Is Emery tinkering with the Arsenal team just for the sake of it?

Unai Emery explains his thinking behind the constant rotation of the team

Unai Emery made six changes to the Arsenal team that beat Napoli last Thursday for the game against Crystal Palace only to see us lose 3-2, and obviously there are questions to be asked why so many changes and why so often.

Clubs around us have the same sort of fixture congestion and yet on the face of it do not seem to make as many changes on such a consistent basis, and even with fatigue it is hard to fathom why the likes of Carl Jenkinson was preferred to Ainsley Maitland Niles and why Mohamed Elneny was selected instead of Lucas Torreira.

When asked about the constant rotation Emery said the following: “We have had some injuries, like with Aaron Ramsey, and we need to protect the players,”

“For example, Xhaka asked to change in the second half against Napoli and could have played (against Palace), but with some risk.

“We need to protect our players and to use other players.

“We are playing with a lot of players and they give us the performance; we lost but we could also have lost with other players on the pitch.”

I can understand why he wants to protect the players but using the injury to Ramsey or possibly Xhaka does not clarify why certain other players were selected and some not and why it happens so often.

Other top clubs get injuries, they have players that are tired and so on and yet they still tend to put out their strongest team as often as possible, that does not appear to be the case with Emery, sometimes it feels like he is rotating for the sake of it.

I have always taken the attitude that if a player is fit enough for the bench he is fit enough to start. I am sure that we can all think of quite a few games when players have been substitutes when they clearly should have been selected from the start.

I am not going to try and second guess Emery, he is the manager and knows the team far better than I could ever hope to but a clearer explanation would be appreciated because, as things stand right now, I never have a clue from one match to the next who he will pick and his reasoning behind it.

Is he tinkering too much when he have so many important games?


  1. I don’t think so.
    the number of injuries are piling up generally accross borad on all clubs.
    Crystal palace was the only club he could “weaken” his selection.
    after this game. he has to use all strong starting XI.
    this is the real running in. with Europa in mind.

  2. In my view, Emery is a very good team manager. He provides almost every player with an opportunity to prove himself. Though tinkering with players seems to be bad for the short term goals, its actually good for the long term benefit of the whole team. Imagine at a champions league final then a key player gets injured and the replacement is one who has not kicked a ball the whole season. Our only problem is that the bench is very poor in quality.

    1. I agree.

      Our bench is noticeably weaker than other top 6 teams.

      The bigger mistake was the tactics. 3-4-1-2 is too defensive – not enough men in midfield to dominate a team like CP at home.

    2. So true! Unai is great and can make us great again but he has to be backed up and gets the correct Quality players!!
      We dont have enough of them.

  3. I hear his transfer budget for the summer is 45 million. if that’s true we are totally f####d
    I hate that greedy blood sucking leach Kroenke

  4. I said last week after the Everton loss that IMO with only a few weeks to go in the season and CL qualification being most likely through the PL, he should risk playing his best 11 in the PL.

    Stating Elneny and Mustafi at this stage seems a reckless risk. Maitland Niles is young and can’t be worn out yet.

    However, I agree with Keown, the choices the manager has shows how thin we are as a squad in terms of depth.

  5. UE should be commended for the way he manages this team. The number of muscular injuries this season has drastically reduced. I guess it is with the management of Lacazette and Aubumeyang we haven’t seen any injuries on the attacking front.

    Playing every 3days for the next two weeks requires space and good recovery. Add that to the lack of quality on the bench. I would be glad if Elneny, jenko, mustafi, chambers, miki, ospina, could join cech, lich, ramsey on their way out.

    I can understand he plays a 3man defense to cover for the error (mustafi and monreal) our defenders are prune to.

  6. Mr Tinkerman will have his excuse definitely, during the Dec period when we had to play up to thirteen games within four weeks, he didn’t rotate and I guess his brain never told him that we needed to rotate. Elneny would’ve been useful and gotten himself up to match fitness,Ozil could’ve gotten much game time, Few players from the academy could’ve been integrated into the team but he didn’t.
    Now we are playing the most important games of the season and he’s tinkering with the team, every chance he gets within every hour if possible.
    That’s not half the season anymore, For a full season, we don’t have a first eleven, nobody on here can boldly say this or that is our first eleven.
    He’s risking his chances and he’s only responsible and has himself to blame if it all blows up.
    Now being our outstanding fixture and the only one, winning Wolverhampton tomorrow is a must, sadly we ain’t confident about that

    1. Eddie, when Emery leaves Arsenal due to lack of support from Kroenke and the board in the transfer market, I look forward to you submitting your application to “tinker” with team selections.

  7. you can blame a number of reasons for the CP defeat, mainly keep playing Mustafi who is at best a makeweight player and at worst the reason for half of our defeats this season, the man is dire and his constant lumbering mistakes may well costs us dearly by the end of the season. He needs to get rid of this incompetent and idiotic player to name but one. What should have been a relatively easy run in is now turning into a nightmare as cheski up thier game as are spurs and we are plunging into a mire of defeats that we shouldnt be suffering.
    Mustafi needs to be blocked as he is the mainstay of all our mess ups. .

  8. I don’t think Emery should be blamed for tinkering with the Arsenal starting XI first team of late in PL matches more often than he shouldn’t have tinker. He has to tinker and that’s why he has been tinkering. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be tinkering but play the acknowledged regular stronger Arsenal starting Xi in PL matches week in week out. Which we all know too well can’t be possible due to some certain reasons that could come up to mitigate against such a preferred regular stronger starting XI team selection even if he had wanted to be doing that regularly.

    I think the fault lies at the feet of some none regular playing Gunners in the PL who played in the C Palace PL match for Arsenal at the Ems last Monday afternoon. Mustafi was the major culprit in the game for gifting 2 goals to C Palace in the match. But did Jenkinson and Elneny play well for Arsenal in the match? I think by and large they did. Elneny is a passer of the ball who hardly misplaced his pass in games for Arsenal as he has a general ball passing accuracy. But he lacks the confidence to aggressively take his game to the opposition’s 18 yard area or into the box to kill or give assist to kill. And of all the enterprising play at the LW by Iwobi in games for Arsenal that have seen his incursions to the opposing team area. But draft, he more often than not looks for who to pass the ball to. However, I think he should grow up in confidence to a times play to inside the box and shoot to the impossible angle of the goal to make it difficult for the goalkeeper to save. And he should also try to shoot powerfully and accurately to goal from the 18 yard area outside the box to beat the goalkeeper. But he shouldn’t always be looking for who he can pass or cross the ball to to give assist. Iwobi goal returns of 2-3 goals for Arsenal so far this season in nothing to write home about for a LW who is playing for a top club of Arsenal stature.

    By the way, what is Mkhitaryan goal returns for Arsenal who is a purported RW for Arsenal since he has joined the club for almost a full season and half? Are they up to 5 PL goals at all? Hmmm.

    1. I still think Miki could come good. I think he is really low on confidence and if given a run of games constantly could change. He has 6 goals and some assist in the league this season considering he hasnt started most.

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