Guardiola and Emery – a Fair Comparison?

Two wins out of four is clearly not the best start but not the worst either. The last two wins have given Emery a bit of stability; his own way of doing things is coming into focus and as such he is now starting to be able to stand on his own two feet. But this obviously was not the case after the first two games; headlines declaring that Arsenal are in crisis were appearing as frequently as daffodils in spring.

What surprised me at the time was that there were people outside of Arsenal who attempted to come to Emery’s aid. Supporters from Man City and even Gary Neville on Sky were not slow in coming forward to defend our man in charge, all insisting that he should stand by his principles and be given time to implement them.

Among the majority of Arsenal faithful Unai Emery seems to have been already given a pass this season for many reasons but standing close to the top is the reason that it took Guardiola a season before he was really able to make an impact.

Like drowning sailors scrambling for life boats I can only assume that the Arsenal supporters who grabbed onto this comparison after our first two games did so in the hope that similar things would happen to us in Unai Emery’s second season.

Guardiola has been elevated to demigod status for the way he got his team to play last season. Arsenal supporters who really should know better have sung his praises pointing to how he resisted buying marquee names such as Ronaldo, Neymar or Messi and yet somehow managed to put together a strong team with an amazing work ethic capable of winning the league all of which demonstrated what a great coach he really is.

Utter Tosh

“Manchester City have taken their summer spending to more than £200m with the signing of Benjamin Mendy from Monaco and increased their total outlay in the transfer market since Pep Guardiola took charge 13 months ago to £385m.” (The Guardian 24/7/17)

The man spent 200 million at the beginning of last season. Two Hundred Million!

“City confirmed over the weekend the £26.5m switch from Real Madrid of Danilo, who is expected to provide cover for the first-choice full-backs Mendy and the £45m signing from Tottenham Hotspur, Kyle Walker. They will line up alongside other expensive arrivals including the centre-back John Stones, signed last season for £47m, and the £34.9m goalkeeper Ederson from Benfica.” (Guardian 24/7/17)

Pep says City hasn’t the cash for a quadruple – January 2018

Money talks, ok there was the Leicester league win but surely that is now understood that it was a one off; yes, I would take one of those one offs at any point of Unai’s tenure but I am not holding my breath.

I certainly intend to stand by Emery regardless of almost any outcome this season but the comparison with Guardiola and the spending power he can call upon is laughable; the only thing that I see that they have in common is that they are both from the Iberian Peninsula and neither of them is Spanish.

A special thank you to GB for giving me something to bounce off of.

Written by LB


46 Responses to Guardiola and Emery – a Fair Comparison?

  1. Maxwell says:

    Guardiola, like Mourinho, has shown himself to be a good manager of good players. I’d like to see how either of them managed Accrington Stanley. (No offence intended to Stanley)

    Emery has already shown himself to be a good manager of limited players, so he gets my vote.

  2. Big Raddy says:

    “Imelda Marcos of the bike world” 😀 😀

  3. chas says:

    Another belter, thanks, LB.

    You’re probably bang on that everyone is hoping that, regardless of what happens this season, next season will be the one worth waiting for.

    GoonerB’s attempts to suggest that Pep hasn’t spent all that much really because, in fact, he’s been forced to buy players for 15 or 20 million pounds more than their market value, were very interesting indeed. The idea being that selling clubs hold Abu Dhabi FC to ransom because they know there’s a bottomless well of oil money behind the negotiations. 🙂

    The caption under the Pep photo was in articles written in January 2018 when everyone was suggesting that City were favourites to win all four competitions in which they were still involved. Pep responded that even City didn’t have enough money to buy (and pay the wages of) 22 players of sufficient quality to do it.

  4. LBG says:

    “Good manager of limited players”… nothing like the advantages Pep or Moaninho had either in squad or more significantly, money to spend.
    I am looking forward most at this point to see how many “diamonds” the Dick and ‘team’ networks dig up in the next two transfer windows. If Ouzi is a measure of the quality they might be aware of around Europe and the World, roll on the immediate future.

  5. LBG says:

    Still think we should go in hard for Chilwell of Leicester.

  6. LB says:

    The thing is, as counter intuitive as it seems, I don’t agree that City do pay over the top for players any more.

    What happens now is that when City show an interest in a player every other club backs away because everyone knows you cannot beat them in an auction.

    The selling clubs also know that now and realise there is no point in holding out in the hope that another club will come in, so with that possibility closed the best that the selling club can do is try and get market value for the player in question.

    If you look above in the post you can see that although City spent a lot of money, I don’t think that it can be said that they paid over the top for anyone of those players.

    Contrast that with Arsenal and how we have to do business and there is no better example than Lacazette. When we showed and interest Lyon purposely told the world that it was happening and dragged out negotiations for as long a they could in the hope of getting someone like City to show an intrerest and create a bidding war. As it happens no one else was interested in Laca and we got him for market value.

    It does frustrate me when Arsenal supporters scream why can’t the club just pay the asking price, ahhh, there is no such thing as an asking price for us.

  7. LB says:

    “Imelda Marcos of the bike world”

    Oooh, dozens and dozens of bikes all neatly lined up ready to be used whenever I wanted.

    Just a run of the mill nightly dream for me 🙂

  8. RC78 says:

    Arsenal is in new phase but we do not have the financial might of our rivals such as Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea and even Liverpool. We are boxig in more or less the same category as Tottenham and slightly above Everton. I believe that the policy towards the last 4 years of Wenger were – try to keep your assets, buy 1 marquee player and then sell eventual surplus that has some value on the market. It makes financial sense. Quick summary:

    2013 – Buy Ozil, Sell Gervinho
    2014 – Buy Sanchez, Wellbeck, Gabriel – Sell Vermalen, Djourou, Afobe
    2015 – Buy Cech, El Neny, Sell Podolski
    2016 – Buy Mustafi, Xhaka, Perez, Sell Gnabry, Hayden
    2017 – Buy Auba, Laca, Miky, Kola – Sell Sanchez, Oxlade, Walcott, Giroud, Coquelin, Scezesny, Gibbs
    2018 – Buy Torreira, Leno, Sokratis, Guendouzi, Lichten – Sell Perez, Mavididi

    In the last 5 years, besides Sanchez, Gabriel and Perez, the rest of the purchased players are still here

    Cech – Lichten, Mustafi, Sokratis, Kola – Xhaka, Torreira – Miky, Ozil, Auba – Laca

    Leno – El Neny, Guendouzi – Wellbeck

    From our marquee signings (Ozil, Sanchez, Cech, Xhaka, Laca, Auba), we only lost Sanchez.

  9. mickydidit89 says:

    Time to set up a copy paste “Thank you LB”

    Great work again.

    While I agree with much of what you say, it kinda implies comparisons with Pep are irrelevant beyond style of football, and I go along with that.

    Many times historically, elite spending clubs have appointed managers with each having elite level budgets, but have failed to produce superb football (haven’t they Maureen?) 🙂

    I think Pep deserves a lot of credit. I also think comparisons to Accrington Stanley are equally irrelevant and founded more on envy than anything else (reminds me of python sketch about “well I worked 72 hours a day down pit”). So what if he could or couldn’t successfully manage a fourth division side?

    Re Emery

    It would appear that he failed to manage the superstars at PSG, while he proved what he can do with a 2nd tier team during his time. in Seville.

    Given Arsenal are a second tier team, he may prove to be a good fit.

  10. RC78 says:

    If you just look at recruits, I think we are in line with a Top 6 finish and basically playing for 4th and if you look at budgets, our competitor should be Tottenham. The rest is a lot more powerful than us financially. If Emery finishes 5th, it wouldn’t be a poor season if we win a Cup (Domestic or European) but if we don’t win anything, it will be a disappointment.

  11. chas says:

    I never quite get the ‘win a cup’ thing.

    Winning any cup competition involves a heck of a lot of good fortune, so basing a season’s success or failure on whether you win a cup trophy seems bizarre to me.

  12. RC78 says:

    A trophy is a trophy 🙂 The most prized ones are the EPL and the Champions League (also a Cup by the way) but we are AFC, we collect trophies and an FA Cup or a Europea League Cup wouldn’t hurt us

  13. VP of Oz says:

    in the last 10 years, 8 teams have spent almost £8 billion

    1. Manchester City (£1.4bn)
    2. Barcelona (£1.015bn)
    3. Paris Saint-Germain (£1.014bn)
    4. Chelsea (£1bn)
    5. Manchester United (£898m)
    6. Real Madrid (£862m)
    7. Liverpool (£820m)
    8. Juventus (£811m)

  14. VP of Oz says:

    GB comment of the week – relative to the CB’s then (if my geometry is correct) a kind of isoceles trapezoid shape is formed between the defenders.

  15. VP of Oz says:

    definition – in Euclidean geometry, an isosceles trapezoid (isosceles trapezium in British English) is a convex quadrilateral with a line of symmetry bisecting one pair of opposite sides. … Alternatively, it can be defined as a trapezoid in which both legs and both base angles are of the same measure.

  16. VP of Oz says:

    Euclidean geometry is a mathematical system attributed to Alexandrian Greek mathematician Euclid, which he described in his textbook on geometry: the Elements. Euclid’s method consists in assuming a small set of intuitively appealing axioms, and deducing many other propositions (theorems) from these.

  17. VP of Oz says:

    Euclid, sometimes given the name Euclid of Alexandria to distinguish him from Euclides of Megara, was a Greek mathematician, often referred to as the “founder of geometry” or the “father of geometry”.

  18. VP of Oz says:

    GB is not the first to resort to using geometry to explain aspects of Arsenal. Girouds scorpion goal –

    ‘The Giroud goal’ is what football’s all about: a geometry-defying, logic-defying strike that will transcend the years

  19. VP of Oz says:

    Football analysis, it seems, is increasingly dominated by numbers, as the mass of data available to fans continues to grow season-on-season.Making sense of these figures can be an overwhelming business at times, and at least a basic grasp of mathematics is very handy when dissecting the average possession percentages, shots to goals ratios, pass completion rates and so on that accompany most match reports nowadays. That’s not to mention the geometry involved when watching Arsenal’s passing triangles in motion.

  20. VP of Oz says:

    love all the comments and the many posts. So hard to keep up.
    Well done everyone and thank you

  21. LBG says:

    VP, you lost me at geometry.

  22. LBG says:

    No disappointments this season, just progress.

  23. mickydidit89 says:

    Ok, away from the they’re so much richer than us stuff, to the real Arsenal

    Just watched a mini documentary on Arsenal In The Community, and they showed us, led by BFG, helping out in a children’s refugee camp in Jordan with the thousands of homeless from Syria

    Really nice

  24. RC78 says:

    I just like seeing us lift trophies 🙂

  25. chas says:

    What came first, the chicken or the chicken?

  26. mickydidit89 says:


    I’d rather win the FAC than come 2nd in the League

    Definitely prefer the excitement and drama of knockout football to league stuff

  27. Big Raddy says:

    LB. Fine read.

    Barca, BM and MC are the clubs which have been managed by Guardiola. Until he manages a club like AFC we will not know how good he is.

    I would prefer us to win the FAC than finish in the Top 4. I like the Europa because we have a chance of winning it as opposed to the CL.

  28. chas says:

    I’d prefer us to win a cup as well, but judging a season on whether you win a pot still seems wrong somehow.

  29. mickydidit89 says:

    Ok then, there can only be one way to judge a season

    Guess my measure? 🙂

  30. Big Raddy says:

    Could it be goals scored?

  31. Big Raddy says:

    Avoiding relegation?

  32. mickydidit89 says:

    6:04 🙂

    I was looking through tomorrow’s fixtures on Sky looking for something to watch and discovered The Scottish Challenge Cup

    Check out the first few games:

    Scottish Challenge Cup

    Boreham Wood v Dunfermline Athletic
    Queen Of The South v Crusaders
    Airdrieonians v Sutton United
    Arbroath v Annan Athletic
    Dumbarton v Montrose

    eh? English sides?

  33. LB says:

    Errr, that’s interesting, are they allowed to come this far south?

  34. Big Raddy says:

    Good point, I thought Scottish football fans/teams were banned from Boreham Wood 😀

  35. mickydidit89 says:

    I consider Boredom Wood northerners 🙂

  36. mickydidit89 says:

    Here’s my favourite

    Used to be Torquay Utd, but since they fell out of Football League, Plymouth Argyle fans were elated as they became most Southerly football team enabling them to sing “you dirty northern bastards” to absolutely everyone 🙂

  37. LB says:

    That’s funny.

  38. Aaron says:

    All I have to say is ask Pelligrini how is it going at West Ham, and there is your answer. pup followers many times resort to many different arguments. Heck, even Zidane came in with basically zero experience and won CL 3X, but look at how much both those teams spend. Have both of them go to West Ham and get back to me. I would put them at mid pack. Give Arsene that budget and he would have won everything too!

  39. michydidit89 says:

    Hi Aaron

    Join the list of everyone else I disagree with on this 🙂

    Pep and Zidane have a few things in common. Both played at the highest level. Both played stylish cultured (whatever that is) football, both are smart men, and both are familiar with superstar egos.

    Horses and courses etc, so I see no relevance that someone who proves they can manager a Barca or Real should also be able to. manage a W’Ham or an Accrington Stanley

  40. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh, and by the way, thinking of W’Ham, I’m sure I heard yesterday they only pay about £2M per year for the Olympic Stadium!

  41. mickydidit89 says:

    It’s been a while, so a slider wouldn’t go amiss 🙂

  42. LBG says:

    Oh Micky……..(“you’re so fine…you’re so fine you blow my mind”……sorry…….just went there for a sec ). Is you in in one of those ‘I disagree with everyone moments’. Go and surf!

  43. mickydidit89 says:

    Already looked, and we have nasty messy westerly on-shore winds 🙄

  44. chas says:


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