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.