Is there any validity to the complaints that Unai Emery is making?

Unai Emery has started revealing what it was like for him as the Arsenal manager.

It was always going to happen that Unai Emery would come out and put the blame on his failings onto the players, but does any of his complaints have validity?

Emery has moaned about the attitude of some of the top players and the problems that he faced at the club including transfers and injuries.

The bottom line for me is that the buck stops with the manager. If the player’s attitude stunk or they failed to implement the manager’s instructions the fault remains with the manager.

Being a manager of a top team is a highly paid position and the reason for that is that they are expected to get the very best from the team, if they do not they get fired. It is not rocket science.

When managers lose the dressing room or the players lose respect for their boss then it is inevitable that the manager gets fired, this is how it works.

Mauricio Pocghettino got sacked for poor results which came on the back of him basically failing to motivate his players, Jose Mourinho has been sacked for the same reasons, the list is endless.

Are the Arsenal players egomaniacs? Yes, sone of them are. Did some of them let the manager down terribly? Yes, they did. Did some of them down tools and use Social media as a medium to attack Emery? They absolutely did.

But so what.

That is down to Emery, none of that would have happened if he had managed to control the dressing room, get the players respect, get them believing in his vision and philosophy.

Arsenal players are no different to players at other top clubs, highly paid cossetted players at clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Napoli, PSG, Chelsea, Tottenham and Man Utd have all thrown their dummies out of the pram at one point or another and got their boss sacked, that is the nature of being a modern-day footballer manager.

So, Emery’s complaints do have some validity up to a point but at the end of the day, the Spaniard failed in his job, simply because he could not win the players over or get them to respect him.


  1. Emery is right about the attitude of some of our players.
    I was surprised how we went from a good first season under him (in my opinion) to a very disappointing second season to put it mildly.

    I am however more surprised at how many times Emery whom I have always believed is a “classy”person has talked about Arsenal.
    He spent 18 months with us and has had more to say than the One who spent 21 + years, man needs to move on!

  2. I’m in favor of anyone dishing dirt or even praises for a while because we haven’t had any inside info for over 21 years, i was hoping AW would shed some dirt but i think he still believes he will be reappointed

    1. off topick= i think WE WILL fast become a selling club as soon as some of our young talent receive outrageous transfer offers and arsenal will sell, the only success Arsenal have had in the recent years is that we are a big club known for using youngsters and they ( young talented players )are all interested in joining Arsenal over other top clubs, in the near future we have at least 4 young talent’s that could fetch around 300 to 350M in the transfer market and we will be told that we are selling to re-build

  3. AdMartin-in my opinion you hit the nail on the head when you state it was Emery’s job to control the dressing room. That surely is the very first requisite of any manager joining a new Club. If he allowed dissent and friction to enter the dressing room then that was the start of his downfall surely.
    He is moaning and bleating now which I believe just makes his comments all the more childish.
    He was the Manager.His job included managing the players.He failed to do this.He was sacked.And the blame is solely on Emery and nobody else.
    And in reply to @tas-Arsene Wenger had too much class to dish the dirt on a Club that employed him for 22 years.Thats why he has been reportedly been approached by the same Club that sacked him. He kept everything to himself and took his dismissal as any proud and respectful person could.I bet even his book will not provide anything disrespectful about the Club.

    1. You seem to contradict yourself in this post tho. What dirt does Arsene have to spill if everything falls on the manager like you say? This is why I fundamentally disagree w/ your comment that only Emery is at fault for what happened. There are always other things going on behind-the-scenes that we do not know about.

      1. So when have we heard anything derogatory from Wenger? When has he ever attempted to blame anyone for his dismissal? Never once.
        I was never his greatest fan over the last 6-8 years of his time at Arsenal but I acknowledge he kept his thoughts to himself which is the complete opposite of what Emery has done.
        I fail to see how that is a contradiction-it’s mere facts

  4. The owner and Board have to carry a major part of the blame for Emery’s failure and the performance of the players, particularly those he inherited. A principal component of a head coach’s ability to enforce discipline and get players performing the way he wants is being able to bench underperforming players. Emery was unable to do this because firstly he wasn’t supported in the transfer market to bring in the players he wanted. If the Board believed the players Emery wanted were unattainable due to cost or transfer unavailability, it would be reasonable to scout and recruit players of a similar type. This they failed to do. Secondly Emery’s selection options were reduced due to injuries, some being long term and he was forced to persevere with underperforming players.
    It will be interesting to see if Arteta faces a similar lack of support in the Summer transfer window?

    1. ozziegunner, while I can see your point regarding the players he wanted, wasn’t he signed on as a coach?

      A coach should be able to do just that, no matter who he gets as players, coaching them to play his vision of football and to the highest level from each individual.

      In eight short weeks, MA has improved every single player, both in commitment, passion and working, as a team, towards his vision.

      I’m certain MA doesn’t want all the players he inherited, but he showed from the very first minute that he was boss, told the players what he required, suggested they think about leaving if they didn’t buy in and, suddenly, the tantrums and open disregard for the man in charge has gone.

      In reality, ozziegooner, I believe the job was just to big, the players to experienced and they sussed him out as a very weak man manager, let alone a coach. He lost them completely.

      MA is the complete opposite and how it shows.

      1. Ken, the fact he is making all these noise shows he his bitter seeing MA getting response from the players in 8 weeks that he couldn’t get in 5 months. What guarantee does he have that Maguire and Zaha will be a success considering the kind of season they’re both having in their respective clubs. Does Zaha shows with his performances this season he has been playing epl football or Maguire performances have shown a resemblance of his in Leicester city. Fans are right to get him sacked if truly we did. I’m glad this do no-wrong coach is out of our club.

        1. Mobella, I wish him well in whatever he goes on to do with his life, but I’m sure the club looked after him when they decided to sack him in the way everyone gets the sack – here today gone tomorrow in just 24 hours, but with a reported fully paid up cntract.

          Just wish he would respect the club a little more and, more specifically, the fans.
          Most of us were aware of his shortcomings before the end of last season, it was only the delusional few who kept on telling us he was the man.

          Still, onward and upwards with MA – three points against Newcastle with an incredible display will do nicely!!

      2. In response Ken, Emery did coach the players he had for most of his first season; the wheels fell off when key players were unavailable through injury and some of the high profile players downed tools. My concern is that the results under Arteta are no better as a team, notwithstanding the supposed improvement in some players. Arteta is still “head coach” and if his lack of support by the Board is similar to Emery’s, does anyone expect better than Emery’s first season?

  5. My only complaint with your superb article Martin, , was that you posted it under your own name and not mine! Those thoughts were actually mine(also), word for word and I have rarely if ever agreed more with EVERY word of any article on here. The reason managers are highly paid is that they have to be and are rightly demanded to be great man managers , with wonderful motivation powers and tactics that all can understand and carry out. IF there was any fault with the appointment, it can ONLY be that it was risky to appoint a man who spoke no English at his appointment and hardly any even when he was rightly, but too late in the day, sacked! Emery had a fine CV when appointed. The fact that he made a huge pigs ear of managing us can NOT be properly put down to the board, despite the lack of investment that our club has had to live with since 2007 and Kroenkes initial entrance! His time will soon be mercifully ,if not actually forgotten, at least ignored by fans. Arteta is in every way his polar opposite, apart from the coincidence of them sharing a nationality, which is, however, a total irrelevance.

  6. I agree with ozziegunner on transfer window, making it to final and missing top 4 by a bit is same thing:.

    Credits manager for pushing limits all the way.

    Highlights we missed just a bit to make it to finish line.

    Emery really had us hopefull as we were so close to goal.

    He did good; we needed bit more, and precisly what he asked for: Maguire, Partey, Zaha!

    Kroenke seeing fans mad of no action in transfer window, got scared and pulled Pepe payement plan trick on us!

    Bellerin Maguire Chambers Tierny
    Niles Willock
    Zaha Laca Auba

    Was team he had in mind, he liked Niles and Willock a lot for their skills to defend and run forward add numbers in attack and for their energy & talent.

    Adding these 3 players gives many options in middle and attack. Then realistic to believe win EL and achieve top4.

    I think such squad had potential to fight title, he had it in the back of his mind, beyond Top4 goal.

    Not making any excuse for him but Emery looked fine in first season and left us hopeful, asked for these 3 players, to slam him for Kroenke is as Wenger who had no money and denied to sign Suarez & Kante for 45M each!

    Unless someone smokes crack, these two players would had us winning EPL several times & CL! Then it is easy to take it on manager who has no support from Kroenke!

    Arteta asked for Koulibaly, guimaraes and Kurzawa!

    With Kurzawa added in January, Saka doesn’t have to be sacrificed and injured!!!

    Koulibaly is in same league as Virgil, obviously it is our biggest issue for ages; a top CB!

    Guimaraes is that tuff strong fighting DM missed!

    But it all take money and all we were allowed are loans we got, with option to sign Mari for 5M!

    I’m not judging Mari before he gets a chance to display, but Koulibaly gets straight into this defense, ends our pb as Virgil!

    I’m not making excuses for Arteta neither, I think he is a great assistant coach and in devellopment to become a manager.

    Beyond players, our main issue this season has been FORMATION!

    We can win or lose/draw a game with same players, upon formation which tells tac tic.

    Until Arteta gets that, we won’t ever win games but one once every blue moon as we do all season!

    End of the day, we look at result and table, so far, we have declined since Emery who managed 4 wins in 13 games, 1 in 6 for Arteta and Freddie each!

    3 losts in their combined 12 games
    3 losts in 13 games for Emery.

    Looking aa many games, we should have and deserved to lose as last in Burnley.

    Overall, Emery was better and Freddie is as Arteta in terms of results. Rest means nothing at the end of the day!

    If Arteta gets formation wrong again for same result next game, he needs to go and devellop elsewhere, we had a top manager in Wenger and a good manager in Emery who will land in a top club for sure. I can see him in Real, Bayern, Athletico, Juve, Barca, Chelsea, Man U, and City after Pep. He is top coach material! Indeed famous for Barca remontada with Paris, but he won there 3-0 and was not lucky in Paris nor referees very fare in second half, Paris could have scored goal to end Barca run. But what a team Barca had with Messi Meymar Suarez! Anyone could have been remontadaed!

    1. Mogunna, Yes Arteta is clearly useless as a proper manager and should have been brought in as “possible great assistant” to that tactical genius and mastermind Emery, who did so well here! Must go now; there are two men in white coats at my door, holding a straitjacket!

  7. Right Martin, the words “…so what….” in your post adquately describe what our reaction should be to Emery’s rants. But reporters will be reporters and newspapers will be newspapers. So at every oppprtunity Emery will be asked, ad nauseam, to comment on his time at the Emirates. I just wish this blog would not make a meal of it as well. Leave it be. Graham, Rioch, Wenger, Emery all in the past. Let them RIP.

  8. I thought Emery was an excellent appointment when he was appointed, won in Europa cup final three times, won the league at a top club and an excellent record at every club he had been at and a serial trophy winner. Im afraid Arsenal and Emery were not a match, we all move on and good luck to all.

  9. Emery needs to shut up and move on like we also have moved on.
    The amount of excuses he is making are getting too cringey.
    He was a poor manager that had poor players.
    A recipe for disaster.

  10. Emery was finally the victim of his own Vanity.

    Arsenal had 4 games to go, and with a win and a draw they might have finished 4th, guaranteeing Champions League entry for the next season.

    Instead, it seemed his aim was to be the first manager to win the Europa League 4 times.

    Like so many people before him, he fell between two stools, and ended up with neither.

    Had Arsenal reached the UCL last year, maybe there would have been more money available for transfers, and maybe Emery would still have been at Arsenal..

  11. It’s pretty simple, Arsenal was Emery’s “rebound” team…after his precipitous fall from grace at PSG, following the Barcelona debacle and his subsequent public squabbles with some of his best players, he was clearly not in the right head-space to take on a project like Arsenal…the wounds were too fresh and there is no doubt that this negatively impacted his ability to properly deal with our high-priced talent..the fact that our Board was spineless and our management team rudderless, made this already difficult transition all the worse…the fact remains that he should have resisted the dangling carrot and we should have been much more astute in our pursuit of a manager, especially considering our roster at the time and our absentee landlord’s unwillingness to modify a business model that was no longer producing results on the pitch…just more square pegs in round holes, so what else is new?!?

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