Insipid Arsenal Fail At Leicester

Online Editorial: Another game, another three goals conceded

Insipid Arsenal Fail At Leicester

Vardy puts another nail in the coffin of Arsenal's top four hopes

Ah well, optimism is the curse of the football fan. If we had no belief in our team, we wouldn’t bother turning up at the matches. And for those that do look on the bright side, incredibly, Arsenal can still make the top four after yesterday’s results. It would need them to win their last two league matches (granted, unlikely, but there you have it), for Chelsea to only take four points from their remaining two games (Watford home, Leicester away) and for goal difference to favour Arsenal – which would mean probably putting as many as possible past Brighton next weekend, hoping Chelsea don’t do similar in either of their two remaining fixtures.

Still, given recent away performances (excepting the Napoli 2nd leg), can anyone seriously expect Burnley to lose when Arsenal come calling? Sean Dyche’s side made life tough enough for Manchester City in the second game of yesterday’s Premier League triple bill.

Anyway, back to the King Power Stadium, and certainly, Ainsley Maitland-Niles was unfortunate to be sent off for a second yellow for two reasons. Firstly, the referee ignored an obvious foul on Aubameyang before the Leicester break which resulted in AMN’s first card. Secondly, when the fatal subsequent card came, it was because the ref was conned by AMN’s England under-21 colleague James Maddison, who made out there was significant and painful contact when he had hardly been touched.

Having said that, even with eleven men on the pitch Arsenal were being over-run. It was a minor miracle Leicester failed to score in the first half, such were the number of very decent chances they enjoyed. Alex Iwobi had Arsenal’s sole shot on target, a tame effort more or less passed to Schmeichel in the Leicester goal. Iwobi is a willing tryer, and as an Arsenal-developed player the fans want him to succeed. But he is symbolic of a lack of quality in the squad. He wouldn't get anywhere near the first teams of either of the current top two, unless he had been coached to within an inch of his life by either Guardiola or Klopp. Is Emery improving players with all the work on the training pitch? It doesn't feel like it.

Koscielny came on for Iwobi at the start of the second half and Mustafi was shuffled over to right back. They had a go at keeping Leicester out, but it couldn’t last, as the goals came from a free kick, a long punt up field from the Leicester keeper and a late injury time break. All different types of goals, all pointing to a lack of focus on the part of the team defensively. No surprise there then.

With ten men it was always going to be hard, but on the odd occasion when the team got forward, generally possession was lost too easily. Some have already judged Emery, and I can understand why. I am going to wait until the Premier League and Europa League campaigns are over before considering whether there is good reason to give the head coach another year. The reality is that he will get it, and be given the chance to turn things around with a raft of new (if cheap) arrivals over the summer. Should they actually make the CL by hook or by crook, he will be able to sign better players. It’s obvious a lot will be leaving regardless.

There’s little debate that the squad looks in dire need of surgery, and there is still a hangover from the Wenger era in the quality of the players and the disproportionate wages some of them are getting. This millstone will take more than another year to phase out, and by the time that happens, Emery himself will have probably gone.

So onto the Spaniard’s speciality on Thursday and the Europa League, against one of his old clubs, and arguably Arsenal’s best chance of not taking part in the same competition next season.


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  1. mad max

    Apr 30, 2019, 10:11 #113668

    I don't think people are over reacting, we've been going downhill since xmas, now we hear the kit man is doing team talks, we don't seem to have any given style of play. the signing of suarez is as bizzare as the kallstrom one. torreira an d guendouzi have looked average at best. while the big clubs are being linked with stellar players we're being linked with ryan fraser and some 17 year old kid from brazil. apart from rob holding he's the only defender worth keeping next season. stick a m niles in midfield his rightful position. I wanted wenger out years ago, but at least we played attractive football under him. i'd give dick until xmas depending on if we sign anyone decent in the summer. I've noticed thousands of seats have become available for the last home game on ticket exchange. it seems like groundhog day once again. yes there is a real cancer running through the club. rudderless and leaderless

  2. peter wain

    Apr 30, 2019, 7:57 #113667

    We have to act now and cut this cancer from the club. Dick is a useless manager who has no idea on team selection tactics and has no judgement of a player. Equally Silent Stan is the worst owner we could have. Only interested in what Arsenal brings to his portfolio not interest in the club and certainly not interested in investing in the first team. We have to get rid of him first before we land up in the championship. It is really embarrassing and annoying when you see headlines that the club you support is skint and cannot afford to buy players. We need massive investment in the first team in order to compete - which is something we have not done for some years. This is owner is more concerned with Arsenal providing for LA Rams new stadium rather than a new left back. We have to act now otherwise we will fall into the championship and with this comic in charge I fear next year we could end up below half way.

  3. markymark

    Apr 29, 2019, 21:36 #113666

    There’s been a little bit of confusion over whether Dick is on a 2 or 3 year contract . I gather that there is s break clause year 2 otherwise it’s 12 million quid pay up time. I’d guess he therefore gets 1 more year unless it’s catastrophic . He’s been a tad unlucky with the number of away games in a row , but not unlucky with either the results or the continuous cycle of low energy , lack of cohesion and effort . To mention Owen Coyle as per previous poster we are Barnsley like at their point of collapse . We look naive and open for turning over. As Bard has mentioned this has effected his PR and he’s a wee bit lucky the press have given him an early ride. I’m watching us twice this week. I’m hoping he can at lead nail it at home. The good thing is at least the majority of the fanbase want him to succeed as he’s not been here long enough to build up enmity . Let’s hope he can kick on next season . My view would be as callous as it sounds if it goes to pot next year then get rid as other managers will want the job however much we browbeat .

  4. The Man From UNCLE

    Apr 29, 2019, 20:56 #113665

    Sean Dyche? Eddie Howe? Ye gods people, calm down. The latter will turn us in the N5 version of Bolton and the former is your man if you wanna win 4-0 away one week only to get beat 1-4 at home the next. I'm old enough to remember when Owen Coyle was the man of the moment, remind me how his managerial career turned out. Dic k is plainly looking at the UEFA cup - who wouldn't want that fetching piece of silverware adorning the trophy cabinet.


    Apr 29, 2019, 19:55 #113664

    God it's grim on here - hope not too many peeps are on anti-depressants! Look, a dose of reality is needed - just look back to 2016 when Dick well & truly spanked The "Pool & Klopps bum. Klopp's squad wasn't a bad one either in those early days of his tenure but Dick had some real warriors in his side, players that are still around but the wrong side of 30 for most Gooners. With Dick's impressive record in the Europa it is a bit rich, at 47, to write him off as a 2nd tier manager ( first season with a rubbish squad) although I too am very concerned at recent events - is Dick thoroughly disillusioned (couldn't blame him), have the team hit the dreaded "wall", has he lost the dressing room? Dick was coveted by most top clubs in Europe at that time & I don't think his brief time at PSG can be held against him. We have to accept that Wiggy has allowed AFC to become 2nd tier & not Dick & therefore no Level 1 manager would come to AFC without a substantial budget & complete control over the playing staff - with the possible exception of Rafa B for whom I have huge respect still. We cannot realistically get rid of our owner from Hell but a sponsors revolt might? Howe or Dyche - ye Gods, now where are those anti-depressants.

  6. itsRonagain2

    Apr 29, 2019, 17:49 #113663

    H Don - I think everybody sensible only expects slow progress and i agree with you, that in several games there has been a higher intensity and physicality in the teams play. In my view though its been inconsistently applied. In as much as a time frame to see improvements apply, i think that even with the same inadequate squad, after one season the difference should already be marked and easily identifiable by now. Dicks imprint should be clear. I dont think thats the case by any means but absolutely, Dicks worthy of next Season at least given what hes inherited. My view is that hes aborted the league and gambled on his beloved EL. I think he feels he needs some glory in the form of silverware as opposed to just top 4 as he knows Wenger managed that routinely and Dick wants to bring a cup to us that Wenger never could. In short he naturally feels that he needs to be seen to have achieved something different to prop up his credibility. Its a big gamble. I hope he can win the EL as that would be another door closed firmly on the Wenger tenure given how Wenger used to treat that trophy as some thing below the level of his shoe soles. In fairness, his defence has been ravaged by injury for long periods but im not sure the outcome would have been any different had that not have been the case. The players in defence arent good enough or are past their best years. Dick has to move mountains next Season to keep a job i think but he has an owner whos not going to help too much. Privately, perhaps Emery is using AFC as a springboard. he left PSG with a cloud hanging over his stats and man management. Grabbing a Cup at Arsenal in the same way he did elsewhere will put him up in lights for a while and attract bigger and better than Arsenal and Mr Kroenke can offer him. Hes only 47 after all. If thats the case he cant be blamed as he ll know theres no long term gtee at Arsenal anymore and certainly no mega level players will be purchased.

  7. Don Howe

    Apr 29, 2019, 17:02 #113662

    Many of the games which we have won this season have been won on high energy performances. The team have worked much harder than they did under Wenger, and some of the performances have been spectacular. We have hit the wall big time. Away form has been weird all season and the rot started with Southampton. This run has been psychologically damaging to the team. It's very hard not to be really depressed about it because we hoped for a positive end to the season. Running on empty is very hard to overcome. The defence has not been properly addressed and we need Keown on board. I know that Peter wants Emery out, but it would take an Alex Ferguson Brian Clough hybrid to undo the damage that the creature did in one January window. As far as Mr Wiggy is concerned, he is what he is. Not turning up might dislodge him by mucking up the TV and Sponsors view of " the product", but he would certainly sell us to the knackers yard in a fit of pique if we achieved that. Emery will get another year at least and he should do so. Let's hope he can do something effective in the transfer window, at least in a small way. And no I'm not booked for my place in a home for the easily pleased. Wenger's legacy makes me want to scream, but we have to work our way back slowly. It's just a fact of life.

  8. Exiled in Pt

    Apr 29, 2019, 16:23 #113661

    Have to agree with the two Ron's , the reason i say spend the money on the back four is i believe that with Ainsley , Willock, Guendozi and Torreira , we have our 2 central men then with Nelson and Smith- Rowe we have 2 wide men or either of these 2 could play in the so called number 10 spot just behind the front man . Along with young Eddie and Saka throw in Iwobi for one more season and to be honest i would give Welbeck a new contract as we are not going to have the money to go out and replace him and of course we still have Laca and Auby . Might take a while to get going but we have to start somewhere .

  9. itsRonagain2

    Apr 29, 2019, 14:34 #113660

    GR - Agree with that save for begging to differ over the 'good form up to Everton' part. I dont think Arsenal have been convincing all Season really apart from the odd match like Spurs at home. Theyve looked like a team with little unity of spirit, style or purpose and always teetering on being one conceded goal away from evaporation in the matches. In truth, there has been very little to distinguish the performances from those under Wenger in my opinion. Changing those missing ingredients at Arsenal is like trying to push water up an hill for any Coach with the culture in the club being what it is after all the Wenger years. I do wonder if a far more powerful personality than Dick is needed really, but they cost money and SK wont hack anybody but a compliant puppy dog type. No offence meant to Dick ( he seems a really nice man), but i think hes there only because he ll toe the SK line and is under no illusions about money or the clubs lack of real ambition. Same applies to that crew they've brought in behind him as well.

  10. GoonerRon

    Apr 29, 2019, 13:58 #113659

    It is definitely the hope that kills you. We had pretty good form going into the Everton game and since then could easily have lost 5 on the bounce and without properly dominating even 15 minutes of any of the matches. Everyone talks about our defence needing surgery (rightly) but I think midfield is in arguably even greater need. Elneny, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Mkhi, Iwobi are squad players at best, Ozil is Ozil (and I’m giving Torreira the benefit of considerable doubt in that too). It feels unlikely we will sell / release 10 players or so in the summer but it feels crucial we need to give some of our younger players more prominent roles in the squad to give them a chance to be the nucleus on which we build our next team. I’d much rather see ES-R, Nelson and Willock given a chance instead of Ozil, Mkhi and Elneny / Xhaka.

  11. Exiled in Pt

    Apr 29, 2019, 13:44 #113658

    As already been pointed out many of us said it was the owner Gazidis and Wenger that needed to go , we got 2 but the biggest problem is still there and as Ron and others point out he is going nowhere . Imo the best scenario for Dick would be no European football next season to help rebuild the team with the youth and Leno , Torreira , Guendozi, Lacazete and Auby . Problem is we are going to end up with European football whatever happens so would rather we had CL than another year of Thursday and Sunday games . Major investment will not happen so Dick needs to sell a lot of dross and just concentrate on replacing the back four !! Lets be straight on one thing it was not empty seats that got Wenger the push and fans protesting to remove the owner will not happen after all how many years have we been paying the highest prices for tickets in the country !!

  12. TonyEvans

    Apr 29, 2019, 12:41 #113657

    Hi Ron - I would love to see huge Kronke out demos but like you say it's not going to happen is it! When you think how long it took to finally see some fan pressure to oust Wenger (and even then it was nowhere near 100%) Kronke is on safe ground at Arsenal. As long as Kronke is sitting pretty on his Arsenal cash cow we ain't going anywhere fast no matter who is in the manager' hot seat.

  13. Bard

    Apr 29, 2019, 12:35 #113656

    Ron; I admit I was seduced by the early season form. I so desperately wanted to see an Arsenal side getting stuck in and being properly competitive after years of dross that I overlooked Dick's limitations or rather put them aside. The last few games have been as bad as anything under Wenger. As I said in a previous post we weren't even competitive. A side can lack ability or tactical nous but lack of fight is unacceptable. If Dick cant get them up for a fight for a CL spot then he isnt going to take them very far. You are right about Stan but I have always felt that Arsenal leverage for other projects. He couldnt careless about where we are. We do need to hound him out.

  14. itsRonagain2

    Apr 29, 2019, 11:23 #113655

    AM - Its fan mentality to recognise the reality but still to hope for some thing better irrespective. We re all or have been like that. The thing is though, its precisely that which keeps such as SK in control. Hes got fans hearts and minds because of long held loyalty to the Club and he knows it. While fans have 'hope' he ll stick as he is. Paying match going fans need to rid themselves of the hope and look at SK and the Club with cold eyes and act accordingly. Once the hope s gone SK is the one with the major problem and the tables will have turned. Its easy for me to say this and i accept that as i no longer go to games, but for the younger fans going forwards, they do need to man up in the same as Liverpool fans did vis Messrs Hicks and Gillet. Will southern football fans do that though? I seriously doubt it.

  15. ArsenalMagna

    Apr 29, 2019, 11:08 #113654

    You're right re the need for optimism Kev, but as I said on the last thread, it's pointless speculating on other teams' results when we are so dire right now. 4 losses in our last 5 PL games - relegation form. To be fair, it's similar for Spurs, Chelsea and United, all largely given fatigue, but even worse for us. I said the mid-week games could be the biggest determinants of the last PL matches and that's proved true so far. It's quite feasible Chelsea only get 4 more points, but realistically we are looking at a draw vs Brighton at home and a loss to Burnley away. Yesterday showed clearly as anything the chronic problems we have with centre backs - Koscielny and Socratis have no agility, and their body shapes for all the goals were awful, no doubt because of their ages. The big question is whether Emery plays so 'top heavy' because of his idealism or because he's just playing to our best assets and going for a quick return to CL football. Sadly, I think it's the former, and this really can't succeed in the long term. We should go back to playing the way we did when Steve Bould first joined - that was perfection! Anyway, I like others think missing out on the CL may be a blessing, though I still can't help but wish we win the EL and/or make top 4. We need to wipe the slate clean of the overpaid players, because any additions now will earn far too much money and be hard or impossible to shift, and we are, I believe, ultimately running operating losses right now (could be wrong on that?), so we need a financial structure that sees us break even with EL football, and grants us profit if we make CL.

  16. itsRonagain2

    Apr 29, 2019, 11:03 #113653

    Bard - despite Arsene Wengers departure, quite a few of us predicted that things would have to get worse before they got better (i think you were one of our number were you not?). This period of AW going, 2nd tier Coach coming in etc is all part of the evolution for the Club as i see it. Dicks a 'holding Coach' and ive always seen him in that light. As i see it, hes there until things reach the point where its stark staring obvious that the Club needs to change things. This owner is that type. He wont walk right up to the cliff edge but he s prepared to go as far as the warning fence in my view. Whats occurring is quite natural. The rather illusions that the unbeaten period created early Season was just a veneer because lets face it, the team didn't look very impressive even then. In many respects we should admire SK. Hes looked at that PL and recognised it for the over hyped and over rated animal that it is and realised that even a quite poor team at a Club of Arsenals size and revenue can remain in a respectable position with out him having to invest too much in players. There was a clutch of us who argued that such fan demos as there were ought to have been directed at SK before Wenger (or at least at the same time) yet we were shouted down and often insulted for saying it. Without sounding too much like 'i told you so', the case remains. Arsenal under SK - things wont change.

  17. itsRonagain2

    Apr 29, 2019, 10:50 #113652

    3 words - towel thrown in. PS The Everton game was the one when it was obvious what was happening.

  18. RobG

    Apr 29, 2019, 10:25 #113651

    Emery will surely get another season regardless of how this finishes. What is the alternative ? Bring Wenger back ? Unthinkable. Mourinho ? Won't happen ; and also unthinkable. Ancelotti - would be good but very expensive and we don't have the money. Kronke won't put any money in. It's all we can hope that he doesn't take any out. And he - Kronke - is going no where, whether we like it or not ! He won't sell and as we all know he doesn't care about the football only the balance sheet. So the alternatives would be either Eddie Howe or Sean Dyche. Both would be or could be good. Both MIGHT come and would be affordable. But neither offers any more likelihood of success than Emery does. However this season finishes, the one hope we have, is to ship as many of the under performers out as possible in the summer and that includes Mikatryan and Ozil, who would save us a fortune in wages, as well as the more obvious departees. Then it's down to affordable buys and brining in the younger prospects. By the end of next season we may still be in sixth place but we will at least have a better balance to the squad. That might be Emery's legacy ?

  19. Bard

    Apr 29, 2019, 9:41 #113650

    Worrying times for sure. I have been a supporter of Dick but the last 3/4 games we seem to have thrown in the towel. I think this run in has damaged his brand. I would suspect he will get one more season but a repeat of this season will see him on his bike. These havent been close games decided by the odd decision, we have been soundly thrashed. It is worrying that he cant get a tune out of an admittedly average squad, but where is the 'do or die' mentality. I have come to the view that to qualify for the CL will be a disaster for next season. We dont have the money for a complete overhaul and it isnt easy getting rid of players on inflated contracts. A decent rebuild will take several windows. We are better off free from the psychological damage of getting thrashed in Europe. At the very least it gives us an idea of how dysfunctional things were under Wenger in the later years.

  20. nozzer

    Apr 29, 2019, 9:18 #113649

    All the eggs are in the Europa league basket. If we manage to win it I can't see us doing much on the champions league which is par for the course for us. The real benefit will be be the extra funds generated and not having the Thursday/Sunday schedule. As I have said before we need defenders who can play in the premier league. I am perplexed as to what they do a London Colney. There has not been any improvement defensively. Get George Graham, Martin Keown, Dave O'Leary, any of them into help

  21. peter wain

    Apr 29, 2019, 8:32 #113648

    it is unbelievable that we can have appointed such a limited coach. Obviously the biggest criticism has to be with the owner who only wants Arsenal to prop up his other ailing sports franchises. But Dicjk's tactics and player judgement is very questionable. Leichsteiner has been a bad buy papdoplous not much better and guendozi started well but is fading very badly. Tactically he is limited and coaching wise we have not seen much improvement on Iwobi or Mustaphi

  22. TonyEvans

    Apr 29, 2019, 8:19 #113647

    I said on a previous thread that Dick's unimpressive defensive record was a cause for concern for many on here when his appointment was announced and so it has proved. The last thing we really needed after Wenger's years of going soft on the defensive side of the game was a manager in the same vein. I accept that Emry is a step up from Wenger defensively, but not by much and in all honesty who wouldn't be! What we really needed was a manager who built from the back - got the defending right and then went on from there, and that is what we still need - big time. Perhaps this will come in his second season but the stats suggest otherwise.