Big Dave Ornstein has hit the airwaves with his weekly piece in The Athletic, his headline which I think I can talk about without being mercilessly sued is:
- Emery stays
- Fans are noise
- Club is on the right path
It’s the not-so-dreaded vote of confidence Arsenal fans used to hear when Wenger was at the club.
What do we make of it?
I understand it.
As I’ve been saying for the past few weeks, there’s no plan at Arsenal. For the moment, we can perhaps blame that on Edu’s late arrival at Arsenal. Maybe he didn’t notice that Arsenal has been in steep decline the whole of 2019. Maybe he hasn’t been listening to the garbled press conferences. Maybe he thinks the handling of mega players has been consistent and clear. Maybe the football looks nice to him?
Whatever it is, Edu can lean on the crutch of new boy for the moment.
I wrote in the summer that the perfect scenario for Edu was having the fans BEGGING him to make a change. At the moment, we’re not really begging. I don’t think I’ve heard an Emery Out song from the away fans, there has been no
march planned walks, and has anyone seen a gofundme for a plane banner? Not me. So are we even angry?
Arsenal fans are so united in thinking Emery is a disaster, I’m not sure we thought we’d need to work too hard on this one, so maybe Raul is right… maybe it’s just noise, because compared to how Barca fans behave when they want changer, this is probably all a bit pony (when it should be a pony head in the bed).
When assessing the market, it’s probably not the worst decision to hold off making a huge decision. Freddie could be our OGS, Mourinho could bring the club down, Enrique is Emery with a nice suit and better sound bites, and don’t even get me started on Eddie Howe.
Here’s the thing though, the stay of execution is only worthwhile if the club is formulating a plan that’ll move us forward next year. If we’re simply delaying a dinosaur hire, that’s a very big worry. I think we’ve seen enough actions from Raul to know that he’s not a particularly original thinker. We know he’s attracted by the bright lights of super-agents and we know he’s captivated by managers that make him feel like he’s dancing with the elite.
What Edu thinks should be the key. The rumblings I’m hearing are that he’s not as active as people would have hoped. Again, early doors, but the vision I had with the Arsenal Technical Director role was that he’d be far more present. That he’d stop the nonsense at the training ground. That he’d have a smarter plan for Mesut Ozil. The Mirror leaked that the player captains vote was Dave Priestly. I wrote in the summer that he was likely the architect of the player reviews that happened at the end of the last season. Priestly is our sports psychologist, and from what I hear, he’s been firmly wedged up Emery’s back passage since day one. He was the sort of person you’d have expected to be moved on, but alas, he’s still here stinking out the joint and not moving the ‘mental strength’ of the squad to a better place. I’m sure the travel guy throwing motivational speeches and fighting in the tunnel is still about. The young players are ripping the shit out of the manager behind his back. All the messy bits that went on last year are still happening this year, but the worse thing is that there’s no control over the media narrative. When a club is porous, it means people are unhappy.
We can forgive though, for now.
The decision to keep Emery on until the summer feels like it’s being driven by ego or fear. Emery is Raul’s man, 100% (as in, his recco). A lot of people blaming Ivan Gazidis, sure, we can bucket him in, but Raul was the day to day football guy that 1) Pulled him in 2) translated his PowerPoint 3) Assured everyone he was the best bet. It was really his first big decision so he has to double down on it, my question really does centre around what it is they are watching that gives them the sense the club is on the right path?
Leicester not the target
Being 9 points from Leicester and Chelsea might not be seen as a big deal. Chelsea are going to be inconsistent this season, Frank Lampard didn’t really move Derby last year, they should be catchable. Leicester also might be attainable, they have a good setup, but maybe the club thinks their run is a bubble.
The club don’t have a plan for a replacement manager, so they’d rather not have to make a double sub type signing. If the media sniff that Raul and Edu are going to replace, the players will totally switch off. If they feed the idea Emery is safe, it gives them cover to speak to managers and it gives them time to make the correct decision with the relevant due diligence. It also might cajole the players to put in a bit more effort.
Listening to excuses in Spanish
Edu spent some time working under Emery back in the day when he was hitting 3rd in the league every season for Valencia. There could be a deep level of respect for his work. Emery will be speaking to Edu and Raul in crystal clear Spanish every day and maybe that makes it easier to understand what he’s trying to do and what the future vision is. Remember, this is Raul’s hire, he’ll do anything to make it seem to his bosses that he made a sound decision when he passed up Arteta and made an 8 day panic hire using ‘contacts’ recruitment (LOL that Emery was close to joining Sociedad before we stepped in).
December is going to be a disaster
I’ve been looking at the December crunch of games and hiding behind the couch. That really could be a death spiral of games. This last theory might be very off, but maybe the club worry that putting in a new manager and expecting them to come out of that batch of games with any PR credit is low… so they’d prefer Emery to take the fall and revisit his tenure in early January when the team is out of the woods.
All of the above sound ridiculous considering the nightmare we’re in on the pitch, and off it.
So here we are, Raul does not look like the great white hope, and Edu is still finding his footing after 4 months. Arsenal looks to be a ship lost at sea, so let’s see what happens now they’ve put absolute faith in a captain that’s lost his sea legs, his compass, and the faith of the sailors aboard.
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