8 games to go – how’s Señor Emery getting along?

So where are we with Emery after three quarters of a season having passed? It is probably easier to reflect on this as we are undoubtedly in the ascendancy right now and finishing third looks like a realistic possibility. This might all sound a bit rich coming from someone who only a few weeks ago voted sixth in a poll when asked where Arsenal would finish at the end of this season.

So what changed? Well, my reason for voting sixth was that by losing Bellerin we had lost any form of thrust from the right side which made it too easy for teams to double up on the left which in effect nullified both wings. Solutions were attempted to be found and Lichtsteiner, as good as a stop gap that he is, was never going to seriously to be able to hold it together for the amount of games that he has been asked to play and Jenkinson, as much as we love him for being one of ours, was equally never going to be the solution.

The answer, of course, has been Maitland-Niles (cons) just when it looked like he had blown his opportunity, back he came with a second half performance against ManU worthy of an England call up. His penetration down the right stretches the opposition’s defence giving Kolasinac just that bit more space to operate in which he uses to great effect.

The return of Mkhitaryan being able to play in front of AMN gives further strength to our right as well as my explanation. So I think it fair to say that Emery is a man who can find solutions but it is the bigger picture that is starting to intrigue me. I find myself asking questions like: was the ascendancy at this particular time planned. Did Emery have the luxury of first time objectivity at the beginning of the season and plan to tackle the tiring demands of EPL from the outset. I think it right to say that energy level wise our players are looking bright eyed and bushy tailed; Emery has cleverly rotated the midfield of Xhaka, Torreira and Guendouzi, the latter being the fallow field at the moment; he has certainly and purposely rotated the attack to such a point where Lacazette accepts his shortened role and gone are the earlier season tantrums and if that isn’t enough – there is Ozil.

Was Mesut’s lengthy Christmas break intentional? He certainly still looks fresh now. I don’t really believe  it was intentional, I think it was a case of simply making the necessary managerial adjustments to get him to understand what was what in the brave new world post AW and I also think again it is fair to say that it has worked. Ozil is onside, he has now brought into the idea of what is going on and that a full ninety minutes of uninterrupted game time is going to be few and far between and that now seems to be fine evidenced by Mesut’s new found determination while playing.

Ramsey is, of course, another who has been used sparingly but effectively, in fact I think if you can go round the whole team you will notice clever rotation, ok the changes to the back line have been mainly forced upon Emery so it is probably fairer to describe that as fire fighting rather than strategic rotation but again I think it only fair to say that the fire fighting has been well handled.

This whole idea might make a bit more sense if you look at other teams: spuds being the best example of having their first eleven ground into the dirt with results reflecting their fatigue. Chelsea are in a similar boat, there is way too much reliance on Hazard with the inevitable consequences occurring. ManU have less to worry about because “Ollie is at the wheel” raises eyebrows…….

No, things do look good right now and I suspect that I will not be the only one now and in the near future who starts to dare to believe that this may not be luck: this might just be the very clever vision and strategic deployment of troops from a certain Señor Emery from the outset — keep it going Unai.




28 Responses to 8 games to go – how’s Señor Emery getting along?

  1. GunnerN5 says:

    A fine post and a very interesting viewpoint LB. Let’s hope your views become an Arsenal reality.

    UE does appear to have found a way to maximize the contribution of his squad and he utilizes them very effectively. I feel that both Guendouzi and Torreira have a lot more to offer but at the moment they are two players that after wowing in the early stages have gone off of the boil.

    Like yourself after having negative thoughts about our top four possibilities I now think that third is a real target. The moves we make in the off season will be really critical to our future chances – Kronke needs to loosen the buckles on his money belt.

  2. RA says:

    A really enjoyable read, LB, thank you.

    I should leave my comment there, as your Post does not need enhancing, as you have expressed your views in a lucid and comprehensive way.

    But …… oh, OK, LB, you know me, two discussive points — …. I am curious as to how you know AMN’s political leanings?
    The answer, of course, has been Maitland-Niles (cons) — Can he fix Brexit?

    My views on Bellerin run contrary to many (all) on here, so I noticed your comment; “my reason for voting sixth (final finish in the Premier) was that by losing Bellerin we had lost any form of thrust from the right side”

    I, on the other hand, did not feel I could predict where we would finish, and still do not — but as I think Belli Button is a winger and not a full back — because he cannot tackle for toffee, or head the ball clear — I was pretty relaxed about his injury, and thought we might improve without his helter skelter style of play – and maybe that is right? But I have no real evidence to prove the point. 🥺

  3. LBG says:

    Thanks as always LB for putting your finger in the Interlull dyke and coming up with a thoughtful post.(Wondered who the 6th placers were!!)
    For me the crux is in the mind. I agree with your assessment that pieces are starting to lock together. The strength of the overall structure is improving. I believe we may well see a rejuvenation of the energy levels of Terrier and Ouzi, after the Interlull. My concern is only in some doubts as to some of the squad’s ability to knuckle down, dig in, motivate each other positively, IF things start to go wrong early in a game. Newcastle will be a good test, because the Spanish waiter will make them difficult to break down. Is the Aaron/Xhaka axis going to be continued with? Can AM-N reproduce consistently?
    I was a “third” voter and can’t wait for the excitement to begin. Thanks again LB.

  4. LB says:

    “I wondered who voted 6th?”

    That made me smile.

  5. fred1266 says:

    Great write up LB

  6. Big Raddy says:

    LB. Me bad. I am sorry but I didn’t have time to publish your fine post, hence the late start

  7. fred1266 says:

    Will our friendly be televised

  8. Big Raddy says:

    BTW we are playing live on Arsenal.com right now

  9. fred1266 says:

    Shit can’t remember my membership number

  10. Big Raddy says:

    We have some very good young players. John Jules and the two central defenders Mavro and a Brazilian chap

  11. Big Raddy says:

    LB. I think that just for once our injuries have allowed us to be in good form late in the season.

    Like you I feared the prospect of half a season withóut Bellerin and given Monreal’s injury added to poor form from Wardrobe I was worried.

    Instead we have found AMN (Cons) can play at the top level, Kos is a revelation, Mhiki has been able to show some form and the Xkhaka/Ramsey have solidifed the midfield, giving Ozil room to spread his magic.

    I think Emery has found a winning formula. Long may it continue

  12. chas says:

    Loving your renewed sense of optimism, LB, cheers.

    I reckon I’ll still take it all with a pinch of salt. We’re still shit away from home, so anything can happen over the final furlongs.

  13. Big Raddy says:

    Switzerland vs Denmark tonight. I have a number of Swiss friends. There are a number of smoked fish being gambled

  14. mickydidit89 says:

    Very enjoyable read, many thanks LB

    I think it’s definately the case that all managers occasionally stumble across a winning formula, and it’s hard to know where the intent was.

    In the case of Unai, there appears to be some excellent man management stuff going on, and I’ll always be perplexed over the cases of Mesut and Ramsey, although I suspect your point about them both needing to understand what’s what in the brave new world, as you put it, is probably spot on

    3rd spot? Sure. Chas is right about our away form, and I think it was RC who said those around us were doing their best to avoid top four, so it will be an exciting last few games

  15. mickydidit89 says:

    Ah ok, finally got it. Dubai. Emirates. Sponsorship. That’s understandable then.

  16. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    What a debacle in Switzerland as the officials ruined the match. 3 terrible decisions decided the game all of which would have been reversed with VAR. We would have won comfortably

    Referee cost me a whole seal flipper

  17. mickydidit89 says:

    How bad will the financial implications be?

    ie a smoked or unsmoked flipper?

  18. Big Raddy says:

    Smoked which, as you know, is far more expensive. Almost as costly as violet cremes

  19. chas says:

    Xhaka with his swinger!

  20. Big Raddy says:

    Thankfully the Swiss defence stopped playing after 83 mins

  21. chas says:

    Didn’t they stop playing once Xhaka went off?

  22. Big Raddy says:

    Don’t know, went to bed when Switz scored their third 😦

  23. Big Raddy says:

    There is a New Post

  24. fred1266 says:

    What happened in the Swiss game BR last I saw Switzerland was leading 2 nil

  25. fred1266 says:

    Or BR your from Denmark or something

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