Tag Archives: Unai Emery

Its been 5 long weeks since the last international break

How quickly things can change in football.

A month ago I, prior to the last international break, I was filled with optimism.

Arsenal were not playing brilliant but were still 3rd in the league. It felt like the international break had come at the right time and Arsenal would kick on after it.

The 2 weeks off would give more time for Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tiernay and Rob Holding to return to match fitness. It would also provide another 2 weeks for Nicolas Pepe to adapt to life in England. With other sides faltering, it felt like 3rd place was our realistic minimum target.

Arsenal did return a different team after the international break. And in the space of 5 weeks we have been multiple different teams.

7 games played, 1 victory.

In those 7 games, we have only played the same starting formation in back to back games once. The last 6 games has seen us play 6 different formations.

Defeats at Sheffield United and Leicester, lost leads against Wolves, Crystal Palace, Liverpool & Vitoria. It has been a horrible 5 weeks.

Unai Emery has to shoulder the blame for Arsenal’s performances. He  is a man who is lost.

He is clearly overthinking things. Over complicating things. Constantly chopping and changing what he is trying to do. Players like confused. Unsure what to do.

The fact that he is putting a positive spin on poor results is baffling.

I am all for “positive mental attitude” but Emery seems to have his head in the sand when it comes to Arsenal’s poor results.

“We did our game plan” was his response to the 2-0 defeat against Leicester.

The fact that he sees thinks not losing when leading is a “positive” shows that he is a man without ideas.

Emery continually talks about the team not playing to the idea in his head, but he seems unable to recognise that it is the idea in his head that is wrong.

He seems to have a different idea for every game, on how to combat the opposition. But that is leading to different formations and an over complication for players.

The players are not playing with freedom. They do not look comfortable. It is like they have so much going on in their heads that they become mentally exhausted.

Proof is in the pudding. Arsenal have yet to win a game not playing 4231.

He has baffling dropped Nicolas Pepe. This follows him not playing Mesut Ozil for much of the season. Hector Bellerin took an age to return to the side. His selections have been confusing.

Prior to the last international break I was optimistic. It came at the right time giving us time to get players back to fitness.

This international break the mentality is different. I am actually looking forward to a weekend without football. I might visit a garden centre. Is it too early to put up my Christmas decorations?

I have backed Emery from day one. He seemed a good fit to take over from Arsene Wenger. But time is now running out for him. The Arsenal senior leadership team have some thinking to do over the next 2 weeks.

Enjoy the break.


Inconsistency Arsenal’s Enemy

Unai Emery

Unai Emery looks like a man lost at the moment.

He is clearly overthinking things. Over complicating things. Constantly chopping and changing what he is trying to do. Players like confused. Unsure what to do.

This season he has failed to put out a consistent starting XI, in a consistent formation.

Against Crystal Palace he went 442. This continues his trend of chopping and changing the formation.

From 3 at the back to 4231 and 433; the continual changing of tactics and formation is a big reason why we are struggling.

The best teams in the world have a consistent way of playing in a consistent formation.

Arsenal’s invincibles lined up 442. You could name the best XI. Liverpool currently top the league, unbeaten, just 2 points dropped. They play 433 and Jurgen Klopp nearly always puts out the same starting XI (injury permitting).

It is the same with Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea sides of the 00s, of Alex Ferguson’s Man U sides in the 90s. A consistent formation and a consistent way of playing.

Emery is inconsistent in formation, tactics and personnel.

Taking into account Arsenal played on Thursday, how many training sessions would the team have done in 442? Maybe just 1?

Now talented footballers should be able to slide into different formations. But at the highest level you still need that consistency of tactics and selection. Players need to be almost telepathic, knowing where a team mate will be without having to look. That only comes with the consistency.

England beat New Zealand at the weekend. They did it through working hard on the train ground. Developing the tactics to win and sticking with them. Every English player knew his job, knew where his team mate would be.

Unai Emery’s downfall will be that he chops and changes too much. He is not giving our talented squad the time to settle, play together in the same formation week after week.


“Clear and obvious mistake”.

That was the statement that was released by the FA with regards how VAR would be used to overturn the decision of the on-field referee.

Up until this weekend, VAR had backed the on-field referee’s decision on almost every occasional – even when there was a clear an obvious error.

Last Monday Sokratis had his shirt pulled whilst in the air at a corner. VAR decided that failing to award a penalty was not a clear and obvious mistake; even though it was a clear and obvious penalty.

That decision had been consistent with how they had been using VAR. Numerous blatant penalties – such as the one Wolves should have got against Tottenham – had been failed to be given. That all changed this weekend.

VAR decided that Calum Chambers had fouled someone in the build up to Sokratis 2nd goal. It was a mystifying decision and was by no-means a clear and obvious error by Martin Atkinson. In fact it was not an error at all.

What the replay actually showed was Chambers being fouled by a Crystal Palace player, who shoved the Arsenal man two handed in the chest.

VAR was supposed to be used to clear up controversy. But the officials are using it in an inconsistent manner. Some teams are benefiting, others are losing out.

In the last 2 games Arsenal have been denied a blatant penalty (at 0-0) and had a goal disallowed (at 2-2). That is 5 points robbed off of us by the inconsistent using of VAR.

5 points makes a big difference. That would rocket Arsenal up from 5th to 3rd; and would go a long way to calming down the Islington faithful.

VAR can be a good thing; but it needs to be used consistently by the officials. At the moment it is not creating a fair playing field.


Changing the manager is not the solution

And so it continues…

Under Arsene Wenger the infighting with Arsenal fans was draining, and many have continued their over the top defence or attacking of the manager with Unai Emery.

We have people comparing Emery to Pardew, Allardyce and Tony Pullis. “The Spanish David Moyes” is often tweeted.

I am sorry but I must have missed when these men lead teams to trophies

Meanwhile Emery has 10 winners’ medals locked up in his safe, including 3 European ones (more than Arsenal have in their history).

You can, of course, criticise. Likewise, you can praise. But it comes to a point where it is all a little over the top on both sides. Almost like people are fighting for their bit of attention.

Emery and Arsenal are struggling at the moment. But we as fans need to stick with the team.

The defeat to Sheffield United and draw against Watford are why Arsenal are battling for top 4, rather than a title chasing team.

We know it will take time to rebuild us into a title chasing team, and whilst Emery might or might not be the man to take us forward, he needs to be given a fair crack of the whip.

<> at Emirates Stadium on May 23, 2018 in London, England.

Unai Emery is a top manager.

You do not win 3 Europa League’s and be named European Coach of the Season if you are a poor manager.

Half way through last season he seemed to get lost within himself. Unsure what to do. Who to play. How to play.

The defensive issues were clear to all and he tried to resolve them. But perhaps tried too hard, swapping between systems and personnel without really allowing anyone or anything to settle.

It is like putting in a strategy in your work place to address underperformance. It does not go well straight away so you change it. And change it again. And again. The problem is not that the strategy is wrong, but not enough time has been allowed to lapse to allow the strategy to become a success.

Emery has been like this with Arsenal.

He is clearly overthinking things. Over complicating things. Constantly chopping and changing what he is trying to do. Players like confused. Unsure what to do. This is poor management.

But it is also something that is easy resolved.

He needs someone senior to put their arm round him, tell them they have faith in him, his methods and his people. To not overcomplicate things. Put out your strongest XI in their best formation and let them play. And just because they do not win their 1st game together, do not make huge changes for the next game.

Have faith in the strategy and give it time to materialise.

Jurgen Klopp was like this at Liverpool.

Despite finishing 8th in his 1st season and back to back 4th places in his next two, he kept faith in what he was trying to do. He ended up leading Liverpool to 2 Champions League Finals – winning 1 – and they currently sit 6 points clear at the top of the league.

The difference between Klopp and Emery is self-confidence. Klopp came across as knowing what he was doing, even when it was not going well and Liverpool were losing to Swansea, Hull and Bournemouth. Emery on the other hand lacks the self-belief, the confidence of Klopp.

This might be the language barrier. It might be just their personalities.

Changing the manager does not instantly change things. The perfect example of that is up at Manchester United.

In the 6 seasons since Alex Ferguson left, United have got through 4 managers – David Moyes, Luis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer. They have spent nearly £850million on new players, including a record breaking central defender in Harry Maguire and breaking the transfer record with Paul Pogba. They spend nearly £70million more annually on wages than both Manchester City and Liverpool.

Despite all the investment, the chopping and changing of managers, they have just 2 top 4 places to show for it in 6 seasons. They have finished as low as 7th.

Under Solsjkaer they sit 14th in the league table…

What this shows is that getting rid of Emery and employing the new fans favourite Massimiliano Allegri will not guarantee and instant change in Arsenal’s success.

In van Gaal and Mourinho; Manchester United employed 2 top managers. The pair both got the team into the top 4 and won 3 trophies between them. They were both sacked.

Allegri, Mikel Arteta, or Freddie Ljungberg would not guarantee Arsenal instant success. Especially if they are not given the time to build their team and implement their strategy.

The other side of the coin is that sticking with Emery will not necessarily lead to the success of Jurgen Klopp.

It is all about making the right decision on the manager at the right time. The 22nd of October is not the right time.

Arsenal currently sit in 5th place in the table; just a couple of points off 3rd. Emery is still the best man to take us to top 4 this season. Get behind him and then make a decision on moving forward in the summer.

If all you do is sit on Twitter and moan, you become no better than those attention seeking idiots who spent half a decade of their life moaning about Wenger.