Dortmund and Schalke played out the first game of football in 56 years. The Westfalenstadion stadium looked sad and empty, but the fact Germany managed to get players onto the pitch without hitch was all that mattered.
The game felt training-esque. Dortmund ran the show and dished out a 4-0 spanking. Haaland looked exactly like he did before the break, the lad is built for the Premier League, I truly hope he doesn’t mess around in Paris or Spain. I love the youth in their squad. Great energy everywhere, high levels of technical ability and a clear DNA in the football.
There is no reason that sort of squad and output can’t be Arsenal. We have the excuse we need to lower the wage bill, we have a world-class coach, and we have a brilliant name to lean on. We are a huge draw. A great city, swanky training facilities and a beast of a stadium. There is no reason outside super agents that we can’t land the hottest talent in youth football.
There’s a big interview in The Guardian of Unai Emery. It’s another attempt at rewriting history and really, a job application to anyone that’ll listen. I wondered whether I should dissect it piece by piece, but it’s so meek, I thought better of it.
I’ll just give a summation: The content of that article is exactly why he struggles at the elite level of the game.
He is your typical ‘I don’t like to make excuses, but here are ten, and they’ll have my spin on them.’ It’s painful reading. The one thing you do get a sense of is that he knows deep down a lot of these issues were his to own. This one quote on language sums it up.
“I had a decent level, although I needed to improve. When results are bad it’s not the same. You lack the linguistic depth to explain. And take ‘good ebening’: OK, it’s ‘good evening’, but when I said ‘good ebening’ and won it was fun; when we were losing it was a disgrace.”
Here he’s acknowledging that he failed to take language seriously for the third time in his career (Russia and France), but he ends up painting it as a fan issue. ‘Ebening’ was funny the first few times he did it because it was the mistake of someone that was trying to learn a new language on the fly. 17 months into a £6m a year job, if you’re still making such a mistake, it’s willful ignorance. You know it’s wrong, yet you don’t correct it.
Other parts of the interview followed a similar track. He acknowledged that 5 captains didn’t really work out, but in the same breadth bemoans them leaving as the central problem. He does the same thing with the vote, trying to justify sharing the responsibility of a hard decision. The pumping of Aaron Ramsey was even weaker. I have heard that the player didn’t think the manager rated him after his contract was withdrawn and he was dropped. If Emery truly did believe the Welshman was incredible, why did he bench him until things started going down the toilet? It’s another excuse.
He also bemoans not landing Zaha, with Arsenal preferring the younger Pepe. You could feel sympathy but Zaha has done fuck all this season and the reality of the moan is Steve Parish wasn’t selling.
Emery took on a job that was too big for him. He treated Arsenal and the players like he was still running Sevilla. The ‘one size fits all’ style of management does not work at a big club with big-name players. When players are on short contracts and working for you because there’s been a fail in their career, they’ll get past the oddities. Premier League players are different, you have to convince them of your ways and you have to always work to motivate them. That ‘convincing’ isn’t one rallying talk, that’s making correct decisions every single day. Nightmarishly tough, I know, but that’s why so few can do it.
This sort of interview shows you why he’s not cut out for top-level management. He’s a blame merchant, he can’t manage egos, and he shirks tough decisions. Good luck to him. I couldn’t be happier we moved him on.
Now we have a coach that understand players as individuals. He communicates to the fans and the staff clearly. He has a distinct vision of where he wants to take the club and an idea of the stages needed to get there. He’s an elite coach with modern ideas. He delivers on what he says. Will he succeed? Who knows, but as fans, we have to pray he has the sauce to push us to the next level because if he doesn’t, we are going to be lost in the wild for a very long time.
Right, on that note, I’ll see you in the comments. Big love xx