Tag Archives: Unai Emery

How will Unai Emery solve Arsenal defensive puzzle?

Unai Emery is facing a defensive puzzle.

With Rob Holding out for the season, yellow cards to both Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi against Huddersfield means both are suspended for the game at Southampton on Sunday.

Not only does this give the Spaniard a headache for the Premier League match, but also disrupts his planning for the visit of Qarabag in the Europa League on Thursday.

Thursday’s game would have been used to give Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal a run out. Get 90 minutes of senior football under their belts after long lay offs.

Koscielny would have most certainly started at centre back, with Monreal at left back. The problem now for Arsenal is that with Sokratis and Mustafi now out, the pair are now likely to be our central defensive partnership against Southampton.

So what does this mean for Thursday?

Does Emery continue with the rehabilitation of Monreal and Koscielny by giving them 90 minutes against Qarabagm hope they both get through and hope recover quickly enough for Southampton at Sunday lunch time?

Or does he play Sokratis and Mustafi (injury permitting) against Qarabag, keeping Koscielny and Monreal out of danger for Sunday.

The fear will be against Qarabag, the one of either Koscielny or Monreal picks up a little niggle ruling them out of Sunday. This is highly likely. Small injuries often occur after a long lay off. And even if they do both get through unscathed, are either yet fully fit enough to play 90 minutes twice in less than 3 days?

Arsenal were already without first choice U23 pairing Daniel Ballard and Julio Pleguezuelo, as well as Kostadinos Mavropanos. This would mean that if either Koscielny or Monreal were to not fit for Sunday, either 18-year-old Zech Medly would start, or Arsenal would have to move either Stephan Lichtsteiner or Granit Xhaka into the back four.

Logic dictates that you do not involved Koscielny or Monreal against Qarabag. It would also make sense to not play Sokratis if Mustafi’s hamstring injury is to rule him out of further games.

So Medley and Big Carl Jenkinson it is then/



Pride and togetherness back at Arsenal

Anyone at Fulham who was in the away end singing ‘We’ve got our Arsenal back’ would have felt that tingle. Been years since I felt like that. Certainly will be one of my favourite moments of the season.

Are we back though? What does it actually mean?

For me, it’s two things, pride and togetherness.  

That was The Arsenal I fell in love with. The Arsenal who I felt proud of, regardless. Being with people, different from me, but together with them for the most important thing in the world for 90 minutes.  An Arsenal who fought, a team that no one fancied playing and a club whose rich history and standards would always shine through.  

Versus Blackpool I sat in the West Stand for the first time, near the bench. Unai was on his feet the whole game. Stamping his feet, looking angry at times, and gave Guendouzi a glare I’ve seen before by George.  It made me smile. 

I spent the week worrying about the Liverpool game. It wasn’t the losing, it was more the fear of the disappointment that maybe it has all been a honeymoon period, maybe I had been kidding myself?   I needn’t have worried. We did everything we needed to do. Started fast and with intent and played for 90 minutes. We matched them in every area.  You know you’ve had a good day when Klopp, with 10 mins to go was happy with the draw. We have gaps, we have areas to improve, but we are further forward than I thought if I’m honest. It seems Unai certainly does know. 

A good manager gets the best out of what he’s got. Players, who I would inwardly groan at when I heard their name called out, now have become a sense of relief for me when they start. Iwobi is the main example, how he has been transformed in such little time is astounding. Solid, offensive, tough and playing with the confidence he’s always needed. Wonderful to see.

The biggest impact has been, we have become a team. No superstars, no one man carrying the team. A proper team of hard working grafters, led by a man who won’t accept anything less.  Players who will stick their foot in and will recover a lost pass. 

It’s so nice to talk about football again and not the business or the board. This is what we’ve got back, a common purpose, a passion and an excitement for every game. 

We will have some moments of despair, but I’m very confident we will pick ourselves straight up. Anything less with not be acceptable to Mr Emery. No shame in losing when you’ve left everything on the pitch. 

Results are what matters in football, but for our team,  who were so damaged and fractured we need to repair first and build some strength again.  

Yes, we have our Arsenal back. 



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”.