It’s going to be a fairly quick post from me today, I’m mainly writing this now because I did a podcast with a friend who was over from London, check it out at the bottom of this blog!
Today was all about the battles Emery hasn’t really won. Namely, he had to drop Granit Xhaka from the squad after his captain refused to tow the party line and apologise for his nonsense on Monday. He also brought Mesut Ozil back into the fold after banishing him a week ago very publicly.
The starting 11 kind of looked interesting on paper, we opted for a 4-4-2, which looked 4-2-1-3 in transition. I think it was quite hard for anyone to really tell what the message of the day was tactically. The most glaring, ‘what the fuck is Emery doing’, was happening with Ozil. The manager in his ultimate wisdom had decided that he’d put LT in the #10 role, asking Mesut Ozil to drop deep and do the dirty work with the Matteo.
Name me a coach anywhere in the world that would opt for that as an approach without consuming at least 19 beers beforehand.
It was painful to watch Mesut drop deep and have to work the ball up the pitch, a task made even more difficult by a Matteo G having a seriously out of sorts day. The Frenchman had the type of bad game young players have, he couldn’t string a pass together and nothing went right for him.
In spite of the baffling tactical approach, we did score a goal and move ahead of Wolves. A Luiz and Chambers combo on the right found Lacazette who unselfishly teed up Auba for a simple slotted finish.
We weren’t really in control of the game though, in the second half, Wolves ramped up the pressure and found a breakthrough. The only part of this bitter taste was the subs. Emery tried to defend the lead this time by taking off Torreira and Lacazette for Gabriel and Saka. Hindsight is a beautiful thing, but in this situation, I think we simply learned that Emery doesn’t have a clue how to defend a lead regardless of the personnel. That’s three leads in a week he’s spunked up the wall, two from 2 goal leads. He’s tried bringing on defenders and failed and he’s tried keeping things attack-minded and also failed.
The goal was typical Arsenal. A quick Wolves throw, Ceballos was flat-footed, Moutinho hooked an unchallenged cross into the box and no one was quicker to the ball than Raul. A total switch off that felt oh so familiar.
Emery reverted to type late on and tried to chase the game with the introduction of Kola despite having Pepe on the bench. A maddening move, but very typical of a manager who really is lost at sea without a boat, a paddle, or the depth of water to put himself out of his misery.
The game finished 1-1. If Leicester win their game in hand we’ll be 6 points off top 4, with them moving ahead with Chelsea. By next week, if we lose to Leicester like we expect to, we’ll be 9 points adrift… and to think, this was supposed to be the easy run of games.
Things are so bad, the stadium is half empty for a rare Saturday 3pm kick off. The fans, the players, and the media are all united behind the #EmeryOut banner. If you’re not, know that he thought the tactical approach today was spot on.
“It’s a bad result, but tactically it worked how we wanted.”
Imagine playing counter-attacking football against Wolves at home, conceding 25 shots and having your shots on target total doubled by them… then telling fans that have seen peak Wenger football the plan was correct?
He needs to be sacked.
This won’t get any better.
The biggest worry we should have as fans is what happens next, because I am speaking to far too many people that have been so brutalised by Emery… Mourinho tastes like an entree from Eleven Madison.
We can talk about that at another time, I think it’s a cancerous idea, but I absolutely knew this would be the byproduct of an Emery appointment… hiring him was like being bitten by a rattlesnake in the wild, semi surviving it, and taking refuge in a bear pit (hungry bears). Jose is part two, but I have to say, even though I know he’ll be bad… I’d take being savaged by bears if it comes in 2 years time.
I’ll have more thoughts on this tomorrow, but right now, I need you to listen to the pod I just did with Lee. He’s a season ticket holder and an away day fan. He talks a lot of sense. Enjoy!