Emery gets a break with as ‘easy’ run of fixtures begins

Preview of this afternoon’s game v Southampton

Emery gets a break with as ‘easy’ run of fixtures begins

The usual five talking points ahead today’s match at home to Southampton in the Premier League

Time to pick up some points
Southampton home, Norwich away, Brighton home and West Ham away are Arsenal’s next four Premier League fixtures. Given the distance between them and the top four, they need to be collecting 12 points here, 10 at a bare minimum. All should be winnable matches if the players can play to their potential. Sadly, that hasn't really happened yet so far this season there is a lot of doubt that it’s suddenly going to be any different.

The Xhaka question
The noises coming from Emery are that he wants to re-integrate his deposed captain into the starting eleven, after he turned out twice for Switzerland during the international break. The noises from Xhaka himself suggest he has no desire to play for the club again, and will seek a move in January. Interesting one this. Add to that the uncertainty of how the home crowd will react to Xhaka should he play. If he were on the bench, that offers the tricky situation of the player warming up in close proximity to the supporters, and getting abuse from some. It doesn’t actually help that Xhaka doesn't have any kind of chant that the crowd could sing to encourage and express some kind of a truce - which is the only way the player will have a future at the club. It’s difficult to see this one ending happily, and things could get worse than they are already for the team if Emery decides to expose the player in a home match. Better to get a win under their belts and bring him back against Norwich. Mind you, regardless of the fall-out, most fans would prefer to see Guendouzi and Torreira start. But Emery has his own view on that.

A return to four at the back makes space for Pepe
Do Arsenal need to play a back three in their next four league games? Given the opposition? Surely they need to play to their attacking strengths. A frontline of Auba, Laca and Pepe with Ozil behind, and Torreira and Guendouzi assisted by Bellerin and Tierney to help move the ball forward at pace. One assumes that David Luiz and Rob Holding would get the nod as the centre-backs.

Will Arsenal fans vote with their feet?
It’s fair to say that the view amongst the supporters on Unai Emery is more or less unanimous. This isn’t going to get any better. The faith, built upon the buzz on his arrival, the 22 match unbeaten run in the final months of 2018, and a very decent run to the Europa League final, has evaporated. New players have come in over the summer, yet the team are doing worse than in Emery’s first season. That isn’t progress. No-one sees a turnaround coming. Even if they were to put together a four game winning run, the acid test for most fans will be the trio of home matches over the festive period, when Man City, Chelsea and Man Utd are the visitors. Trips to Everton and Bournemouth are in the midst of those games. Add to this the possibility of Jose Mourinho creating a new manager bounce at Spurs and the noisy neighbours overtaking the Gunners in the table. It really isn’t looking good. As the swathes of empty seats for home games eventually did for Arsene, it’s difficult to see Emery surviving mass apathy – because TV images beamed around the world that tell the audience no-one thinks it’s worth spending 90 minutes watching Arsenal hurts the value of the club to sponsors. Ah yes – money is at stake here! That might make even Stan Kroenke aware that something’s not quite right. It will be interesting to see how many attend today – a Saturday 3pm kick off not on the TV.

If they can’t beat this lot…
Southampton have not won at Arsenal in the league since 1987. A long time (although there were a few years when the Saints were not in the top flight). They have enjoyed a couple of League Cup wins at the Emirates, but we are talking mix and match elevens here. Given that Ralph Hasenhuttl’s team infamously lost 9-0 at home to Leicester not so long ago (albeit playing most of the game with ten men) really makes this a game Emery simply has to win. Southampton lie in 19th place with eight points. Honestly, if Arsenal cannot win this match, it is difficult for anyone to justify Emery still being in employment on Monday morning.

Home win. Has to be. Maybe 3-1. If Emery does not start both Bellerin and Tierney he needs his head examined. If he starts Xhaka he is taking a big risk in terms of a supportive atmosphere. I suspect things will be quite muted, at least until Arsenal can open the scoring. And I am guessing that maybe 15,000 of the spectators due to attend will find better things to do. Surely Arsenal cannot fail to win this one, can they…?

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  1. itsRonagain2

    Nov 24, 2019, 9:30 #115561

    RK. Morning matey. I hear that but the reality is that Arsenal are not really worse than under AW. The football there is only As putrid as it’s been this last 7/8 years so what were they doing then? They were there, not staying away. The slumbering modern day fans aren’t exempt from blame. They’ve paid up over the year s and made little genuine gestures that might alter anything. They ll be there next home game. There are so many there who will use any excuse to dig out Dick just because he s not Wenger. I don’t go but I know people who are like this. Dick s a handy target. I m not defending him. He s not right for the club but who appointed him? That rabble who are in place with him are all no marks too. Who appointed them? Dick has gone there and has had 15 yrs of rot to cure. Yes , 15 years as the rot started at game 50. I ll always have that view. Those fans who do nothing but gob off at their own olayers and at Dick are weaklings. Nobody makes them pay up and go every week. A bit of booing is as much action as they can muster. It’s really pathetic. Stop going genuinely. Stop buying the garbage merchandise. Stop buying the rip off season tickets. Stop buying the silly memberships. Attack the owner! AFC have no Board. They have a dictator. Dictators only fall in the face of drastic demonstrations. Half hearted moaning doesn’t even pick up on his radar.

  2. Radfordkennedy

    Nov 24, 2019, 9:11 #115560

    Morning all...I was at the game yesterday, it was dire slow plodding football, I can't speak for the rest of the ground but I was in block 119 the atmosphere was toxic at 1-2 with people on their feet screaming towards Emery even the stewards looked away and didn't get involved, this can't go on, the most common comment after the game on the stairs down was ' I'm not coming again till that f##king idiot's gone' , which pretty much sums it up for me really

  3. TonyEvans

    Nov 24, 2019, 8:27 #115559

    Pitiful and very, very sad - nothing else to say that we haven’t all been saying over and over again these last 10 years or so.

  4. John F

    Nov 24, 2019, 8:27 #115558

    1975 Ron we need a version of Brian Kid and Jimmy Rimmer to save the season. I have the same fear as Mark regarding the December fixture list plunging us into a relegation battle.

  5. itsRonagain2

    Nov 24, 2019, 7:26 #115557

    CG - you and me both mate. Thinking back to those days though when I was at Primary school and being led into supporting us by my Dad, it must have given him the same feelings, though he rarely moaned about the struggling team back then. Dad was a goalkeeper and played to a good level in non league and I can only ever recall him grumbling occasionally about the club’s choice of poor keepers. McKechnie , Furnell , Burns and Co. He never lost his pride in Arsenal though and we always had Baker Eastham Strong and Armstrong didn’t we! He would always glow in his recall of the teams of 30 years before though, as we do now. There’s solace in that. It reminds us that football is cyclical and that AFC will be back one day. The difference now though is that it can only happen by a quite enormous cash investment in players combined with the club appointing a truly proven top marque Coach and his own team of assistants. This is because of the nature of the game today and the ownership of the top clubs in the PL who we re up against. That is never going to happen under this owner. Back in the mid 60s Arsenal we re at a level financially with Yr Liverpool’s Spuds and Everton , the latter being a real moneybags club who were then in serious decline themselves. Utd could always raise cash because of the capacity of OT of course but they weren’t spending much then as they d grown their superb own players as they emerged from the Munich air crash leading up to 1968 glory hadn’t they. Troubled times indeed. There’s a very real risk Arsenal could well be a perpetual top 7 club now at best. For the fans today not to accept that is a mistake because it’s a very likely prospect.

  6. markymark

    Nov 24, 2019, 7:19 #115556

    There was one little nugget of a rumour suggesting Mourinho had second thoughts on us due to our setup ( he wouldn’t get the power ) if that is correct it does point to Raul actively seeking a new manager. Might be total BS of course. All I see this going is drop point after point followed by December hammering . For everybody’s sakes including Unai it’s best he’s gone and quick . Freddie and Bouldie can sort it out if necessary in the meantime

  7. A Cornish Gooner

    Nov 24, 2019, 2:33 #115555

    When I started supporting Arsenal the manager was Billy Wright. In all the years since then I can't remember feeling so sad at the demise of a decent sort of bloke as Emery. But sadly he's now got to go.

  8. itsRonagain2

    Nov 23, 2019, 23:38 #115554

    I m not sure what to think or how to feel guys. On one hand there’s a perverse pleasure in finally seeing the Wengo era unravel and rapidly shred at long, long last ( Dicks only an irrelevant extension of that - no hard feelings towards him at all) but on the other, speaking as a gnarled and long since , cynical gunner there’s a terrible sadness to it all. There are shades almost if those relegation haunting years of 74 to 76 ish period, but into today’s snarling, sneering English society , this lot seems far far worse in so many ways. Back then, at least none of us had lost sight of what Arsenal were as a club. Now? It’s just increasingly irrelevant skeleton of a once proud institution. I’ve been in goodbye and so long mode towards the Club and footie in general for quite a few years now lads, but seeing this charade inches the door closer to being shut for good for me. It’s a tragedy what this nothing man owner has allowed to happen there. Really is.

  9. RobG

    Nov 23, 2019, 22:44 #115553

    Emery second favourite for the sack by the end of the month at 5 - 1 with Sky Bet. Marco Silva favourite at 1 - 3.

  10. Goonhogday

    Nov 23, 2019, 19:53 #115552

    I went today and we’re actually getting worse by the week. Playing out from the back at 0-0 is just madness. Sitting near the Arsenal dugout, I realised the players appear to be ignoring Emery when he’s shouting at them from his technical area too. At 1-2 Emery appeared to have given up completely. Very concerning signs.

  11. John F

    Nov 23, 2019, 19:44 #115551

    I hope you are right Paul but I still think Kronkee will not sanction another pay off to a manager until the situation gets even worse.

  12. RobG

    Nov 23, 2019, 19:21 #115550

    We're only still in the top half by default. Not merit. It's up to Raul, Edu and and the Krone's but Raul has to stand up an d be counted. Things are getting worse not better. Allegri is still available. They should act immediately.

  13. Pauljames

    Nov 23, 2019, 19:11 #115549

    Agreed John, I’m just back from the game and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when we equalised . He might get the Frankfurt and Norwich fixtures but how long is a board going to stomache loud booings off of its own players ? Not too much longer I would suggest

  14. John F

    Nov 23, 2019, 17:58 #115548

    I have never seen an equalizing goal greeted with such lack of enthusiasm by the crowd and players. Southampton should have scored 5 and surely it is time for the board to listen to the noise and get rid of this clown before the very real possibility of a new year relegation fight is on our hands. We were outplayed at home by a relegation-threatened side.

  15. ArsenalMagna

    Nov 23, 2019, 17:56 #115547

    This surely can't go on. I didn't see the game but from the report it looks like the players are still stuck in a malaise of apathy and misery with Emery as manager. This alongside the poor tactics, disregard for defence and mistaken selections etc. I saw all these things were in operation for the one game I've watched us play in quite a while, the loss vs Leicester. Sadly I think Ron could be right about Arteta joining. Reports last year said he was on the verge of getting the job as he was happy with the club's structure. I'd like to think that as a defensively-minded box-to-box midfielder that he would sort the defence out, but Ron could be right in saying he's just a Wenger lite.

  16. Seven Kings Gooner 1

    Nov 23, 2019, 17:45 #115546

    After today's debacle I think the mantra is " it's later than you think"

  17. Paulo75

    Nov 23, 2019, 14:21 #115545

    For the first time in his reign dare I say Emery has picked the best team available to him - bearing in mind Pepe’s lack of form. Let’s see how it turns out....

  18. TeeCee

    Nov 23, 2019, 11:06 #115544

    If he starts Xhaka then the atmosphere is the least of our worries! Starting with Xhaka is like starting with 10 men, it simply can’t happen!