Anyone that thought that by simply sacking Unai Emery Arsenal would begin to turn in world beating performances were clearly very naïve.
Freddie Ljungberg had been in temporary charge of the squad for just 2 training sessions prior to the game against Norwich. We saw a few tweets (Shkodran Mustafi and Granit Xhaka returning) but overall it was the same players playing the same way under Unai Emery.
What yesterday exposed was the it is not just Emery and his inconsistent tactics and formation that was the problem. The players themselves need to look at their own performances.
For too long many of the players have escaped criticism, with firstly Arsene Wenger and then Unai Emery taking the brunt of fans anger.
Individual players, such as Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka have taken abuse from the fans; but many players have escaped such criticism.
The likes of Alexandre Lacazette have been distinctly average for some time.
Oddly named Arsenal Player of the Season last year following 134 league goals, Lacazette has been extremely inconsistent during his time at the club – 40 goals in 103 games is not a great record. Lacazette is certainly one player who has escaped any sort of criticism.
What is becoming very clear and obvious is that our squad is made up of a lot of players who are either:
- Not good enough or;
- Not mentally strong enough
In defence we make too many mistakes. This is highlighted by how many penalties we give away.
David Luiz, Mustafi and Sokratis all have a mistake in them. They are all senior internationals. A new manager is not going to suddenly improve them; cut out their error ridden games.
It is the same in midfield.
The centre of the park has been a huge problem for Arsenal in recent years.
Unbalanced with players who can not defend, can not pass, can not drive the ball forward. The fact is if Francis Coquelin was still at the club, he would probably be our best midfielder.
Not in recent memory have we had a midfield that passes the ball so poorly.
Like with the defenders making individual errors, the feeling is the sloppiness of the likes of Granit Xhaka is now ingrained into his game. He is beyond the point where it can be coached out of him.
Simply put, we have too many players who make too many mistakes and no change of manager will make a difference.
These are not young kids who can be coached to improvement – these are senior internationals who are not taking responsibility over their own performances.
When Chelsea won the Champions League, they had a weak coach in Roberto Di Matteo. But they have the likes of Petr Cech, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and John Terry on the pitch. They had a team of leaders similar to what Arsenal had during the unbeaten season.
The England rugby team had similar in 2007.
Andy Robinson was a poor coach, out of his depth. The senior players got their heads together and drove the team to the final.
Arsenal lack any leaders on the pitch.
Emery’s policy of having multiple leaders makes sense (it is used throughout Europe as well as in cricket and rugby) but it only works it you have actual leaders on the pitch.
There is no point having a senior leadership team if its members are merely members because they are senior, and not because they have any leadership skills.
Regardless of who replaces Unai Emery, things will not change at Arsenal until the players attitudes change.
They either need to step up and take responsibility for their own poor performances or be moved on.