Gary Neville – Idiot or Savant?

Unai Emery’s Arsenal are certainly causing some debate after only 2 games played. Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher squared up on MNF over whether Unai should stick to his guns or settle for a more pragmatic approach.

Read Carragher and Neville’s contretemps in the link below, followed by FGG’s response.

I couldn’t agree more with Neville. This is a season for Emery to look at the players and see which ones he can rely on to implement his game plan. I don’t really care where we finish as long as the team play in a way that gives optimism for the future. It will take a few windows and some very astute signings for us to get anywhere near the top 4 next season. You only have to look at the money United have spent and the poor transfer decisions they have made to see how easy it is to slip backwards. Fortunately, I feel the club have put in place a very strong transfer structure with the recent hiring of Mislintat, Sanllehi and Fahmy and that’s something that will give us an advantage moving forward and hopefully allow us to avoid the mistakes United have made.

As for the team right now, I feel Ramsey should be a guaranteed starter and I’m shocked that people leave him out of suggested line ups. I really want to see him play as a 10 on a consistent basis and I feel he has the sort of workrate that Emery would love. He just needs a manager like Emery to focus his runs at the right moments rather than the headless chicken routine he sometimes has. A midfield 3 of Torreira/Geundouzi/Ramsey would be my preferred choice right now with 3 from Özil/Iwobi/Mkhitaryan/Lacazette/Aubameyang playing in front. At home I would be tempted to drop one of Torreira/Geundouzi and play Özil as the 10 and Ramsey deeper.

With the defence, I also have to agree with Neville in that the system is fine, it’s just the application isn’t there sometimes with these players. They’ve shown in the past a tendency to switch off and I think we are seeing some costly mistakes at the moment. The Morata goal was a prime example with the midfield allowing Chelsea far too much space and the defenders not recognising that the ball wasn’t being pressed. I do worry about the football intelligence of some of our players and feel they struggle to read situations for themselves. Hopefully Emery can drill some tactical nous into some of the players, and the ones he can’t, I expect won’t be at the club too long.

Taken from a comment by fatgingergooner



65 Responses to Gary Neville – Idiot or Savant?

  1. LBG says:

    Thanks Chas/FGG
    In the absence of AMN agree with almost all of your thoughts FGG. Mesut is the enigma! (Wouldn’t make the home swop you suggest because I feel the team needs to develop a consistent structure, ideally with same players, to embed Dicks methods.) Does Mesut want it enough?
    Neville isn’t the Messiah, but he will be if he stirs up enough trouble at Manure to encourage Moaninho to leave at Christmas!

  2. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Very enjoyable debate between two Northerners showing real passion for our beloved game.

    I am somewhere in the middle, agreeing with GN about UE having to re-model the tactics to his methods whilst also agreeing with JC that players should be able to adapt within a game.

    I do not accept the players are different from 10 years ago or that players are incapable of adapting their tactics to a changing situation.

    FGG is right that Ramsey has to be an automatic starter, he is a player who can change roles as required though his defensive indiscipline has cost us goals over the seasons..

    Much to discuss

  3. Big Raddy says:

    LBG. I want Merino to stay, we need a pantomine bad guy especially at MU.

  4. LBG says:

    BR 7:21
    What even if they then poach Poch and both teams are left floundering!

  5. LB says:

    Thanks FGG for a very intelligent football read.

    I also find myself in the middle of both JC and GN

    JC gave a good example in the first half of the dangers of the lack of pressing while playing the high line; his example led to the Morrata goal. He went on to suggest that Arsenal should have adapted in the game. To which GN was vehemently opposed.

    The fact is Arsenal did adapt.

    Unai Emery changed his tactics at half time in a way that Arsenal sat much further back which stopped Chelsea being able to play over the top for Morrata to run on to — and it worked because we never conceded in that way again.

    Personally, I find the idea of not adapting in a game as nonsense.

    Doesn’t a manager attempt to adapt a game every time he makes a substitution.

  6. LB says:

    There is a post available, although, I don’t know how to do it.

    When UE first arrived Micky asked RC to give us an assessment of the man.

    He wrote that he envisaged that Ozil could find himself on the bench to which he received a lot of stick.

    The interesting part of this was the purity of RC’s comment.

    There is a debate, one that would possibly work better before the possibility of Ozil being benched rather than after.

  7. Rasp says:

    Great work FGG, thank you.

    You’ve changed my mind … I see, it makes sense to give Ramsey the 10 role .. particularly when we have Ouzi and Torreira both of whom have the ability to thread the ball through the eye of a needle in their forward passing.

    This means no Mesut! That may have to be the case. Will the hierarchy back UE if this is his decision, will they allow our highest paid player to sit on the bench and see his value on the transfer market diminish?

    The system and the team are paramount. The manager must be the most important link. Ozil is a brilliant player, but if he doesn’t fit in the system and therefore make the team better, he shouldn’t play.

  8. Eddie says:

    without reading or hearing the debate I guessed who defended Emery. Gorgeous Gary is an intelligent man, Carragher is a Scoucer.

    Of course Emery knows what he is doing. He managed some top teams for more than 10 years and is an experienced professional at the top of his career.

    Unlucky for him we started the season with 2 very difficult games. We lost, but there wasn’t anything shameful about the defeats, just plenty of room for improvements.

    Unai’ll be fine.

    the only problem I have is his name, his and Guendouzi’s. How can anyone come up with a half decent chant for names like these??

  9. Rasp says:

    Dick and Ouzi are the current faves Eddie ….

  10. Eddie says:


  11. RC78 says:

    IMHO and given our fixtures, I would have:
    – Played a very oranized defensive team, hard to break against City and Chelsea and then move on with the Plan A (high press, high intensity…).

    Emery is a good tactician but I have to agree that Ramsey should be a guaranteed starter in our line-up and that our defensive unit needs cohesion and more robustness.

    Good to see that our team and coach are still generating a lot of debate

  12. fred1266 says:

    Last year I watched a few games with PSG

    Even year before when Barcelona came back to beat them can’t remember emery using that type of play style

    Can someone confirm this (weather if emery other sides played this way)

  13. RC78 says:

    LB – you have a good memory!

  14. RC78 says:

    In 2016 against Liverpool, they had a midfield five supporting 1 striker

    Krycho, Nzonzi – Coke, Banega, Vitolo – Gameiro

    BUT the reality is that they played more of a

    4-2-2-1-1 with Banega playing right in front of the 2 defensive midfielders as a deep laying playmaker and that Coke was also playing deeper BUT Vitolo was playing much closer to Gameiro almost right behind him

    ———————Krycho, Nzonzi———————-

    Koke could come in easily as Mariano (LB) was very good at occupying the right flank

  15. fred1266 says:

    Ok didn’t really know what tactics he use in sevilla but the few times I saw them they were great to watch so as it the same tactics then am all for it

    Mark my words will become the greatest RB in the world Allah alves

  16. chas says:

    I’ve just found your comment from earlier in the summer and have readied it as a post for tomorrow only to find that you’ve written another comment which covers a lot of the same ground.

  17. LB says:

    Suggestion: Take the comment above away and turn tomorrows post into — should UE drop him or not?

  18. LB says:

    The title should attract a lot of traffic.

    You can tell I have nothing to do by the number of comments I have made.

    Note to self — get a life lol

  19. RC78 says:

    Chas – sorry didn’t know 😦

    Here are really poor jokes to make amends:

    “Why can’t the two butt cheeks ever get along?” – Because there is too much crap between them

    “The baby strawberry is crying. Somebody asked the baby strawberry ) why are you crying? and the baby strwberry replied “My parents are stuck in a jam”

  20. chas says:

    I’ll take your wise guidance, LB.

    Apols for removing your fine comment, RC.

  21. GunnerN5 says:

    I’m sure it’s just me but I often find myself having to guess at abbreviated names of the players in suggested line ups or posts in general. So I wondered if it would make sense to give all of the players a logical pseudonym.

    So would it make sense to use their initials and shirt number instead?

    Carl Jenkinson – 25 – CJ25
    Hector Bellerin – 02 – HB02
    Konstantinos Mavropanos – 27 – KM27
    Laurent Koscielny – 06 – LK06
    Nacho Monreal – 18 – NM18
    Rob Holding – 16 – RH16
    Sead Kolasinac – 31 – SK31
    Shkodran Mustafi – 20 – SM20
    Sokratis Papastathopohulos 05 – SP05
    Stephan Lichtsteiner – 12 – SL12
    Alex Iwobi – 17 – AI17
    Alexandre Lacazette – 09 – AL09
    Danny Welbeck – 23 – DB23
    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 14 – PEA14
    Bernd Leno – 19 – BL19
    Damian Martinez – 26 – DM26
    Petr Cech – 01 – PC01
    Aaron Ramsey – 08 – AR08
    Ansley Maitland-Niles – 15 – ANM15
    Granit Xhaka – 34 – GX34
    Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 07 – HM07
    Jeff Reine- Adelaide – 22 – JRA22
    Lucas Torreira – 11 – LT11
    Matteo Guendouzi – 29 – MG29
    Mesut Ozil – 10 – MO10
    Mohamed Elneny – 04 – ME04

    But then again it probably only makes sense to my statistical way of thinking……………..

  22. GunnerN5 says:

    As you all know I was a very strong advocate of Arsene Wenger, but now I will be just as strong a supporter of Unai Emery and to criticize him after only two games is the height of absurdity.

    I don’t watch games from a tactical perspective so I really appreciate our posters who take the time to articulate their thoughts on team tactics and formations – as that is my weak suit.

    During and after a game I am fully aware of which players are/were causing us problems but I am unaware if it was due to poor tactics by the manager or poor application by the player. The only things that are glaring obvious are individual F ups.

    In short I want say thank you (I will not print posters names for fear of missing someone) for all of the tactical and formation posts as they are a great form of tuition.

  23. GoonerB says:

    Thanks FGG / Chas. I agree with your (and GN’s) sentiments on letting Emery develop as he sees fit and giving it time. I actually don’t even feel we will be that far behind this year anyway, but may just struggle with his changes against teams that have the quality of player to expose any weaknesses in that adaptation period, as we have seen. I still feel top 4 is on.

    I think I am developing a man crush on GN. He is very articulate in his presentation and I love the subtle put downs on JC and fat Sam. GN has first hand experience of managing and recognises the difficulties more so than JC.

    Fat Sam has experience but is from a school of management that will never ever win an EPL, so any opinion of his should be treated with suspicion. We are aiming for a bigger prize in the long run than he can ever consider.

    I don’t quite agree with you on Ramsey as the number 10 FGG, and am not sold on that now. About a year ago I was but that was before Micki arrived. I now see him as our best number 10 option and feel both Ramsey and Ozil would be better suited, (for both themselves and the team shape overall), in taking up a deeper role between the 2 HM’s and the number 10.

    A number 10 is really a deeper creative striker which is what Micki is, more so than Ozil or Ramsey who I see more as ACM’s. Micki looks a better consistent goal-threat than the other 2, (despite Ramsey sometimes having little purple patches), and is also quite decent at setting up team-mates either from central areas or when he works the attacking wide channels (which I feel he is also more comfortable with than the other 2).

    I feel Ramsey and Ozil need to battle out for that slightly deeper role. With both Guendozi and Torreira playing as deeper holding midfielders the third deeper CM can have more freedom to play and get forwards at the right time. Ramsey will give you energy and box to box play with some late bursts into the box, while Ozil will be slightly different giving more control and creativity. Which is better can be decided on depending on who is providing the greater performances or the particular game.

    I would like to see Micky playing behind Aube and Laca. He has an inherent understanding of Aube in particular that neither Ozil or Ramsey will have and I see him behind those 2 as our most lethal front line.

    BTW, Terry from yesterday, hilarious.

  24. Mickydidit89 says:

    Thanks again ChasJust a bleeding obvious thought here, but if Emery was planning to play the high line presser then why did he sign Sokratis who may be slower than me?

    Just posted this comment on legrove by mistake. Wow things have changed over there as apart from Pedro and gambon I didn’t recognise any posters

  25. mickydidit89 says:

    Ps whats rhe name of the blog, maybe the aesenal first, that was written by an irish fella in barcelona

    Enjoying a trip down memory lane here

  26. mickydidit89 says:

    Arseblog, it was
    Wow again, they now have a £5 month membership area

  27. Red Arnie says:

    great stuff, FGG. 🙂 and Chas and LB. 🙂 and RC in advance for tomorrow, though I did not get to see the comment.

    on to main business then. I agree. in this matter, Neville is absolutely right. give Emery every little time to develop the team according to his own way. we have far too many followers in this business and too few managers who wish to try out their own little things

    rather than follow the mainstream reinforced by the bl**dy Scoucers and their journo bandwagon

  28. fatgingergooner says:

    A consistent 8/10 Mesut Özil would walk into our team and be hailed a hero. A 6/10 Mesut Özil can leave asfar as I’m concerned.

    He’s an absolute genius and I love it when he’s on form, but 2 good games in 5 is not enough. We didn’t need him when we bought him and I still don’t think we need him now. He’s been a luxury player at a time when really we needed ball winners and runners. He would’ve thrived playing with Henry and Bergkamp, but he just came at the wrong time. Love the man, think he’s an amazing player (when he plays well), but we need effort and togetherness and unless he’s able to adapt his game or become truly consistent then I don’t think he has much of a future at AFC.

    I would enjoy nothing more than watching Özil tear teams to shreds every week wearing an Arsenal shirt, but it hasn’t happened yet.

  29. LBG says:

    Agree, agree, agree. Mesut and Aaron should have been competing for the same position for a long time, IMO. Find your positioning behind Micki and forward of Torreira and Ouzi very interesting, and understand the ‘closer connection’ possible between Micki and the two pure strikers. ( If Mesut balks and Ramsey doesn’t sign, I believe an eventually fit AMN could play the role!)
    Thought one thought from a with about Alladyce immediately after he made the comments on Monday morning was amusing/perceptive.
    Alladyce’s preparing for his next manager post after the first sacking at Christmas. “I’ll come in lads and we’ll have none of this building from the back…….lump it forward and get in their faces”.
    Perhaps he could take over from Moaninho and make us all laugh!

  30. LBG says:

    “wit”, “wit”…….f******”wit”!

  31. fred1266 says:

    Does everyone thinks Guendozi is better than ozil and ramsey?

    With torreira playing as HM ozil and ramsey playing alongside him mighten be a bad idea so they both offer something in the attack

  32. fred1266 says:

    Also emery tactics someone mentioned sevilla played that way, does any current team play that exact style we trying to achieve?

  33. chas says:

    You’ve got them right stirred up on LG, Micky. 🙂

    They’re now calling for the head of Sven Mislintat for signing Sokratis!

  34. Big Raddy says:

    Fred. No, not everyone. I remain to be convinced. He has great potential but is nowhere near the level of either Ramsey or Ozil. IMO

  35. RC78 says:

    We had discussed last year at length – Ramsey is best as a 10 or when playing in front of 2 HM/DMs as a a 8 1/2. He and Ozil should indeed battle it out and I agree that an in-shpae Miky should be a starter.

    We have three issues to deal with really:
    1. Our Full-backs are not great but I am hoping that Lichtensteinser and Koli will get going as October
    2. We still don’t know how good LT and Guendouzi are at getting the ball back and pressing in the EPL context
    3. We still have to find our best attacking set-up. Is it with Ozil or without Ozil? It is with Auba and Laca? Is it with Miky, Ozil and Ramsey?

    Anyways – the one area that I am happy with when it comes to our squad is that we have some decent depth on the bench when it comes to CM and AM but we are really lacking at the back and in terms of wingers.

    If I were Emery, I would just push through and try to have a statement win against a struggling West Ham team:

    Cech – Bellerin, Holding, Mavro, Monreal – LT, Guendouzi – Ramsey – Miky, Laca, Auba

    Let us get this Sh|t going

  36. RC78 says:

    Sorry not Mavro, play Sokratis

  37. fred1266 says:

    Exactly so shouldn’t or strongest lineup be lacazette, aubameyang, mkhitaryan
    Ramsey. Torreira ozil

  38. RC78 says:

    Fred – I am not sure Torreira could manage Ramsey and Ozil’s defensie lapses on his own so that is I why I would play Guendouzi next to Torreira rather than Ozil

  39. Rasp says:

    The things I like about Ouzi are his hunger for the ball, his commitment in the tackle and his youthful arrogance that means he doesn’t respect reputations.

    On top of that, he’s got skills and is an excellent passer of the ball. He never stops working and he never gives up … just what Unai wants from his players I’d imagine.

  40. LB says:

    Perfect summary I would say Rasp.

  41. Red Arnie says:

    well done, Micky, @arseblog. cat amongst the pigeon. 🙂

  42. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. I agree with all you write from the two games I have seen him play, but I would add, prone to costly mistakes (though this is true of all of our MF’s and defenders 😦 )

  43. Rasp says:

    True Raddy, but he’s young and eager to learn … I say keep playing him unless he starts to show the strain. Right now I reckon he is champing at the bit. Unai seems to have faith in him … and as others have said, his energy is showing some of the others up, which is no bad thing.

  44. LB says:

    Prone is the key word here. I think it is fair to say that there is an air of prone to accidents about him but as of now he has not made one so he rightly continues to ride the wave. I suspect the shine will come off when he inevitably does make a mistake but long may that be away.

    I cast my mind back to the beginning of last season and Xhaka was making a school boy error that cost us points on a weekly basis.

    The excitement for me is that it looks like we have got an upgrade on Elneny and Xhaka in Guendouzi for peanuts.

    Maybe I am being generous and ignoring City’s first goal. But on the other hand maybe not; the young Frenchman is not a DM, had Torrieria been playing in his correct position then that goal may not have happened.

  45. LBG says:

    Micki on Sky Sports
    ” If we are going to (just) kick the ball up front and wait for God to give us a chance to score”………..we are going to wait a long time, because everyone knows he supports Manshitty!

  46. Eddie says:

    I would imagine that a new manager would experiment with selections and formations, but previous season should be a benchamark for him. I hope Emery watched all the games from 2017/18 paying particular attention to our worst and best games. That should give him a clue whom to chose and where to place them, rather than stabbing in the dark and hoping that any given player can perform in any position. .

    our players are not world class, well, not many if any are, and as such probably cannot play anywhere on the pitch. With limited abilities they should be grounded to a position and perfect their skill there.

    Wenger allegedly gave players lots of freedom of movement and in my opinion that was his downfall. Most players should be told and probably would like to be told what precisely is expected from them.

    I am hoping that Emery will be dictating his orders rather than sitting back hoping for the best to happen. It won’t happen, ours is not the squad that is fluid, overloaded with skills and ambition. Nope. Most are donkeys that need a push. Push them Unai, please


    Nice one Ginge

    I saw that Neville Carra spat. Fascinating. Both are right and wrong and deep down they both know it. By taking an entrenched position on a subject which is a grey area it can only lead to a bitchy disagreement permeated by a heavy dose of frustration. Neville was pretentious and arrogant whilst Carra, sensing Neville’s condescension became defensive and slightly thicker than normal, which I’m sure we can all agree, is some feat

    In many ways it reminded me of my second marriage where I like to believe I was the Neville character but in reality by the end of the argument I was talking in a Scouse accent and demanding a day of mourning.

    Emery should stick to his principles but allow the players the flexibility to adjust to the games circumstances. Failure to do so will lead to his demise. We need a balance between short and long term goals, so a constant desire for high performance but with one eye on the future.

    It’s a very difficult job, but with Emerys credentials, we have a chance.


    Eddie, Arsene also gave his teams of 98 to 2004 freedom of expression, so his principles were both his glory and failure.

    This encapsulates the complexity and difficulty of our current situation. None of us have the answers, we can only hope that the current management become the right men, at the right time, and of course, right place.

  49. GunnerN5 says:

    I haven’t watched their discussion yet but is it at all possible that they had been told to go out and debate opposite viewpoints to create viewership and therefore it was an act?

    I really don’t trust that they always say what they really think.

  50. GunnerN5 says:

    I agree Right, Right, Right Terry.

  51. GunnerN5 says:

    A guy walks into a bar holding three ducks. He sets them on the bar and orders a drink. After talking with the bartender for a while, the man excuses himself to use the restroom. The bartender feel a tad awkward with just himself and three ducks at the bar, so he decides to make small talk with them. He asks the first duck, “What’s your name?””Huey,” replies the duck. “So, how’s your day been?””Oh, I’ve had a great day,” replies Huey. “I’ve been in and out of puddles all day.” The bartender asks the second duck, “What’s your name?” “Duey,” replies the duck.”So, how’s your day been?” “Oh, I’ve had a great day,” replies Duey. “I’ve been in and out of puddles all day.” The witty bartender says to the third duck, “So I guess your name is Louie?” The duck replies, “No, I’m Puddles.”

  52. fred1266 says:

    Ramsey offer the same thing rasp don’t you think so

  53. LB says:


    I suspect that there was a bit of an act about the debate but I also suspect the reason that it seems to have been taken so much to heart is that both sides of the debate were reasonable and feasible.

    If I were organising the show and I suspect you as well, I would look to see if there were any genuine differences of view and expand upon them. My guess is that, that is exactly what happened.

    It worked well and made us think.

  54. Eddie says:

    terry -he had different class of players then. No comparison to today’s mob

  55. chas says:

  56. Maxwell says:

    I am so sad that people here are joining the anti-Ozil momentum. I warned my boy as much straight after the game, that because he SEEMED anonymous for parts of the game, it was assumed he was ineffective. After he was subbed, all the ambition and potential went out of Arsenal’s play.

    I don’t get to many games, but when I do, I pray he’s playing, and I watch his movement both with and without the ball. Of course, watching on the TV denies one the encompassing view that being there allows – the camera tends to follow the ball.

    In his first season with the Gunners, the “Ozil is lazy” stories began. And then I read a wonderful article, although I apologise that I can’t remember which site it was on (may have been “A Cultured Left Foot”). It pointed out that part of Ozil’s genius, and value to the team, was his movement when he didn’t have the ball. I probably wouldn’t have watched for it myself had I not read this piece.

    Now I have witnessed time and again (and I’m convinced he was at it again on Saturday, even though I wasn’t able to actually see for myself), how he runs miles for the team dragging defenders hither and thither, creating space and opportunity for his team-mates. Naturally, opponents know how dangerous he is and attempt to mark – or kick – him out of the game. How well he uses this to create a team advantage.

    I shall be very miserable when he goes, as I was when the other genius I witnessed in red and white left. Cherish him while he’s here, I adjourn you.

  57. Maxwell says:

    Stupid speal chock – should read I adjure you! Apologies…

  58. chas says:

  59. chas says:

  60. chas says:


  61. Hello, everything is going sound here and ofcourse every one
    is sharing information, that’s in fact good, keep
    up writing.

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