Unai Emery's passive Arsenal sleepwalking into disaster

Dearth in fluidity and attacking intent at Sheffield is a huge concern

Unai Emery's passive Arsenal sleepwalking into disaster

The Arsenal faithful has been slow in its turning on manager Unai Emery, but following Monday night's result it seems that swathes are now moving against him faster than ever before.

Arsenal were passive and lifeless in their defeat at Bramall Lane, seemingly lacking the courage to take the game to a side that were clearly inferior.

Sheffield United's obvious strength is in defence and once Arsenal fell 1-0 down it was always going to be difficult to respond, and sadly the game unfolded in a horribly predictable pattern.

The Blades scored a soft goal from a corner that was too easy whichever way you look at it. Then they retreated into shape, with three centre halves protected by a midfield three, and simply kept Arsenal at arm’s length.

For Arsenal fans in the stadium or at home, it was pretty agonising to watch and Emery will now have to answer for the fact that nine league games into the season, Arsenal are still playing so poorly.

Not only are Arsenal playing poorly, but Emery also refused the opportunity to bring Kieran Tierney and Rob Holding into the team, while Hector Bellerin was not even included in the squad.

As an outsider, it is tough to truly understand what level the players are at in terms of their recovery, but those decisions won't have done him any favours.

Emery's tenure has been patiently endured up until this point, with fans willing to make excuses. At first Arsenal didn't have the squad to compete. Later in the season, injuries became the reason that he couldn't lead Arsenal to success, while this term the key reason behind their failings has been the absence of full backs.

These theories could still turn out to be correct, at least to some extent, but the dearth in fluidity and attacking intent shown on Monday cannot be banished through the simple addition of full backs.

Arsenal under Emery do not excite and they do not create nearly enough opportunities. Unlike in the past, the failings can't be put down to a lack of attacking talent either and the more time spent watching Arsenal, the more it becomes clear that something is not right in terms of the instruction that has been passed onto the players.

While fan opinion is now turning against Emery, it is likely he will receive slightly more patience from the Arsenal hierarchy. Whether he will be able to capitalise on this extra time, is looking increasingly unclear.


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  1. markymark

    Oct 24, 2019, 17:59 #115210

    I think with big changes you always get the pendulum swing into the opposite direction before a new mid way can be established. In my corporation they went from Investment Banker Devil CEO to an appointment of a saintly figure . Both had major faults and quite frankly in terms of actual positivity , reward and moving forward the Devil was the better bet! Looking at Wenger he played his way whatever the opposition. Very little was spent on tactical stifling of the opposition . Wenger developed a style but his lack of tactical strength exposed him as coaches found him out. Unai in comparison is obsessed by the opposition. Indeed the PSG players thought this a major weakness. His other problem is the Premiership is very competitive . Yes people might argue it’s between just two clubs but outside top 3 quite frankly anybody can beat anyone given a fair wind . Emery is lost in this and his communication is very poor. The next manager I suspect will impose a style the fight will be for even more gung ho without a defensive core , or a real pragmatist who may bore but may also be able to close down games and nick draws against the top 4 away from home. On a separate note why has Ozil posted an image of himself laughing ? Does he know something ?

  2. itsRonagain2

    Oct 24, 2019, 10:19 #115206

    Hi lads - i like Howe too. I think with Eddie its a case of perception i think thats stopping a big club giving him a chance in that they see the leap from a club such as Bournemouth tucked away down on the south cost with 12000 gates as too big a bridge to cross for him? Its as if hes got to go to say, Everton or a club like that and do well before he ll get a chance to go higher. Its a bit unfair as what hes done at Bournemouth already is close to being miraculous. I also think he gives off the vibes that hes totally content though being at the level hes at and living in the area that he does. Cant say i blame the bloke really! You're right re Arsenal coaches historically. I believe the trouble with the clutch of English coaches over the last 15 years is that they all decided that they needed to be in a clique so to remain different and apart from what they see as Johnny foreigner invading their domain. The trouble with that is that they hooked their horses up to Allardyces cart and followed the attitudes and approaches to the game of that corrupt fat oaf instead of being their own men. As result they've almost all been tarnished with the same brush as him. Howe is a departure from it in that he doesn't and hasnt slavishly followed the creed that 'in yer face' hack, hoof and shit kick is the only way to play the game. He and Rodgers are now stand alone coaches really and hopefully the perception of English coaches will change. There are some quite progressive ones showing through now and its good to see.

  3. TonyEvans

    Oct 24, 2019, 7:50 #115205

    Exiled and Ron - interesting points as always fellers. All this talk of ex players got me thinking about the Liverpool ‘boot room’ philosophy back in the 70s and 80s that worked so well for them. Could Arsenal somehow replicate it? In answer to my own question probably not - but I do think the club has to do something radical to remove Wenger’s all pervading influence on the club. It almost feels like he still the manager! Many of us on this site don’t recognise our own club anymore - we have morphed in to a Westham or, dare I say it, a Spud u like outfit and that has to change fast, whatever it takes.

  4. Exiled in Pt

    Oct 23, 2019, 21:34 #115204

    Evening Ron, your right about the ghost of Wenger hanging over the club. There are a few that could sweep it out. I have to say I do not think I could stomach the thought of JM in charge at our club myself but his record speaks for itself. Although I do tend to think like Wenger his time has passed now as a top coach.. Personally would love an English coach in charge and would like to see Eddie Howe get a chance at a big club. But let's be honest it still seems to be foreign coaches are more respected than the English lads.. Football snobbery by the so called big clubs...Lets be honest Arsenal have never really taken on a big time coach apart from Herbert Chapman..

  5. itsRonagain2

    Oct 23, 2019, 20:35 #115203

    Exiled. All yr points taken matey. Very well reasoned about FL and Rodgers. In the latter , I think they ll fall into the trap of taking the cretin Gerard in there once Klopp walks. Let’s hope anyway, as he ll take the wind out of Liv s sails in my view. I often thought O Leary wd have been a good uption some yrs ago. Proper ASL man and quite astute. His time at AV did despoil him. It was down to Doug Ellis s chairmanship there that did for him and his career plummeted. I still thought he cd have done well at club like Arsenal tho. Maybe his times past now. He s getting on a bit. Re Adan’s. I feel he would have got a role had Wenger not been there a few yrs back. He couldn’t cope with strong personsaluties around in my view. Certainly wdt have coped with Adams scrutinising him. So very many of Asls problems today have their origins in Wenger s personality I feel. He was the Erich Honecker or the mao of AFC. His shadow looms large still today. A Coach with the balls to rid the club of it is very much needed. There’s an ex Chelsea bloke kicking his heels I’ve heard!!!.....

  6. Exiled in Pt

    Oct 23, 2019, 20:22 #115202

    Tony make you right over Tony Adams, should be at the club in some capacity but I think Wenger put pay to that a few seasons back. We have a certain David Oleary working at the club in a ambassadorial role. Get him in the dressing room coaching he did not do to bad at Leeds even if his time at Vila was a disaster..

  7. Exiled in Pt

    Oct 23, 2019, 20:16 #115201

    Ron, I am not sure about Freddie myself, his coaching at Arsenal does not amount to more than 18 months if my memory serves me correctly about 5 months with the under15's and last season with the under 23's. But Andreis Jonkers must of seen something in his ability to take him to Wolfsberg as his number 2 after the short spell of coaching the kids! So maybe there is something to him and it is obvious he has a rapport with the boys that he was coaching last season. So why not let him run with it for this season in a caretaker roll. If it works out he earns a new contract if not a new man steps in at end of the season with a transfer window to assist in a new direction. Let's be honest we are not going to take on a big hitter of a coach and I just think Rodgers would not be interested. Think he would rather impress with Leicester and get another chance at Anfield when Klopp has had enough.. Only my opinion I could be very wrong usually am.

  8. Newpark

    Oct 23, 2019, 16:48 #115200

    Exiled in Pt. The differences between Wenger and Emerys team selection frustrations however are what worries me. Wenger would always play HIS way, he'd pick teams to try and do that and not cater for the threat of the opposition. Wengers faults were obvious, refused to bow to the strength of the opposition and instead of say playing a Ramsey wide right instead of Walcott he'd just go for it and it would backfire time and time again. Emery, just doesn't look like he knows what he is doing with team selection. I''m not coach or manager, purely a fan but I haven't seen an Emery team in a Premier league game and thought yes, that's it. He either doesn't pick Ceballos when he should, he plays him wide in a diamond like at Anfield. Xhaka just shouldn't be playing, fact, he does nothing but upset the balance in midfield because he offers nothing defensively like Torreira, drive like Guendouzi, or real attacking quality like Ceballos or dare I say, Ozil. When he went with Xhaka, Torreira and Guendouzi against Spurs what was he thinking? It was so obvious we'd lack supply to PAL up front! It changed when Ceballos come on SHOCK. It's getting tiring, frustrating, boring and I just can't get on board with what we're watching at the moment. It's week in week out of the same mistakes.

  9. TonyEvans

    Oct 23, 2019, 14:29 #115199

    Ron and Exiled - Ex players as manager is an interesting one. Freddie could not be any worse than Emery, surely, and all the younger players seem to rate him. As Ron says though he's entirely unproven. Talking of ex players I am sure a certain Tony Adams as manager would be a disaster, but there is always a little bit of me that would love to see him at Arsenal in some capacity. I suppose the thought process is that the right Arsenal legend will 'get' what Arsenal is all about, but in reality it's not as easy as all that - as they are fast finding out in Manchester!

  10. itsRonagain2

    Oct 23, 2019, 13:14 #115198

    Exiled - Agree with yr sentiment as to why Rodgers might prefer where he is than move to ASL. Its true that LCFC are growing to become a far bigger club but they dont have the appeal of AFC when push comes to shove of course. I think he ll get top 4 for them this year too. He lacks a top quality striker there though i think and may stall because of that. Its true he has sound owners as well. It would be a tough call as you say as Arsenals appeal has been waning for some years now as the modern game heads in its present direction. Still a very classy London club though with fabulous image and traditions, albeit diluted some what this last decade or so. A few speak of Freddie as you do. Why is that? Theres nothing proven with him. He was a great servant for us but i think this ex player desire from some fans as a coach is a bit idealistic and misty eyed if im honest? Same applies to PV 4.

  11. Exiled in Pt

    Oct 23, 2019, 12:57 #115197

    As Tony says he is just as frustrating as Wenger in his team selection , i have no doubt we will see the second string score a hatfull on Thursday maybe he is already planning his assault on the EL rather than the PL !! I cannot see us bringing in a big name coach , so maybe it is better to give Freddie the reigns now rather than waste another season , i think he is as near to an English coach we will see ! Why would Rodgers want to leave Leicester for us , i would put money on them finishing above us this season along with Chelski . They have an owner that will back him and a team that want to succeed ...........

  12. TonyEvans

    Oct 23, 2019, 12:35 #115196

    Emery leaves me scratching my head in confusion with his team selections just as much as Wenger used to. I can't see any real difference between the two - what's changed? Bugger all! Think Ron has a point re Rodgers: don't like him as a person for some reason but I think he would be a good fit for Arsenal. Benitez also would be good - we are crying out for a manager that will build from a solid defensive unit; let's see a return to a bit of 1-0 to The Arsenal. My brief spark of interest, post Wenger, is well and truly being snuffed out by Emery, and the sooner he goes the better.

  13. itsRonagain2

    Oct 23, 2019, 10:02 #115195

    Teams always, without exception reflect the managers persona. Skittish. Uncertain. Confused. Lacks clarity. jumpy. Edgy and many more facets all of which describe the perception i have of Dick and his team follows suit. This team is worse than Wengers in his final years. The reality is though that when we speak of Dicks time being up we are looking at another lower level candidate to take his place. Dick is in truth a step lower than what AW was and with a team and owner like this, the same level or lower will almost certainly follow. The only idea i can think of to perhaps give us some direction and a coach who might be a good fit is now Rodgers. Ive never been keen on him as a bloke (not that i know him!) but hes done enough to merit a go now at such as Arsenal. Doing a great job at Leics and as theyre my '2nd team' i d like him to carry on there. I just think Arsenal and him might gel now. He s got fixed ideas on how to play with intensity and tactically hes sound too. His holier than thou persona grates a bit. but we can cope with that. I think we need a British Coach now and hes by far the best of the bunch.

  14. RobG

    Oct 23, 2019, 9:35 #115194

    I have been with Emery until now. Anyone coming in needs time. And you have to give him more than one season. But Monday was a big case of deja vu. It’s the lack of any verve that is so concerning. And Xhaka - who I don’t particularly warm to, talking about being ‘scared’ really does set alarm bells ringing. Any Manager worth his salt has to give his team a character. Emery has simply failed to do that, thus far.

  15. markymark

    Oct 23, 2019, 9:04 #115192

    During the high point of the pro/anti Wenger rantings. It stood out that no one would give the next manager 8 years of mediocrity. It’s still too early for me to fairly compare Wenger to Unai as I’ll always be tempted to go on the attack, so best to keep the two things separate. I suspect that unless by some real outlier of amazing performances his goose s cooked. There’s no loyalty built up from the base , no real USP and dull football. Crowds could start drifting away and with two big hitters in the wings it could be who moves first, us or UTD? The Freddie thing is interesting though . I’m not sure if he’ll end up a Giggs like figure ( Giggs is obviously an arsehole ) only comparing the two job wise !