Do you want Arsenal to play with style or get results? Doesn’t Emery do both?

Arsenal: Style or Results… by Goonerboy

Good day gooners far and wide, I don’t know how you guys are coping without The Arsenal but for me it has been super boring and dull and I can’t wait to see the lads in action again!

Right now, there is certainly a feel good factor around the club, as we have been on a fairly good run with victories over United and Rennes ensuring we have our destiny firmly in our hands as far as the race for the top 4 is concerned and also making it to the Europa league quarter finals, now is indeed a good time to be a gunner!

But how were we able to arrive here? I would say we have been lucky and we also worked really hard for it and much has been made of how we did it, rather than the fact that we actually did it. Only a few weeks ago, I have seen Emery criticised a lot, with many saying they don’t really understand how exactly he wants us to play, his philosophy is not clear and all that. For me though, his philosophy is clear enough as he stated upon his appointment as head coach. He wants his team to be the protagonist, pressing aggressively and play beautifully from behind.

If you want to be honest, you would admit that we have shown glimpses of that on numerous occasions this season, especially at the Emirates, and at times we have lacked that creative spark and offense flow that we just grind out the win. While I want to enjoy good and entertaining football, I do not want that at the expense of the much needed results, I say ‘much needed’ because we know the goal for this season is to get back in the Champions League and we need to do everything we can to achieve that, and I believe that is exactly what Emery is trying to do.

Firstly, following a coach like Arsene Wenger, it was always going to be difficult for Emery to install his own identity. Wenger, more so than any other coach, had one way of playing and managing, and very rarely deviated from this in over 20 years.

Emery, by contrast, has looked to adapt the team in each game in order to get the most out of the squad he has available. This is a squad that he has had little influence over in terms of composition and one that has been affected by injury throughout the season. He, however, puts out the team he feels can do the job against a particular opponent which is something we have all been crying out to.

For long periods under Wenger, fans bemoaned his lack of pragmatism and obsession with aesthetics. Last season this came to its crescendo, when Arsenal picked up just three total points away from home in the new year. With the shoe on the other foot, however, fans seem to be forgetting how infuriating and damaging Wenger’s intransigence was.

Emery instead is looking at each game in isolation and changing his approach accordingly. It is perhaps true that he doesn’t know his best team or even his best system, but this is most probably caused by the fact that one doesn’t exist.

When Arsenal have been at their best this season, we have seen what Emery wants to do. High pressing, fast counter attacks, tenacity in midfield and passing from the back. This style though, is dependent on players with a certain skill set and it is clear this is not a skill set that Emery sees in many players in his squad.

With Hector Bellerin injured it would be irresponsible to ask Stephan Lichtsteiner to emulate his role. The same applies to Shkodran Mustafi replicating the work of Koscielny.

Emery has a clear understanding of what he wants to do, but because of the circumstances he faces, has been willing to find new solutions that fit the players he has available to him. To a large extent this has worked as are just one point behind Spurs and we could even be third after the next match day. It is not always pretty, but it remains the best way to extract what he can from the squad.

Klopp altered his gung-ho approach a little this season to make sure Liverpool clinch the title (am tempted to go further on this but I resist it) Pep went to Anfield and parked the bus, saying Liverpool is world class in the pressing game hence the need to adapt their game. All this has been done to get a result and even though Emery does it so much more, I still support him regardless as this approach makes us highly unpredictable and it gives me confidence against ANY opposition.

Finally, whether we make the top 4 or not, or win the Europa league or not, we have made progress and I strongly believe in Emery. Coming to a new league, with new backroom staff, 5 new players and having to replace a long serving manager is a great deal and I give him credit for what he has done so far and I hope all gooners continue to show him support.



  1. Just think what happened to Manure for the years after Ferguson left. We should be happy with what Emery has achieved so far

  2. Of course most fans want both

    A dictating possession football like Spain national soccer team’s style is pretty, but not entertaining if there is only one goal produced or no goal at all in a match

    Emery’s style is more defensive than Wenger’s and it is stylish too. The attacking wingbacks are highly enjoyable to watch, which reminds me of Capello’s AS Roma (with Candela/ Cafu) and the Invicibles (with Cole/ Lauren)

  3. People like me bemoan the defensive frailties we show many times. No need to sacrifice attacking flair to keep a solid back line.

    Emery needs the players for this, and it’s only his first year. Next year after Summer window we will see a team more reflective of his style and philosophy.

    I for one am willing to accept the blandness at times for results. CL is the target through EL or top 4. With that money hopefully more funds for better players which leads to exciting football AND results.

    One step at a time please.

    1. Durand, how are you old friend?

      At this moment in time, every single true gooner should be over the moon with what UE is achieving.

      I can only think of one person who actually wanted him out, that’s how much the fan base want him to succeed.

      It truly believe that the restlesness at the Emirates when he was fielding seven defenders, managing three shots on goal and justified criticism from the fans has been fundamental in the type of football we are now witnessing.
      That is what you and I, amongst many others, wanted and he has given us just that!!

      I cannot think of one player that hasn’t improved under UE from AW’s last two seasons and, again, at this precise moment in time, he is proving that he can actually handle “big name” players.

      As goonerboy says, our destiny is in our hands regarding a top four spot, as is a semi-final place in the europa cup.

      The only downside is that we lost in both of the domestic cups at home and to two of our fiercest rivals, but all will be forgiven if we hear the CL anthem once again blasting out, as it had for so long previously.

      1. Ken1945 my friend! Emery has done well to be sitting in 4th, one point behind them presently. Tip my cap for him to come here with atmosphere at that time, the expectations and funds available, and achieve what he has.

        We’re moving up, and getting a lot out of the players. Kola doing offensively what we hoped, Leno very solid, and others developing. Well done UE, may it continue going forward into next year.

        Ken you and I and others have questioned UE, but fairly I think, and according to Emery’s standards he himself set. For example; the pressing, lots of movement, creating chances, playing as a unit, and giving all their abilities have to offer.

    2. Yeah totally agree Durand.By getting us into the position we are in now I would take results over performance every day of the week if it gets us Top4 and a EL Cup win.Next season is when we can look to move forward.Holdind And Bellerin will be like two new sightings.Mavo will be fit and a year older.Chambers will offer cover and versatility (if we keep him) and no doubt there will be a few new faces coming in.A CB and LB are vital and a box to box CM to replace Ramsey with an out and out winger will give us a stronger and more balanced squad.Thecyoung players coming through will get plenty of game time and experience too.It won’t be enough to win the PL but it will make us more competitive to at least challenge the Top2/3.That alone is encouraging after the last two seasons

  4. Congrats on a fine article goonerboy. My view is that pragmatism in football, as in life, should always come first. In other words , make the best of what you have at any single time and always remember the aim of the game is to win three points in ANY league game. I felt that WENGER SO OFTEN FORGOT THAT CLEAR TRUTH! The next most important, IF you cannot win , is NOT to lose! Again, with Wenger…. etc!

    I also consider that what Emery has done and is doing, is far better than many Gooners even realise, given the paucity of his squad, esp in defence!

    1. Lord Jon,
      You never disappoint with your excellent posts and generally eduactive way of writing.
      I learn a lot from you on this forum even more than how you can imagine, I archived some of your posts as it gives me motivation on something I recently embarked on

      “those who panic are usually not in control of their own lives ”

      That quote of yours is what gave me the confidence to start a long overdue project, and I really look forward to more from you. God bless!

  5. we are not a mundane outfit badly in need of a motivational speech the likes of which s.alladyce might offer a lowly team struggling to sustain its premiership position.

    We’re an elite club known for playing with style and expected to get results – which is why we invited a coach with credential to distinguish arsenal from the rest.

    What do fans attend emirates stadium for in droves, as well we pay service providers for if not to see arsenal in full pomp? and to see all that that entails.. [*winning with a swagger] then showing we got the moves like Jagger. 🙂

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