Arsenal has changed under Unai Emery but have they improved?

Well, a lot has been published here and other places to suggest that we are still not sure of our current state, but let’s take a closer look at it.

In the 2017/18 season, we finished 6th, with 63 points, which was Wenger’s last season with us, his best 11 was


Lacazette usually came on in the second half.

In Emery’s first season, we finished with 70 points, that’s 7 points better than the previous season. and one position higher with a 5th placed finish.

Emery’s starting 11 for the most part of the season was


Well, if we look at that line up, the survivors of Wenger’s team are Niles, Mustafi, Monreal, Kolasina, Xhaka, Auba and Lacca that is 7 out of 11, of course, if we add the likes of Ozil, Holding, Bellerin Rambo and Welbeck it may rise a bit, but the whole truth is that they’re still mostly Arsene’s Team.

Now, this season despite debates about our first 11 we can all agree on the following as our best 11 or at least close to it.


Debates, I am sure will take place over Luiz and Sokratis and also Ozil and Ceballos but the rest of the 11 are agreeable.

Now, is this team an improvement on last season? Only results will tell, people have been saying that we have 6 points after the first 3 games and last season we only had 3, but we also had 6 points after our first 4 games and that can still be the case if we lose to spurs this Sunday. At the end of the day what counts is the results, and that’s what we cant substantiate at the moment.

But one thing that is for sure is that the team is changing. out of the current 11 we only have 4 or 5 if you include Ozil, that’s now more of an Emery team if you ask me. So yes the team is changing, but are we improving? It would be good to see your comments below.

At the end of the season, we will have a more concrete answer but for now, we can only speculate.

That’s all I have for today.

Muha Ankoanko


    1. Francis
      You are one of only a few on here that actually write sense
      So many people calling for the bosses head and with only 3 games in..god damn fools

      1. You applaud someone for the sense and rightly so but then you write rubbish with swearing and insulting.

        1. Kay
          I make it my mission never to swear on here or in public
          I do criticise some comments but I understand it’s all about opinons…
          I beleive you might have the wrong person. As for writing rubbish..thank you for reading and I look forward to more of my comments l…

  1. Going by what Emery did last season, even after 1/3rd of the season,he will still not know who his first XI should be, what his formation should be, what his system should be – we will never know when the man himself doesn’t.
    That’s the frustrating part.

    1. Last season we lacked a lot of players that forced his hand when Emery started he had a clear vision to what he wanted to do but key injuries to key members of that plan have to make him have a rethink, kalasinac and Niles are no fullback, defence of Socratis and Mustafi was conceding goals like never before and so on. No actual winger in the whole squad so he has to play to the strength of the squad at his disposal

        1. Yes and Arsenal played the best team in the world
          who were at full strength on their turf while
          Arsenal were away from home with 4 key players missing.
          Arsenal actually created enough chances to win
          but the much vaunted offence failed to deliver.
          Not Emery’s fault that’s on PAL.

          1. Yes-and Liverpool creates enough chances to have won a dozen games due to Emery sending out a team with no cover for our fullbacks, our best player on the bench and no game plan other than to sit tight and try and catch them on the break.Both Norwich and Southampton creates better chances against those scousers than we did.So where does that rank is compared to those sides?

          2. @phil,our best player is still recovering from an ankle injury hence he didn’t play those were the manager’s words and should play against spurs!

      1. Last season we lack lot of players that forced his hand when Emery started he had a clear vision… when will this excuses will stop. What is the essence of having youth teams? Has he basically addressed that last season problems that prevented him from executed his vision? Pep at man city has a specific pattern of play and if anyone of his players is unavailable due to injuries, he would deployed another play in that position without compromising his pattern that is why we saw Fabian and Chechenko ( not the right spelling, at fullbacks. Klopp does the same with Gomez and Lovren. We had Jekinson, Lich and Osei Tutu as a right back but he kept playing Amn at the right back or shuffled and changed the formation. If the Osei had being tried in some matches amn deployed elsewhere.

  2. It’s very early to know if we have improved on last season but in terms of personals we are very much improved no doupt, we also need to be patient as we still have make shift defence and ever changing midfield, it can only get better when we find the a steady combination both in midfield,defence and in attack right now there are quite some no. Of good personals yet to struck a team bond.

  3. Emery does know what system he changes it to suit his team to stop the opponents leave it to Emery that what he gets paid for judge him at the end of the season

  4. Well presented post Muha Ankoanko 🙂
    Emery inherited a squad in steep decline
    being suffocated by bloatware.
    The club was riddled with the 4th place sustainable model.
    Emery did brilliantly to go so close to CL in
    both the league and the Europey league in his first season.
    Considering there are now 6 top clubs not 4
    makes his achievements even more remarkable.
    Remember Pochettino has been at Spurs five years
    and is yet to a win a trophy.
    This season despite 4 key players not ready to play
    Emery has Arsenal 3rd after 3 games.
    The signs are good fora 3rd place finish in the league.
    So Emery is indeed doing well.

  5. I think we have a little more fight in us than before Emery arrived. However, I don’t think Emery will take us much higher.

    As stated by others in different ways, the guy constantly tinkers with our formation not allowing a starting 11 to gel. He also continues to employ strange tactics. Even before he came to Arsenal his away record was awful and unfortunately for us even before Emery arrived our away record was awful. Not a match made in heaven.

    Now, into his second season, we still don’t see much evidence of his pressing style not do we see defensive improvements to speak of.

    I doubt this guy will do much for us but will recognize he was an improvement over the previous manager but that was not hard.

    1. Pochettino has improved Spurs and plays great football yet after
      5 years under Poch Spurs have won a grand total of zero trophies.
      Man Utd have spent 750 mill in 6 years yet Moyes Van Gaal
      Mourinho and Ole while managing Man U have amassed
      the grand total of Zero Premierships.
      Wenger’s last 14 years at Arsenal won zero Premierships.
      Give Emery 5 seasons and see what he can do.

      1. 5 seasons it’s a no. 2 seasons are enough for assessments ( not necessarily trophies but something positive and promising)
        Things have changed. We no longer in eras where managers were given 10yrs to prove themselves. We no longer doing it that way bcz at that time, the managers relied on developing young talents. It’s no longer the case. You don’t just spend 72m on one player and wait for 5yrs.

        1. I would agree with you. By the end of this year Emery should have stamped his style and philosophy at this club.

          Ponch may not have won any trophies, but can you describe their philosophy and style of play after his second year? yes you could.

          Klopp didn’t win anything his first 2 years, but could you describe his philosophy and style of play after the first or second year? yes you could.

          With Emery, you can’t tell anything about his philosophy and style of play. He said “protagonists both with and without the ball” But do we see that?

          My criticism of him is that he rarely plays to our strengths and fields the best 11 players. Says Laca and Torreira unfit, but Xhaka misses 2 games and plays 90 minutes in the next. Huh?

          Emery is Seville level manager, PSG found that out, and hopefully we will also. Club kept Wenger several years past sell by date, lets not do the same with Emery. Either he hits targets at end of season, or send him on with best wishes for his next club.

          1. Durand, the other question I would ask as well as seeing how well Emery does in the second year of his contract to determine whether he deserves management offering him an extension, is can Thomas Tuchel improve PSG’s performance in the Champions League compared to his first and Emery’s last at PSG?

          2. Agreed. I don’t expect this club to challenge for major honors, but I do expect to see a system of play, a methodology or style yet we have none.

            Every game it seems like this manager has only just now started to work with this squad. Into his second season, you would have hoped to see the outline of a style or way of playing.

            In addition (but I realize this is personal preference) I can’t understand why UE doesn’t play Laca more often. I actually prefer him over Auba but would like them to both play. Laca works hard for the team even outside the box and he can also make his own goals. He is tougher on defenders than Auba who can be taken out of games as we frequently see against top 6 teams. Laca finds a way to contribute and fight for the team.

  6. At the moment, the squad has improved but there is no improvement on the field though still too early to judge. However, 10 games after our injured backline players are back, we will be in a position to do so. At the moment, I believe that all areas apart from the CB position have been well addressed. Leno is decent. Bellerin can walk in to many top teams as a starter. Holding ( that we saw before injury is a top class CD) and I would prefer Chambers to partner him( as we wait for Saliba next season). If Tierney copes well( which I believe it’s not hard for defenders to do) then our backline looks solid. At the middle, Torreira and Caballos should be an improved version of Guodozzi and Xhaka. I think Ozil should be given a chance in his favorite number 10 role and if he looks lost, then sell and replace him with a decent number 10. PAL for sure is second to none in EPL if well supported by our mildfielders and wing backs.
    So for me, next season we need 3 players
    1) a number 10 to replace Ozil incase he fails to prove himself ( yes, I still want to see how he can perform between PAL and Caballos/Torreira. No player should be dismissed without a chance to show what they can do especially when we know their potential)- many may disagree with me an it’s okay to have your own opinions but why not give him a chance? We will not die for it.fair trail and judgement and we all both his fans and non fans will be satisfied that indeed it was a fair judgement.( Let no one say we have already seen enough of it because I know it’s a no)
    2) Caballos will leave next season. We will need someone to replace him and partner with Torreira ( am still not convinced by this Willock or Nelson for now) . Guedozzi isn’t a bad one but I really don’t know how we can use him to his potential which I believe he has. Xhaka, should be sold.Nelson and Willock are still a work in progress.
    3) A left winger.
    With this team next season, then I don’t see why we should not be playing for something.

  7. Until Bellerin, Holding and Tierney are all up and running we should not expect any meaningful improvement defensively as Luiz is just as much a liability as Mustafi Sokratis and the departed Kocielney.Clean sheets,I’m afraid will be few and far between as we lack a quality defensive midfielder to plug the gaps when our full backs are attacking.I only hope it is not too long before Chambers is given an opportunity to join our recovering trio in what I consider to be our strongest back four.

  8. The writers team, as in the article, would certainly be my own , with OZIL out – preferably of AFC altogether – and Ceballpos in the eleven. To me that is clearly our best available, team once all are fit.

    But I want to ask what I asked on a previous thread, but that moved on, as they do, too quickly for replies: is there even a single Gooner out there who wants to keep Xhaka and actually play him in the start eleven? I cannot imagine why ANYONE would possibly want to keep this immobile, slow paced ,unaware, rank poor buy. But I would love to know please if there is even ONE. AND PRECISELY WHY ! Anyone?

    1. Unai Emery for one-Yet you feel he is a wonderful manager.A recent post you wrote suggested you were overjoyed with his appointment and you were convinced we would now get Top 4.Written by you I believe immediately after another toothless one-sided defeat at Anfield.Interested to read your reply Jon.

      1. Phil, I know emery has made mistakes and we still make mistakes but every manager make mistakes, we should judge him at the end of the season. If am going to be honest with you Phil,what we missed against Liverpool was a left winger not lacazette, see the way Pepe frustrated van dyke and Robertson, if we had a left winger in that match it will be a different result. Am not really an emery fan but I think he’s still doing good with this defense, lets wait till holding bellerin tierny are fit and then judge him then.

        1. @Lenohappy-the only options at LW are Aubamayang and Nelson.Other than that we are looking at Sako and Martinelli so it’s not unreasonable to not include those two for PL debuts at Anfield.But he could have gone with PAL with 3 CM’s.Or he could have gone 4/5/1 with Laca up top supported by Pepe and Auba from out wide when breaking forward.Emery just neglected the two Liverpool Fullbacks And they had as much time and space as they wanted because our midfield was just far too narrow.So Emery set us up with nothing protecting our flanks and a midfield that were not able to compete.They looked like a team hashed together at the last minute with no set instruction on how to prevent Liverpool dominating our final third.Whi is to blame for that?Emery of course and nobody else
          If you go back and look at all the posts on this site the days leading up to the game the vast majority included the need to stop TTA and Robertson.So we could all call it but Dmery knew better did he?Obviously not.

        1. something that you should learn to do PHIL every now and is becoming very embarrassing when you pick up on silly little points . give it a rest dude, i am now scrolling down past all of your comments. you seem to me to be a wasp who lost his wings, lifes way too short.

        1. I wonder why Jon? Seems you just cannot stomach being called out yet again for posts that contradict yourself.Your the one that wrote them PAL and for someone with always so much to say you can’t even defend your drivel.About as much as I expected to be honest PAL

  9. Every post is all about Emery this Emery that,if there’s nothing to post relax,give Emery time maybe till the end of this season if he is not the right coach the door is always open for him to leave, don’t compare him with Wenger who is the best and the worst thing to happen to arsenal,how can a club like stayed for almost 9yrs without winning a trophy and top four was the target and nothing to show,Wenger spent many yrs one champions l final two semi final….you can’t compare arsenal present squad with the rest top 6 we are far behind many of our players won’t make man city team or Liverpool even spur…ranting here and there about the coach won’t make any difference support the team…arsenal is moving to the right direction

  10. If i have the means to write UE, i will ask him what he sees in xhaka. Though i am not a coach but i dont see anything special in that dude.

  11. Is funny how some people defend Emery and saying we are close to top 4 and winning the Europa and that he lose the top 4 cos he concentrate on the Europa more but they failed to realise that Spurs did the same.

    What you people don’t realise is that Emery was lucky to be in 5th last season because of the poor form of Man U, Spurs and Chelsea. They were so bad and Chelsea were lucky to go past Frankfurt and Spurs were lucky to go past Ajax. Do you think Spurs and Chelsea we be in great form and we be lucky to scape through?

    Spurs of last 2-3 season is better than last year and Mourinho Man U is better than last season.

    So stop saying Emery is very close cos all the team fighting for the top 4 are so worst off last season and you people claim we improve last season?

    Since you people said we improved, please imagine if Man U, Spurs and Chelsea improve also. What will have happened.

    Wolves, Bournemouth managers can get us top 4 with diz current players, so is no big deal if Emery do.

    We need a coach to make us fight for the league.

    Believe me, if Virgil van Dijk is in this Arsenal set-up of Emery pattern, he won’t be better than Sokratis

  12. Our squad has improved both in term of actual quality and quantity. We have trimmed the bloated wage bill with only players who have no suitors or refused to leave stuck here. But I still have some doubts about emery gameplan and tactics, changing to adapt to opponent is good except when done too much which has been emery flaw. Apart from xhaka preference I don’t see any questionable decisions in line up. The playing from the back will take time to implement, pep took 1 season plus he had unlimited funds so I think 2 seasons for emery. The tactic is very good to bait teams that would normally park the bus like burnley to push up the field thus opening up space for our attackers.

  13. Am not impressed with these guy called Unai Emery ever since he came to Arsenal one of my friends in France a strong psg fan called him Spanish mourinho and that’s what I can see about him……Europa league finals with Chelsea was all about defending till end of the game…….know one can tell what style of football were playing some might criticize but don’t enjoy man city,Liverpool,tottenham even Leicester playing….Arsenal ego is going gradually.

  14. Arsenal fans Eh? 3 games in and you are already finding things to complain about. Let’s start with the tinkering and not knowing his starting lineup. Taking into consideration fitness and tactical issues, I can name 8 out of 11 from his starting lineup without stopping to think. After watching Emery for about 6 years, I actually even know who he’d pick with everyone fit. When arsene kept playing the same players same tactics every game, we called him rigid. We get a coach who is willing to modify his tactics to the opponent we call him clueless. What do you want?
    Unai Emery, Arsene Wenger, The Mo’gladbach Coach, FC Basel and the Swiss national team all think Granit is a starter and they’ve almost all had him as captain. Am I going to act like I know better than them? No.
    Finally, please name any coach who has been more successful than Emery in the last 6 years. I’ll wait.
    3 games in, one loss to the current best team in Europe and people are screaming.
    Before you blame Emery for not attacking Liverpool, by the end of the first half, which team provided more goal threat. Pool or Arsenal? I might blame him for not reacting fast enough in the second half, but I’ve seen him win too many tactical battles in his career to use one result as a measurement

  15. If UE was in charge of Liverpool last season, can Liverpool win the CL? If UE was in charge of Ajax last year, what would have been the performance of Ajax?

    Let’s be frank to ourselves, UE is NOT a top tier 1 manager like Guardiola or Klopp. He is a good tier 2 manager for the best of the rest. But he is not capable to improve players or teams, or make Arsenal an EPL powerhouse again.

    Answer to the question? No Arsenal had not improved since UE took over.

    Don’t use time as an excuse, Sarri took Chelsea to CL and won the Europa Cup in his first year. Chelsea improved under a new manager in his first year.

    1. Nice post.Would Carlo Anchelloti make a better coach then Unai? I bet he would.Even Antonio Conte would be an upgrade on Unai.Wrong choice by Ivan, maybe Raul / Edu are scouting for a new coach, hope its Max Allegri

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