Tag Archives: Arsène Wenger

Unai Emery’s Red and White Army

There is not much to moan about down The Arsenal at the moment.

9 wins in a row, 2 points off top, the place is brimming with positivity. However, there is something that has done me head in since the arrival of Unai Emery.

The backing the manager has got since he joined has been tremendous. We are now singing about him once more and his army. But this is what is annoying it.

It is not “Unai Emery’s red army”.

It is “Unai Emery’s red and white army”.

It was “Georgie Graham and his red and white army”. It was “Arsene Wenger’s red and white army”. But at Fulham, it was “Unai Emery’s red army”.

Has it been that long since we sang about the manager that we have forgotten the words? Or does it just sum up society, that we are now lazy, looking for short cuts through life. That dropping off the “and white” is systematic of society.

Well let’s stop being lazy, lets get it right.

We became “Herbert Chapman’s red and white army” back in 1933 when he introduced white sleeves to the shirt. Despite kit manufactures meddling in away kits, it has remained that way for 85 years.

We might sing “red army” at times, but it will always be the managers “red and white army”.

Let’s start getting it right please.

It is “Unai Emery’s red and white army”.


When apathy turns to hope

Last season I wrote about anger turning to apathy. I had had enough.  I think I even stoped caring to a certain extent.  I didn’t look forward to going to games, I didn’t enjoy the wins as much as I should have and the defeats just became expected.

I sat in a half empty stadium and would became obsessed with watching Wenger do nothing. I would have got more enjoyment going to the casino and sticking my ticket money on red or black

I wasn’t one of those who wanted us to lose for the greater good, but I couldn’t argue with that sentiment either if I am honest. The defeats no longer hurt, I didn’t even walk out with any anger in the end, I went because it’s what I’ve always done.

But now, I’m actually really enjoying this. On Saturday when the first goal went in I felt that sense of relief that had been missing for so long. I really wanted to win that game.

Lets be honest, we aren’t watching the type of football where you are scared to take your eyes of the pitch. We aren’t talking about moments of pure class that we will remember forever. But we are talking about the game again. We are talking about the result and on the whole, most of us are fairly optimistic.

Unai inherited a legacy that runs deep. The frailties have been massively exposed this year. We know what needs to be done, we know what we need to address. A good manager gets the best out of his side, Emery is doing that right now. The fact that we are seeing a new and improved Iwobi, Welbeck and Rob Holding is something I’ve waited years for. English youngsters improving and becoming an integral part of our future.  Torreira has been the anchor we have been crying out for. He sprays the ball around and makes people move. He’s not afraid of a long ball up the park to mix things up.

There won’t be many teams who fancy playing us right now.  As it stands, we are the only team in the PL who have won their last 5 league games. An Arsenal who battle it out and win ugly is not want anyone wants at this stage.

A defeat will feel disappointing again, but not expected.  We are gathering that urgency now and making winning, a habit. Many will say ‘but we’ve only played, bar City and Chelsea, average sides’. That’s absolutely true, but beating average sides gets you 3 points.

Watford are a good side, bullies,  who won’t give you any time to play your own game. We aren’t retreating like we did in days gone by. We are battling and no longer easy to get off the ball. When Ozil is sticking his foot in you know there is an aggression back in the side.

It won’t be easy this season, we will get taught a few lessons along the way. But I’m smiling again. I’m watching Match of The Day and I’m looking forward to the press conferences. I’m back in love with The Arsenal.


Santi Cazorla opens up on “lack of belief” at Arsenal

Really interesting interview with Santi Cazorla on Football Focus last weekend

“We needed to believe in ourselves more,” he told Football Focus.

“To believe that we were capable of competing with the big sides in the Premier League and not just settling for third or fourth.”

“We needed to have made that leap to try and battle it out for the title. There were seasons where you felt like we were in with a shout but then through various circumstances it wasn’t to be,” he said.

“But I think it’s all about having that self-belief, that right mentality. To say ‘We believe in this team, we know we have a great squad and we can go toe to toe with the big English clubs.’

“I believe that they will do that and for sure they will keep on improving in the future. They are going to have a great season, they have a great team and I wish them all the best.”

Santi Cazorla opens up on “lack of belief” at ArsenalSanti Cazorla opens up on “lack of belief” at Arsenal

What he highlights is that Arsenal lacked the belief that they could compete with the best in England. Both during the 90 minutes and over the course of the season.

What this highlights is that Arsene Wenger became defeatist in the latter years. That he started to feel he could not build a team that could compete, and he projected this negative mindset onto the players.

It was poor man management.

Arsenal not being able to compete with Manchester City, Chelsea or Manchester United was a valid opinion. We had a lot less to spend both in the transfer market and on players wages then these teams. But from a managerial point of view, Wenger should have been protecting his thoughts from the players.

He should have been telling the players they are brilliant, that they can become champions. Not trying to soften the blow of a defeat by pointing out that we can not expect to compete with Man City / Chelsea / Man U as we can not spend as much as them (transfers & wages).

Imagine being told by your boss “we will never be as good as our competitor because we do not have similar financial clout”. It creates a defeatist attitude leaving staff to accept second best as an achievement A good manager shields his staff and coaches them to compete – regardless of industry.

This is not just about football, but about management in general.

Managing people is no different in football to a sales office, a hedge fund or any other industry.  A managers job is to motivate and coach to improvement. No matter the industry. Projecting your negative opinion into staff will not motivate them but lead them accepting the excuses.

If players “lacked belief”, then it was Wenger’s job to motivate the players, to install that belief. If Wenger was not motivating his staff, installing belief, then it is poor management.