Ain’t no party like a Thursday night party… was literally me until last night.
Overall, what a shite game that was.
The kids offered us up a prime serving of first-team-T-bone steak and it was not delicious.
Our midfield was porous, the defence was all over the place, and we made a pub team look as dangerous as the menace that was Sheffield United on Monday.
We went one goal down after 8 minutes. The familiar theme of having no midfield to protect the defence was apparent. Three of our ‘THEY’LL SAVE EMERY’ defenders conspired to give Edwards space to convert from 8 yards (Hector, KT, RH). Very embarrassing, but at least only 50% of of the stadium was there to see it.
You kind of hoped it was just a typical Emery start, that maybe we’d clunk back into gear and start treating the Portuguese outfit with the disrespect they deserved. We didn’t, we actually managed to make things worse. Zero shape in the middle, constantly exposed to the counter-attack, organisational chaos all around.
We clawed one back though, Kieran Tierney found the head of the Brazilian Kevin Davies, 5 goals for Gabriel. Sadly, it didn’t take long to gift the advantage back, AMN, sitting in centre midfield, turned into traffic, Vitoria broke against a weak damn and breached with a response within 4 minutes.
All I can say about the second half is the manager subbed in the correct players, namely, Nicolas Pepe. The much-maligned Ivorian showed his class with two brilliant freekicks from different positions. The first was from further out and curled precisely into the far left of the goal. The second was a rocket from closer range at the death from about 20 yards.
Majestic. BUT WHERE WAS THE GOAL IN OPEN PLAY?! Just jokes kids, I love Pepe.
So what did we learn?
Well, it seems clear that Unai Emery is losing the PR battle. He was booed fairly at half time by the 12 fans that bothered to show up to the game. His second string were as insipid as the regulars. We were a mess and my diagnosis is that the Premier League infection finally spread to the Europa League kids. We didn’t deserve to win, but we did. Last season, fans would have buried their heads in ‘BUT THIS IS WENGER’S TEAM,’ this season, I think people are wising up to the reality… performances matter and we’re still not delivering them.
The reality of the Emery is this: It doesn’t matter who he puts on the pitch, no one has a fucking clue what he wants. The gap between midfield and attack is so wide, it often looks insurmountable, the only option is a long ball… then when play switches, all our midfielders are behind the play. There’s no structure to our setup. Do we even bother playing between the lines? Our midfield seems offended by the concept, which makes our play incredibly one-dimensional.
Kieran Tierney, Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin all add a bit of quality to proceedings, but they can’t fix an average manager that lacks the basic skills… like, you know, communicating in English.
‘Language isn’t important’
Real debate last season.pic.twitter.com/lJ0swF0eHO
— Le Grove (@LeGrove) October 25, 2019
It’s quite amazing that I had to debate the merits of language last season, but it’s so fucking obvious, if you can’t master the native tongue, you’re going to fail. Above is Robin, one of the greatest Arsenal strikers I’ve ever witnessed, calling out the fucking obvious: Communication matters. Poor English is a barrier, but more to the point, even if you could speak Spanish, would the ideas be any clearer? Doubtful.
Can I just repeat: People challenged the view that hiring a coach that couldn’t speak English was a bad idea. Seriously. That’s the internet at its best.
Mesut Ozil continues to be a problem. He’s out here posting a picture of himself looking like your mum’s best friend Trisha who works in ESSEX TRIMS in Clapton and the internet has gone wild.
‘Babes, I’m like, Trisha Gandhi right now, frosted tips and non-violent protest always’
The whole internet reacted viciously to his omittance from the squad. A bit unfair, Mesut hangs out with dictators, probably injured himself playing computer games last season, and he seems to have a deeper aversion to a hard days work than that bitch grasshopper who fucked about all summer while the squirrel gathered nuts. Point is, only Emery could lose a PR war to someone that’s a dosser. To be clear, I’m on Ozil’s side for no real reason other than the slight suspicion that if Emery is for something, I should be against it.
Emery won the battle yesterday, but perversely, that was another savage blow on his effort in the mighty war.
A lot of Arsenal players liked that androgynous Ozil Instagram picture. That tells you something. Firstly, they have bad taste in pictures, secondly, the players are siding with their teammate. When things go south for Emery, it’s going to be a tsunami that strikes him… and it’ll be far more brutal than anything Wenger ever faced.
Why? Because the players know they can end Emery.