Emery’s 10 Biggest Mistakes by Dan Smith
It’s fair to say this is the most Unai Emery has been under pressure since he joined Arsenal, with it looking like we are heading to be 9 points behind Leicester if we lose to them on Saturday. The Kroenke’s are hard to gauge in terms of; are they owners who are open to giving manager’s the sack; or do they show patience? Some might feel they gave Mr Wenger a couple more years than they should have, but that would have been out of loyalty and because of his influence in the club.
My inclination is the American’s will put saving money over what’s best for the club and think there’s no point in paying any compensation when they can lose him for nothing in the summer. At this point even if the Spaniard could get us back into the Champion’s League, and winning the Europa seems more realistic then finishing top 4, questions still need to be asked if this the man to take us long term to the levels we want to get back to?
So, after only 15 months, how has the coach got himself in a position where the Emirates is toxic again and it seems the majority of gooners want change.
10- Building From The Back
This is the new fashion simply because Manchester City started to do it. The difference is Guardiola signed Ederson on the basis that he was naturally good with the ball at his feet. That’s not the same as trying to teach Peter Cech a whole new way to play in the last year of his career. The juice doesn’t seem worth the squeeze, I can’t think of too many goals which have happened because our keeper has passed out to his defender. In fact, we have conceded goals because of it.
9 What Happened To Torreira?
Some got a bit carried away calling him the next Vieira after only a few games, but he played in what has been a problem position for us. Yet he seemed to struggle in the winter months and never was his old self after that. When his agent spoke of home sickness and wanting to go back to Italy, I wrote I’d take 50 million for him now. I’m not sure if it’s because of that or the form of Guendouzi, but there has been no rush to rush the Uruguayan back into the DM role. This is a pretty big mistake. In fact, by playing 2 or even 3 defensive midfielders at one time it forces Torreira to take it upon himself to run around like a headless chicken, with zero discipline regarding where he should be.
8- Ramsey’s Contract
Out of respect for the club Ramsey is yet to come out publicly and really detail why contract negotiations were ended last year, to this day saying it was never explained to him. What we do know is the deal had been agreed and while some can accuse the player of holding the club hostage to get a big pay rise, it was a case of dotting the I’s and crossing the t’s. It’s believed though when Emery learnt how much he was being offered he told his board that was a lot to be offering someone he could not guarantee a place to in the starting 11.
Some readers will deny this, but at the time they saw this as the strength the old regime didn’t have. In reality the Welshman was replaced by an additional DM until we went crawling back to him at which point, he had agreed to go to Italy. To balance the books, we have replaced his goals with a loan signing so at least the wage bill got smaller.
7- Getting Best Out Of Our Attack
It says a lot about the talent of Auba and Lacca that they have scored as many goals as they have, when you consider the lack of service. It means we have yet to play to Pepe’s strengths while it took Emery too long last season to realise Auba and Lacca need to be a partnership not one on the left. You sense a different manager would use his tools differently. No one thought in the summer that we would get to November with Ozil and our front three yet to have started together.
6- 5 At The Back
In his last couple of years Arsene Wenger started to introduce a back 5, something he hadn’t done for the first decades of his reign. With confidence at an all-time low in 2017 the defence was given an extra centre back as protection, a decision which was huge in helping us lift the FA Cup. Emery on the other hand would use the system because he didn’t trust his left or right back to umm …. defend! If a fit Monreal and Bellerin would play in a 4 but it was felt Kolasinac and Miles were more assets going forward. It of course the begs the question, if you can’t trust a left back to defend should he be a left back? And the juice wasn’t worth the squeeze. It’s not like changing our formation to hide their weaknesses was the price for lots of assists and goals from out wide. In the Europa League Final, our final ball from our wing backs were awful.
It’s like two steps forward, one back, as the times Emery plays a back 4, he undermines that by playing 2, sometimes even three DM’s. This goes against our ethos, sacrificing an offensive player, relying on the wing backs to be our outlet. To put that into perspective, Arsene Wenger would partner a DM with a box to box midfielder like a Ramsey, Wilshire or Cazorla. The 4 players ahead would all be offensive options. In other words, Emery will sometimes start 7 defensive players ahead of Wenger’s 5. Even worse, Emery has started to play this negative system even at the Emirates.
Something that has been rightfully labelled at our club for years is our lack of leaders and personalities. This used to be attributed to Arsene Wenger staying too long. Did he give players too much of a chance? Did they in turn get too comfortable? By now Emery has made enough changes to the dressing room. enough time to implement new ideas, that we should be seeing some sort of improvement. Instead there are still too many away games where we show up with the wrong attitude, sometimes not willing to battle and it too easy for us to fall apart the moment things go wrong.
3 – Ozil
Written about many times over the last month but the issue isn’t your opinion of the player. It’s not that Emery doesn’t rate the midfielder, which he clearly doesn’t, it’s he’s replaced him with no other creativity. While he seems to focus a lot on what the World Cup Winner can’t do, he ignores he’s the best we have at making chances turning into goals.
There’s only so many games the Spaniard, with a straight face, could say this man wasn’t good enough to be in our squad, then walks away from a game bemoaning our lack of creativity. He’s been playing a DM at number 10, while Ozil has been left at home playing on his PlayStation. That’s a sackable offence.
I suggested in the summer we were getting a bit carried away with our transfer window. The world could see we needed to improve our centre-backs, magnified by our loss in the Europa League Fina. The answer was to swap Koscielny with David Luiz? Maybe it was the anger towards our ex captain for the manner he left but few seemed to comment that we had lost our best defender for someone Lampard was letting leave, even though he couldn’t buy a replacement. The Brazilian says the right things and I can imagine him being a leader, but he can’t play with Sokratis. The Greek is another who escaped under the radar while the likes of Mustafi are made scapegoats. He maintains with that partnership every week.
1- The Arsenal DNA
The most serious and Emery’s biggest mistake. Some look at football as black and white, as long as you win, it doesn’t matter how you get there. Yet there are a few football clubs in the world who have such a reputation where it matters the style of football you play. We are one of those.
Under Arsene Wenger we played a product which made us famous worldwide. In our toughest years that’s all we had, if nothing else, you knew you show up at the Emirates and see us try to play the right way. We are not even close to be the most entertaining side to watch in the country anymore. This I’m sure was checked during the recruitment process with Emery himself saying he rather win 5-4 then 1-0. Yet it’s in your personality, your either conservative or you’re not. It’s not even a criticism of Emery, he’s just too negative for us. Look at the players he’s sold/loaned or frozen out, they are mostly flair players. Remember at PSG he fell out with the likes of Neymar and Ben Arfa. He’s a nice man and I certainly wouldn’t disrespect him.
He’s not a bad manager, he just doesn’t suit us…
Anything Else You Think Emery’s Doing Wrong? Or Well?
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