Emeryball fever strikes – I actually enjoyed the game, so did you

by & filed under News Review.

via @Arsenal Instagram

Emeryball is more than a style of football, it’s a disease that deteriorates your expectations.

I should be fuming this morning. I should be spitting BLOOD! But I’m not. In the grand scheme of 2019 Arsenal, that performance was pretty good.

We played some neat paces, the front three had some lovely combinations that focused more through the middle of the park, and Pepe looked much, much better.

Be honest with me and yourself. That wasn’t bad. Compared to some of the games we’ve won this season, it was pretty ok.

Therein lies the problem. Emeryball has us in a fever, symptoms include constantly reevaluating reality, then undervaluing what progress should look like. Fans are using whichever metric is on hand to support the dismal prosecution of ‘this is pretty ok.’

Last season we hung our hats on comebacks, early subs, the 22 game unbeaten run, DRIVE, DETERMINATION, PASSION, PLANNING, all the double sessions, Ozil dropped, Ramsey binned, a manager dancing down the touchline. We willfully ignored what the performances were telling us, because the rhetoric was like nothing we’d seen before, and we wanted to believe in the new dawn.

This season, we’re looking at the paper metrics, because looking up from the Premier League points totaller to see what’s really happening is too damn unnerving to consider.

‘The table doesn’t lie’, yells the blinkered cuck…

Oh yes she does, you’re at home with her reading Inverting the Pyramid, but as soon as you nod off, she’s fucking the next-door neighbour in the bushes… and his name is F.Shite-Performance. You’ll wake up to it eventually, but it’ll be in March when you’ve caught a nasty bout of Europa-League-itis. Third infection in three years, you might be a carrier.

Unai Emery isn’t a fraud, he’s just fallen up the stairs since Sevilla and the people hiring him haven’t paid attention to the details. The issues we’re dealing with now were absolutely obvious if you’d undertaken even the most basic of due diligence.

We hired in someone that failed at PSG because he couldn’t handle the egos of the dressing room. A manager that has no history of being able to organise a robust defence, averaging 49 goals a season at Sevilla, whilst adding 30% to a record-setting PSG defence he inherited. He couldn’t master the French or Russian languages. He has been in England well over a year and his press conferences still sound like he’s a struggling pedicab driver trying to flog you a Halloween tour of his city. He played negatively at Valencia and Sevilla. He was given the most expensively assembled side in world football and the players complained he spent too much time worrying about the opposition.

He’s now at Arsenal and we’re looking to nick a goal on the counter away at Sheffield United, and he can’t even pull that off.

The goods we are now critically inspecting are exactly what we purchased. So don’t complain. There will be no refund. This was all in the product description.

You can’t blame the players.

You can’t blame Edu.

You can’t blame the high winds of Sheffield. Mike Riley. The penalty shout.

It’s all on the manager.

Most curious fans are wondering what Edu and Raul see. They both know what good football looks like. They know what the kids are capable of, they know where the ceiling of our senior players sits… so what do they think of Emery? His vision? The atmosphere in the stadium? What do they think of our results given the context?

It’s intriguing to wonder what they’ll do should this continue. They have bet next summer’s money on making the Champions League. If Emery can’t muster more than 2 shots on target at a newly promoted team, what the hell do they think is going to happen when it comes to that nasty December crunch?

We are nearly in November. There has been no improvement in any area this season, and it ‘s hard to point to what shifted last year. The publicly available metrics we’re seeing all point south, I hear the private metrics are even more damning, there’s no organisation, we’re not doing the basics right, and we’re sitting here looking at that game last night thinking that the performance was ‘pretty ok.’

We hired a self-proclaimed protagonist that doesn’t want to provoke. He’s actually a pragmatist, but he only understands the negative football side of the equation. We don’t get the rock-solid defence, aggressive pressing, and the DIE for the cause attitude. How can you make it this far as a bad pragmatist?

I am constantly told there’s no way the club will terminate his deal during the season, but I keep asking myself how that can be the stance? Our strategy surely can’t be, ‘hope Spurs and United continue to be shit’… can it?

There are two coaches waiting in the wings that could make an impact. I don’t want to mention their names, but both can organise a defence, and both know how to make the top 4.

Bold leadership would make the decision early and try and rescue the team from the steeper challenge that’ll come if we allow the rot to continue. It should not take longer than 18 months to organise a defence. It should not take 18 months to define a style. We should not look like we’re day one of a transition, but that is where we are.

The reason we don’t have any of the basics in place is because we hired a manager out of his depth, the sooner we own up to that reality, the sooner we can attack this season and release the true talents of the most likeable/talented squad in 15 years.

Until then, get used to enjoying ‘pretty ok’ performances whilst losing to teams like Sheffield United away from home on a cold Monday night.

Emeryball fever; god bless it, at least I was too delirious to see the game for what it really was.

See you in the comments. xx

 

668 Responses to “Emeryball fever strikes – I actually enjoyed the game, so did you”

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  1. Normski

    CC

    I get what youre saying re Grealish and he’s prem ready and that counts for a lot when you want an immediate impact. Like Zaha v Pepe both good players but is that extra £25-£30m and being younger with a higher potential ceiling worth the trade off? This occasion we’d be getting a prem ready player with all the upside but would we pay the piper for JG?

    Still think we could get both players if Ozil is off at the end of the season cos we do lack creativity. Albeit unnecessary when we have other pressing needs like a pure CM and a dominant CB.

  2. Chris

    Bristol City are seemingly ready to step in and loan Nketiah if his Leeds loan is cut short in January.

    I would be in favour of this. I am surprised Nketiah hasn’t played more at Leeds but it seems Bamford suits the style of play he prefers more. A loan is still a good move for Nketiah at this stage and still in the bustling nature of the Championship also.

  3. HighburyLegend

    Rectification : did Raul and Edu give Unai a job he can’t do ?
    (That’s not exactly the same thing…)

    Over to you, the so called “saviors” of Arsenal.

  4. HighburyLegend

    Charlie Nicholas : “Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin are the two best full-backs at the club – he has to play them”

    Unai don’t want to – except in his darling competition.
    But hey, Edu and Raul don’t give a shit about that fact, so there’s still hope!! lol

  5. Mr Man

    Our problems are definitely not increasing — indeed they have been decreasing daily since Wenger departed — nor are they morphing. We’ve improved in terms of organization, discipline, collective defending and pressing. No question

    Spat my coffee out when I read this. Absolute classic

  6. Pierre

    I said it in August and I will say it now , Nketiah should have been made to stay at the club as he will get more game time at Arsenal.

    In the next 6 days we have Europa and then liverpool in the league cup .

    Could have played a front 3 of Martinelli, Nketiah , Saka in those games …

  7. Champagne charlie

    Mr.Man

    Yea, still eager to learn how we’re better disciplined, organised, and better at collective defending and pressing…

    Shockingly there’s been absolutely no evidence offered up to support such wild nonsense.

  8. raptora

    Not many teams want to have a poacher as their CF. Back in the time when 4-4-2 was the classic formation there was a place for the players that lack physicality cause most players that are considered a fox-in-the-box are usually shorter players.

    That’s why I see Nketiah’s future in a weaker team than ours. He has to be absolutely elite poacher like Falcao, who has phenomenal heading capability btw same as Griezmann, or there is just no place for a player like him in any big team in Europe. Jesus from Man City is maybe similar in that regard but he’s quite the elite talent with 28 goals for Palmeiras by the age of 19. Chicharito is another example.

    Most teams either play a link-up forward like Firmino and Benzema who can hold the line but would not score 30 goals a season, maybe Giroud could be addded in that category as well, or a physical forward like Lewa, Lukaku, Ibrahimovic. Then there are freaks of nature who are good in all sides of the game basically in Luis Suarez and Aguero. My hope is that Laca could become a similar type of player for us.

    Auba is a weird one cause he has pace and long shot. He surely doesn’t just sit in the box and wait for the ball to come either. He likes to link up with his teammates and then run inside the box. He goes to the flanks. He’s trying to mix his poacher game with other traits like going more to the flanks, dropping deeper to receive the ball, he has decent dribbling skills as well. A weird one though as he’d stay away from physical interventions more than your regular striker.

  9. Mr Man

    Is the defence better? No. Is midfield more cohesive and solid? No. Do we create lots of chances for our strikers? No. All the stats back this up so no idea where he is coming from with the improvement line

  10. Graham62

    Pierre

    As I said earlier today, it would be interesting to see what Chris Wilder could do with our squad.

    Far better than Emery one feels.

  11. Nelson

    Speaking about header, Emery should demand Guen to practice how to keep his position before heading the ball. So often, he ducts when the ball arrives allowing the opponent to lean on him and win the header.

  12. Pierre

    Raptora
    a striker who scores 20+ goals a season will always be a wanted commodity.

    Only time will tell if Nketiah is capable of such numbers.

    His all round game is improving all the time , to me he looks like he has the desire and ability to make it .

  13. Un na naai

    raptoraOctober 23, 2019 14:06:39
    Not many teams want to have a poacher as their CF. Back in the time when 4-4-2 was the classic formation there was a place for the players that lack physicality cause most players that are considered a fox-in-the-box are usually shorter players.

    Raptora

    Really?

    Ian Wright
    Alan Shearer
    Les Ferdinand
    Andy Cole
    Dwight Yorke
    Ruud v.Nistelrooy
    Raul
    Morientes
    Fernando Torres
    Vieri
    Davor Suker

    And er, James Beattie

    All considered fox in the box strikers. All physical.

  14. Un na naai

    Raptora

    What are you talking about? Our first choice striker offers nothing outside of goals

    No build up, link up, passing, no runs behind, no dribbling, no crossing, no physicality.

    Just instinct and finishing. Why would Nketiah not be able to replicate this?

  15. raptora

    Not sure if you got what I meant Don. I’m not even surprised though.

    There were a lot of iconic, complementary partnerships in the EPL in the 90s and the beginning of the 2000s. Owen and Heskey, Phillips and Niall Quinn, Peter Beardsley and Andy Cole, we had Bergkamp and Wright.

    Everyone knew their job on the pitch and not be asked to do everything.

    Our own Francis Jeffers couldn’t play as the lone striker so his career died as the 4-4-2 formation died.

    Dwight Gayle would score over 20 goals in Championship as a typical fox-in-the-box and would find himself struggling to even score 5 in the EPL.

    It’s a dying breed and at the highest level you have got to have many more skills in your game.

    In an era with Ronaldo, RvP, Aguero, Suarez, Tevez, Drogba to name a few, you’ve got to have a range of diverse talents.

    Although, imagine asking Shearer to press the opponent players or be the first line of defence for his team.

  16. peanuts&monkeys

    Sack Emery! He doesn’t deserve all this investment, this squad. If Arsenal board cares about the money spent, they must have lined up a replacement already. If not, this club has gone to the gutters totally

  17. DigitalBob

    The SkySport’s article is exactly how a few feel on here, Charlie Nichola’s in particular I feel is incredibly accurate although I disagree about Holding as its too soon to say if he’s more Upson than Adams.

    In regards to Eddie, he’d get no real minutes here so a championship loan is a great idea. Bielsa could start him a bit more but if your a team that likes a link-up guy upfront Eddie is not your guy.

  18. Nelson

    I understand why Guen loses all those header badly. He prefers to wait for the ball to arrive before heading the ball. This won’t work when you are defending a corner kick or a free kick. There are opponents all around you. They’ll jump before you. You’ll disappear underneath the opponent(s). What he should do is moving forward and jump to meet the ball.

  19. Samesong

    You guys will get to hear my voice over for the ad for the Barclays womens super league next month. I also done the Messi 15 years one also but was shit lol didn’t get it and someone else did..

  20. Left testicle

    “In my career, it’s normal to have criticism of our work in the difficult moments, of my job, our team, the players,” he told his press conference.

    “On one hand, we have the supporters and their opinion, and we need to accept that. My focus is improving in the next match, seeing how we can improve on things.

    “Also, it’s how we can little by little get ahead, doing our steps in that way, progressing and achieving our immediate target. That’s winning tomorrow. We also want to improve things.

    “We are at the beginning of this season and we have won two matches playing very well in this competition [the Europa League], with very good results.

    “We lost a very big opportunity in the Premier League on Monday to finish third in the table. We are now fifth, so we have another chance on Sunday. We know we can improve and we need to improve, so we have to get better in our way.

    “It’s one process and here the most important thing is our strategy. Our strategy is, when I was watching the games in my office last season, we changed 10 players out of the 24 players we had. That’s 40 per cent, more or less.

    “We are now using new players and some young players to give them chances, to give them confidence playing for the future. We want to have that performance with them. With that process, I’m happy.

    “I’m disappointed in the result on Monday because we had a very good opportunity to win three points. We are in our way and we need to have one strategy.

    “The most important thing is the team and the club, and also that our objective is clear. It’s about where we want to get to, where we want to arrive.

    “We are at the beginning and I am very confident. I have belief in the players, in our work, the club’s strategy, in every player and in our way with our job.”
    ……………………………….

    See what I mean, he says a lot without saying anything. What a load of waffle. About 80% of that is duplicated in all of his press conferences.

  21. Samesong

    I understand why Guen loses all those header badly. He prefers to wait for the ball to arrive before heading the ball. This won’t work when you are defending a corner kick or a free kick. There are opponents all around you. They’ll jump before you. You’ll disappear underneath the opponent(s). What he should do is moving forward and jump to meet the ball.

    Nelson theres the old trick of putting off the jumper also by using your body. I just think Guen not fully bulked up yet and he will get stronger.

  22. Left testicle

    UNAI EMERY PRESS CONFERENCE BINGO

    ‘It’s one process’ tick
    ‘The most important thing is our strategy’ tick
    ‘We want to have that performance with them’ tick
    ‘We are in our way’ tick
    ‘We are at the beginning’ tick

    BINGO

  23. Samesong

    What’s wrong with waffles ?? With a bit of Nutella on it, it’s delicious!!

    Emery waffles are full of average ingredients. And may change drastically from week to week. with flavours not even combining very well.

  24. Rambo Ramsey

    “We’ve improved in terms of organization, discipline, collective defending and pressing. No question.”

    Lmfao. Imagine being Bamford’s student…

  25. WengerEagle

    GD of +1 after 9 matches. Conceded 12, have kept just 2 PL cleans sheets. Scored just 13 PL goals, 7 of which have been scored by Aubameyang.

    Massive improvements clearly being made as Bamford alludes to.

  26. Graham62

    raptora

    Dwight Gale is a wasted commodity.

    Never given a real chance at CP, although I remember him coming off the bench and scoring twice against Liverpool in 2014.

    Imo, given the right service, he could have excelled in the EPL.

  27. Cesc Appeal

    Team I’d play tomorrow: Martinez, Bellerin, Sokratis, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Willock, AMN, Smith Rowe, Martinelli, Saka,

    Holding, Torreira, Tierney, Dani Ceballos etc must start on Sunday.

    Xhaka, Kolasinac, Sokratis must be benched.

    Don’t want this never ending cycle of shite weekends with dross playing followed by fresh, energetic, balanced performances midweek to then be told those players can’t play at the weekend after playing Thursday.

  28. Graham62

    Left testicle

    I’m with you on that one.

    If this is how he communicates with the players, we’re screwed.

    Yep, sorry Unai, you have to go.

  29. HighburyLegend

    “Holding, Torreira, Tierney, Dani Ceballos etc must start on Sunday.”

    Zero chance, they’re playing tomorrow, and they will need some rest.
    (lol)

  30. Un na naai

    Gun

    Bamford has mugged himself off again

    Marko, Freddie L and the likes are hiding under the bed after backing emery to the hilt.

    Emery’s stock as at its lowest yet

  31. Champagne charlie

    “GD of +1 after 9 matches. Conceded 12, have kept just 2 PL cleans sheets. Scored just 13 PL goals, 7 of which have been scored by Aubameyang.“

    Yea but have you seen our organisation, pressing, and collective defending? It’s a modern marvel

  32. Spanishdave

    The players and Emery keep saying, ‘ we will improve’ but we don’t.
    After 60 plus games we have not improved at all.
    He is in the denial stage now.

  33. Cesc Appeal

    Bob N16

    That would be reasonable.

    Might even not play one just to give Lacazette some minutes and be able to take him off after a couple of goals.

    You just know what’s coming though.

    The bipolar way Emery treats some players, rightfully dropping Ozil but then being wedded to dross like Xhaka and Kolasinac, is baffling.

  34. Champagne charlie

    Fully expect some changes, then the same lot to wax lyrical about said faces as if we’re not playing a Sunday league outfit.

    The EL is Emery’s stay of execution because he gets to deliver false promise lapped up by the ready and willing. If we were coming up against semi-competent CL sides we’d be looking like a Bolton side that snuck into Europe.

    Thankfully we’re playing Vitoria or some bollocks and will score 5, then act like we’ve just neutered peak Milan.

  35. Graham62

    Hypothetically speaking, if our EL team played our EPL team, who would win?

    I think we all know the answer to that one.

    Very worrying.

  36. Bob N16

    HighburyL, getting in touch with a turkey about Xmas seems a little messed up.

    CA – genuinely baffled how Emery cannot see what he should do to ensure we have our best 11 out for PL games.

    CC – you’re basically saying the fact that we appear a much better team midweek is down to playing weaker opposition and not because we have a better balanced line up, with several players appearing who should start PL matches?

  37. Nelson

    Emery:”“The most important thing is the team and the club, and also that our objective is clear. It’s about where we want to get to, where we want to arrive.”

    We are now reaching 10% of Liverpool. There is still 90% to go…… ““We are at the beginning”

    Unai Emery

  38. Pierre

    Bob
    “you’re basically saying the fact that we appear a much better team midweek is down to playing weaker opposition”

    I can guarantee you that the Arsenal team that played against Sheffield utd would hammer teams like forest , liege and Vitoria .

    If Martinelli played away to Manchester united and Sheffield utd ,I doubt very much he would have 4 goals to his name, so yes ,the quality of the opposition should be put into the equation when evaluating performances.

  39. Champagne charlie

    “you’re basically saying the fact that we appear a much better team midweek is down to playing weaker opposition and not because we have a better balanced line up“

    Yes, I don’t buy the idea that suggests selecting the ‘right’ XI is what’s holding us back.

    The reason we’ve been better in 3 midweek games is down to the utterly inferior opposition on each occasion. The second we’ve faced a PL side that runs and hassles, or a side with genuine quality, we’ve huffed and puffed and largely relied on poor finishing from the opponent to spare our blushes.

  40. Chris

    Generally agree that the quality of opposition is obviously a huge factor in our level of performance, although that said it will be great to have Tierney and Bellerin back in the team for league games, and there has been more than a few occasions where our midfield has looked far more fluid and dynamic with Xhaka in it.

    The overall concern remains however that we lack an identity and do not excel in any department on the pitch. Hard to see who we are and where we are going so to speak.

  41. Cesc Appeal

    Bob N16

    I don’t know if it’s an issue of he genuinely doesn’t see how much players like Xhaka hold us back or whether he thinks once he’s playing Torreira at CDM, Holding, Bellerin, Tierney, once Auba, Laca and Pepe get a run together…if he does that and things still don’t look great there’s no cover left.