Business As Usual v Man City

Online Ed: Arsenal disappointing as they suffer expected defeat at the Etihad

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It took less than a minute for Pep Guardiola’s side to take the lead against Arsenal, courtesy of a howler by Alex Iwobi, losing possession on the edge of his own box. It was too easy. Under Emery, the propensity for players to try and play too much football in their own third at times feels even worse than it did under Arsene Wenger. At least the Gunners gave some hope through a well worked set piece equaliser, Monreal flicking the ball on to Koscielny in the six yard box.

There followed Arsenal’s best period of the game, when they actually had control of the ball for longer periods, and created some danger in City’s half. It couldn’t last. Shortly before the interval, Lichtsteiner was exposed, and Aguero had a tap in for his second goal. It was a bad time to concede.

Arsenal had started with a back five, Monreal joining the fit to play again Koscielny and Mustafi. Xhaka was not even on the bench which came as something of a surprise. Ozil was amongst the subs alongside Ramsey and new arrival Denis Suarez.

For the most part, Arsenal tried a different approach against Manchester City, giving them the ball and playing deep. It was a tactic that had worked back in January 2015 at the same venue when, partnering Coquelin and Cazorla in central midfield, Arsene Wenger’s side won 2-0. It looked like the blueprint for future success, but ultimately, injury to Cazorla in the autumn of 2015 put paid to his contribution to the club. He never played for them again.

Sadly, there was nothing to build on from yesterday’s game. Generally this season, Arsenal have performed better in the second half. Not yesterday. A stat as injury time approached, showed that after the interval, City had enjoyed 13 attempts on goal to Arsenal’s none. They only scored one more goal, bundled in off the rib cage of Aguero to secure a hat-trick and the game finished 3-1 largely thanks to Bernd Leno. Arsenal brought on Ramsey and Suarez for Iwobi and Kolasinac but neither made much difference. Mavropanos got some first team minutes under his belt replacing the injured Mustafi.

It was an expected defeat for sure, but the nature of both this performance and the bulk of recent ones is a cause for concern. Chelsea at home was an exception, but you cannot see where a run of required victories is coming from. At home Emery’s side can generally manage to do just enough to beat the lesser lights, but on the road they are struggling. The sequence of away results, forgetting Blackpool in the FA Cup reads, starting from Southampton: Loss – Draw – Loss – Loss – Loss. One point from 15. Three of those games were against Southampton, Brighton and West Ham. Arsenal need to be winning such matches. They certainly need to from here on.

13 matches left, 39 points to play for.

At home:
Man Utd

and away:

75 points achieved fourth place last season. No guarantees it would this time around, but to make that, Arsenal need to glean 28 points out of those 13 matches. They may have to beat United to overcome them and hope Chelsea continue to struggle under Sarri. I don’t see Spurs dropping out of the top four given their ability to win matches late, even without Harry Kane.

So on paper, it’s doable, but it’s really hard to have confidence in a team that both lacks creativity going forward and is so evidently porous at the back. Emery may be given an extra season to put it right, but the 2019-20 is the last on his contract. He’s on about £4 million a year (one imagines plus achievement bonuses), but can you really see the club letting him wind down that final season? The usual form is to either offer an extension or replace him in the summer.

My own belief is that, in spite of the injuries, he should have at least improved the defensive record. Since the wheels came off at Southampton, it’s felt a lot like Arsene’s last season. Emery's team has actually conceded two more goals after 25 matches compared to a year ago. The players have stopped believing in the manager because the results have not been coming. Certainly Emery inherited an unholy mess, no doubt about that. But does he have what it takes to turn things around? He has done good work in Spain, no question. And given PSG’s financial advantage in France it is difficult to really assess his achievements there. He failed in Europe with a pretty decent and expensively assembled squad of players once he came up against one the big boys, which was exactly what we became accustomed to at Arsenal over the last decade.

He gave a very methodical breakdown of what was needed at the club in the interview process that secured him the job. However, he’s not carried it through. The buzz of late May 2018 seems a very distant memory now. Sad to say, I think we may be looking at another Bruce Rioch-type tenure. It’s my belief now that if Emery does not secure a top four place, he will be out of the door in May. The club were looking for improvement, progress. After 25 matches last season, they had 42 points and were lying 6th. A year on, they are five points better off but in the same position. The improvement needs to be more substantial if the head coach is to remain in post. I wish him luck.

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  1. itsRonagain2

    Feb 6, 2019, 10:54 #113129

    Morning lads. All great comments on here, both in an Emery supporting sense but also in an Emery critical sense. All points are well made and all correct. Its makes us realise that we re all on the same spectrum with him but at slightly different places which is how it should be. Thankless task for him as he has to win the majority of games but also rebuild otherwise hes gets sacked for failing in either dept! Im totally with ArsenalMagna in that if i could see a sound defence and middle being built but with results just remaining steady enough, i d take that in a heartbeat. I know im always boring the pants of posters with Arsenal History stuff, but a few of us will recall that period 1967-70. We really lacked scoring prowess but the solidity of the team and the defence being constructed was obvious to see. We had removed the soft underbelly of the mid 60s and built a team who nobody liked to play against. We were also getting some good results but with the odd strange reverse too By 1971, we were ready!! A repeat of that is whats needed. The difference today is that the trendy football of City and to a lesser extent, Liverpool is the benchmark and coaches are expected to produce it even though they dont have the players. Back in the period i mention the benchmark was Leeds Utds grit, skill, passion and gamesmanship that clubs like Arsenal looked to re create. Mourinho always has the great Leeds teams mentality in his best teams and hes accused now of football having out grown him and hes out on a limb as a result. Trying to get defensive solidity whilst still scoring a lot and also winning is a mammoth task in the face of todays fan aspirations about football 'entertainment' isnt it. For me as a young Arsenal nut, us becoming powerful and climbing the league and beating the big teams was all that mattered, however we did it. Arsenal being disliked was the bonus! It proved we had arrived. I detest this view of us now as powder puffs and we have carried that about now for 10 years. If we re honest, the clubs flakiness was in evidence during the unbeaten season and certainly after that season, it became a virus in the club. I ll be slated for saying it, but i put it down in large part to the French culture from AW and many of the players. French sportsman are talented and place emphasis on creating and finesse, grittiness doesn't feature much, sulkiness is never far from the surface. Same as French society in general (i worked there for 3 years). I really believe Arsenal for all the good we extracted from the early Fr contingent AW brought in, eventually we succumbed to French traits at the worst end of the scale.

  2. Exiled in Pt

    Feb 6, 2019, 10:05 #113126

    Morning Ron, I know what you mean about Holding but I think he and Sokratis had started to form a good understanding and although still prone to the odd mistake, he was looking far more composed also has a bit of pace to rescue himself and isn't afraid to tackle, dare I say it sometime spent with Bouldy could really strengthen his weaknesses. As Mark points out he did a great job on Costa who had always terrorised us up until then. To be truthful we need 3 to 4 defenders brought into the club how many times have we had Ainsley playing either left or right back this season and the one that really scares me about UE is when he persisted with Xhaka as a CB!

  3. John F

    Feb 6, 2019, 07:48 #113125

    Can I just say the posts below are the reason this site is the best out there.Good reasoned intelligent debate and no abuse .

  4. ArsenalMagna

    Feb 5, 2019, 23:30 #113124

    To all those commenting at the moment, couple of things I would appreciate your thoughts on: 1) Some of you seem to think that UE needs transfer windows to get the right defenders, but are there really many options in this regard? Generally, quality defenders are in such short supply that they're worth as much as strikers! I know there are some names like Manolas who are apparently a good standard and affordable but that itself would be difficult to overcome. 2) Is Emery really doing his best to work on defence? Look at when Steve Bould first joined: across August and most of September we played balanced football; Mertesacker was played as a sweeper, we were about 10 yards deeper, the wingers double marked, the back four played the offside trap very well, the build up play was slower so that we weren't caught with players up-field... During that spell we achieved three consecutive clean sheets for the first time in 88 years!! We also beat Liverpool and drew against City. There was still work to do (including up front, Giroud was poor when he joined), but the progress was so marked that I can't really believe that there is a 'culture' embedded so deeply in the players that they can't be made a strong defensive unit in a short space of time. As I suggested, I think this is Emery's idealism or desperation for short-term success. Personally, I wouldn't mind 2-3 years finishing 5/6th and just honing defence to build for later success, but I doubt that is in his mind.

  5. Wengerballs

    Feb 5, 2019, 22:36 #113123

    Totally ambivalent at this stage on UE. Someone did an article shortly after his appointment analyzing his defensive history as a coach and it wasnt good reading. His teams have always conceded plenty. I feel the panel should have had a very simple mandate for selecting the new coach: fix our defense while retaining a modern pressing, quick attacking style. I dont think UE is that man on his past history and what weve seen to date. We needed a new manager who would bring defensive improvement quickly, our constant achilles heel. The philosophy early on in the season was evident: play out from the back, attack and counter quickly at pace, and employ a high press. There is much less sideways tippy tappy, but the old bad habits are returning, I think because of the ongoing patheticness ad nauseum of our defense. I fear Kevin is right that the players are losing their belief in Unai and are suspecting he is not the one to fix us defensively. They are seeing just another version of the old "lets just entertain and outscore, never mind if we concede one or two goals a game" philosophy Wenger had, with some high pressing thrown in. On the other hand, UE obviously needs a solid transfer window this summer to clear away the dross and upgrade in key positions. Its too early to judge him harshly. Suspend the disbelief until next season. I am just a bit disturbed that we did not go for any defenders in the window just closed. Will we see another tepid transfer window this summer only buying one or two bargain basement defenders and journeymen. Will our returning defenders be regarded as tantamount to new signings? We need to rebuild from the back, go right back to the foundations. The balance hasnt been right for 10 seasons and I suspect UE is not the man with the philosophy to fix our defense. The signs are just not there for me, notwithstanding the key injuries. I mean he practically had Iwobi at right back against Citeh ffs, with a 35 year old has-been Lichsteiner, for support. Really quite unbelievable. But lets see what he does this summer with the budget he has. It will be unbelievable if we dont spend the kitty almost entirely on quality new defenders. If that doesnt happen it will be UEs death knell.

  6. mad max

    Feb 5, 2019, 21:56 #113122

    I agree it's to early to judge emery, but if he's responsible for signing lichtsteiner then that's a worry, guendozi and torreira are good signings hard to judge leno with that shambles of a defence in front of him. we should have gone for ever banega from servile quality player with a bit of menace about him, suarez is too lightweight for the premier league I think he'll struggle to impress. the sad fact is we're no longer a big club in footballing terms and that ain't gonna change with that parasite across the pond in charge. I feel sorry for dick he's taken over a club in a shambolic state. shame on you gazidis for keeping wenger there for 8 or 9 years too long, and shame on you wenger for refusing to walk away while knowing you were finished a long time ago,,while your spending your millions we're having to watch our club struggle on in the bargain basement department, sad days indeed should have stayed at highbury

  7. markymark

    Feb 5, 2019, 18:47 #113121

    Ron - it’s all opinion of course but I think Holding was excellent before the injury it really is the tradegy of our season. Holding put Costa in his pocket during the cup final . He’s capable alright I worked with Chelsea fans who were shocked by that result . I also think oddly that the high from that game came to haunt Wenger later on.

  8. itsRonagain2

    Feb 5, 2019, 17:46 #113120

    EXILED - I really wanted to be convinced by Holding and still do. Alas, i fear i never will be. Cant really see good forwards thinking 'ooooh Holding, im going to get very little today bar a few kicks and a sound buffeting'. He looks flimsy to me and not the type to dominate and dictate a defence. Leno? A keeper is only really as good as his defence and like all the keepers we ve had since Lehmann, they must s--t themselves watching that shambles unfold in front of them every week. Cant be helpful to his own performances can it?

  9. itsRonagain2

    Feb 5, 2019, 17:38 #113119

    Hi Bard - agree mate. Mentioned AWs teams, im just talking in the general terms of it really ie the gung ho emphasis that UE is doing is perhaps his way of masking the defence frailty. There is more of a toughness there now granted, but we re still very wengeresque in many ways and maybe thats to be expected after so many years of tip tap tippy toe and fiddle fo fum. Pro players shd be able to get organised as a basic expectancy, however ordinary they are. I really like those 2 players you mention too. Bright lights of the season so far but both needing some quality alongside them to help them max their own potential. Guendouzi alone kept MC from running riot the other day and at this stage he shdt be expected to do that should he. I didnt mean to sound like we re no different to AWs teams, im just suggesting that UE needs to really show he values discipline and organisation more than AW did or he going have a problem, with or without any money to use. I think youve rightly said its a worry based on his previous clubs showing. A good few really poor teams can get a reasonably solid defence together on a low budget. Look at Huddersfield. Cant buy a goal but rarely get thrashed.

  10. Exiled in Pt

    Feb 5, 2019, 15:32 #113118

    Great comparisons Ron , never saw Ian Ure before my time but did get to see Tommy Caton who could look good one week and very Mustafi the next as i recall !! I have to say that the injury to Holding has been a real blow to our defense and the loss of Bellerin has also been damaging even if not the best right back he still has pace to rescue himself when out of position which is quite clear to see Lichensteiner does not have .. As many of us have said until the wig goes things will not get any better than they are now. Dick has made improvements and if given the chance to clear out some of the rubbish in next couple of transfer windows he may do his own credibility the world of good...

  11. John F

    Feb 5, 2019, 15:21 #113117

    I think there are reasons to have some optimism going forward next season.At centre back we have an improving Holding ,Mavropanos and a proper old school one in Socratis.In Midfield we have two very promising players in Torriera and Guendouzi and add in Smith Rowe ,Nelson and Maitland Niles.We have two good Strikers and hopefully Suarez works out.Chambers has been ok as a DM for Fulham as well.We need to look at the full back situation but could for the time being get away with Bellerin and Kolasinac.I am not that convinced by Leno but he may just need time to adjust.As for defending surely it doesn't take to much intelligence for the defenders to grasp the concept of looking around them,anticipating runs and do not just ball watch.And the motto of if in doubt kick it out should be tattooed on their foreheads .


    Feb 5, 2019, 15:15 #113116

    Just a necessary reminder - Papa out, Holding out, Bellerin out, the "young greek boy" being slowly reintroduced. How in hell could even Pool & City be expected to cope with that? Mustafi & Lichensteiner both in unfortunately - the latter being the sole mistake in recent recruiting. Lady Anne of Walmart's godawful leach of a husband is still here also. I wonder if we could organise some crowdfunding on here to help Stanley out this summer as he is clearly short of the readies.

  13. Bard

    Feb 5, 2019, 14:16 #113115

    Ron, coaching a defence may well not be rocket science but if the players aren't good enough to do what they are supposed to then you are going to have problem. You cant legislate for individual errors. Iwobi and Lichtensteiner made errors that cost 2 goals. You arent going to get away with that against City. Further forward I really like Torreira and Guendouzi. Its been years since we had a 2 young tackling midfielders. Guendouzi looks the real deal for a 19 yo. I dont agree we look no different from a Wenger team. Tackling wasnt something Wenger bothered himself with after Gilberto left.

  14. itsRonagain2

    Feb 5, 2019, 13:33 #113114

    Hi lads - agree that the defensive mess ought to have shown signs of being addressed by now and theres room to criticise UE there, despite players schooled in Wegers mentality and disregard for defence for so long. It normally doesnt take a rocket scientist to at least tighten things up and the professionals always say organising defenders is the easy part. This is perhaps the achilles heel for UE. His defenders though to me all look like square pegs, players who dont want to defend plus the keeper looks very early days Fabiansk ish, who since leaving Arsenal looks very decent by the way! Add to that, theres nobody further forward who seems able to assist the defence and his problems are clear arent they. His answer with that squad seems to be 'sick with gung ho? Its bemusing and makes me wonder why asking AW to go was worth bothering with. The difference is though that UE can see the insolvable problem and maybe he thinks he cant cure it? I have a lot of sympathy with the notion if he does. Mustafi makes Ian Ure look like Baresi and Tommy Caton like Alan Hansen!

  15. peter wain

    Feb 5, 2019, 13:10 #113113

    the problem I have is that I did not think that Emry was the right choice I would have preferred PV4. However when the amount of money being given to whatever manager is so small in current transfer terms no one could create a team under those circumstances. The only way forward is to get rid of the yank and tale back control of our club.

  16. Bard

    Feb 5, 2019, 13:06 #113112

    I think many are being a little harsh on Dick. As Ron and others have noted we need a bit of a reality check. We arent sleeping giants that need awakening. There is no culture of proper coaching at the club and there hasnt been for a decade or more. It's unrealistic to expect Dick to change this in 5 minutes. We all know that you can practice things on the training pitch until you are blue in the face but under pressure players revert to old ways. Add in to that that he doesnt have a gifted group of players to work with and it's easy to see why we perform as we did against West Ham and the like. I read he has £45m to spend in the summer. In today's market that gets you championship level right back, thats all. I think there is more chance of Dick walking than him being sacked.

  17. TonyEvans

    Feb 5, 2019, 12:41 #113111

    Some interesting comments re UEs position. My thoughts are as long as we have Kronke controlling the purse strings the choice of manager is almost academic but I will say that Emery's previous defensive history has always worried me, and the limited Arsenal football I have seen this season has done nothing to allay those fears. I like the fact that Emery is not afraid to make tough decisions regarding team selections, definitely a point in his favour after the years of favourite player indulgence under Wenger, but we are still far too open at the back, and I would have thought the propensity we have to ship shed-loads of goals would have been top of the agenda to put right at the earliest opportunity for any new manager following on from Wenger. Sadly not it would seem?

  18. itsRonagain2

    Feb 5, 2019, 10:27 #113110

    Lots of suggestions that UE might be dispensed with here hmmm? I m not at all sure theres a basis for anybody controlling that club to ask him in and explain to him that his efforts arent enough at this stage. Seems bizarre to think there is after such a short time surely? Lets be realistic here. Arsenal FC have done nothing PL wise for 11 years. Its widely accepted that AW left a lot of stagnancy and stayed at least 6 yeas too long. Its widely accepted that the clubs recruitment has been wishy washy for at least 10 years. Its accepted that the club has had chronic problems defending for the same 10 years. How come then one bloke in a few months can be hung out to dry for not solving all this in just a few months? Lets be really truthful too. Arsenal even with a greatly increased budget could well still take 10 years to really challenge the titan clubs now for the title and that assumes that a few of those clubs above Arsenal suddenly stand still for a few years themselves. Get used to it guys, Arsenal are a 'top' club in name, tradition and history only now and it ends there. Its no use having expectations the same as yr Utds and Citys now. The owner as it is is content with the status of the club. Like him or not, its his club and his to set the bar that he wishes. A few us on here during the maelstrom of the AW out campaign took the view that SK was as much, if not more a legitimate target yet were deemed as misguided on the basis that AW exit was more pressing. We re we wrong? Any revised views? I think not and can feel a slowly stirring campaign to have UE out now and SK to again dodge the column? Madness. Who do you think AFC will recruit in his place? No big hitting proven Coach is going to approached by Arsenal for sure. They have CV s that they protect. Arsenal is a potential graveyard for such as them. From UE its only downwards in Coach credibility as i see it.

  19. peter wain

    Feb 5, 2019, 08:24 #113109

    so transfer budget is £45 million - so generous of the yank. I suppose he bagged or money to complete the Rams stadium. Why is he allowed to rape our football club?

  20. Don Howe

    Feb 4, 2019, 21:37 #113108

    If it’s get at Emery time, it’s mighty early. We have drawn at Auld Traffuird and won against a very good Spurs team.. the latter result made my dad, who died shortly afterwards, very happy because we showed some fight and some spunk after years of craven surrender. So we can’t get the defence right straight away. He had a double defending training session on Friday. He is trying. He can’t help the brainlessness of the troops. Iwobi needs a massive kick up the Arsenal for doing that. the Guy needs at least a couple of seasons to clear up the crap. Hopefully he will get them. His predecessor had ten years and didn’t move a muscle to change. Emery has the right stuff.

  21. Paulo75

    Feb 4, 2019, 21:29 #113107

    Emery deserves 2 seasons minimum with a substantial transfer budget this summer. Getting a number of high earners off the wage bill coupled with some good additions could see a big improvement next season. Re the repeated defensive failings maybe it’s the case that you can’t polish a turd...

  22. bergkamp10

    Feb 4, 2019, 21:25 #113106

    Cornish, I good article. I feel U.E. will need 2-3 season at best. My fear is that he will jump shit next summer. From what I heard from the Youth Team set up is that there are funds just not been made to A.F.C or U.E. and his team to purchase players. Therefore it is a matter of fact that he is trying to "move mountains" without any assistance..................... So as I said to my colleagues at the local if we finish 5th this season with the E.L. in the bag that would be progress. Everybody has to remember that vast amounts of funds José Mourinho was given by Man. U. and they would spend the same again this summer. Therefore we are at a major disadvantage, however you wish to paint it.

  23. The Man From UNCLE

    Feb 4, 2019, 21:08 #113105

    What was the point of us coming out for the second half. Pathetic display after giving away the second goal.

  24. markymark

    Feb 4, 2019, 19:24 #113104

    I’m not so sure that the results will be the issue for Unai rather than a failure to impose a style of play. Wenger kept himself in a job arguably 5 - 8 years beyond a sensible ending simply because a large section of the fanbase felt they were being served up a sophisticated product. Look at Mourinho in contrast angrily berating journos when he’d finished 2nd the year before. Unai has been unable to apply the press or the quick ball recovery techniques. We often go curiously low intensity and tend to slow up. You can have quite basic players press hard and show high intensity so something is not right , much like Sarri is encountering at Chelsea. Without the USP a modern manager is stuffed. It’s simply no good being a quietly going about your job type. Let’s see what he can do but I’m wondering if Arsenal might cut their losses


    Feb 4, 2019, 19:23 #113103

    PS: any team missing 3 of it's regular defensive starters would have found City too difficult imo. Wonder if Le Grove & Co. have already written off the returning "young greek boy" yet?


    Feb 4, 2019, 19:18 #113102

    This is getting beyond ridiculous - how long has everyone's favourite manager been at the 'Pool now? For me a pragmatic manager, which I believe Dick to be, would have looked at yesterday's game as one to be endured, limit the damage, maybe experiment a bit & then move on to the remaining fixtures that do matter. We have no definitive Emery style? What! with an inherited squad of largely overpaid journeymen or worse & a 6 month reign? Give me a break. Le Grove, in Pedro's wisdom, has already made up it's mind that Suarez, after a short cameo, is rubbish - slow, no ball skills & basically no balls either. Wish I had his football nouse as I am sure he would be a wonderfully successful & a lot cheaper hire than Dick. Other keyboard warriors can apply of course. So pleased that Stanley's Football team lost out last night as I expect the whole city of St.Louis was. There will be no big monies, Dick's CV says he is an excellent coach so we just have to be patient - not easy I know. What AFC is really suffering is a severe case of Kroenkes's Disease - it's an american strain of our Chrone's Disease. The symptoms are very similar - they give you really bad shits &, at the time of writing, there is no known cure.

  27. Radfordkennedy

    Feb 4, 2019, 18:03 #113101

    Ron....not sure if he was some kind of stopgap,but its a bit strange to say the least with regards to how things are unfolding since his appointment.We were informed that the interview panel were 'staggered' at his preparation and his knowledge of the club's players, we were told he tabled dossiers on certain players, and conveyed his vision for the club's future,which again we were told included names of players he wanted in and those he wanted out, now assuming that this vision was good enough to impress the club and he was employed to put into practice all that knocked the interviewing panel off their feet, isn't it strange that all of a sudden there's no money for him.

  28. 1971 Gooner

    Feb 4, 2019, 17:45 #113100

    Nobody is above criticism, but I think any suggestion that Unai is under threat is premature in the extreme. Basically, we don’t have players good enough to challenge for Top Four let alone the title itself. We should go for the Europa League to get a trophy in the cabinet and accept 6th place is as good as these players are going to get us. I would say there’s more chance of Unai walking through lack of funds, which would be a pity as without funds to rebuild the team no manager will move us forward.

  29. Exiled in Pt

    Feb 4, 2019, 17:38 #113099

    I think we have to remember we have no given right to be in the top 4. As a club we were sold down the river by a lot of wealthy people who had their interest in the club passed down to them through family ties and had nothing more than money in mind not the interests of our club. We have an owner now who can drain cash from us without needing to put anything in and has no interest in the history of the club !! Dick has an impossible job to turn us into anything other than a top 7 team , i think he is more likely to walk away before he is pushed . I think myself he has possibly the hardest task any new Arsenal manager has had when they have moved into the job. Most of us agree this was never going to be a one season turn around . Bet le fraud and Gazidis sleep well at night knowing how between the two of them left us in such a good position .............................

  30. markymark

    Feb 4, 2019, 17:36 #113098

    Well that’s two of the major sites “The Gooner” and “Le Grove” putting it into writing that he could be out after 1 year. Sometimes a reality is almost created as a norm, a new zeitgeist. So far the main press is being more cautious though Amy Lawrence left things unsaid I felt in her last article around a lack of coherent style. A combination of a two year contract and Sanllehi is ominous I feel.

  31. ArsenalMagna

    Feb 4, 2019, 14:44 #113097

    I think the gifting of a 350k per week contract to Ozil is on par with Chelsea's woeful decision to spend £50m on Fernando Torres. We now have a situation where any well-known quality player wants at least £200k per week to stay/join us. Hence we are paying that to Auba (worth it) and Mkhi (not worth it for that price), even though they're in their late 20s. This problem will almost certainly persist for at least another 2.5 years, at a time when we might desperately need an influx of new players. Personally, I think the problem lies with Emery more than the players; I believe he is playing open football either because of Wenger-eqsue idealism (likely if this is how he was at other clubs, but I don't know), because he is trying to put emphasis on attackers till we get the right defenders, and/or because he desperately needs/wants to get short-term success, hence we're gung ho in the faint hope that we get top 4. Apart from Ozil, Xhaka and Mustafi, all the players we have are worth keeping; Iwobi, Maitland-Niles, Guendouzhi and Holding all need time to mature. We should focus on developing doctrines of counterattacking for use against the big 6 and more balanced possession play vs the weaker sides. If in a year's time our starting line up was Leno, Bellerin, Koscielny, Holding, Monreal, Torreira, Elneny/Guendouzhi, Iwobi, Suarez, Auba, Lacazette, that would be pretty effective with a proper system of coaching in place. Don't forget, when Steve Bould first joined our defending was excellent and this was despite a huge number of 'Wengerised' players!

  32. itsRonagain2

    Feb 4, 2019, 14:02 #113096

    RK - Yes, interesting thoughts you have there. Im assuming that you mean that UE was brought in as a stop gap type of appointment pending a Coach with gravitas being appointed? If so, you could be right. I think AW had a hand in UE s appointment to be honest. I could be wrong. I often am!!

  33. John F

    Feb 4, 2019, 13:54 #113095

    Sorry Ron but I think you have underestimated our owners son Josh as he was claiming before the Superbowl that Dic k can be as successful as the Rams coach and do the football equivalent of the Superbowl and win the champions league.Except they lost!.He also believes in Alien abduction and the moon landings didn't happen.I think he forgot about his disinterested Dad being in control unless he meant the championship league.

  34. GoonGer

    Feb 4, 2019, 13:43 #113094

    RobG got to agree 100%. With your analysis. Kev, your being way to harsh on Emery, apart from Lichtsteiner all signings from last summer have been a success in my eyes. He can’t help who he inherited!! I normally agree with most things you write and enjoy reading your articles. But think you need to lighten up on the manager. Still in with a shout of top 4, must win next 3 matches.

  35. GoonGer

    Feb 4, 2019, 13:42 #113093

    RobG got to agree 100%. With your analysis. Kev, your being way to harsh on Emery, apart from Lichtsteiner all signings from last summer have been a success in my eyes. He can’t help who he inherited!! I normally agree with most things you write and enjoy reading your articles. But think you need to lighten up on the manager. Still in with a shout of top 4, must win next 3 matches.

  36. Radfordkennedy

    Feb 4, 2019, 13:39 #113092

    Absolutely agree Ron, the players are clearly unable to perform the tasks asked of them, and there's no money to buy those that could, but I feel the best use of resources is not being met. UE obviously doesn't fancy several players but as things stand he has no choice.I hope he's given time to build the team he wants, but I wonder if it's a case of there's money just not for him.

  37. itsRonagain2

    Feb 4, 2019, 13:28 #113091

    PS - Kev - yr idea that UE will be sacked if no top 4 has as its premise that Arsenal are ambitious beyond hanging around the Europa Cup places. I think that's a fundamental mistake. SK is quite content with where Arsenal are and no CL isnt going to alter that in my view.

  38. itsRonagain2

    Feb 4, 2019, 13:23 #113090

    i honestly cant find a reason to either blame Emery for the mess hes inherited or to see what he can do about it with no money. Hes doing his best to make a silk purse from a sows ear and it wont succeed. A game v MC isnt the best to hang him on though anyways as MC are a club 10 years in the making. UE has had a few months and i ll bet he didn't realise how inept some of the players were and are until recently. He needs another 12 months as a minimum i think.

  39. Radfordkennedy

    Feb 4, 2019, 12:55 #113088

    Do you remember when Bruno hit Tyson on the chin but didn't follow it up, that's how I saw it after we equalised. The gulf in playing staff quality is immense we know that, but the gulf in tactical no us is even bigger, if Ozil doesn't play then Ramsey has to and why Jenkinson didn't start is beyond me. Lichtenstein just looks happy to be out of the house to me, he's clearly past it.with out service to the strikers I'm at a loss to know what Unai thought was going to happen.....

  40. peter wain

    Feb 4, 2019, 12:54 #113087

    you are deluded if you think this lot can get 4th. Why buy a 34 free transfer and then be surprised that his best days are behind him. Why why why play Iwobi. When he gets the ball he does nothing and should not be at the club. Why do we have to stick with Dick he is nothing but a comedienne and not a very good one. Why stick with the yank we should contact the fa and ask how is Kroenke a fit and proper person for owning our club .

  41. Seven Kings Gooner 1

    Feb 4, 2019, 11:06 #113085

    Good summing up Kev - however I can't see Emery being shown the door after one season, not with the mess he inherited. Yesterday was exactly what happens when you make mistakes against a class team, we know which players are not up to it but we are stuck with them and only money or unearthing a great home grown talent will change that scenario.

  42. RobG

    Feb 4, 2019, 10:59 #113084

    Normally I take your points Kev. But I think you're being unduly harsh here. We have to stick with the guy and give him a chance. The last transfer window was not a window as such - because he couldn't sign anyone. And if he's told that - it can hardly be blamed on him. On Gazedis and the Krone's. On the mess left over, he's still having to clear up. But it can't be laid at his door. He must be allowed at least another two full windows to bring people in. He's no fool - Emery. The problem is that if he feels that the Krone's couldn't care less and are doing the bare minimum to help him, he might well walk if a better option comes along., Then what ? My preference would be for some one like Sean Dyche but that's just me. It ain't going to be Jose or Ancelotti because if Emery hasn't been given any cash, they are never going to show with their record of big spending. We have to stick with Unai and hope he sees it through.

  43. GoonerRon

    Feb 4, 2019, 10:40 #113083

    Our formation looked more like a 4-4-2 to these eyes and in hindsight it certainly didn’t suit Kolasinac. He is most effective when making the run and arriving late as a LB/LWB to combine with the player in the advanced left position he was occupying today. I thought Koscielny, Monreal and Guendouzi were all decent but we cant expect to gift the champions a goal headstart and win the game, especially when compounded with a killer second before half time. Chelsea and Man U have 4 games against others in the top 6 remaining and we’ve got 2 so on balance they’ve got more tougher fixtures than us - we definitely need to find a groove and quickly so we win the games we’re expected to. I don’t personally agree that it’s top 4 this season or Emery’s out. The re-work of the squad has been impinged by declining turnover and bloated wage bill which should be addressed by new Emirates / Adidas deals kicking in allied to the departures of Cech, Ospina, Jenkinson, Lichtsteiner, Welbeck, Ramsey freeing up c. £500k pw (and near same again if Ozil goes). IMO, the Kroenke’s won’t want to spend a load of money sacking Emery and his staff and then starting from day one with another manager who will want to undo some / all of the work already done post-Wenger.