New Manager Bounce Is No Excuse For Arsenal Disappointment

Preview of this afternoon’s Premier League match against Watford

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Danny Welbeck – Might start against his old club

The usual five talking points ahead of today’s game away at Watford

Laca Out
Due to an ongoing ankle problem, Alex Lacazette won’t be back in first team action until October, one imagines that means after the international break, and Arsenal’s first match after that will be on Monday 21st away to Sheffield United, which I really can’t see him being risked for. However, Emery left Laca on the bench at Anfield, although his team played more on the break there than will be expected at Vicarage Road. Aubameyang can certainly play central, so one imagines Reiss Nelson might get a chance to play as one of the three attackers, unless Emery is thinking of either playing five at the back, or three deeper midfielders with one of Ceballos, Willock or Ozil to provide the link to attack that was absent for most of the recent North London derby. Anyhow, it will keep the opposition guessing, as well as we fans.

New Manager Bounce?
It’s a phenomenon that has certainly benefited the teams Arsenal have played in the past, although it is not an inevitability. Dismissed Javi Gracia took Watford to an FA Cup Final and a very respectable 11th place in the table last season. Still, the current season has not started well, with just one point from the first four matches, and home defeats to West Ham and Brighton. So this is a team low on confidence, and given they are currently bottom of the table, regardless of the return of Quique Sanchez Flores, Arsenal really should win this match. With or without Alexandre Lacazette.

A Familiar Face
Danny Welbeck was released by Arsenal at the end of last season, and given his injury record in his time at the club, it was an understandable decision. I doubt he would have accepted a pay as you play deal, assuming one was even offered. The assumption at the time was that Eddie Nketiah would be given more of a chance, although in the end, the club bought Martinelli from Brazil and send Eddie on loan to Leeds. As for the departing number 19, he’s appeared as a sub in two of Watford’s four Premier League matches, totalling 41 minutes of action. He did play the entirety of their League Cup win over Coventry though, so it seems simply a case of his place in the pecking order. With a new manager though, he could start. Never mind the new manager bounce, here’s hoping the “immutable law of the ex” as Brian Glanville coined it, does not come into play. Welbeck’s chances of starting are certainly improved by an injury to the Hornet’s club captain…

Cojones off the menu
Troy Deeney is injured for this game. On one level, that’s a shame. His reputation now precedes him, and in last season’s corresponding fixture, his words pre-match about leaving his mark on Arsenal players so as to intimidate them led to his early dismissal and a Gunners’ away win – in spite of a below-par display. Deeney is a fading force, almost a figure of fun given the high fitness levels in the Premier League today. Given that Flores prefers to play a more technical than physical game, it will be interesting to see how long Deeney remains part of the picture, even if he served the new manager well three seasons ago. He’s 31 now, and won’t be getting any fitter.

History on Arsenal’s side…
Watford have lost five of their six Premier League home games against Arsenal. The exception was when they came from behind in this fixture during Arsene Wenger’s final season, winning 2-1 in October 2017. The Hornets also failed to score in either of their matches against Unai Emery’s side last season, which given Arsenal have only kept a total of nine clean sheets in total under Unai Emery in the Premier League, seems unlikely to repeat itself this afternoon.

Arsenal dropped too many points against the teams outside the top six last season, even if Watford were not one of them. That cost them at the season’s end. So far this season they have taken maximum points from these matches, and if they are to rejoin the European elite, they can’t afford too many slip-ups. It’s difficult to predict what kind of line-up Emery will put out, but given the fragility of Watford’s defence (not helped by injury to Craig Cathcart), you’d have to think he’ll go for it with a 4-2-1-3 selection, my money on Xhaka, Guendouzi, Ceballos and Willock (wide left) to start. As Watford are propping up the table, I’m going for a 3-1 away win.


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  1. Hi Berry

    Sep 16, 2019, 06:58 #114852

    Mixed with some of the greatest highs there have been more than enough disappointments over the years - starting with Don Rogers and Swindon Town in the league Cup Final all those years ago for me. Numerous capitulations to make you spit bile and leading to a resigned indifference to the fortunes of the team, especially in the latter Wenger years.....but I don't think anything has come close to making me as angry as I felt yesterday. Jesus Christ on a bike - are these professional footballers....Guendouzi playing a blind chip into the centre of the penalty area, continually losing possession when 'playing out' from the back at goal kicks. The success rate is so poor that the ball might as well be thumped to the halfway line where there might be a 50:50 chance of gaining possession. Can't these players work it out for themselves? What, oh what is the point of changing things late in the game with Leno playing a short pass to Luiz who then thumps it up the field. Have the laws been changed over the summer to prevent goalkeepers kicking the ball long. Angry, angry, angry!!

  2. Dick Dastardly

    Sep 16, 2019, 05:28 #114851

    No shape, no tactics, no ideas. The pressing for goal kicks FFS. Just get everyone to push up to halfway line - their attackers have to retreat or be offside - and launch one up the pitch. It's not rocket science is it.

  3. itsRonagain2

    Sep 15, 2019, 23:43 #114850

    Yes, I’ve doubted Emery since last season to be honest but he’s going nowhere. He tows the line. He keeps his trap shut. He works with the shoestring budget. He accepts the limited ambition. He keeps the AW legacy burning. He’s Kroenke s dream in other words and all these factors are why he’s there doing the gig. You c. Dream of better coaches till the cows come home. None are going to Arsenal. None would want the conditions and limitations of the job.

  4. KC38

    Sep 15, 2019, 21:55 #114849

    I was happy to give him two seasons but this is embarrassing and hurts to watch. We were lucky to be 2 up at half time and the manager has made us worse defensively. There is no future for us with a manager that cannot do defence at all. We have to many clowns defensively and sadly our young right back is proving he is no right back he was shocking losing possession sloppy with distributing. How Chambers is not playing at centre back is beyond me. Sad to say but we have to sack the manager now, no improvement at all, we have a lot of talent in the squad but it’s all undone by ill disciplined individuals playing like children.

  5. RobG

    Sep 15, 2019, 21:15 #114848

    Said he took Danni off because it was hot. His disinclination to master the language doesn’t help. I still hope he can pick things up but after that I am starting to worry . At all events he’s here for the rest of this season. Backed him all the way, up to this point ; but the doubt has now set in.

  6. John F

    Sep 15, 2019, 20:10 #114847

    According to our captain the team were scared and happy to take a point .No cojones yet again.

  7. mad max

    Sep 15, 2019, 20:04 #114846

    this is getting ridiculous now, the same defensive horrors we've witnessed for the past ten years, only this time it's even worse, the buck stops with emery he signed luiz and sokratis both clearly not up to the required standard. this playing out from the back has got to stop at least until we have defenders capable of implementing it. the harsh reality is emery is not the right man for the job we should cut our lossess and get rid now. and how on earth is granit xhaka captain he stated after the game we were scared of them in the 2nd half. Tony adams would have pinned him up against the wall for saying that. 31 chances created by a team bottom of the table is unacceptable for an arsenal manager,h's totally out of his depth. and just to think Klopp and Guardiola would have taken the job but the board decided to stick with inspector clueless for far too long. very depressing days for all gooners. EMERY OUT NOW!

  8. Rob1971

    Sep 15, 2019, 18:46 #114845

    We don't want Mourinho. What about Allegri?? I'd even give Freddie a run for the rest of the year.

  9. ArsenalMagna

    Sep 15, 2019, 18:30 #114844

    @Paul James I was thinking the same thing. He has just under two years left on his deal and is reportedly on £6m per year. We have a break clause at the end of this season which means we don't have to pay him for his last year if we dismiss him. However, I'm guessing that if we dismiss him now we will have to pay him for the full length of the potential remaining duration of contract (that is, for this and next season). Given how penny pinching this regime is, I can't see that happening. Also, don't expect the club to bring in a good replacement - we need Mourinho but will probably go for an Arsenal legend like PV4, Ljungberg or Arteta. Watching us continually fail to play balanced football, which is really quite easy in truth, is now boring as much as frustrating/saddening. It's for that reason that my passion for actively following Arsenal is now starting to really wane.

  10. Pauljames

    Sep 15, 2019, 18:16 #114843

    Is there a case for cutting our losses right now on Emery? He hasn’t even learned the language in 18 months and there are one or two experienced bosses out of work at the moment. We will concede 50 + goals under him again this season .

  11. mbg

    Sep 15, 2019, 18:11 #114842

    John F, you would think that mate, but he's getting to resemble wenger in sticking to his guns and refusing to change and adapt.

  12. mbg

    Sep 15, 2019, 18:07 #114841

    Back home from an enjoyable couple of weeks away and nothings changed Arsenal wise anyway, Troy Deeny may be a fading force but he's not the only one.

  13. Pauljames

    Sep 15, 2019, 17:57 #114840

    Words fail me after that utter mess.Serious doubts about this managers ability to move the club forward. How do a team like Watford have 31 attempts on our goal in 90 minutes? Forget personnel, the blame lies firmly at Dicks door. Pretty sure he won’t be here this time next year.

  14. RobG

    Sep 15, 2019, 17:42 #114839

    I try not to do instant reactions but that was a shocker of a second half. Watford unquestionably deserved to win. Tierney, Bellerin and Holding cannot come back a split second too soon. I have stood by Unai but he is clearly asking the players to do things that given their limitations, they can't. First Guendouzi then Socratis playing suicide balls in their own p.a. Madness.

  15. John F

    Sep 15, 2019, 17:40 #114838

    31 attempts on goal by Watford says it all.

  16. John F

    Sep 15, 2019, 17:37 #114837

    I really do not have to watch anymore incompetent defending to realize that this manager is just not good enough.He must have seen enough matches to know that playing out from the back with these players is suicidal but still he continues.

  17. Exiled in Pt

    Sep 15, 2019, 17:24 #114836


  18. markymark

    Sep 15, 2019, 17:17 #114835

    Do we get rid by Christmas? . This is very poor , defensive disasters , over run , nervous , mistaken substitutions . Unai is looking increasingly incompetent . He’s not the man to take us forward