Emery’s Inability To Solve Our Midfield Problem Will Be His Downfall

Emery looks to be out of his depth in the EPL. I find more fault with him than with any individual player per-se. All clubs at all points in their history have a player or two that you initially thought would be something very good, but then turns out to either not be quite good enough or not quite the right fit.

It is up to the manager to ensure that appropriate changes are made to ensure progression in a different and better direction, and also to ensure that their is no major fall-out as we see now. The players need the protection of the manager in that sense as well, to not unnecessarily expose them either firstly at a level they are not good enough for and/or secondly in a team system that doesn’t compliment them. Interestingly I generally feel that we are more guilty of the latter than the former.

I have a major disagreement with the booing fans but also I have a major disagreement with Xhaka’s reaction. Perhaps more damning is that once the immediate dust and anger had settled, that he hasn’t opted to send a message and apology to the fans. It is this rather than the spur of the moment reaction that will likely now seal Xhaka’s fate.

I do have some sympathy with him though because he was what he was before he came to us. He never was a holding midfield type player and was used to playing with a more rugged positionally disciplined player tucked in behind him in the Bundesliga. Xhaka was more a deeper defensive midfield play-maker not the invisible wall, that was someone else.

All Xhaka has done is remain what he was, so really the fault is in the managerial recruitment and assessment of what role he should play, and how to balance a midfield with him in it if he was deemed an important player in the first 11.

The problem is that, arguably Torreira aside from our listed midfielders, all the other midfielders are also players that need a more rugged positionally disciplined midfielder tucked in behind them, so when we play two of these midfielders together no-one completely accepts the responsibility for this role.

I get the argument for the pivot shift in a modern game but we just look confused as to who does what so I think it is still important to have players with certain characteristics that compliment and get the best out of each other. We don’t have that 1 midfielder (among our listed midfielders) who has that one specific characteristic or skill set, arguably Torreira aside, who inexplicably seems to have dropped down the pecking order.

You could still play Xhaka if you had that specific player just in behind him but then that would remove a place for our other midfielders like Douzi, Willock, ESR, Ceballos, Torreira and, should he still be a consideration, Ozil; that one baffles me and also makes me seriously question the managerial handling of him.

The problem is actually fairly identical to what we had under Wenger in his third trimester, that we have too many midfielders who favour similar positions in the midfield and lack balance despite looking individually strong on paper.

The EPL is a very specific league with very specific characteristics, and what I think we are finding out, not just with Emery but also with other overseas managers, that sometimes a manger with a reasonable C.V coming in from abroad just doesn’t quite get what is required in the EPL.

More than in any other league you need to at least match, but preferably better, the opposition in the physical aspect of midfield. You need power pace and dynamism to match the mid to lower table teams and then, as a top club, also have the superior technical ability to go with it.

Without matching up with those clubs in the athleticism in midfield you can lose that midfield battle and surrender dominance to a team boasting less technical players. How often have we looked good on paper but not in practice? How often do we feel we look like a collection of good individuals rather than a smoothly balanced machine that connects throughout the team.

Match them physically but in addition with the better technical players then we by and large will not slip up with these teams that don’t have our resources. We will once again look like one of the top sides to be feared. We are not doing this right now and haven’t for quite a few years.

We look lackluster in attack, despite boasting some excellent attackers that many clubs would love to have. The defence could be improved in individual quality somewhat, but for me the more worrying aspect is how exposed our defence is to wave upon wave of attack rather than the individual quality of each player in our defence.

Those teams have to come through our midfield to get to the defence in the first place. Our midfield is not dominant enough to win the battle and control the play, all of which would stop many of the frequent attacks form getting at our defence, but also would provide a better platform from which to feed our attackers.

Our central fulcrum is not solid enough so everything that surrounds it, despite its quality is compromised. For an analogy I see it as a steel devise with a central core or fulcrum (midfield) with levers springing off from there to the font back and sides. All the levers could be of the most advanced and solid mettle that NASA has available but if the fulcrum is weak and bendy it makes not a jot of difference about the strength of everything that springs off it.

We have good individual midfielders but as a combined unit we are poor. Emery hasn’t got this, or at least worked it out yet, and certainly hasn’t tried anything to change it. It is as if his experience to date just hasn’t prepared him for this league, and it doesn’t look like the penny is dropping, and I tend to feel he should only have till the new year at best to show he has the ability to make the changes that improve us.

We may still need to recruit and offload to improve the midfield balance, but even before this I don’t believe that we can’t set up stronger with what we already have. Right now I don’t see that Emery is anywhere near having his Eureka moment and suddenly get it, so it seems more than likely we will have to look elsewhere, fairly imminently, for someone with that better ability and insight of what it takes to develop a top EPL team.

I do hope that if we do have some high level departures with certain players and / or the manager that it can be done with a sense of decorum and decency from all concerned with the club, including the fans.



63 Responses to Emery’s Inability To Solve Our Midfield Problem Will Be His Downfall

  1. RockyLives says:

    Well argued Post GoonerB.

    Midfield certainly seems to be the route of all our evils at the moment and UE has not found a way of making it work.

  2. Crispen says:

    In short EMERY OUT.

  3. Mike M says:

    Morning all. On a general Xhaka note:
    @ Rocky – I find it hard to believe he has your “greatest sympathy”. You are without doubt a much greater man that I. Your assertion that he goes out and “gives his best” for us in every game is somewhat mind blowing. If his best was “challenging” Macarthur for the cross that led to their equalizer then I stand corrected. But I think we both know that’s not his “best”. He really hasn’t earned any sympathy, what he’s earned is a boat load of money. Enough to try harder and be more committed.He has truly been found out and his reaction to it was infantile.
    As far as playing out of position, you are correct. he has not the athleticism, agility or mentality to play in the Premier League. He can pass a ball. Carl jenkinson can run all day. Theo Walcott is very fast. None of them should be in the Premier League. I cannot find it in my heart to have sympathy for someone who makes in one week what many of us make in a year if we’re lucky. I find him extremely fortunate to have ended up at a club with successive managers that don’t know how to set up a team defensively and have chosen him to be the fulcrum of that team.
    The charade is over. We should move on and get better without him.
    I’m not trying to be obtuse but I’ve had it with Xhaka.

  4. RockyLives says:


    (Replying to your comment in the previous post).

    I thought long and hard before stating my belief that we would not improve under UE.

    You say it’s too early to come to that conclusion. You may be right and I really hope you are. I don’t like being the sort of person who ends up calling for the coach’s head, yet here I am.

    If UE can get us working better I will be delighted and will back him all the way while serving myself great dollops of humble pie.

    But in my heart of hearts I just can’t see it.

    I know you believe that his decisions are, to some extent, dictated by the players available to him.

    But if he doesn’t have the players he’d ideally like (hence playing Xhaka in a deep midfield role because he’s the best of the available options) then he needs to come up with different tactics to suit what he has. He has singularly failed to do that.

    I’ll conclude by saying that I’m not writing off UE as a terrible coach. He has clearly succeeded elsewhere and may well do in the future. He’s just not right for this club in this league at this time.

  5. GoonerB says:

    Just to clarify Rocky, I actually started to answer your 11.11 directly then, strangely for me, found I had more to say than I originally thought so gave Rasp the heads up about a potential post.

    I saw after I sent it that LB mentioned he had something in mind that may argue the counterpoint to me on Emery so it would be good to read that as well.

  6. LBG says:

    Out of sync as usual……
    Tried to express my views on the LB/ Rocky debate at end of last post. Dont know how to move it over. Sorry.

  7. RockyLives says:


    Fair enough points and ones that I respect, although I see things very differently.

    I feel Xhaka has become the whipping boy for our overall disappointing form and, consequently, he can’t do anything right in the eyes of many fans.

    I’ve watched Palace’s second goal about 20 times and I can’t see what Xhaka did that was so terrible. He got done on the outside by an opponent who managed to get a cross in. It happens lots of times to lots of our players.

    At one point Xhaka briefly pulled his arms behind his back to avoid a potential handball (and penalty) when he thought the cross was about to be made, and I’ve seen people slag him off for that. No doubt if his arms had been out and the ball had hit them (resulting in a penalty) he’d have been slaughtered for that too.

    If any other player on our team had done exactly as Xhaka did in that situation they would not have been criticised (because there was nothing to criticise). But it’s Xhaka so, hey, let’s blame him.

    His reaction to being booed was the result of constant and unfair criticism. I know we are now all supposed to get cross about that too, but I just can’t.

    (I do recognise that I’m an outlier in this debate…)

  8. RockyLives says:


    “…then, strangely for me, found I had more to say than I originally thought…” 😀 😀

  9. Mike M says:

    @Rocky. Yes we do see things differently. Which is what makes the world go round !!!!!!!
    In a Sunday morning pub game on Hackney Marshes, Xhaka’s “challenge” would have been perfectly fine. But this is the Premier League where players don’t get the time to set themselves for a chipped pass to the far post on the edge of the box. If you doubt that, instead of looking at their goal, look back at Pepe, Tierney and Chambers are facing when they’re trying to get a cross in. This goes on all over the league, game after game. As a team, we’re not real good at it to be fair. But a little more speed getting across and a little more athleticism by getting closer and making yourself bigger because of that makes all the difference. And if you’re going to say that if he over commits he’s going to get beaten, that just makes my point even further. That’s just a small thing – just one eaxmple of literally hundreds where it proves Granit Xhaka is not good enough.

  10. JM says:

    At this critical junction, both Raul (HoF) & Edu (Tech. Director) have to step in to communicate with our team (all coaches and players), make the final decision(s) on key issues (e.g. personnel: Emery, Xhaka, Ozil, captaincy etc., the team’s playing style) and make a proper announcement to the general supporter/fan base.

    Arsenal F.C. is not “Clowns F.C.”. If the coaching staff and the players are not performing in their respective roles properly, surely our club’s management, or even our club’s board, has to step in and intervene in all seriousness. By all means, if our management decides to remove Emery and bring in a new man, remove the captaincy from Xhaka/dock his wages/freeze him in the reserves, install/impose by will on a new and improved playing style that fits for our 1st team – directive from Edu: – just go and do the right thing).

  11. Gööner In Exile says:

    Well argued GoonerB, for me like Rocky and LBG the manager would have faith if we saw improvement, and I’ve said for a while I’d even take backward steps of it meant working on a whole new system that maybe benches most of our experienced (and expensive) squad in favour of players that could play to his identity.

    Without making those changes I see no evidence of a new identity in the team that currently takes the pitch. So I have to ask is this a UE team/tactic, if it is I don’t like what I’m seeing.

    When he first arrived there seemed to be a better blend, we were playing attacking football “we’ve got our Arsenal back” was ringing from the terraces and we seemed to be a little more physical, perhaps this was early stages and UE was making use of the teams best attributes, as the season went on and continued into this season we have seen less attacking play, more structured (slow) build up and no improvement in defence. Is this his identity?

    And I guess that’s the problem no one knows or at least we don’t or can’t tell from the evidence on display.

    I found your comments on Granit interesting, you are right he is what he was and no one is changing that, although I think he was a little more physical when he first arrived at the club but maybe the toll of bookings is making him keen this aspect of his game?

    One thing that sprang to mind was the way Wenger used Arteta in a similar position, being the man to pass out from the back along with the BFG, and his defensive work was more in the head, snuffing out attacks with reading of the game rather than a Kante style. The difference between that Wenger side and now is that the only way most opponents thought they could beat us was to sit back and counter and hope to score one or two on the break before we did. Invariably we won more than we lost, we took the game to the opponent and we had forwards who could hurt with pace, skill or intelligence.

    I think the reason our defence is coming under more scrutiny is because of the way we build attacks now, opponents are not as worried about bus parking, they believe they can cope with our build up without having so many men back without sitting so deep because we follow set phases and we have few players that can ply that killer pass from the midfield to an on rushing forward.

    Mesut Ozil may not posses the workrate or the hunger that UE wants to see, but he sure as hell would give opponents something to think about with the likes of PEA, Pepe and Laca as outlets.

    I think Wenger eased pressure on our defence by having players who could hurt the opposition on the pitch. Dare them to send a man forward instead of covering an attacker who was going to be open if their attack broke down.

  12. Robert Baker says:

    Totally agree the manager just hasn’t got the jist of this league and is destroyed arsenals way of playing, we were better last year than we are now, at least last year we were great going forwards, that’s not the case this season.
    The manager for me needs to have prem experience perhaps Rogers would be good for us, but why would he leave leister when there doing better than us. Arsenal under emery is just not right. I’d take Viera at least he knows how we’re supposed to play, emery out

  13. Jack Lim says:

    The problem is Emery,not Xhaka!
    He play well with Switzeland but perform badly under Emery…..
    If we still see Emery till end of the season,then Arsenal maybe even out of top six ….
    Auba and Lacazette will leave us next summer …

  14. RockyLives says:

    Robert and Jack

    Thanks for commenting.

    It does feel like Emery has lost the support of a very substantial part of the fan base.

    If you don’t mind me asking, at what point did any enthusiasm you had for him turn into disappointment and disillusionment?

    (For me, the end of last season was worrying; the summer transfer business was promising; but our performances this season have finally tipped me over to feeling he should go).

  15. Sue says:

    Just out of interest, Rocky, who would you like to succeed Unai?
    Short term – Freddie…. Long term – ????

  16. Rasp says:

    Thanks for the post GB. In my opinion, our midfield has only ever worked well (in an attacking sense maybe) when there has been one exceptional main man pulling the strings. In the last 20 years that has been Vieira, Fabregas and Cazorla.

    We don’t currently have a player of that calibre in the squad. I hope our next big purchase will be ‘that man’.

    I think the midfield is one of a number of exposed failings in Unai’s performance. My feeling about him is as Rocky has just described.

    To be a top manager you need to be able to motivate your players to give everything … Emery doesn’t/can’t do this. He doesn’t have the desire or the personality to relate to his players in this way. He treats them as chess pieces.

  17. RockyLives says:

    I would go with Rasp’s idea of trying Freddie as caretaker for the rest of the season.

    Beyond that I don’t really feel qualified to suggest a long term replacement. I don’t follow the European teams as closely as some do on here.

    I thought the bloke at Southampton was quite good but they’re struggling this season so that show’s what I know.

    I’m drawn to the idea of a younger, more modern-minded coach but I haven’t really reasoned out why I feel that way…

  18. RC78 says:

    Arthur, Busquets, De Jong
    Can, Pjanic, Matuidi
    De Bruyne, Fernsndinho, Silva
    Thiago, Tolisso, Kimmich
    Verratti, Gueye, Herrera
    Ceba, Xhaka, Douzi

    I think thst Emery s issues are more than with the mid. He still hasn’t found the structure to balance defense and offense and get the most out of his players

  19. RA says:


    Copy/Paste is the easiest way to move your detailed comment onto this Post.

  20. Mogga Emmanuel Silvano says:

    I think arsenal’s exposed midfield is the cause of the pressure at the back, i mean the defence. Equally ozil is no more 4 creativity becoz the coach hates him, a player who arsene wenger values, aron ramsey was left 2 go who would’ve done that, Torreira is hard tackler in the mid and could cause numerous yellow cards 2 the oponent. Torreira’s absence has cause arsenal’s rivals 2 play guitor in the mid and take full controll. Xaka can’t really control the mid bt instead cause thousand errors etc. Back 2 da defence, belerian, tierney, holding and luiz ,leno should start 4 arsenal regularly. Sokratis has multiple errors and can’t protect luiz. So, aug, pepe, lacaz, ozil, ceballeous, gundeoz, torreira, tierney, beleran, holding, luiz and leno MUST Start 4 arsenal. When i say thz, arsenal board can’t chase emery, what’re yo waiting 4 ?, emery z nt fit 4 arsenal.

  21. Rasp says:

    This is LBG’s comment from earlier …

    LB and Rocky
    I was one of those that felt that Dick deserved 3/4 transfer windows before we would really be able to judge him.

    This was however, subject to 1. evidence of progression in his understanding of the qualities in the squad ( and weaknesses), 2. an accurate analysis of the tactical requirements of playing week in week out in the Premier League, including the addition of a steelyness evidenced by beating teams we should normally beat, holding on to points away when the groundwork is laid in the game, and 3. some significant additions to the squad of immediate or longer term quality.

    I understand your cautiousness with regard to his position LB, but feel in his judgement of points 1 and 2 has been largely wrong!
    This man impressed the Board with his dossiers on our whole squad, but continues to select players who we paid too much for and are not up to either us as a Club or the Premier League. He has been unlucky with some injuries it is true, but most of these are now available but he does not opt consistently for them in the League. I am not really concerned about the Carrier bag Cup or the Europa League for that matter at this stage. Play those second rate players for those games.

    He did not show the leadership required in selecting one Captain once Kos was gone. Does not seem to be able to select teams or tactics to play against tough, generally defensive teams in away games or motivate from the side when teams come back with effort and aggression. And most significantly when these poor performances occur he seems to excuse, and nothing changes for the next game.

    Tierney, Ceballos, Pepe, Martinelli and eventually Saliba will/are strengthening our squad. He deserves credit for using Willock, Saka, and Smith-Rowe intermittently.

    BUT…..if we lose to Liverpool, Wolves and Leicester in the next round of significant games ( not inconceivable, I feel, at present), I don’t believe Emery will last until Christmas!!

  22. RA says:

    Well there have been some cracking comments today, differences of opinion expressed in good part, various suggestions about the way forward and so on — and Sue is idly supping a Mai Tai and making the Rock scratch his head. Excellent!!

  23. GoonerB says:

    Rocky, ditto to your last bit in brackets…..Identical thinking. I also share your thoughts that I would be more than delighted if he did try something different and we started to improve. Like you I am more than happy to eat humble pie.

    GIE, I am all for a step back to move forwards as well, although I think that if we can persuade key players to stay with us like Auba, which I think will happen if we can start to develop a superior playing style and identity again, which should then improve results as well, then I don’t think it needs to be too dramatic in terms of wholesale changes.

    The one good thing since Emery has arrived is that we have blooded many youngsters who now look a lot more mature, even though they still have further improvements to come. Where I would prefer to take a risk or gamble is in the next managerial appointment, should Emery indeed not turn things in a better direction.

    I championed Arteta prior to Emery but somewhat bowed to the argument that his superior C.V in terms of 1st team management was more important at this stage. I have somewhat gone back to my initial assessment now and would love to see an Arteta / Freddie number 1 / 2. With the BFG overseeing the academy I just wonder if that could be a dream team.

    If my thoughts that some overseas managers come into the EPL and just don’t quite get what is needed, despite having a decent C.V prior to this elsewhere, and that Emery fits that category, then it may be more important to have someone that really does understand the EPL rather than more experience from outside it. Maybe this trumps being a 1st team manager elsewhere, and it has been seen before that sometimes certain ex-players can step in at a higher level immediately and do well if other factors are with them.

    Look at another possible favourite for the role in Allegri. He has an excellent 1st team managerial C.V but again doesn’t know the EPL so nothing would be guaranteed. Also I am suspicious his English is not all that great and I have wondered if this has hampered Emery in getting across what he wants to the players.

    I would also like to see us develop a new identity and style as a team, like Wenger initially did for us, and would take a chance and go for someone who I feel would bring that to the club. Arteta has been the right hand man for 3 years to the, widely regarded, best manager of this generation, and has witnessed first hand what it takes to improve players and develop a team and style that is both pleasing to watch but effective at the higher end of the EPL.

    I know the money is a factor but there is far more to it than that for a team to hit (give or take) 100 points in back to back seasons. Just look at Sterling. When we were linked with him many fans decreed he had no end product. Even many of the fans at Liverpool and City thought this. Guardiola refused to let him go because he knew what he could make him.

    He is arguably now (Ronaldo and Messi aside) the player that most other fans and clubs would want if they had a free choice on any player in world football, and Arteta has been right there watching how it is all done.

    He indeed has a cross next to his 1st team management experience but think on all the other factors:

    Experience in being a big part of a successful EPL team > tick

    Knows the EPL > tick

    Knows Arsenal > tick

    Speaks fluent English > tick

    Has insight into top level academy operations (he came through La Masia himself) > tick

    Renowned for being a good tactician > tick

    Renowned for believing in an attacking identity > tick

    If it doesn’t work with Emery I think our main gamble should be in this appointment, which I don’t feel is much of a gamble anyway bearing in mind where we have been in the last 6-7 years anyway.

  24. GoonerB says:

    Great, and on the money, comment LBG

  25. RA says:


    You are not entirely alone in your views about the Raging Bull aka Granit.

    Earlier yesterday, I opined that Xhaka was a convenient scapegoat for the fans’ frustration and and anger.

    I have never been a great fan of his, but I did find it ironic that in wanting to chase the win, Embers brought on Saka, and the somewhat inevitable happened, as captains do not like being substituted.

    The fact is, we would all be whistling a different tune if the incompetent VAR official had not wrongly overturned Atkinson’s decision on two key points.

    We should rightly have won that game 3 : 1 if the ref’s originally decisions had stood. There would have been no need to sub Xhaka to chase the game, he would not have felt hard done by, and gone all sulky, and all would be well on this site and all the others.

    Who to blame, then? Xhaka? Emery? Well each has a share in the fans’ anger, but not really for what happened in this game, and the ensuing hullabaloo for Xhaka’s emotional outburst to the substitution and the reaction of some of the fans./

    No — the real culprit is the VAR man who without any explanation or justification overturned decisions that even ex-referees have said were inexplicable.

    And yet behind that — there was a total f**k up by the EPL owners who, before the season started, did not want the on-field ref looking at the pitch side TV monitors to review the advice they were given by the VAR Monster.
    Who in hell are these prats to stick their noses into how VAR should work? Experienced, knowledgeable football men, or stay away owners who know bugger all about the beautiful game. Disgraceful!

    They have now learned the folly of their interference and have called a meeting with the PFMOL to review the standing instructions to refs/VAR to try and put things ‘right’ – meanwhile we have lost 2 valuable points, and they have started a schism between the coach, the players and the fans. Go suck my big ….. toe!!

  26. JM says:

    Arteta – everyone knows.

    Vieira, who is head coach at OGC Nice, along with Grimandi (their DoF), is also a well known source.

    There is also Kolo Toure, a member of our Invincibles, who is currently a 1st team assistant coach at Leicester City (yes, where a certain Brendan Rodgers is currently flourishing at). Prior to that, he was with Côte d’Ivoire national and U-23 teams (where he knew and trained Nicolas Pepe), and then at Celtic’s coaching staff along with Rodgers (and where Kieran Tierney came from). He can certainly communicate with our players and also knows Edu well.

    Raul Sanllehi would certainly consider a Luis Enrique, whom he worked with for years at Barcelona F.C., and currently on a hiatus from coaching, in the future.

  27. Sue says:

    So what you’re saying Rocky is.. basically anyone except Maureen?!! 😀
    Love how you say ‘the bloke at Southampton’…. I have no idea how you spell his name either 😂

    I guess things could become a whole lot worse tomorrow, should we lose to the gnashers… and if I’m totally honest, I’m not expecting anything from the Wolves/Leicester games either – how depressing is that, thinking that way??

    Bottoms up, RA 🍹🍻☀️

  28. LBG says:

    Thanks Rasp for moving my comment and GoonerB for appreciation.
    My pennyworth on a replacement,if it all goes pear shaped, would be Freddie with support from the BFG until end of season. Then go for “combined teamwork genius” as a new style of management!! Get DB10 out of retirement and get him to partner Freddie with his knowledge of the Academy, as coaches under PATRICK VIEIRA.
    For those with opinions about a new captain, Tierney was a successful captain at Celtic, often complimented on his never say die attitude by more ” experienced” players. Guts and drive is what we need in the role.

  29. LB says:

    I think the main difference is that I think it is too early to start running round like headless cockerels calling for the manager’s head and others think it is time for him to go.

    The biggest difficulty in arguing my point is that I am talking to people who don’t see all the games, there are those who didn’t see the Forrest game, didn’t see the Vitoria game or didn’t see all of the Palace game.

    Without seeing these games you would not have seen Emery try Torreira as a pure DM you would not have seen him try Torreira and Willock as a pair in front of the back four.

    These lesser games are important to see the whole picture because one of my main points is that Emery knows that Xhaka is not right and is doing everything he can to find alternatives of which there is not an obvious one. Yes, there is the Chambers option and we may finally get to see him in that role sooner rather than later. I will keep an open mind on this.

    It shouldn’t be forgotten that Emery didn’t buy Xhaka, he inherited him and as far as I can see he has been doing the best he can with the limited skillset that Xhaka possesses.

    The Sheffield United game was on telly so I suppose everyone who is calling for his head saw that……….this is like pushing water up a hill.

  30. Sue says:

    So, apparently we’re without Auba, Luiz, Chambers & Xhaka for tomorrow, as they haven’t travelled. But guess who has?? Ozil!!
    Is that his way of trying to win back some of the fans? Or has Mesut worked harder in training?? Unbelievable – and yes, proper Chris Kamara style!!

  31. LB says:

    “BUT…..if we lose to Liverpool, Wolves and Leicester in the next round of significant games ( not inconceivable, I feel, at present), I don’t believe Emery will last until Christmas!!” (LGB)

    You may be right LGB……..BUT……. we haven’t lost yet and this is why I continue with my view of it is too early to start calling for Emery’s head.

    This could all change so quickly, Emery could actually get his own midfield player in the January transfer window and that would be like throwing a sweety into the play pen which would shut us all up.

    This is not inconceivable as no one actually expected us to sign Pepe.

    If we see a managerial change it will be at the end of the season and the reason will be that we failed to get into the top four, there is no way that the board will act so petulantly before that time.

  32. LB says:

    Playing Ozil tomorrow is a cleaver way if reminding us of where Mesut is now days and the Real Madrid Mesut he aint.

  33. LBG says:

    Feel a bit like a doom merchant. Hasn’t there all ready been a statement from Emery/ management that they are not expecting any new buys in next window.
    For info, I am one like you who attends all home games.

  34. LBG says:

    Emery described as a bit like a Bruce Rioja this afternoon. Sad but element of truth for me.

  35. VP says:

    RA 3:40 I totally agree however if VAR had not got it wrong we would’ve won 4:2 not 3:2

    I’m not a fan of Arteta. I believe a coach should do some hard yards (aka Lampard at Derby) and not come from a position of privilege (sucking on the teat of Pep).

    I also heard on the grapevine that AW is still available

    Other than that, I think its way too early to call time on Emery

  36. LB says:


    Josh made clear in the summer that there were still more signings to come.

    I think as soon as they can sort out the Ozil mess they will plough it into the midfield.

    P.S. I had noted that you attend the games.

    Bruce Rioja is funny; he still has a lot of time to turn this around.

  37. VP says:

    RA 3:1, you are right, 4:30am here so mind is clouded

  38. Gööner In Exile says:

    LB I sympathise with your view re Emery and Xhaka, and like you I don’t want us to chase round from manager to manager, we saw Liverpool do it, we see what is happening at ManUtd, Chavs (historically) and City can change managers they have the budget for players to overcome managerIdal changes and actually those players probably need fresh ideas to stop them getting bored. I am certainly not thinking Arteta or Freddie have the credentials to step up to the role. And there lies the rub, if we lose Emery who is a replacement?

    I can’t help but compare Emery to Klopp. Like Klopp Emery has a season to assess his squad, unlike Emery Klopp managed to find the players within the club prepared to take on his ideas, and if they couldn’t they went, but you could see the managerial mark on the performances.

    So I guess my worry comes from the fact that regardless of the players this is Emery’s tactics, and I am trying to assess that not the players. I have to assume Emery wants us to play out from the back and set up how we do from every restart. Do I think an improvement in personnel would make that work? Quite frankly no. It is obvious to anyone watching that it is so easy to counter.

    And I have no worries with tinkering, but I don’t think 1 game in every three is enough to judge a player. The Torreira/Guendouzzi combination certainly worked a lot better last season until opponents stoped going through the middle and lack of pace at the Back was highlighted by balls over the top bypassing the midfield.

    The same with Ozil, will it be fair to judge him on a smattering of appearances? Or should he be given a run? The biggest problem Emery has now is playing him makes him look weak, not playing him makes him look obstinate, and if we assume Ozil wants to play football and stay in London it is in his interests not to perform until Emery is sacked. Is that professional? No, but players have the power in these circumstances.

  39. I love how GoonerB starts writing a comment and then realises it could be a post 😂

  40. John Mathews legend says:

    Good body every ebening.
    Not particularly a defence of Emery here, just an alternative point of view on him, having watched his interview on .com this afternoon, coming from an Ex-Pat who had to learn to express himself in a foreign country(France) over 30 years back, with very little scope for the language*.
    I know a lot of people can’t listen to him, and think he’s talking gobbledygook, but I can lend him an ear given my experience.
    He comes across as somebody honest, and you can see in his eyes the struggle he is having trying to find the right words to get his point across.
    He has not beaten about the bush that Xhaka waas completely wrong in his reaction, but he also attempted to say that a big part of the blame for the fans’ reaction is on him, and the team.
    he can’t reply to the question of Xhaka being captain again, or even playing again……I think because Granit hasn’t apologised yet.
    Whatever we think of him, he’s in a sh*te situation, and knows that only performance on the pitch will get the fans back on board.
    In his way, he has shared the responsibility for the sh*teshow on offer, and is in a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ scenario with regards to a possible ‘mutiny’ from either the dressing room or the support…or both, depending what happens next.
    I for one, hope he manages to sort it out, for no other reason than for the good of Arsenal. The club is in a crap place at the moment.
    * With regards to learning French…did anyone else here go to St Aloysius, Highgate hill? Particularly in the second half of the ’70s?
    I wasn’t too bad at French in the 1st and 2nd year….then had Mr Tout (Onionhead) for 3 years up to ‘O’ levels….
    He told us to read the exercise book and come to him if we needed help…..for 3 f*cking years while he sucked Polo mints to thinly disguise his lunchtime Guinness breath.
    We did our homework for the other lessons in the French lessons.
    Got DOUBLE UNCLASSIFIED in the ‘O’ level (written and oral)
    I didn’t know I would go on to pull the French barmaid in the Assembly House KT, did I?

  41. It’s not news to us that the midfield is spoiling all our fun so I’d be surprised if Unai hasn’t worked it out.

    So then we get to the ridiculous decision of allowing the team to choose the captain!!!! Maybe the rest of the guys felt sorry for Xhaka because of the abuse he’s been getting ( we know that we really only employ nice guy footballers 😉) and then we have a captain that the supporters would rather not see on the pitch. Not great decision making by Emery.

    My view on Sunday’s sub of Xhaka by Saka was that Emery was putting on a more creative goal scorer ……. this was a tactic by Emery. Obviously we don’t know what if any conversation goes on about tactics before the game but surely the captain should realise (actually every player should realise) that if the manager wants to change something and their number goes up then they have to walk (run) off the pitch.

    I think the communication must be very poor between Emery and the players …… I don’t understand him even now when he talks to the press.

    If he has to go I’m all for Freddie as caretaker ……. he can always try to get one of his invincible mates to come and help him.

  42. RC78 says:

    I am just annoyed that Emery is not changing his formation. I am not a big fan of it but we need to play 3 at the back it seems… We have 5 players that can play together in this set up with Holding, Luiz, Sok, Chambs and Mustafi. The first three would work out for me.

    We play Bellerin, Tierney as wing backs with AMN and Kola as back up.

    Out midfield pivot could be Douzi, Torreira but we can also imagine a place for Willock…

    Now it s up to Emery whether he plays 3 up front or either he adds a mid. We can play Pepe, Laca, Auba in 2-1 set up or Laca-Pepe, Auba in a 1-2 set up. The 1-2 set up also gives the possibility to play Ozil, Ceba, ESR, or even Willock behind a duo of Emery s choice.

    I’m fed up thst he s not trying smt new. We need balance and we can’t seem to find it in his system so try another one…

    He could be replaced by Jan if we re not close to the top 4 but most likely his position will be assessed in the summer and don’t rule Mourinho or Allegri out…

    Leno – Sok, Holding, Luiz – Bello, Douzi, Torreira, Tierney – Pepe, Auba – Laca

  43. Great story John Matthews Legend and I agree about the gobbledygook 😁

  44. RockyLives says:

    Great story John M 😀 – c’est la vie, eh? We had a hot-as-hell female French teacher (from France), so she had our full attention in every lesson. (That was in my grammar school South of the river).

    GiE I agree with every word.

    LB – I have only been able to watch the games that have been televised this season (thankfully that has been most of them). I had a dodgy stream for Sunday’s game but it was so dodgy it might have come from Trotters Independent Traders and I had to give up on it.

    However, it’s true that watching on telly is definitely not the same as being in the ground and I accept that you see a lot more in the flesh.

    I’ll look forward to your further thoughts in defence/support of UE in the Post you’re writing.

    The only thing I really take issue with is using the term “headless cockerels” to describe those of us who have decided it’s time for Emery to go. That’s a low blow!

    Headless chickens? By all means. Headless anything else? Fine. But cockerels, with all those connotations… That’s a no-no LB.

    I forgive you though… 😀

  45. Evening RC …… I’ll pop your comment into the training ground tomorrow.

  46. Now does anyone fancy putting on their ‘I love football’ hat and offering a pre-match for tomorrow.

  47. John Mathews legend says:

    Thanks Peaches, Rocky.
    We had a hot-as-hell Art teacher (Us pimply teenagers discovered ‘Cameltoe’ through her….long before the phrase was coined)
    She told me about an experiment at City and East London college, where you could do your foundation course for Art school over two years and do your ‘A’ levels at the same time (instead of hanging around in an all boys school, 1000 of us in green blazers and rastafari ties) instead of doing your ‘A’ levels in said conditions and then doing the foundation course at art school for one year.
    She loved my home made screen printed Stranglers, Pistols and X-Ray Spex tee- shirts, and I believe to this day she fancied me….
    A nod is as good as a w*nk to a blind bat….
    When she told me that 70% of Art students were females, my mind was made up.
    Suffice to say that the ‘experience’ didn’t really work out as they planned. Anyone who carried on at Art ended up doing a foundation course anyway… I b*ggered off to play some Rock and Roll (but the money’s no good, just get a grip on yourself) and sold a few tee-shirts to finance the beer and assorted goodies.
    With my ‘A’levels……No f*ckin’ Mr Onionhead at C&E.!!

  48. RockyLives says:

    At least you didn’t end up down in the sewer…

  49. John Mathews legend says:

    Rocky, I was hanging around down there for about three years after all that, trying to get out again…..no walking on the beaches, then something had to change.
    Oh well…beats talking about the footie from the @rse and what fckn Brexit means for us Ex-Pats!

  50. RockyLives says:

    Sorry to leave you hanging around John, I was writing a Post for (walking on the beaches looking at the) Peaches.

    But right now I’ve got to go buddy go. Chat tomorrow.

  51. RockyLives says:

    I’ll put a Post in drafts.

  52. fatgingergooner says:

    I started the season wanting to give Emery a real chance, but we are only a quarter way through and I’ve had enough. My problem is not Emery’s personality, use of the English language, motivational skills, or demeanour….it is simply his philosophy. He seems to believe that a 1-0 lead is all that is needed to win games regardless of how good his defence is, and he seems to think that any lead is enough to win any game as long as you control the possession and therefore the pace of the game. In other countries, this may work, but leads in the PL are fickle things, and so often you will see 2-0, 3-1, and even (dare I say) 4-0 leads surrendered. Teams in the PL do not give up at 2-0 down, and if anything they fight harder.

    I look at our squad at the moment and see a group of players ready to explode onto the scene. It’s a fantastic mix of old and new, experienced and fresh-faced, talented and energetic, and I truly believe that under the stewardship of a manager who is able to motivate and excite, that this team could get very close to Liverpool and City in the near future with just a couple of additions. This is the best group of youngsters I think I’ve ever seen at Arsenal. That’s a bold statement, but I don’t remember a time when Wenger had 6 or 7 coming through at once. Sure, he had some gems in Fabregas, Vela, Wilshere etc but how many times did he have lots in the first team who actually played PL football regularly and impressed? This has to be the time for Arsenal to propel themselves back into relevance, but if we continue on this path I really fear that we will miss our chance.

    As for Xhaka, he seems to be a victim (not the first) of Arsenals lack of success. It’s often said that Xhaka is not ‘Arsenal quality’ and I tend to agree, but what the weekend showed me is that a lot of Arsenal fans are not ‘Arsenal quality’. Since when does a supporter boo his own players and his own captain? The clue is in the title…’supporter’. I‘ve only been to the Emirates twice, but the only memory I took from my first game there was our own fans hammering Gervinho 10 minutes into a game. That was about 7 years ago. What’s changed, other than the name of the player the fans moan at?

    If this club is to move forward then a new direction is needed in terms of the manager (IMO), but just as important is a change of mindset from the fans. It’s not good enough.

  53. fred1266 says:

    Lucas Perez with a wonder goal for alves today

  54. John Mathews legend says:

    Does anyone here remember me being booed nearly every time I put on the shirt and took to the pitch in the ’70s?
    Handsome moustachio-ed face or not, jeez I got some stick…
    ‘ckin’ell….I remember scoring two (or maybe a hatrick?) against some lowlife team (Coventry, maybe?) in ’76 or ’77 (memory fading)
    in a 4-2 or 4-1 win (Alzeimer’s setting win) at Highbury…
    I loved the ironic cheers, and raised my hand in full (Ironic) recognition of the appreciation of the fans that day!
    I’m old now, and my memory is hazy. I don’t really remember playing much for Arsenal after that match but I still get goose pimples thinking about that one moment when the North bank cheered me on.
    Don’t even remember where I went to afterwards….Will try to find Ritchie Powling on Facebook, see if he can help me out to trigger some memories..
    I do kinda remember being a tad jealous of Willie ‘Go back to Tottenham’ Young a year or two later. How did he manage to become some kind of Highbury cult figure after all the total sh*te he had to put up with?
    “Willie Willie” I never got a song like that!
    I dunno..modern players crying into their Farley’s Rusks about a bit of stick from the fans.
    Blame it on Jeff Blockley, Terry Mancini (Hairplant where are you?)
    Terry Neill and Brexit..
    Tea-time blog this…beer time commentor.
    Luv, John Mathews leg end

  55. LB says:

    I don’t know where to start to answer that, the penny is not just dropping, it is crashing down. A person who actually played for Arsenal on here, how great is that. Now I understand the humour in the use of the name legend — brilliant.

    Wish I could help you by saying that I was one of the ones who booed you but like you the memory is getting a bit cloudy now.

    All the best.

    “57 appearances in four seasons with Arsenal” (Wiki)

  56. John Mathews legend says:

    Cheers LB, you get it.

  57. allezkev says:

    The real John Matthews, that’s really cool, I remember you scoring those two goals, I was on the North Bank, you kinda looked at the crowd and shrugged as if to say ‘ how did that happen?’

    That was quite a crop of young players, didn’t you get into the 1st team before Chippy?

    Wilf Rostron, Trevor Ross, Ritchie P, Frank Stapleton, David O’Leary. I used to watch you lot in the Stiffs.
    God, I do miss Highbury…

  58. RockyLives says:

    I’m an idiot. I was so caught up in the discussion last night that I wrote a Post pertaining to that.

    I now realize that what’s needed is a pre-match.

    I’ll put something together this morning.

  59. RockyLives says:

    Bloody hell! John Matthews!

    And he likes late 70s punk!

    This is a great day.

  60. LBG says:

    When’s your Birthday, John? First Jan or first Nov. So much research required now!! We have a real leg end in our mists.

  61. Rasp says:

    John Matthews .. wow … you’ve dangled the carrot and whetted our appetites at the same time. Do we have a real legend in our midst? Tell us more ….

  62. Sue says:

    JML.. sorry, before my time 😀 but I must say, your comments have been bloody hilarious!! Please keep them coming…. 👍🤣

  63. New Post everyone …………..

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