some fans celebrated that as a positive, but if we’re honest, Forest would have given us more of a game. We managed 2 shots on target in the first half, one was from a setpiece. There was no magic in our attack, we played like there was no real plan, and there was a real lack of energy in the middle of the park.

At the half time mark, I kind of hoped the manager would remember the Villa game and react, but he didn’t. We stuck with the same players, we created very little, but we allowed Bournemouth to get a foot in the game. They were bad in the final third, but they certainly created dangerous moments.

So what did Emery do? He subbed off Nicolas Pepe on 60 minutes. I understand that his performance wasn’t up to much, but the lack of attempts on their goal wasn’t really in his responsibility domain. The decision was a stinging rebuke, and really, not smart management. He’s our most expensive signing, he was playing against duffers, he should have been given the minutes to play his way back into the match.

… that’s not to takeaway from Gabriel, the kid deserved to play, I just think the signal the sub sent wasn’t a confidence builder and I think it was a misdiagnosis of the problem.

Things didn’t improve anyway, even with the electric Brazilian on the pitch, because the problem wasn’t the front three, it was what sat behind them. The manager took off Ceballos for Willock, which added a little more energy, but not much purpose. Again, rotating like for like wasn’t going to shake the game.

It also didn’t stem the flow of Bournemouth, we ended up forming deep banks to protect against their growing confidence… then the icing on the cake, Emery took Saka off for Lucas Torriera. Hard to work out what he was doing there, was LT a DM, a #10 or an auxiliary winger? Either way, it didn’t do much for our structure. We only started getting chances again when Bournemouth threw everything at landing a point, that created counter-attack chances and we did manage to hit the post late on after the impressive Cal Chambers put Auba in.

So at home, against one of the leakiest teams in the league, we managed one shot on target in open play. That is as strong an indictment of Emery as I can muster. Edu, sitting in the stands, did not look happy. How could he be after sanctioning such a big spend this summer, we have not moved forward.

A lot of fans will point to the omittance of Mesut Ozil as a glaringly obvious fix. Again, I cannot repeat this often enough, he’s really not my cup of tea. However, it’s hard to argue that the German couldn’t have influenced a game like today. The players will know that, and this sort of treatment will build pressure on Emery.

The manager is making a martyr out of the German in the same way he did with Ramsey last season. The longer the player sits in metaphorical prison on hunger strike, the louder and more appealing his silent message becomes. None of this would matter if Emery had made this decision in preseason and not shown the player to us. None of this would matter if he hadn’t given him one of the five armbands. None of this would matter if the alternative was 20 chances a game and electric ‘I DON’T MISS OZIL’ football.

To make matters worse for the manager, the pregame Twitter banter has a magical moment from Ozil at training. It also has a damning video of Xhaka gifting Auba a goal after a mistake in training.

If Ozil is a political prisoner, then Granit Xhaka is a sham President after a stolen election. He doesn’t speak the language of the people and his football policies stink. He was mostly ok today, but that’s all he ever is. His best trait is arguing with the referee. He doesn’t drive the team forward, he doesn’t inspire and his presence flattens the energy. Today offered up perfect conditions for him to thrive and he still couldn’t muster a worldy.

Unai Emery is a bad artist. He has the water paints, the canvass, a perfect view on the Amalfi Coast, and he’s out there painting dick pics and wondering why his funders are pissed. The perfect conditions for his system to flourish appear to be Championship sides or Europa Cup ties. We’re 11 games into the season, there’s no style and the philosophy seems to be ‘hope to nick a goal then defend like we’re in the last minute of a Sunday League Cup Final.’

There is no excuse for drab football this season. There is no excuse to defend a 1-0 lead at home against Bournemouth with defensive subs in the last 10. What we are seeing on the pitch is bad… but as I said last week, Emery can point to the table, that’s his safety blanket until things get tasty in December.

Roll on another week.

Enjoy the win, savour being 3rd in the league a point behind City… but don’t count your chickens just yet, because until performances start to arrive, this is all a big lie that will correct just as you start to believe.

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411 Responses to “The Unai Emery Mirage”

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  1. Graham62

    The “Xhaka obsession” will be Emery’s downfall.

    Oh yeh and just to reiterate, Ozil is history.

    Irrespective of Emery.

  2. Un na naai

    Discussing a game not a tie and it was brought up because someone said he can only play drab defensive football.

    I wish
    I can’t even do that

  3. Champagne charlie

    “No offense, but anyone who thinks Ozil is a solution to our problems or that Ozil should be a regular in our XI has no credibility whatsoever.“

    Unlike the oodles of credibility one has for backing or sacking a manager on the basis of selecting literally one player you don’t like.


  4. bennydevito

    Champagne charlieOctober 6, 2019    20:50:28


    Spurs have two titles in their entire history and haven’t won the league in 50 years, if you think they scouted Poch with a title in mind you’re dafter than I think.



    Fair point. But do you think our board hired Emery with a title in mind or to clear the decks and reset to get back into the CL?

    A two year contract with a possible 1 year extension would suggest Emery wasn’t hired with a title in mind either.

  5. Champagne charlie

    “I wonder what the mood will be if we were playing well and losing.“

    Only thing you can influence is your own performance levels and approach. If we had that down and tracking towards something more polished in the future then emphasis on results would be lessened quite naturally.

    Play wank and achieve nothing, not sure what you expect outside of criticism and frustration.

  6. Receding Hairline

    Yea nothing screams build a team to usurp Liverpool and City like a two year deal. Pochettinos first Spurs contract was for five years, wonder which appointment can be interpreted as long term silverware chase. The five year or the two year.

  7. Graham62

    I would love to be a fly on the wall when Emery discusses tactics before games( obviously through an interpreter).

    If his communications are as complicated and incoherent as his pre/post match interviews, then no wonder there’s no pattern to our play.

    I’m convinced Freddie has more say when it comes to our Cup games.

  8. Un na naai

    >Champagne,Fair point. But do you think our board hired Emery with a title in mind or to clear the decks and reset to get back into the CL?


    On that point then which do you think has exceeded expectations and which do you think has not?

  9. bennydevito

    I actually think Ozil should be given another chance. He was good preseason and the games he has played he creates chances.

    Personally I think Raul and Edu have decided Ozil is surplus to requirements and have ordered Emery to drop him just like Raul did last season. If that is the case it makes Emery’s decision to name him in the famous 5 very odd.

    It’s a weird situation that I think the club should make a statement about to explain what the actual fuck is going on.

  10. Receding Hairline

    Charles you mean like Norwich have how they want to play narrowed down and three straight losses is no biggie?

    Or like Chelsea needed the return of Kante to block the gaping holes they left all over the pitch and it is now being hailed as Frank performing miracles?

    At the end of the day football is a results business, if you think everyone will be calm if we are losing but stringing passes together well that’s your opinion and I disagree with it.

  11. Champagne charlie

    “A two year contract with a possible 1 year extension would suggest Emery wasn’t hired with a title in mind either.“

    I didn’t say he was hired to win a title, I said he’s no pedigree at winning a domestic title and we wonder why he can’t tie his shoes to go build a side worth shouting about.

    The more that question of why is asked the less I have to offer outside of a bland ‘get CL football by any means’. There was certainly no savvy thought process behind it.

  12. bennydevito

    Un nai,

    I think Poch was doing a great job but it peaked last season and has now gone stale. I think he will leave at the end of this season.

    Emery is where most fans think he should be but the football is definitely not up to scratch. I don’t think he will get the 3rd year and will also be gone end of season.

    Neither have exceeded expectations in my opinion and neither have failed to meet expectations either.

  13. Bamford10


    “sacking a manager on the basis one player you don’t like”

    Well, actually, it’s not because I don’t like the player; it’s because the player is a slow, un-athletic, error-prone non-entity who is holding us back — holding us back from having a better midfield, holding us back from being a better team. This is obvious, and the manager should see it; the fact that he is persisting with this player is a serious problem.

    Which part of the above do you not agree with?

    (And by the way, I have long been of the view that Emery should probably not stay beyond May anyways, so my view that he should be replaced by Freddie in January if he persists with Xhaka and if this hampers the team is not really that dramatic of a call for change. It’s actually fairly pragmatic.)

  14. Champagne charlie


    Dress it up however you like, you dismiss a posters credibility and come out with bollocks like that in your second breath.

  15. Major_Jeneral

    Pedro welldone on a good post. The performance is nauseating and condescending.
    From now on I will stick to watching the Europa and other cup games. The number of chances created is just atrocious I cannot believe we played that way at home.

  16. Receding Hairline

    I don’t see how you sack a manager on the basis of selection let alone selection of one player bamford,that player being the official club captain. What assurances do you or anyone have that Freddie dislikes Xhaka?

  17. Bob N16

    I personally believe that’s Xhaka’s deficiencies do significantly hold back Arsenal – one player who is about as uncomplimentary a player as I can remember. . Even with the weaker opposition in the cups, the difference in our dynamism and cohesiveness when we’ve had Willock, Torreira and Ceballos in the middle has been dramatic.

    Torreira is an average player when he’s not playing CDM but put him in there than you have a great screen in front of the defence. When picking Xhaka, Emery plays Torreira out of position and he becomes significantly less of a presence.

  18. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Good words of encouragement for chambers there Pedro/peter .

    Strange how the defence does well with him init…

  19. Bob N16

    You make a fair point Receding, can we be certain that Freddie or any other coach wouldn’t pick Xhaka too. I don’t think it’s a big secret. The mystery is that an experienced coach who is very close to the top in his profession can’t see it.

  20. R.S.P.C.Arsenal



    Torr has one position and one place in the team.

    Just in front of the back four,,

    Any stars in their eyes hopes off turning him into anything else will fail.

  21. Bob N16

    RSPCA, in complete agreement, Torreira’s a more than decent CDM but otherwise underwhelming in any other position. By accommodating Xhaka, Emery can’t play Torreira where he needs to be played.

  22. Leedsgunner

    That performance should have been the performance we should’ve played when we were at Old Trafford earlier this week.

    Grinding out wins away from home against one of your traditional rivals is understandable…

    But at home? Against Bournemouth? Really?

    Of course I’m pleased for the win but is it too much to ask for some flair at home?

  23. R.S.P.C.Arsenal


    It seems like xhara has the nod over him not sure why.

    I think torr is a better cdm and played with callebos Willock Guendouzi the ball is played quicker faster,.

  24. Gentlebris


    ‘No offense, but anyone who thinks Ozil is a solution to our problems or that Ozil should be a regular in our XI has no credibility whatsoever.’

    Anyone who thinks Ozil wouldn’t have had some impact today has no credibility whatsoever.

    You can’t be more pissed at Ozil than me but unlike you I’m not running away from true assessments of the situation. If Ozil had played today we would have looked a bit fluid in the final third.
    Soon Auba will begin to get tired of this bullshit because he has not been getting decent supplies.

    The annoying thing here is that people don’t say it as it is. It’s all about camps…..twisting reality to accommodate narratives projecting personal interests.

  25. Champagne charlie


    Average to great for Torreira? Don’t see it. Also don’t think any team is so bipolar over the inclusion or exclusion of any one player. Xhaka played in our best run under Emery, he’s played in dominating midfield games against top sides, he’s played good football and often has been key to it when we were more of a passing side.

    Dislike him all you want, think he’s limited or others are better etc that’s not a problem. Making out like he’s the literal issue is where you go from having a reasonable view I don’t share to being a whalloper (not you, I mean this generally speaking and of any player).

    Banford, I mean Banford.

  26. Receding Hairline

    How many goals has Aubameyang scored off Ozil assists when they do play together?

    As for getting pissed about service I’m yet to see him fashion goals out of nothing, how long till his team mates get pissed at his below average combination play.

  27. Receding Hairline

    People are deceiving themselves more out of hope than anything when it comes to Torriera. A player who struggles with the pace of the game suddenly becomes a shield when played right in front of the defence…. Tell me another tale.

  28. Champagne charlie

    Torreira is common ground for me and the bald cunt, I think it’s based more in hope than sense.

    Xhaka is ‘slow, liability, unable to cover ground’, so if you wanted to replace that with a Doucoure who is mobile, powerful, etc then I’d say ok I see what you’re saying.

    But Torreira? He’s slow, short, weak, and another shade of Xhaka minus the passing ability for my money.

  29. Bamford10


    On one level my “Emery should be replaced if he continues to start Xhaka” is sort of Le Grove talk. On another level it is not. Xhaka really is that bad; he really is that big of a problem; and if Emery continues to start him, and if playing Xhaka has an obvious adverse effect on our chance of finishing top four, then serious pressure needs to be placed on Emery to change this.

  30. Just Another Customer

    lol please be patient with him he lacks some self-awareness all he care about is muh cred/likes/upvotes/retweets

    but what he said is right from Emery’s perspective who demand “workrate” from his players of course Ceballos is more suitable as the lynchpin compared to the languid Özil

  31. Champagne charlie


    I do hope you appreciate my tongue is almost always in my cheek on here.. “bald cunt” isn’t meant for offence.

    You’re a bit of an annoying guy at times, but you’re worth talking to….when it’s not about Emery 😂

  32. Receding Hairline

    Charles I don’t know how anyone can watch torriera and say yes what that short guy with no stamina needs is to be played in front of the defence… Beats me really.

    As for offence, We have our back and forth but I take nothing to heart.

  33. Bamford10


    “If Ozil had played today we would have looked a bit fluid in the final third.”

    No, we wouldn’t have. Ceballos is better than Ozil is at the moment, and the reason we don’t look “fluid” is because our attacking players haven’t played together enough, not because of the absence of a playmaker.

    Ozil is not the solution to our problems. This has nothing to do with any “camps” here. If it were 2010 Ozil that you were calling for, I too would be calling for Ozil in the XI. But it’s not. It’s 2019 Ozil. I don’t know how you’ve missed this, but Ozil today is a listless and ineffectual nonentity. He has been like this for years now.

    Ozil is not the solution to our problems. Ceballos is the better option as a creative midfielder, and the real solution is developing more chemistry among our starting XI and incorporating good, overlapping fullbacks.

    By the way, we looked plenty “fluid” on Thursday night. Was Ozil out there? No. Because we don’t need Ozil to look fluid. We do need Ceballos, we do need better overlapping fullbacks, we do need better than Pepe, and we do need to develop more chemistry between certain players.

  34. Gentlebris

    And if you bring a microphone near the genius now he will go on and on saying nothing again:

    ‘We want to continue in our way in the attacking moments also in the defensive moments. We want to show collectively and also individually our performance. We want to control games and find balance.’

    Play, repeat; play, repeat. He should make an audio of these usual lyrics and give it to media people to play it whenever he is suppose to face the media while he sits at home and drink Spanish beer.

  35. Champagne charlie


    I think he’s had good PR, the headers whilst on the floor and passion et al stands him in good stead. Until you realise he’s actually standing when making those headers…

    If I could build a more defensive inclined midfielder then Torreira is about as far removed from it as I can think. Would love to see him evolve into this beastly player, just think it’s wishful stuff. He’s not got the class to be a Veratti, and not a physical freak to be a Kante.

    Good player, just doesn’t suit it here and I’d have binned him to Italy the second he mentioned the weather being gash. Given me Doucoure over him in our squad and then we can talk leaving this or that player out.

    Also, makes two of us. Bit of heat in the chat but there’s nothing venomous in there. I save that for a select couple.

  36. InsideRight

    If it hasn’t become obvious to people by now, Emery hasn’t got a bloody scooby.

    The football is predictable and drab. The press of early last season (below average as it was) is now non existant. He doesn’t know his best XI, he doesn’t know where he wants his XI, he doesn’t know what he wants them to do.

    When he was hired he was supposed to be getting more out of the players we had. He’s been slack getting rid of poor players. Players we have brought in are misfiring. The only thing that has helped to paper over the cracks is the way the kids have kicked on. But even they will go into reverse if left under Emery’s control too long.

    The hunt for the next manager needs to be underway. Whether he scrapes top 4 or not, it’s time to say adios to Wallace and let him plan some new adventures with Gromit. I can’t stand seeing his state of bewilderment on the touchline as the lads are left mailing in these turgid performances.

  37. Leedsgunner

    As for Emery’s handling of Özil it is becoming a tragi-comedy.

    Having been burnt by Neymar’s dramatics Emery has gone to the other extreme to scorch out Özil completely… hoping to take the fans with him. However this is very shortsighted and completely reactive and results driven. No wonder Emery is afraid to be adventurous, he is literally afraid to death of failure. He lives from game to game because he knows he doesn’t have the time to flesh out a long term vision. The result, ultra conservative defensive football happy with boring draws as long as we don’t lose.

    This by the way is not an excuse for the boring dull football we have been served. With Emery at the helm, I honestly cannot see us winning the league because he has shown an inability to build a solid defence.

    You cannot build a league winning side if you cannot do this.

    Perhaps I’ll be pleasantly surprised when Bellerin and Tierney are fully utilised but I have my serious doubts.

  38. Champagne charlie

    Banford openly displaying a complete lack of understanding tone in written language.

    Harvard grad, degree in English no less. Slow clap for the American schooling system there.

  39. Graham62


    “With Emery at the helm I honestly can’t see us winning the league”

    You are joking.

    How do you expect us to win league when we’ve fallen so far behind other clubs over the past decade.

    Emery or Einstein at the helm, we ain’t going to win the league for a considerable time yet.

  40. Leedsgunner


    Call me a romantic but if Leicester can pull out an unexpected league championship why can’t we? Plus, wasn’t that the reason why we moved to the Emirates? Surely we have a better and a higher base than Leicester started with in 2016?

  41. BacaryisGod

    Good post Pedro. It’s always good to look at goal difference as an indicator of how firm our position in the table actually is. Not looking great there.

    Xhaka had that superb moment where he dived to to head a bouncing ball that he was nowhere near then got up and back to our penalty area. In the area he was fixated on putting his arms behind his back at the expense of actually running to close down the player with the ball. Total fucking idiot.

    Like Mustafi, he’s a cardboard replica of a player. He looks ok for much of the game but when it comes to key decisions requiring calm, intelligent thought his true brain dead nature appears.

  42. Graham62

    Ah yes, that’s right, we moved to the Emirates to compete with the likes of BM/RM/
    Barcelona etc.

    How’s that worked out?

  43. Danialtos

    Emery was given a 2 year contract with a remit to get Arsenal into the Champions league which,as things stand,he is on course to,unless I am missing something here,nobody ever said Emery is coming to win us the League,as some would like us to believe with this ‘EkBs’ bullshit

  44. HighburyLegend

    “if Leicester can pull out an unexpected league championship why can’t we?”
    Why ?? Probably because wenger is gone.

  45. Wenker-wanger

    “the table is a liar”.
    There are no “truths” left in football
    Opinion has replaced fact or common logic
    Get fcking real
    You are falling into a perspective trap of negativity
    Looking at the performance is one way and looking at results is another way….and equally valid.
    Now philosophy can be utilised here.
    As follows.
    Winning 1-0 and playing quite poorly can be argued that we are now a top team that can win ugly…..a phrase used constantly by pundits since I can recall.
    Emery has a remit of top four…or so im led to believe and fans on here seem to accept that. He’s on course for that, so I think that despite poor performances by players..(not tactics) emery is getting it right.(forget the Xhaka thing).
    So it’s perception and perspective that divides…NOT FACT.

  46. Wenker-wanger

    @ Thomas
    Widen your view to other managers…
    Poch,olly,lampard,pep? All sacked?
    Plus those managers at the bottom of the league…
    Just leaves klopp and about 8 others?
    You get my point?

  47. Wenker-wanger

    Wenger was a sacking delayed by 5 years…emery hasn’t had 2 seasons…
    Yeah signs are he isn’t gonna rip up trees like klopp….sure I can get that….but to constantly want him sacked?????
    He stands in 3rd position with a great momentum particularly in Europa playing the great talented kids…come on!!!!

  48. Bojangles

    It would make sense for a few of you guys to use cut and paste from last week’s blog, would save on typing.

  49. Goobergooner

    Un na naaii.

    “He’s Jose but without the charm, trophy and win record.
    He’s sucked the joy from arsenal completely in less than a season and it’s only getting worse and worse”

    Mate don’t get me wrong, you and I have differing views on The Arsenal but both want what’s best for the team; but you can’t actually be serious stating that Emery has sucked the life out of this team in under a year.

    Even with your ‘blind to arsenes failure’ goggles on, surely you could tell that the joy has slowly been sucked from this club for at least the last 5 years (FA cups aside).

    I am one of the few that tried to back Emery from the start and gave him a lot of leeway despite shit, because I was just too excited to see the back of Wenger; but just like Receding hairline and Marko, I can’t stand how contradictory some fans are compared to when Wenger was still in charge.
    Like someone else has said, akbs have now finally grown a pair and are only wanting what is best for the club now that a guy noone cares about is in charge.

    Emery has been shit for our style of play, but he has progressed in terms of points and got us to a final in Europe. Say what you want but it’s an improvement.

    In saying that next season we should be seeing a proper class act of a manager take over. We will have a proper squad, hopefully no Ozil or mustafi (or xhaka as captain) and we can kick on where we need to.

    Yes it’s draining having to watch arsenal play so shit. But he hasn’t properly failed yet. And all I can say is judge him in may.

  50. Goobergooner

    Or more to the point. Judge the club in may if we can finally make some proper positive decisions and move on a manager that isn’t taking us to the next level, and fix a shocking defense and midfield

  51. Goobergooner

    The thing here is,

    People wanted Arsene out because he was declining, but no one was getting any pleasure out of this decline.

    Now akbs are smug as fuck because the new man is shit. Which is why it’s hard to listen to people who backed Wenger to the end now thinking that their view is superior.

    A few of you should be ashamed of yourselves.

  52. RodneyKing

    October 6, 2019 19:13:03

    “United fans hounded out LVG who was building a good team. Serves them right the mess they are in now.”

    “That’s why we played that, in your eyes, “boring football”. We did not have too many creative players to increase the tempo of the ball and to use more vertical passes. But it was better than parking the bus, I think.” – Louís van Gaal

    Louis van Gaal may have been a very astute and technical coach but even he admitted that Manchester United under him played “boring football” because they lacked creative players, not withstanding that a player like Mata was in the team.

    Although, United finished 4th in his first season and won the F..A. Cup vs Crystal Palace (after extra time) in his 2nd season, his time there was a horror show, which ultimately led to his sacking. Let’s not rewrite history.

  53. Tony

    Good post Pedro but get rid of Emery first then Ozil if he can’t be bothered with the new manager’s tactics and needed performances from Him.

    Probably worth some comments considering how much manager chatter goes on here.

    “Could Mauricio Pochettino or Zinedine Zidane trigger a huge shake-up of the top-class managers?

    Here’s how even one move could change the game… with Jose Mourinho and Massimiliano Allegri waiting in the wings”

    Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has his players fearing he will walk away

    Zinedine Zidane is being criticised at Real Madrid and could end up leaving

    Managers leaving could impact on Jose Mourinho and Massimiliano Allegri

    Eddie Howe remains a prospect for England’s top jobs and could be involved

  54. Tony

    If Emery’s Xhaka antics and stale performances with his PL selections are not bothering Edu and Raul, then equally they are not the right management team for our club.

    To be honest I’m sick of Emery and potentially the suits not seeing what we all see and mostly agree with sans agendas.

    Emery operates in a paradoxical world where he can put out teams that are beginning to play cohesive and exciting football in the cups but has no clue about the PL.

    Goes to show Emery is a cup merchant manager.

  55. peanuts&monkeys

    Change the manager. He has done his job of being a substitute for the maggot Wenger. That will remain his biggest contribution. Now, we’ve had enough of Emery. Pl let him go.

  56. Nelson

    ” then got up and back to our penalty area. In the area he was fixated on putting his arms behind his back at the expense of actually running to close down the player with the ball. Total fucking idiot. ”

    This reminded me how Manure scored their goal. During a counter, he ran back to our penalty area with his arm behind his back. After the ball went to the right side, there were no opponents in the penalty area. There were two opponents in the 20 yards line. Instead of closing down the opponents, he just stood there and watched. He then ducked when the shot came. In short, Xhaka is not a smart defender.

  57. Bojangles

    I just watched the game again, this time dispassionately. I would suggest a few others do the same. There wasn’t much to cheer about it’s true but it wasn’t as dire as you (and I) made it out to be.

  58. Tony

    That was from the DM not my comment

    I can see how you’d come to the Howe conclusion.
    it’s Graham62 who champions Howe not me. I think he’s a mid table manager suited to Bournemouth as Moyes was to Everton and crap elsewhere

  59. Tony

    Xhaka is not smart period!

    Good at not losing keys, though, so perhaps I’m judging him badly ………….

    Nah he’s just got the key thing in his locker and president of the flat earther’s club.

  60. Dark Hei

    “I would suggest a few others do the same. ”

    Why would I bother to watch even the replays.

    I think getting it on the news is perfectly more enjoyable.

  61. Stephan Luc Larose

    Emery is an ass and an idiot. People forget that Ozil was with Arsenal in 2013/2014 when we had the best defence in the league and the best record away vs. the top 6. That’s because Wenger knew his strongest team and knew how to set the team up to play to his best players’ strengths. Emery has no fucking clue how to defend or attack, or what is best team/formation looks like. He keeps on saying “our way” but nobody can identify what that means.

    People say he has “tactical flexibility” but his approach seems scattershot and often times baffling. Why take off Pepe vs. Bournemouth–he was creating chances and he’s one of the only ones to take a shot on goal. The kid needs goals. Saka wasn’t brilliant and he’s younger–take him off instead! Why play narrow against Liverpool when they have the best fullbacks in the league–you’ve handed them the game! Why not play attacking football against a Man U side that is leaking goals and short on confidence? Nope, play hyper-defensive football and make the objective a single point. It’s a fucking pre-capitulation!

    Emery doesn’t seem to learn any lessons. He seems clueless and yet arrogant that if he just persists the same way he’ll get different result next time. 3rd place flatters this team, but if you compare this year to last you’ll see we’re actually going backwards despite having more depth and talent in the squad. I hope Emery turns things around, but I will be greatly surprised if we’re in the top four, and not surprised at all if we’re out of the top 6 by end of season. This guy doesn’t know his cock from his chips and he’ll be found out this season. I won’t say Emery out yet because the season is yet young and we’ve had a lot of turnover, but he inspires no confidence whatsoever. He really seems fucking clueless.

  62. DivineSherlock

    I agree with Pedro’s assessment mostly. Emery was on course last year too , but the wheels fell off. This season it looks on course until the fixture list piles up I guess. With the football becoming so bland and stale , I wonder if Emery really has any attacking strategy or tactical approach whatsoever.

  63. qna

    Peanuts. Great idea actually. I’d take Poch as the new manager.

    However, I suspect that with his next job, Poch wants to be given some money to spend. I’d rather have the Poch that brought through and developed young players. I want to see Saka, Martinelli, Nelson and Willock given game time and developed. They are still a bit raw to rely on too heavily, but definitely something there.

    Need a team without Xhaka, Sokratis, AMN as soon as possible. I’d like to see the following

    Bellerin Holding Luiz Tierney
    Guendouzi Willock
    Pepe Auba Martinelli

    Subs: Nelson, Saka, Lacazette

  64. Gentlebris

    And to think of the points we are losing because Emery is scared.

    West Ham beat United just before we played them, Newcastle beat them right after. But we couldn’t because Emery went there scared.

  65. DivineSherlock


    AMN is actually decent as a winger or on the right side of midfield ., RB wasn’t his natural position.

  66. Graham62


    I’m now 100% anti-Emery but please don’t look at the Ozil of 2013-14 with today’s present model.

    I agree though. Emery is confused and lacks the knowledge or ability to make our current crop of players tick.

    Taking Pepe off was wrong.

  67. Tony

    “Taking Pepe off was wrong.”

    Agree with you Graham, but I don’t believe Pepe will improve unless Emery plays to Pepe’s strengths using quick transitions from Defense to MF to Attack or Defense to Attack bypassing the MF.

    The main block to Pepe’s progression is the painfully slow Xhaka

  68. Un na naai


    Yes. I’ll agree. It was dire at the end under wenger and joyless.

    However. When Emery came striding into town he was representing a bright new era. A significant improvement on a coach at the end of his tether and at his lowest ebb.
    Even without signing a single player emery should have been able to improve on the performances wenger was producing.

    After all of the fantastic work in the summer, the £200m worth of first team additions and proving that we can put in performances against our rivals the club had re-engaged the feel good factor and bought emery a fair amount of good will.

    From the first whistle against Newcastle he’s offered up such joy sapping performances it’s hard to believe we’d changed a thing at all. What we are getting is no better than what we got in wenger’s last season.
    And no. I refuse to believe we are seeing an improvement. Only against rivals. Going to a final and getting drubbed while sacrificing an easier last 6 games in the league AND CL football does not signify that we’ve turned a corner

    And now this. We were asked to let him get some players in this summer. Clear the sores they said. So we did. And we watched and waited. Now here we are

    Yes I was one of the last to turn on wenger but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t see what was happening to him or that I didn’t want someone else to come in. When pep and klopp were available I was 100% up for hiring either and sacking wenger. But they didn’t.

    And no. I get no joy from seeing arsenal fail to perform. It pisses me off. It’s been too long and now with the squad we have and the money spent I’m expecting more on the pitch than we are seeing. A lot more. He’s been giving everything he could ask for but he is the one making all these confusing decisions

    He is the one misusing players and applying head scratching formations and tactics

    He’s the one freezing out ozil when we are crying for some flair and isolating over £200m of attacking talent.

    He’s the one creating holes in cmf.
    It’s all so fucking awful to watch. Every game is like a funeral under him. There’s no passion or desire or urgency.

    It’s so stifled and joyless.
    What was the point in sacking wenger and spending £200m just to end up exactly where we were before with WORSE players?

    I’m all for pragmatic football IF it works. This isn’t working. We are stumbling from one game to the next in hope rather than a convincing execution of a game plan.

    I’m just calling what I see goober. The guy was a bad hire. Most gooners have seen enough now to agree.

  69. Un na naai

    The main block to Pepe’s progression is the painfully slow Xhaka


    Or the insistence of holding the ball for so long in our own half, allowing the opposition to regain shape. At this stage, at the wry least, Pepe needs space to run into. Early balls into wide grass to let him pick it up and run at the space.

    Yes xakha underpinning the midfield is a problem but it’s not the sole reason for pepe and Aubameyang being so isolated. It’s the entire set up. They are feeding off scraps with confused instructions. Only for Aubameyang being so utterly clinical we’d be 13 points (I think read) worse off.

    Having bellerin and Tierney as marauding full backs will only confound this issue with Pepe as it will force him inside to the congested areas. Maybe his game will adapt to that but right now at the spring of his arsenal career it’s not what he needs.

    Champagne was right. He should have been getting games in the cups to ease him into life at arsenal and when his confidence is up start blooding him in the prem.

    It’s the most physically demanding league in the world. Not everyone hits the ground running.

    I’m still sure he will come good. He’s too talented not to.

  70. Wasi

    Pep wasnt a flop at Bayern. 3 Continuous Semi finals in the CL and utter dominance in the domestic league. And that was around the time when Madrid were at absolute peak.

    While Emery took over a more dominant team in a weaker league. He lost the league to Kids . Threw the defensive structure out the window. And then With Unlimited budget couldnt get past the RO16. Is this Success?

  71. Tony

    That was also my meaning of ‘painfully slow’

    Slow on the ball and slow to move the ball forward with far too much ball retention.

    With the right manager Pepe could become a special player but he’s still very raw for a 24 year old, so time is of the essence.

  72. Un na naai


    Yeah. Maybe. This word raw is bandied about a lot but I’m not sure raw is the right word here

    He’s adapting, low on confidence and not turning and dribbling with the panache and verge of a winger in the groove. Once he gets his finger on the pulse AND is not left so isolated I’m sure he’ll turn raw into phwoar!!

  73. siddharth14

    Arsenal supporters are going crazy blaming the manager and the players in different proportion. The thing is almost all of them are in the extreme end of the spectrum. The Emery is doing fine and we are having a bang average squad while the other being Emery is out of his depth. There are some people who have somehow deduced that binning Xhaka will do wonders but this is really far fetched. Even though Xhaka is having his fair share of issues.

    The answer i think lies somewhere in between but still heavily sided towards Emery. What ever game plan Emery is coming up with, it is either not being executed properly by the players or it is turning out to be too complicated for them. In both the cases, it is on Emery to come up with a working system which should go from strength to strength from time to time. The least we can expect is we are either solid in defence or good in attack. However, we are struggling on both the fronts even after a full season and about 10 games, which should raise serious doubts about Emery.

    The best thing we can hope for is Emery gets us Top 4 and the Board moves for a different candidate. With the wretched form of Spurs and Manure, we are going to limp in Top 4 or will be in with a shout till the end of the season. In which case, Emery is probably going to complete his tenure.

    Rather than failing spectacularly under Emery, with a new manager in and missing out on top 4, the better thing is for Arsenal to finish 4th and a nice goodbye to Unai…..

  74. qna

    Devine. Dont agree. AMN doesnt have a footballing brain. I dont think you can build a team that needs to be tactically intelligent to overcome clubs with billion pound squads by having dumb players. Xhaka, AMN, Sokratis and Mustafi are really dumb footballers in my opinion. AMN is worse because he has poor skills. His first touch is terrible.

    As long as we can’t have a billion pound squad of our own there is room for squad players and perhaps AMN isnt the worst option since he covers multiple positions. But I really dont see what he adds. He isnt skillful or creative enough to consistently create for us going forward and he will be a liability defensively. I think he is just about a premier league standard player so we should take the chance now to cash in on him and bring the next player through the youth ranks to take his place. We should be developing a player of AMN level every couple of seasons and selling them on in my opinion.

  75. Bob N16

    On a positive note, I feel that our squad has progressed well since Wenger’s departure. By the start of next season I’m confident we will have shipped out Mustafi, Özil and 1/2 others and with four coming in, I honestly feel we’ll be on an exciting, upward trajectory.

    Having such a talented group of youngsters in the 18-20 range means that our potential is fantastic. There is a caveat, Wilshere is I’m afraid a classic example of a young player looking like a potential world beater who faded. But we have four 18 year olds (I include Saliba, he looked decent yesterday, first time I’ve watched him play a match) who look to have enough ability to play in the first team now, let alone how good they’ll be if they improve significantly.

    If you add Tiernay and Guendouzi to that group, even if they don’t all fulfil their potential, if we sell any of them the fees we get will contribute nicely to our transfer budget. That net transfer spend could be helped by others such as AMN, Nelson, Holding, Chambers if they are considered worth upgrading.

    Medium term our future looks so much better than a couple of years ago when we had too many players being paid silly money and not being able to sell them for any appreciable fees.

    I remember calling up LBC as a 14year old bemoaning the fact that Brady, my boyhood hero, was only being sold for £500,000 (the limit at the time for a European transfer!). Expecting my indignation to be sympathised with, the presenter attacked me for treating Brady in terms of a financial commodity. I was speechless then, now the financial side it if not at the fore front of conversations is just tucked behind.

  76. Guns of Hackney

    Has Pepe been sold yet or loaned out?

    Anyone else think that Sokratis was fed by catapult by his parents when he was a baby?

  77. Un na naai


    He didn’t just fade. He was overused and ruined through injury whilst being shunted around. Same with ox Theo and Ramsey

  78. Grouvillegooner

    Some humble suggestions for Unai.

    Pick Chambers and Holding as the starting centre backs by the end of this month.

    Do not think that Ozil is the solution to creativity , he will create but there are so many things that he does not do and it has been like this from the day that he signed.

    Stop picking Xhaka

    Stop defenders putting their hands behind their backs.

    Try to make your thoughts at press conferences more rational and less of a rambling confusion of thoughts (this might lead to more coherent team selection).

    Keep Pepe’s confidence up until the end of November and if he has not delivered by then squad player only for the rest of the season.

  79. Kamp

    The rhetoric surrounding winning ugly and keeping a clean sheet is disappointing, but not at all surprising.
    Try looking at it from a positive point of view. We are slowly rediscovering old characteristics; winning ugly, scrapping, standing up for each other. Not being bullied. You can’t look at an ugly win and say ‘where’s the flair’ , nor can you look at us thumping relegation fodder and complaining we are flat track bullies.

    Like it or not, Emery won this week and his detractors have lost. The future looks good off the back of the Europa showings, and City are probably less good than we are really shit, so competing with them is not out of the question.

    The issue with our performance is valid. But not solely on Emery. I think people forget how shit wenger left the squad. There was simply nothing there; no courage, culture, creativity or self-belief. Emery tried with Ozil but he is shot, practically useless in the modern game.

    Emery still needs a proper DM, imposing DC and someone to unlock the opposition.

    The first two are easier, Boly and Docoure are genuine options, and not impossible in January. the third, everyone is after. Even Hazard is struggling at Madrid. It isn’t easy to fins these players.

    Can ziyeach be the guy?

    Third in the league, a point behind city? There isn’t a pundit around who would have given us that by this stage.

    Hats off to Emery for getting it done with squad still missing major components. He still has things to prove, but I bet he’s sleeping better than Poch or Ole

  80. Un na naai


    It’s fine winning ugly if there are clear signs on the pitch that it’s working and we aren’t fluking our way through matches. But we aren’t. We are open in midfield and shipping more chances than ANY TEAM in the top 5 leagues.
    We are poor in every area of the pitch. I’m happy to win ugly if our defence is limiting chances and organised
    If our midfield move the ball early and with purpose
    If the attack is playing wide and on the shoulder ready to counter and knowing fully that our deep bank will find them at every available opportunity

    The way emery has us set up is like two negative ends of a battery.
    Slow from the back but not keeping possession isolates the attack

    It’s either quick counter attacks or slow build ups

    It’s like he’s trying to do both from our own area and obviously it’s not working. No wonder the players are confused

  81. Bojangles

    I’ve been browsing a few Un**ed and spuds blogs.

    At Un**Ed they seem evenly split between OGS and the players being to blame. Some blaming the Glazers.

    Spuds are all over the place but there seems to be a general consensus that can best be summarised with three words. Poch Knows Best.

    I did get a laugh from this though.

    “The question everyone wants an answer to is whether Pochettino is the man that can take Spurs back to their former glory. Or is it time the Argentinian capitulates like his team has in recent weeks?”

  82. Edu me a favour

    If we look back to how emery got the job , we were told that he jumped in and stole away the position with his detailed file on each player , and how he would improve them – (we all read this story , how true it is I don’t know , but I can only go on what we were told) – now correct me if I’m wrong here , but do we think that he has improved the players like he said he would ? No.
    I mean , it seems that was his usp when he was being interviewed , no ?
    he had this dossier on each player and then it all played out like this :
    freeze out Aaron and Ozil
    Mustafi had a nightmare
    cech was exposed as not being able to pass a ball out the back properly and was subsequently dropped
    We still can’t play out of the back without looking like conceding
    chambers was loaned out and became player of the season for that club under another coach
    Xhaka is the worst he’s ever been
    Kola is still the same – he runs , but only forwards
    Mkhi stayed the same – crap – and came out and said he didn’t love football while at arsenal after he got loaned out
    All the kids bar Guendouzi (who was a happy accident) didn’t really get a sniff nelson was loaned out
    Esr played in the Europa last season then was loaned out
    Torriera is not the player we saw when he first came
    All the kids having great performances now are doing so after Freddie was installed as no2 a fact we have all witnessed and we have been told categorically that he’s the go between

    It’s like those detailed files were a bit of a blag – he didn’t do anything like improve the players – fair enough we can take into account the injuries to hector etc but in the grand scheme of things , he hasn’t really done anything that makes you think we’re so lucky we’ve got him. I think what it boils down to is that after wenger – the arsenal job was always going to be a bigger and longer project than what anybody thought , gazidis new this and jumped at the first opp ( not that we miss him of course , he was part of the prob) but I think Raul saw this a little while after they hired emery , and realised he needed to start doing a madness , so he started cleaning house , had a great window (Pepe will come good) Raul is looking at it like , ‘emery May or may not get CL this season but, I can get rid of him for free in May ‘ so that’s why he’s letting this play out – it makes more sense to do it that way than to sack him now.

    For all emery’s files – ultimately he was just a transitional manager , and we all need to be at peace with that , because Arsenal is a long project and he’ll be gone in May

  83. Goobergooner

    Un na,

    Best comment from you I’ve read.

    I don’t want to wait the season out to see proper on field progress, but I can’t for the life of me see Emery being sacked unless the table is showing us done and dusted for even 4th place at any stage of the season.

    The summer seemed to be one of the most exciting in recent times but our manager seems to be overwhelmed with the responsibility.

    Surely Emery can get these fellas playing with some sort of style. He needs to get a few pints down and just let loose haha.