Arsenal are currently sitting up in third place in the Premier League table, and rightly or wrongly, Unai Emery is still coming under fire from sections of fans.
I have heard some fans say that without Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang we would be sitting below Manchester United (who are 12th in the table if you didn’t already know!), while I have also heard the positive end of the spectrum where some people believe we could be challenging for top spot had we been injury free (predominantly in defence) since the campaign began.
Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney have been heavily limited to action this term, and are widely considered our first choice full-backs, and when defensive errors were occurring I even heard certain sections name Rob Holding as our best CB, another sidelined individual…
While I’m sure the latter comment was said in haste after a defeat (namely the Chelsea loss), it isn’t completely outlandish, and we most certainly have had months of guessing which back four will be named match-by-match. We nearly have a full-strength squad of defenders fit to prove from so you would hope that more consistency is to follow, but having watched our defensive work so far we should consider ourselves lucky to be occupying third spot.
Our midfield and attack has also been tinkered numerous times due to fitness issues, with Pepe arriving back from international duty late as well as key man Alexandre Lacazette having been very unlucky since the end of last season. PEA has stood up and been counted in their struggles and bagged an impressive seven league goals in the opening eight fixtures, which can not be discounted to our league spot, but once again, our reliance on him would not have been so heavy without the burdens of the physio room.
With the verdict having to be out on Pepe (unless you wish to call him a flop after such a short time), you can still question the other investments on the playing squad. A LARGE chunk of our budget went on the Ivory Coast forward, when a number of people were crying out for a top central defender to come in instead, and an all-round midfielder wanted to come in and replace Xhaka, but the latter was made club captain instead…
I don’t think I’d be alone in thinking Emery is scraping by at present, with our league position boosted by the struggles of Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham thus far. Do people still believe he is the man for the long-term to get us challenging for top honours once again?