Another Nail In Emery’s Coffin? Southampton Report and Player Ratings.

Unai Emery has always reminded me of Dracula. It’s something to do with the way he slicks back his hair, his sallow complexion, his thin angular face.

Oh, and the fact that he’s sucking the lifeblood out of Arsenal right now.

I was going to suggest, as per the headline, that yesterday’s limp display and scrambled point at home against the most out-of-form team in the Premier League was another nail in his coffin.

But the analogy doesn’t hold up, does it? Vampires like coffins. Hammer another nail in Unai’s casket and he’ll probably be quite happy – it just makes him a bit more snug.

Perhaps it would be better to say that a 2-2 draw with Southampton at the Emirates is another clove of garlic in the eventual ousting of Count von Emery.

I feel mean even writing this. Unai seems like a decent bloke, even an honourable one. He doesn’t have a rampant ego and narcissism issues like the new man at N17. He’s not a footballing Neanderthal like the Allardyces and Pulises of this world. And he certainly can’t be blamed for his physical appearance: none of us gets to choose how we look (when I was younger I was known as “Rodders” because of my apparent similarity to Rodney Trotter from Only Fools and Horses. We all have our crosses to bear. Except for Unai Emery because he’s a vampire and doesn’t like crosses).

But the facts (and the garlic cloves) are mounting up against the Count.

I mentioned in comments after the game yesterday that, in their last four Premier League outings before facing Arsenal, Southampton managed a grand total of 16 attempts on target. That’s 16 attempts in FOUR full matches (or an average of four attempts per game). Yesterday they had 21 attempts on goal in ONE game against us (we had 12).

This can’t go on.

It’s not in my nature to pile in on a manager when he’s down and join the chorus of people clamouring for him to go, but recent performances have left me no alternative. You’ll now find me in the tenor section.

The Count has been a successful manager in his career, winning significant trophies at Sevilla and PSG, but for whatever mysterious reason he just can’t do it with this team in this league. And the longer we resist facing up to that fact, the more damage will be done.

It’s time for the people who run our club to hand him his cape, say fangs for everything and get him out of N5 like a bat out of hell. The stakes are too high (sorry).

And so to the game.

As usual, our team looked great on paper, but sadly someone decided to play the game on grass and at that point it all went wrong.

We had some good moments and some OK individual performances (as well as some poor ones) but I can’t be bothered to do a blow-by-blow report. Instead I’ll mention a few things that stuck in my mind.

  • Our midfield under the Count just does not function and the more I watch it and try to figure out why, the more baffled I am. Hopefully some of you more tactically literate types can explain in comments. Yesterday I thought Guendouzi and Torreira put in plenty of effort, did some good things and generally looked OK. Yet Southampton were able to breeze through our middle like Moses parting the Red Sea (no, not Remi Moses, you Phillipinos).
  • Ozil had good moments but also had moments where he seemed disinterested and lacking in anticipation. Not sure what’s going on with him.
  • Pepe was unlucky not to get his first goal from open play (he hit the crossbar) but it also looks like his confidence is shot. At one point he was through on goal, one on one with the Saints ‘keeper. Any confident striker would have shot. But Pepe made a half-arsed effort to square the ball to Ozil in the area (despite there being a big lump of a Southampton defender in the way).
  • The Saints penalty was as soft as you’ll ever see. And worse, the VAR review seemed to show an offside in the build-up. But this being Arsenal and that being VAR, the decision inevitably went against us. (Can I use my “all’s not fair in love and VAR” gag again?).
  • How utterly Arsenaly was it that when our ‘keeper finally saves a penalty (which we never seem to do) the opposition score from it anyway. Grrrrr.

Player Ratings

It’s almost impossible to separate the players’ performances from the way they are being asked to play, which is just not working. Nevertheless, with that in mind, here goes:


Did well to save the pen, even though the rebound went straight back to the penalty taker. Was generally OK. 6


Struggled in defense, didn’t really get forward and seems to be lacking in touch and confidence. We need the old Hector back in the house.  4


Overall was OK, but almost gifted another goal to Saints in the second half by trying to dribble in his own penalty area. 5


Did OK until subbed at half time. 5


Missed a headed half chance. Was strong on the ball and tried to get us going forward a bit faster at times. 5


Unlucky to be penalised for the (very harsh) penalty. Was really good going forward and delivered a terrific cross for our first goal. Struggled defensively with his fellow Scot, Armstrong, at times but worked hard all game. 7


High energy, plenty of commitment. A decent player in a system that doesn’t work. 6


See Guendouzi. 6


Good moments, indifferent moments, a very Ozil performance. 5


Was more in the game in the first half than the second. Always looks good on the ball and always a willing runner, but not much came off for him yesterday (partly because of poor service). 6


Our best player by far. Two well taken poacher’s goals, but he is also tireless in his willingness to chase lost causes, track back to get the ball and harry opposition defenders when they’re trying to bring the ball out. 8



Always looks skillful and tricksy but he’s just not contributing enough at the moment. He doesn’t currently look like a £72 million player. 4


Came on late and tried to make a difference with the little time he had. Did well to get the ball into the box for our second equaliser. 6


Didn’t have long but made an impression. Had a header on target and cleared one off the line. 6







56 Responses to Another Nail In Emery’s Coffin? Southampton Report and Player Ratings.

  1. Gööner In Exile says:

    The shots against stat is truly shocking. We seem to be going backwards in this department and not achieving much improvement or even keeping our goal threat.

  2. Rasp says:

    Thanks Rocky, you managed to make me smile at a time when I find it hard to see any positives other than the swift removal of Unai.

    It’s never becoming when the masses call for a man to lose his job, but the several millions he is likely to get as a settlement will no doubt help soften the blow. I never felt he loved the Arsenal, the players or the fans … that’s the problem, he doesn’t communicate with any of us.

    I refuse to blame the players. We had an exceptional summer in the transfer market far exceeding most of our expectations. Most said he’d need several transfer windows to create the team to implement his style …. but then we found out he doesn’t even have that to offer.

    As to the game, I didn’t see it live and I couldn’t bring myself to watch the highlights (written with irony in mind) but the stats and reports from those at the game whose opinion I respect tell me that this really should be the end of the line.

    The media are reporting that the chairman Sir Chips Keswick is considering resigning over the Emery situation. If true, this can only be because he is as frustrated as the rest of us at the situation. I don’t imagine he had any say in UE’s appointment, or that he personally can terminate his contract. Maybe he’s sending out the same message as the rest of us.

  3. LB says:

    Reading that post was far more enjoyable than my experience at the game yesterday.

    Phillipinos is a play on words right? This is going to be a der moment I can sense it coming.

  4. Sue says:

    Thanks, Rodders 😜 Brilliant read 👍

  5. John Mathews legend says:

    Nice writing Rocky.
    I Google translated from Romanian to English:

    “Nos fera tu” means “You will do us”
    Knowing that Romanian is a latin language, I tried again adding an ‘e’ to ‘tu’, like the verb ‘tuer’ (to kill) in French:
    “Nos fera tue” means “it will kill us”

    Both translations seem somewhat apt concerning our Transylvanian head coach.

  6. Rasp says:

    I took the Philipinos to be a play on philistines .. as in moses … educate us please Rocky.

    Also, congratulations on spelling count correctly, there a few sites out there (the ones we wouldn’t want to frequent) who are using an alternative version.

    Booing is bad enough, but vulgar personal attacks are beyond the pale.

    I guess all that is even more reason why the management should act swiftly.

  7. fatgingergooner says:

    Our midfield is non-existent in terms of creativity and defensive shield. We can’t expect to win games whilst that’s the case. The players in there do lots of running and little else. They can’t pick passes, are outmuscled easily, and don’t have the smarts required to anticipate how play is unfolding in front of them. They make terrible decisions with and without the ball and continue to allow teams to run through them. It’s no wonder we are conceding 20 shots a game against piss poor sides. If we are to improve then we need midfield reinforcements, but seeing as that isn’t going to happen anytime soon, then the way forward must be to play 3 CM players rather than 3 CB. The best our midfield has looked this season was Burnley at home when Ceballos/Willock/Geundouzi started together. I don’t for a minute believe it has anything to do with personnel as they are all as average as each other in our midfield, but I do think it has something to do with the attitude of the midfielders chosen. Willock played deeper that day and all 3 worked hard in defence and to win the ball back. It was more of a flat 3 than a 2 and a 1 and i personally believe we need that flat 3 if we are to plug those gaping midfield gaps.

    Playing 3412 is leaving us light in the middle and a 4312 or 433 gives us an extra body centrally. We moved away from it because we were conceding goals, but the recent 3 at the back hasn’t improved us defensively so we may aswell go back to having some sort of coherent midfield instead of the shambles of yesterday.

    It’s utterly ridiculous that we seem to need 13 players on the field to cover for the lack of quality and tactical ineptitude within our squad. We can’t defend without an extra CB and we can’t function without an extra CM. If that doesn’t tell you that we lack quality and direction in those areas then I don’t know what will. The manager has somehow turned reasonable players into clowns. It’s almost time to bring back Mustafi and Xhaka to sure up those areas, similar to how he’s brought Özil in to improve the creativity….Emery hasn’t got a clue.

  8. fatgingergooner says:

    The lack of confidence in the side is huge at the moment and it’s the main reason we are failing to function as a proper unit, but that confidence is given by the manager and by the players believing in what they are asked to do…I don’t get the impression they want to fight for what Emery believes in. It only takes a handful of players not to be tuned in to the message for it all to crumble. More importantly, it has to be the right message in the first place, and Emery’s ‘control’ and ‘analysis’ style doesn’t seem to be suited to this league.

    Anyway, I’ll wait for 6 months time when we have narrowly avoided relegation, somehow made it to the EL final, and finally get rid of the C(o)unt….

  9. RockyLives says:

    Good day all.

    Rasp and LB – yes, Phillipinos is a silly family pun on Philistines. When my kids were younger we took them to an art gallery and they just moaned and complained, so I accused them of being Philistines. A couple of weeks later my son (aged about 12 at the time) made me listen to some dreadful music he was into. When I said it was awful he called me a Phillipino, having misremembered the original insult.

    Love it. Scary omens…

    That all makes sense, although I think many of our players are better than average. It’s just that what they’re being asked to do either makes no sense or is beyond their ability to understand.

  10. RA says:

    Oooer Sue,

    Calling His Majesty. the Honourable Rocky “Rodders” @11:20, is shocking!! Sheesh!

    He is nice, kind, intelligent, knows where Peckham is, can write and spell and everyfin!! 😳

    Smacky bottom time for you when he sees that, methinks!!

  11. RockyLives says:

    This time next year Rodney…

    …we’ll be in the Championship.

  12. RockyLives says:

    Never mind Dracula, it’s just occurred to me that Unai also bears a similarity to Trigger from Fools and Horses.

  13. RockyLives says:

    ‘Trigger’ Emery explains Arsenal’s new sweeper system to, among others, a young RockyLives:

  14. Sue says:

    JML.. isn’t that what the team say, every week, to the opposition “You will do us”….. and just before kick off, having seen the line ups, we say “it will kill us” (Nice one, btw!) 👍

    I’m sorry, RA (& Rocky) I couldn’t resist it 😜

    So, I saw things will be reassessed after the West Ham game. Surely not? That means we have to sit through a Puki masterclass… crapped on by some seagulls and then help save Pellegrini’s job…… 😩

  15. Rasp says:

    I wonder if our players would do this for Unai’s flight back to Spain?

  16. RA says:

    A while back, I had the temerity to say that the problems afflicting Arsenal were not all down to the manager — though he is top of my list for creating a team who will forever be remembered as “The Incapables” .

    Leaving aside those in management, above Embers, who are culpable for having appointed him, and being slow to correct that error, the players also are really not up to the standards needed at a top club.

    I know, I know — some of you will be outraged that I have dared to call it as I see it – but many of our players are merdre. So, tough titty!

    The defensive players in particular are not top quality, or some of them are being played out of position, or do not have the commitment and spirit that is essential.

    I have lost count of the number of times someone has said “but Bellerin is fast, and supports the attack” and that is possibly correct, but that totally ignores that his first priority is to defend. Sadly he cannot tackle a rice pudding, and his shocking ability to pay attention was shown up yesterday, when S/Hampton took a quick free kick for their first goal while he was standing beside the player taking the kick, and appealing to the referee — what should he have been doing? — standing in front of the ball, of course, stopping the kick from being taken, while he was asking the ref for a date — or whatever he was doing.

    It would be easy to go through other defensive players highlighting similar foibles — but what would be the point?
    Apparently they are all part of our ‘quality’ squad it seems.

  17. RockyLives says:

    Rasp 😀

  18. fatgingergooner says:

    Defending is going out of the game. It seems to be more about just doing enough at the back these days. City and Liverpool are the best sides in this country yet both often line up with 2 suspect defensive players. TAA and Lovren aren’t exactly world class, and City are even worse with Fernandinho (a CM player) currently their best CB with Laporte out injured. What both teams do have though is a world class player just in front (Fabinho/Rodri/Fernandinho) who’s job seems to be purely shielding the defence and rotating the ball. Chelsea have one, if not 2, in Kante and Jorginho, Leicester have one in Ndidi, yet for some reason our club decided that we didn’t need one and we’ve been without one now for a long, painful time. I don’t know how we’ve gone so long without finding a solution in that area of the field. It’s astonishing really.

    I guess the other thing is that even though the likes of Stones, Lovren, Otamendi, Matip, Gomez, Mendy, TAA etc aren’t the best defensively, they’d all still walk into our team.

    Sad times.

  19. Even though I got 10/11 in my team selection yesterday I was not at all certain that they would know how to play as the attacking goal scoring Arsenal that I wanted to see.

    I said a couple of weeks ago that it’s like watching schoolboy football …… too many going to the ball and no plan of what to do with it if they happen to be in possession. Yesterday it looked to me as if they’re sent out to just soak up pressure (which they don’t do very well) to protect a leaky defence (which definitely doesn’t happen) and any tactics about attacking play or scoring goals are just not in Emery’s playbook.

    None of the interplay between either Bellerin or Tierney and the midfield (which I’d hoped to see) was there …… most of the players worked hard but hardly played with each other.

    As I said after the game it’s hard to imagine that yesterday’s performance was worse than the one before but it definitely was.

    Ho hum ☹️

  20. LB says:

    “Our midfield is non-existent in terms of creativity and defensive shield. We can’t expect to win games whilst that’s the case. The players in there do lots of running and little else. They can’t pick passes, are outmuscled easily, and don’t have the smarts required to anticipate how play is unfolding in front of them.” (FGG)

    So, was Xhaka a favourite as many mockingly accused him of or was Emery simply trying to use the best he had available as I said so many times it got boring?

    Phillipinos the lot of you.

  21. Spud academy players that don’t support the parent club are willing Poch to Arsenal asap

  22. fatgingergooner says:


    Whatever people’s issues with Xhaka, he does offer a glimmer of something different from the others and as you have said many times, that’s probably why Emery was playing him so often. He does actually have a great left foot that is capable of switching play and hitting the front men. It’s just a shame he doesn’t have the engine of someone like Geundouzi, and it’s a shame he gives away possession and gets caught out of position so much. He does seem to be more willing than others in there to play a risky pass rather than just rotating possession all the time and that’s probably why he gives it away more. He’s also left footed, which gives better balance in a midfield 3 where he’s often used. I personally don’t believe he’s any worse than Willock, Ceballos, Geundouzi or Torreira in terms of his all round game but he’s the one that’s been targeted by the fans. All of them look bang average at the moment.

  23. LB says:

    It seems like Xkaka’s redemption is coming.

    I do actually agree with you, but I am strapped for time to explain why.

  24. RockyLives says:

    LB and FGG
    Xhaka’s looking better with every game…

  25. fatgingergooner says:

    Andre Santos

    I’d take this lot right now….come back, all is forgiven! 😂

    Maybe a post of the worst Arsenal XI of all time would cheer us all up!? 🤷‍♂️

  26. Sue says:

    FGG.. 🤣 What about Sanogo and Lichtsteiner?! 🤪

  27. RockyLives says:


  28. Sue says:

    Kallstrom….. at this rate, we’ll come up with another team 🤣

  29. Rasp says:

    Squillaci … Grondin?

  30. RockyLives says:

    Kallstrom might have been decent if he hadn’t been crocked more or less from day one.


    Sanogo was funny. I’ve never seen a player so good at ensuring that no-one – not the opposition, not his teammates, not the manager, not the fans – had the faintest idea what he was going to do at any moment.

  31. Sue says:

    At least the women won! 👊 And the darts has been superb too!
    I didn’t mind Debuchy, Rocky.

  32. Rasp says:

    Chamakh was far and away the most frustrating Arsenal player for me. He seemed scared of the ball. He came on a free and seemed more occupied with slicking his hair down to conceal his receding hairline than actually scoring goals for us.

  33. Rasp says:

    Mind you, Gervinho had the same problem … those two must come in the top 10 of our worst hairstyles … if you leave out mullets that is.

  34. Rasp says:

    This is funny … the meeja love tugging at our strings … how’s this for a windup …

  35. Aaron says:

    Everything is going to plan- stan the maN is running our club like an accountants clock, on time to the penny.
    All his clubs are near midpack except the nuggets.

    Our board is powerless, not even figureheads.

    This season is toast, no one will re-sign with us, all our high priced shiny toys will be off the books, money to be saved, CL a long lost memory.

    And just like that we’ve become an asset that returns on equity, as the casual fan is served up week old frozen tilapia masquerading as fresh halibut.

  36. RockyLives says:

    In fairness he owns the LA Rams and they got to the Superbowl last year (although they lost).

    The Nuggets are also doing very well in the NBA so far this season.

  37. Debuchy!!!!! Surely not, he didn’t do anything wrong, just got smashed up.

    Did I ever tell the story of when I went to watch Tott U18’s playing Arsenal U18’s and Debuchy played after a long time out through injury ……. he was attacking down the wing where I was standing and I was encouraging him quietly. The guy next to me asked if I was his mum 😳

  38. Sue says:

    Oh no, Peaches!!! I wonder what your reply was 😃

  39. Aaron says:

    The rams are in 3rd place in a 4 team division and look like garbage this year, and they were dismal in the superbowl. Go back and look at how all his teams do historically and get back to me, the history is nauseating.
    The nuggets won’t make out of the first round of playoffs, and the Arsenal will not even get to the “playoffs” unless of course you feel euroPa is our new level.

  40. RockyLives says:


    It is, nevertheless, a fact that the Rams got to last year’s Superbowl. Only 2 teams out of 32 managed to do that.

    And in basketball the Nuggets are sitting second in the West. They probably won’t have enough to make it to the NBA final next May but they are at least competitive.

    I am no fan of KSE (their overall record of success with their sports ‘franchises’ is pretty poor) but I’m happy to give credit where it’s due.

  41. Rasp says:

    Just asking … but why would it suit Kroenke more to have his teams being mediocre rather than winning things?

  42. Aaron says:

    Cuz the stands are filled either way and ksE has not spent a dime out of their pockets to assist any of their teams, unless of course you call putting the Arsenal up as collateral for the ramS new two team stadium.

  43. Rasp says:

    Looks like Poch is more likely to go to manu now they’re losing 2 nil.

  44. Sue says:

    As awful as our defence is, it could be even worse, we could have Phil Jones.
    The Mancs are really poor… we’ll be battling it out with them for a top half finish.
    OGS will be sweating along with 3 other managers on that tightrope!

  45. Aaron says:


    Not picking on you, I just can’t stand who own us now, and we are most likely not going to be able to do anything big until he sells.

    LA rams last 10 years record:

    and this year 6-4, probably not going to make even the wildcard spot.

    Ask the people of St. Louis how they feel about stan?

    Per Forbes: “There are concerns about how Kroenke plans to purchase the $775 million of shares in Arsenal that he doesn’t already own. The vast majority of the financing for Kroenke’s share purchase comes from a short-term loan taken out by his company KSE. In the future the debt could be restructured so that Arsenal FC, rather than Kroenke, could end up paying for that loan through management fees in a similar way to how the Glazer family financed their purchase of Manchester United.”

    The new LA stadium cost has ballooned from $2 billion to over $5 billion.

    Per NBC sports: “By March 2018, the price had moved to $5 billion. Officials with the company building the venue now reportedly refer to it as “our $6 billion stadium.”

    Who do you think will pay for this new stadium? All of kse’s teams that is who!

    stan the man is a 100% pure douchebag, and that is that.

  46. RockyLives says:

    Battling it out for a top half finish?

    I’m not sure I share your optimism.

  47. Aaron says:

    Math off, meant from 2009-2019.

  48. Sue says:

    Rocky.. 😄👍

  49. Aaron says:

    8th place here we come, possibly 9th by the end of Monday.
    Glorious days these.

  50. fatgingergooner says:

    Aren’t American sports salary capped though? Also they run on a draft basis so it’s luck of the draw in terms of finding future talent rather than not being prepared to pay for it.

    I think Arsenal and the PL is totally different to anything he’s got over in the States and surely the more successful we are the more money he will make?

    I dont know the facts, and I may be wrong, but that just seems common sense to me.

  51. RC78 says:

    The board could have acted during the international break and they said they want to keep Emery.

    He has a nice line up of easy games before the Xmas period. He messed up the first one. I think that if he s deadline for showing the team and fans smt different is 9th December. If there is no noticeable improvement in our form by then, he ll be out. Ljunberg will take over until the Xmas break and we will have a new coach before the new year.

    At the moment, there r a few players that are getting away with being less than average because there r players that r doing worse…

    Leno, Bellerin, Sokratis are really underperforming lately…

    I would say that if we re gonna play with 3 at the back, give AMN another shot at RB because he can’t be playing worse than Bello who s struggling to find form

    Holding will be back shortly, take Sok out

    And I would say bring Martinez in goal but he s not doing great either so…

    What happened to Ceba?… Or RN?

    Laca is back with a vengeance so if I were Emery I d just play the ones that are playing OK and showing drive and commitment and also bring back some players in just to put some pressure in the squad

    Leno – Chambers, Holding, Luiz – AMN, Douzi, Torreira, Willock, Tierney – Laca, Auba

    Ozil and Martinelli barely missing out

  52. RC78 says:

    What about Silvestre?

    Luzhny, Cygan, Squillacci, Silvestre
    Inamoto, Kallstrom, Malz
    Chamakh, Bendtner, Sanogo

    That is a strong enough line up

  53. Aaron says:


    It is not that simple, we have a draft too, it’s called our academies lower leagues, and open market. It has been beaten to death, but how much the Arsenal spend is strongly correlated to table position.

    In the nfl and nba, draft picks are alloted on a myriad of things, but league position primarily determines you number. So, how are the horrible teams that stan the maN runs, who obtain high draft picks, keep on being sh*tY? Horrible management-period!

    Per Si “Let’s debunk the myth about the NFL having a “hard cap” and the NBA having a soft one. Both are soft, and the NFL cap is even softer (a yarmulke, as I say).
    Which means both leagues can go well above the “nba luxury tax.”

    Yes, the NBA cap allows exceptions that give teams flexibility to exceed the cap: Bird rights, midlevel exceptions, etc. But the NFL has a much simpler way for teams to exceed the cap: the proration of signing bonuses, allowing teams to spend cash while spreading cap over the life of contracts and renegotiations. To clarify: NFL teams can spend well above the cap on a year-to-year basis while staying under it. That, my friends, is a soft cap.”

    Hope that helps.

  54. RockyLives says:

    There’s a Post in drafts.

  55. Rasp says:

    Morning all ….

    …. New Post …

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