Arsenal have the right players, we just need the right manager

Is Emery our man, or not? by Gunner1953

As a sports fan my entire life I have cried more then I have celebrated. My teams have lost big games in the final minute, or have blown big leads to eventually fall to defeat. I have experienced the lowest of lows as a sports fan.

With Arsenal, the same is true. I have given them the benefit of the doubt more times than I can remember. After spending this morning reading blogs and Twitter, it seems Arsenal Nation is once again lost in frustration and uncertainty. The big question…should Unai Emery be sacked? Is he the right man for the job?

There seems to be two different perspectives on this. Many say to let him go and bring in the likes of Massimilliano Allegri or Mikel Arteta, or even allow Freddie Ljungberg to take over and finish the season as interim manager.

Others say to give him more time. Can a side that includes a healthy Tierney, Bellerin and Lacazette provide the spark the team needs to turn the corner?

In American sports we tend to give head coaches and managers a little more rope then in Europe. Now that’s not a slight on my European friends, but I think in the US we have more attachment to our coaches’ personalities. This is probably a little naive but anyway we usually sack a coach or manager once the season ends.

Emery is currently in hot water with supporters. He has failed to connect with the supporters and even though Arsenal’s records stands at 7 wins, 3 draws and 2 defeats in all competitions many want him gone. Compare this is to the Cleveland Browns current record. Head Coach Freddie Kitchen’s team has 2 wins and 4 losses, yet no one has mentioned it’s time to sack the coach. Why? Browns fans love Freddie’s personality.

Here’s my opinion…take it or leave it.

You would think an American sports fan who loves an English football team would side with the group who wants to give Emery more time. That is not the case, and here’s why.
We lose the big games (Europa League final), we rely too much on Aubameyang to save the day, we don’t compete well against the Big 5, we struggle defensively, we have a hard time getting shots on goal, we lack midfield creativity, we don’t have a style anyone can consistently recognize, and we fail to put our best players on the pitch…game after game.

We our loaded with talent. We have many world class players wearing the Arsenal shirt, yet we lack leadership, guidance, character and I’m sorry to say, but many times we lack the desire to win. Now you can’t lay all of this at the manager’s feet. I mean we have lads making millions on top of millions to play the game, however, the manager’s job to mold, drive, motivate and create a team that works hard, plays hards and gets results.

Yes, it’s time for Emery to go. As hard as it is we need some new energy and new ideas to lead this team. Allegri would be the perfect fit. The Italian was hugely successful at Juventus, and yes, he is available.

I’m not one to usually have a knee jerk reaction to this kind of situation, but this time it is different. We have the players, now we need the right man to lead Arsenal back to where we all expect to be.

Cheers. Gunner1953

This is a guest post from a new Arsenal Blogger in the USA. If you like his writing, pop over to and have a look at his other pòsts…


  1. Most of us realists knew it was likely going to be a trial and error process to find a suitable replacement for Wenger. The choice for Emery was not a bad choice. He came with experience and credentials and had managed a big team in PSG. It was not difficult to follow the reasoning of management in choosing Emery over Arteta and the others that were in contention. Not an exciting daring choice but a conservative choice. No blame from me.

    But now 18 months later it seems safe to say, not in the least based on the trend of this calendar year during which we managed to painfully throw away a near-certain 4th place finish last season, that this trial has come to an end. Emery doesn’t need more than the near 18 months reign. He has fulfilled his task, IMO, as the first replacement of Wenger. He has performed this task with dignity and dedication, yet has taken it as far as he can and sadly that is not far enough.

    It is now time to make a bold choice and replace Emery whilst there is still time to mold a this team into a winning force. Perhaps the fans are ready for a more daring choice in rolling the dice on Areta? Perhaps we find a more experienced coach with a lot to prove like Ten Hag from Ajax. But it would be a shame to let this season go to waste and to let the negative energy around the club fester any longer.

    I, as a fan, don’t blame the club for their choice in Emery, I also realized that after the damage of the previous years it was going to take time before we were back at the top. But with some of our competitors struggling I would blame the club to stick with a failing project for 2 or 3 years.

        1. You have written a suberbly analysed and well argued post, so many thanks. I do not dissent from a single thought of yours. We need a manager who will be a Cavalier, not a Roundhead and though this may be regarded as sacrilege by some Gooners, how I wish we had our own LAMPARD. He has taken the shackles off Chelsea and they brim with exciting youth and style. We, despite a number of hugely talented youngsters, are playing with zero style, the handbrake fully on and are still carrying several coasters in the squad, one in particular, who was correctly left our of our squad. No guesses who of course! But also AM-N looks so lackadaisical and uninterested as to be positively horizontal. He was wretched last night and must surely be in danger of wasting his talent. Will to win is vital and throughout the entire squad. This FEROCITY OF DESIRE is, above any other reason, where both Liverpool and Man City leave all the rest of the Prem rightfully trailing miles behind. Those who persist in arguing the merits of players who have not that vital desire are living in cloud cuckoo land. However, the unpleasant fact remains that under UE we are even now not showing remotely enough workrate , though there are notable exceptions, esp Guendouzi and Martinelli. I am and will always remain a realist , which is why I so appreciated your post.

          1. Thanks John, you highlight a key point with the ferocity of desire. This why I respect Pep and Klopp so much. They both appear to succeed in keeping their squads near boiling point in this department and not just for one game or one season. They find the right balance in motivating their players with the carrot and the stick, and neither one seems like a manger you would dare to give less than 110% on the pitch as a player.

            They also seem like managers who have managed the right balance with their players in transferring their ideas about a consistent way of playing, a philosophy, a specific style, yet allowing their players to express themselves creatively within those boundaries. To me, our players now appear to play like robots no longer knowing or caring what is really expected of them. They seem to go through the motions, fearful of playing a pass that might result in an hour or two in the film room listening to what likely is difficult to be a to understand theory about playing out from the back even when all your team mates are covered.

          2. More typos, sorry (I blame my iphone). The final sentence should read:

            They seem to go through the motions, fearful of playing a pass that might result in an hour or two in the film room listening to what is likely to be a difficult to understand theory about playing out from the back even when all your team mates are covered.

    1. One thing we need to be clear – “managing a big team in PSG” cannot be counted as his “credentials”. PSG decided quite early in the second year of his tenure that Emery needed to be replaced. So his stint in PSG proved that Emery is not up to the requirement of teams with world class ambition.

      Another point, if the last year of Wenger’s tenure is considered unacceptable, why should the same performance be considered as acceptable when the name was changed from Wenger to Emery?

      We should not accept mediocrity in whatever excuses.

      1. The credentials I referred to are Emery’s three EL titles not his time with PSG. Although I don’t rate the EL, other than the CL spot it provides, taking away the 3 times he won it would not be fair to the man.

        His time at PSG counts as relevant experience, even more so if he learned from it.

      1. DiDi – I agree with your observation about credentials vs experience. Many managers could have won a title with PSG that should not really considered as a major credential or accomplishment. Managing a big team with big expectations and big players can be important experience even if the manager is fired. We can all learn from our mistakes, winners do IMO, they are not flawless, but they tend to not repeat the same mistake too often.

  2. Gunner 1953 – forgot to say thanks for your article. The US seems to run their sports leagues in a much more efficient way than we do in Europe. There is a lot to be learned from you.

    The draft system and salary cap rules seem to contribute to a competitive environment where many teams have a chance to win the big trophies. Repeating as champions is much harder in the US than it is in any of our major leagues where teams like Barca, real, Juve, Bayern, PSG, etc are perennial favorites for the title.

    Yes there are short periods of dynesties (Cowboys, Steelers, Pats) but these only add to the excitement and are nothing compared to what we have in European football.

    1. Yes, though his reasoning about coaches not being sacked is lacking. There are 2 principal reasons why they stick with the coaches until the end of the season:

      1. They don’t have relegation in virtually any of their sports so the implications of finishing 2nd from bottom or 5th from bottom are entirely different in Europe or the US

      2. They don’t have Champions league qualification or its equivalent, so finishing 3rd or 5th is again of massively lower importance there…

      But, like others I agree with the article. I myself thought Emery was a sensible choice, not due to PSG work but due to what he did in Spain. It seems now Arteta would have been a better choice as I don’t see how he could have done worse than Lampard is doing this year.

      1. American teams have “playoffs” which is an equivalent. Only division winners and sometimes 2 wildcard teams (depending on sport) qualify for the title games.

  3. 100%, i agree. We have the players, we have the talents, the board spent the money . But we have a bad coach. It frustrates me so much. Emery’s football is beyond what Ozil or any player can make look better. The man just doesn’t understand football in a way that is progressive. We can’t be living on each game, play as we go! No we should be at least competing favourably. Emery doesn’t want to change, he doesn’t want to learn, he is dishonest. The truth is that it will not end well for anyone. The fans are unhappy, the board will be unhappy, and these can lead to his sacking. I believe Emery will like to do better but he just doesn’t have the abilities. Arsenal Football is not progressing. Pepe did well yesterday and we should all be talking about him but instead we are all talking about the bad football we played yesterday. Empty seats take money away from the owners, these kind of football attracts very few.

  4. The only way Emery will be sacked is if he fails to get top4 so if you think he’s going to be sacked this early then you are just deceiving yourself.

    1. As far as the players are concerned, there are too many who are physically and mentally weak. Arsene Wenger was not able to address this and obviously Emery will not be given the time to address it. Good luck to the next coach.
      For a Club to have players accused of “not liking it up em”, “not being ae to play on a cold night in Stoke” or having a captain, who is scared of the opposition, some extensive surgery will be required.

    2. You are , sadly, correct BUT had we a proactive owner and board rather than a reactive owner and board, we would now make the right decision and say enough is enough to UE. It is clearly not working and I cannot identify one single area where there is any real improvement from the bad old days of the later Wenger period. And this is so, despite the fact of us having a growing number of vastly talented young players. We have, overall, recruited well since Wenger left. Lichtsteiner and Sokratis being clear exceptions to this.

  5. “We lose the big games (Europa League final)” – we did this under Wenger too and let’s not forget it was our first European final in 13 years.

    “we rely too much on Aubameyang to save the day” – he has been our only fit and firing forward so far this season, so it’s to be expected imo.

    “we don’t compete well against the Big 5” – yet last season Emery took more points from them than Wenger managed since 13/14 season 🤷‍♂️

    “we struggle defensively” – agreed but look at our backline so far.

    “we have a hard time getting shots on goal” – once again only Auba has been firing, I’m sure this will come as more players settle.

    “we lack midfield creativity” – agreed but Emery has already admitted this is due to the changes he’s made to try and make us more ‘competitive’ (solid), and has stated he will address this going forward.

    “we don’t have a style anyone can consistently recognize” – we do in the UEL (last night was poor in comparison due to player errors imo) and if you look you can see where he has been working on the basics of this style in the PL (playing out from the back, increasing basic work rate needed for pressing system), will admit that I may just be being optimistic here and Emery may not make the changes I’m expecting – time will tell.

    “and we fail to put our best players on the pitch…game after game.” – well I wanted and was expecting to see last nights backline against Sheff Utd but seeing how rusty they were last night, maybe that’s what made Emery keep them on the bench. He knows players fitness levels etc better than we do so we have to give him a certain amount of trust in this regard.

    Emery may not be the man to lead us all the way back to the top, but neither has he been as terrible as many like to make out. He is also doing well with a lot of our youngsters – Guendouzi and Martinelli for example have both been plucked from obscurity and are turning into top drawer talent (neither went into Freddie academy either), yes a lot of it is their own natural talent, but it would be dishonest to say that Emery is nothing to do with it. The team has more of a backbone than it did in Wengers later years, and yes even the worst defenders we have had made slight improvements which is not easy considering they are older players who will find it harder to change their game compared to the youngsters (bad habits and all that jazz). Settling in young and new players whilst still keeping us in reach of the top of the league. He may have been able to do better, and certainly can going forward but hardly like he has been terrible for us 🤷‍♂️

    1. The way people talks about freedie academy you will think he produced Messi in that academy, the only player who has been good from that academy is Saka, Wilock is average, Nelson is average smith Rowe is average and also injury prone, yet the 2 kids that Emery( or like some will say the new regime)bought has been fantastic (gueonduzi and Martinelli) we took more points against the big6 last season than we did in 6years under Wenger, this season we’ve played 3 out of the top 6 and we lost only once (Liverpool) we drew united away something that Wenger couldn’t do for 10years, we would have won against spurs if not for Xhaka stupidity. Fans as been saying we should start the Europa league defense in the premier league but after yesterday performance they are already blaming the coach for even using that same defense on the Europa league lol. The coach has his faults but he’s not as bad as some make him out to be.

      1. So you’re saying this year we got 2 points in 3 games against top 6 clubs. Even though they were the worst United and Spurs teams in recent years. So like you said, we showed some promise last year, but not anymore.

        And like you say – the players brought by Sven and Raul who already arrived good (Guendouzi, Martinelli) are good while those who should progress under Emery are not progressing as much as they would under Wenger and most top managers. You forget to add that creative players are actually getting worse under Emery (Ozil, Mkhitaryan, now Ceballos too)

        And like you say, we would have won Spurs if not for an individual mistake, similarly as we would have won a ton of games in recent years if not for individual mistakes.

    2. Great response, i completely agree with you. I’ll also add that we don’t have any top notch quality at the midfield that can effectively protect the backline. Our midfield players are developing, not there yet. We know that Ozil’s negatives outweigh his positives. We all thought the Tierney-Holding-Bellerin inclusion in the backline will be solid, well, we saw what happened yesterday. Only Emery can determine the best selection for every match.

    3. Wow an actual sensible fan and not one of the rediculous lynch mob. Probably the best and most correct posts written anywhere. People quite rightly might not agree with you but you have written actual sensible statements about how you feel. Some people dont realise how much vitriolic tripe they write to try and get their point across just to try and gather a mob crowd. Great post.

  6. Mehn! Right now being a realist and putting on idealogy I would say Emery” is confuse But at the same time I would say we should stick with him till the end of this campaign.
    Yes Yes Yes’ everyone wants him gone But let’s try Imagine if the un-forseen style he wants to create will bring when it clock fits. I’m just saying though.
    Time not Patient is needed.
    One Love.

  7. I fully agree. The players are here (maybe with the exception of central defence where improvement might be needed), but the manager is just a disaster. Team selection is bad. We know this is difficult to play a game on Monday and another one on Thursday, but is it really necessary to select a B team (Chambers, Saka, Willock,…) on Monday and then change almost the whole team on Thursday? The only player (Willock) who started both games was substituted at half time after poor performances. Why on earth wouldn’t we manage team selection like any other team, with more limited rotation, so that players are used to play together?
    And Ozil’s management is terrible. OK he is not so good with defensive tasks and sometimes slows down the game, but are Ceballos, Willock or Saka better? We lack his creativity and his ball protection. Not even selecting him shows Emery can’t think clearly. He seems focused on punishing Ozil while it would be far better to use him wisely. And if the board wants to sell him, why not allowing him to show his talent, to show he deserves his high salary ? He would be more likely to find another club…
    Monday and yesterday’s games were both bad. The lack of willingness was too obvious, and Emery, who is supposed to be a motivator, a leader, someone who expresses himself, couldn’t change the mentality.
    And I am also wondering if the players can understand him: his English is so poor…

    It is time to move on, take a coach who knows the English football, who knows how to cope with PL and EL on the same week, who has a clear game plan, who knows how to manage Ozil,…

  8. What I like about Emery is the attacking style and how he’d rather win 5-4 than 1-0 like he said 18 months ago.

    Also the protagonists pressing opponents like he said also 18 months ago. The way he’s improved the defense too like he promised has been fantastic.

    I’m glad he’s built on our attacking style like he said when he interviewed for the job, rather than trying to change our DNA.

    Let’s not forget how he sets out to win games rather than playing not to lose.

    Too many fans expect instant impact from Emery, he needs more time; he’s not Lampard at Chelsea after all.

    1. Durand, I assume you invented the word “sarcasm”. You certainly use it brilliantly. When well used, as you have, sarcasm can beautifully illustrate obvious weaknesses. It is sometimes and, also wrongly IMO, called the lowest form of wit. I have never bought into this trite and misguided saying.

      1. Thanks Jon, I just am tired of people saying a bad coach needs more time. Conte won the league his first year with Chelsea. Saw what wasn’t working, dropped under-performers and changed formation to a 3-5-2 to suit the players he had. Sarri got Chelsea into top 4 his first and only year coaching them, not to mention thumping us in Europa final.

        Lampard has got Chelsea playing exciting football, developing the youth, and presently has the club on an upward trajectory. Emery has had over 200 million to help him, Lampard under transfer ban this Summer. Emery has 12 new players, Lampard has 25 new players, and the pressure of coaching a club where he was a legend player.

        If Emery had us playing exciting and attacking football, would he be getting the same stick? If we were winning 5-4 rather than 1-0 on Auba’s magic, would we whine about the defense still? His lineups? his tactics? If we were in 2nd place but playing ugly 1-0 football, would that be acceptable? Is consistency what people are craving, not the ups and downs Emery has delivered?

        I don’t think Emery is motivating the players or pushing the team forward to the next level. Will another 6 months turn us around and playing consistently? How about another year?

    2. But Durand, and I say this respectfully and not provocatively, he doesn’t demonstrate what he said. He seems to be content setting up to lose 1-0 and then say in the past it was a 3-0 loss so that is progress. Our attacking style is awful right now – we cannot break down a set defense in the league. Once the wall is up we are toast, like dying on a beach. And our defensive style sucks as well – you honestly can’t tell me that you are comfortable any time any team gets within 35 yards of goal? Especially in EPL – every time I see an opponent break into the middle I see the over or underreaction and i mutter “here it comes”, more often than not it is true.

      I will be really happy to be wrong about Emery but the longer this season goes, together with the end of last year, I really doubt it.

      This isn’t a Wenger or Emery thing – this is a best fit coach thing. He isn’t demonstrating being a best-fit. We sucked under Wenger for a long time, unfortunately, we still suck (and Wenger did sneak in the FA cup wins).

      1. and I want them to win every time. I am not hoping for losses so something would change. I said in another post that I will gladdly don an “Emery is God” shirt if things turn around!

        Cheers and fingers crossed against Palace!!!

      2. Stewart Macintosh my friend, my earlier comment was written in a sarcastic context. Of course we don’t play exciting football, our defense remains a tragic comedy, we don’t play attacking football or press.

        I thought my sarcasm was as obvious as an open wound, and not to be taken with sincerity. Maybe you missed the responding comment by Jon Fox replying to mine, where he duly noted my sarcastic wit.

        I’ll be clear, Emery seems to be about as popular as a leper at the Emirates, has the tactics of a helicopter (overprotective) parent, The arrogance of a teenager in this snowflake generation, the stubbornness of a Spanish mule, and as vindictive as a gold-digging divorcee.

        He is not the long-term answer as our coach, and I’m doubtful he’s even a proper coach to right the Arsenal ship in the short-term.

  9. MadHatter, a sound response.
    One hopes Arsenal has too much class to go down the “revolving door of changing managers” like Manchester United.

    1. Thanks 😊
      I too hope we don’t go down that route, it’s a poor attitude to take imo and can’t see how chopping and changing managers can be good for the players – new expectations, manager demands and style every season or two… How can that possibly lead to consistency?
      Not to mention all the new players each manager will want to make the squad their own – not a model we can support from a financial perspective either.

  10. ok agreed lets all give Emery the time he needs to build up. I believe that chopping and changing a manager does no good to anyone. We should also have the humanitarian angle. But the stubbornness to consistently include Xhaka and exclude Ozil is inexplicable. Hope he finds a solution for that. Personal likings and ego should not come in the way of team success.

  11. The suggestion that we have “world class” players is debatable to say the least.At their best Auba and Lacazette may just fall into that category but I consider our squad overall to be inferior to our main rivals including Chelsea and Spurs.That said we have a number of very promising young players, including Ma rtinelli who may go on to greater things and hopefully they will emerge once they regain full match fitness.The main problem is the number of mediocre players on our books many of whom seem to be regarded highly by our Manager.Socratis, Luis, Mustafi,Kolasinac and Xhaka fall into this category and regrettably Torreria has failed to produce the goods when the opportunity has arisen.Rome wasn’t built in a day but unless our performances improve,fans will quite justifiably lose patience with Emery.Apart from the match against Standard Liege our performances have been “unconvincing” at best.With a full squad now fit and available our season really starts on Sunday when a stubborn, well coached side visit us.If we fail to beat Crystal Palace the knives will well and truly be out against Emery and the highly paid Management executives who were instrumental in bringing him to the Emirates.Fingers crossed.

  12. Gunner1953,Good post and i would not disagree with any of your observations you are spot on,you could add no leaders to that list, nobody really stands out I would like to think guendouzi could one day be captain but it is probably too soon yet for him.

  13. The thing the author did not mention was that American sports franchises do not get relegated. If they finish bottom of their league, they usually get the first pick in the next years draft.
    In many ways this is an incentive to a team to finish bottom.

    In the EPL, if you do not finish in the top 4, you miss out on the Champions League in the following season. This provides additional revenue, and if achieved regularly, a certain cachet and fame. This helps attracting new players. If not achieved, then teams can fall into a perceived second tier, making catching up that much more difficult. The same is true of relegation, perhaps even more so. Teams hovering near the drop zone are more willing to get rid of their manager in an attempt to survive.

    All American sports teams have a “Sporting Director”, who will fire the manager at the end of the season, usually as a way of pointing the finger for the bad season to someone other than themselves. There is no real need to remove them earlier, unless the team is in total disarray.

    As for Emery, I have written in blogs many times, that I think he is a fraud, He was found out at PSG, and has been declared a bad manager by Ozil, caught on mike when he was hauled off from a game last season.

    I think he missed an excellent opportunity last season to get into the top four, but blew it by trying to be the first manager to win the Europa League 4 times. An act f total hubris.

    I truly believe Arsenal cannot afford to let Emery continue to run the Team. Surely Freddie Ljungberg could not do worse, and he speaks English.

    1. Though it is never sensible to chop and change managers continually, nor is is sensible to retain a manager who has shown zero improvement in ANY area at all, since the dreadful last regressive years of Wenger. When UE arrived, he had to turn so very much around and had been left a badly waterholed ship by Wenger. Having some decent pedigree, I was convinced that at the very least UE would change the lack of effort, defensive mistakes and pick the right team and right shape. He has achieved NONE of these things; he has if anything made the waterholed ship into one mortally holed and fast sinking. Frankly, the team is now a complete shapeless mess, with huge gaps everywhere and made worse by the stupid constant attempts to play out from the back. When you field fake defenders like Mustafi, Sokratis, Kolas and others you have not a hope in hell of getting them to play out successfully. Sensible and pragmatic managers realise from the very beginning that you cannot make a silk purse from a motley crew of sows ears. To even try is beyond stupidity. I have now made up my mind; I want UE out, for the simple reason that he has achieved the virtual impossible; he has made WENGERS TRIPE TEAM ACTUALLY WORSE. And this despite the import of some excellent young players. I believe in being pro-active once you have properly made up your mind and NOT wasting year after year like the club did under Wenger watching the remorseless drift away from the top strata into mediocrity. If the club do not act now we will all pay the ultimate price of yet more wasted years.

    2. the other thing that really changes the water over here is salary caps – very hard to keep a team great in north american football, hockey or basketball for any length of time as winning brings higher salaries and you bump against the wall. Franchises like New England in NFL are remarkable in this day and age because they are always good.

      I had thought Emery’s problem at PSG was Neymar, but now it seems that Neymar’s problem at PSG was Emery. He really does seem to be a fraud. Ozil has his issues but if the goal is to get him moved then Emery and Management are completely clueless. Don’t think they counted on Ozil being willing to meet his contractual requirements and sit back and get paid, they thought he would freak out and agree to a deal. He seems to know where any line is as his criticism is fairly muted and he is at practice. In a way, good on him.

  14. We need a manager who can use Ozil in his prime rather than waste him like this. Wenger leaving was a huge mistake as he as re-building the team from front to back. What should have happened was giving Wenger a bigger budget to acquire Virgil van Dyke and similar players. That was what Wenger was after, but not enough money was given…

    Emery cannot work with Superstars… because they do not respect his football knowledge. Emery is thus left to use players who are too inexperienced to challenge him. That is okay for a squad in the second tier, but not for Arsenal.

    1. “Ozil in his prime”? We can’t turn back the clock and time waits for no man, even Mezut Ozil. His prime is long past.

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