Is Unai Emery alone to blame for Arsenal’s struggles under him?

Unai Emery has spoken again about his time as Arsenal boss and as usual, he has been sharing the blame.

In an interview with the Guardian, Emery placed some of the blame on Mesut Ozil for the German’s application at the club, and some of the blame on the club’s board who signed Nicolas Pepe instead of Wilfried Zaha.

The Spaniard has continued to claim that he shouldn’t be blamed solely for his failure to make Arsenal the team of our dreams, and I wonder if he is right.

Every club is bigger than the manager and individual players and although the manager pays the ultimate price for the team’s failure, I don’t subscribe to the idea that they should blame the manager alone when the team doesn’t do well.

When Emery helped us limp to a fifth-place finish and to reach the final of the Europa League in his first season, not everyone talked about how bad he was at the time, but as soon as it started falling apart in his team, he was blamed.

I still think most of the problems we had as a team was because of having a not-so-good manager who didn’t exactly understand the league or the team he was managing.

However, I also think the club’s board and the players didn’t help Emery enough.

It felt like the players didn’t like the Spaniard enough to follow his instruction or they didn’t trust his judgement, and they have to take some blame for that.

The board’s reluctance to sign Zaha, a player that he wanted and for them to have forced Pepe on him also showed that they placed business before success.

Emery wasn’t the best manager we could have had, but I reckon that the Spaniard could have thrived if he was given more support.

An article by Ime

Tags Mesut Ozil Nicolas Pepe Unai Emery


  1. Mogunna says:

    He finished 5th, EL final, falling very short, because we were missing something.

    He asked for a top CB, favored Maguire over Koulibaly for same reason he wanted Zaha; because used to and dominant in EPL, a top player with no time to adapt nor risk of not adapting!

    Asked for Partey as well! This team we would have as Kos would have stayed if he had a top CB with him….

    Bellerin Maguire Kos Tierny
    Partey Xhaka
    Zaha Laca Auba

    CB and DM were and still til this day are position we needed strengh in order to fight for titles!

    Pepe was brought in because Lille agreed on a payement plan, not Palace nor Leicester, Napoli asking for cash!

    We will not finsh in top 4 because we have not strenghen this position while everyone else did; we will therefore finish lower! No Europa league!

    It was a miracle for him to reach final and Top 5, as Wenger did for over a decade with no money.

    In 18 months time, we went all the way down to 14th place at some point this season, Arteta wont change fact that you simply can not replace Wenger who was a manager beside a coach.

    Look at the mess we saw with players and all, we are a siniking ship because it is no captain anymore!

    Man U kept Sir Alex around, he is involve in many decision and nutrures Oleg giving him time to make this transition that will take 3 to 5 years!

    Arsenal have lost all its shine, football and values as fans chasing Arsene from stadium he built; shocking and shameful to be a Gunner since then!

    1. Admin Martin says:

      A very reasoned comment but that final run in Mogunna fatally damaged him in my opinion and anything less than an excellent start the following season was always going to cost him his job.

  2. Mogunna says:

    Of course Ozil is a top player but Lazy, that’s no scoop nor Emery making excuses, he responds to questions and no one can say anything that! He is right just as the 3 players he felt would strenghen team to fight for title!

    Partey, Zaha and Maguire! He was perfectly right !

    1. Sue says:

      Not sure about slab head, but the other 2 spot on!!

  3. Mogunna says:

    We did not get Zaha who was cheaper because Palace as many club do not accept payement plans; Lille did!

    A cheap trick from cheap greedy Kroenke to have us all excited to run fill stadium and make him richer!

  4. Skills1000 says:

    Emery was to blame 100 percent. We had the opportunity to finish top 4 the previous season. But he messed the team up. Stu pid loses towards the end of last season. He should have been sacked after the defeat to chelsea in the Europa league final. All he has been saying recently is just PR. He is Looking for the next job. Martinelli could not get into the first team despite his performances in cup games. Emery appointment was a mistake. Let us move on.

  5. jon fox says:

    No not ALONE to blame. How could that possibly be the case when we have a most appalling and uncaring owner? The owner at any club is always the onemost to blame if the club under achieves. Without the present owners, who imagines for a moment that Man City would now be where they are! So , not a difficult question to answer, assuming, as I PROBABLY SHOULD, that it was meant seriously. But with such a question you are bound to wonder if it was properly thought through before being posed.
    Tha being all said though, Emerty brought a lot of thr scorn onhimself by his constant strange team selections and shapes. Ther was little continuity inselection evenalowing for bad luck with injuries. His own inability to learn English even at the end was his fault alone, though you would be right to wonder why the board did not foresee that. But the lasT board memer with foresight and true vision was disgracefully ousted in 2007; name of Dein! PERHAPS YOU HAVEHEARD OF HIM!!!!

    1. Skills1000 says:

      Jon Fox, i agree with you 100 percent. But we lost games we should have won towards the end of last season. We lost to Palace, Everton, Leicester City. And we eventually missed out on CL spot by just one point. All these were Emery fault. He fielded a team with 7 Defensive minded players against westham last season. He was disconnected from the players. No direction. Teams like wolves and shefield United are at the top 6 this simply because of the manager.

    2. RSH says:

      Well said, jon. The manager alone is never to blame. You have to have people who CARE in the first place if you want to have a successful club. Arteta will never get the support he needs as things are

  6. Sue says:

    OT.. For those in the UK.. ‘Harry’s Heroes : Euro having a laugh’ starts on Monday night. Seaman, Merse, Parlour amongst others… going to be a cracker!

  7. Grandad says:

    The main problem with Emery in my mind appeared to be his poor communication skills.From the outside I found it difficult to comprehend exactly what he was trying to get across and perhaps this problem made it difficult for players to “get the message” and develop any personal rapport with the Manager.To be fair to him he inherited a very average pool of players and had a very decent track record before he moved to Arsenal.As to the matter of Pepe or Saha,neither would have been on my wish list.Pepe certainly has the talent to make it but he needs to work harder off the ball and improve his decision making to become the complete package.I have a gut feeling that he will come good next season.

  8. ken1945 says:

    It is very easy and simple to blame one person for all our woes, just look at how individual players are mentioned for everything that has gone wrong, or in AW and UE’s case, the manager/coach.

    Was Emery to blame when Aubameyang missed that penalty against the spuds in the last minute?

    Was Wenger to blame for the Birminghan fiasco that cost us the cup?

    Was kronkie to blame for Ramsey leaving the club for nothing, when he employs people on massive salaries to ensure the club is run properly?

    There are so many errors that can be pointed out as individual errors and they shape the final picture – but Emery’s overall time at our club saw such negative reactions, that he must take so much of the blame himself.

    Whatever one’s views on the squad he inherited are, he was given eight new players to improve the squad when he arrived and a further six or seven (depending, again, on one’s views regarding loan deals) to work with.

    When he left, we/he had no idea what his tactics were, we/he had no idea of his best eleven and we had a toxicity within the club brought about by his weak leadership and inability to man manage his players…so no, it wasn’t just his fault, but I ask anyone to look at the difference under Arteta and therein lies the answer – same players…different mindset.

    1. Durand says:

      Nice points Ken, but I would say the obvious fault was his philosophy ran contrary to Arsenal’s. Emery sold himself as attack minded, hence his comments on preferring to win 5-4 than 1-0.
      But his management was anything but. One doesn’t have to field 7 defensive players to get the team to defend; I would use Arteta’s management as an example.
      Second, Emery was risk-averse, look how many times he substituted to defend a draw rather than go for the winning goal, often against “lesser” opponents.
      Thirdly, his egotistical views regarding players; I would cite Torreria as my example. Trying to play a very good DM (and proven in Italian league), as an attacking midfielder. An obvious blunder to many, yet Emery continued with this farce despite hurting the team in chances created as well as further damaging an already weak defense.
      Emery was a poor choice, with a record at PSG of being unable to manage top players, even stating that he looks to create friction with the top players.
      Too bad he wasn’t replaced sooner, and good riddance to him and his excuse ridden time at Arsenal

      1. ken1945 says:

        Durand my friend, good to hear from you and I agree 100% with everything you say, adding my points to yours and it paints a picture that portrays complete anarchy.

        Looking back, wasn’t that what a few of us were saying just three or four months into his reign?

        I note kronkie has asked another one of his teams to take a pay cut, have you any news regarding that?

        Take care, are you expecting a spike in the corona virus cases and deaths and is football (soccer to you!!) showing any signs of starting up again?

        1. Dan kit says:

          Let’s be honest Ken ,Emery being appointed Arsenal manager set us back 2 more years ..
          Within 3 months I would have welcomed back Mr wenger , but like you pointed out on a few Of your posts we were told that this new regime was the dogs bollocks .”how could they be wrong ?”
          My own personal opinion about the question of this Article is that he was not to blame at all ,it was the idiots who thought it would be a great idea employing him as manager – coach whatever they call themselves these days .
          The dullest football I’ve seen as an Arsenal fan .
          The only thing that was a positive as his time as manager – coach was getting 30 odd million Quid for the Nigerian Messi off the blue Scousers .
          Everything else should be wiped from our history books .
          I look forward to whenever the football kicks off again under Mr Arteta ,a novice coach but looks to me to be the steal of the century ,I hope I’m proven right .

          1. ken1945 says:

            Dan, it was a dire time indeed for the club and yet he came so close to top four and a European title.

            If only he had been able to man manage, select his best players all the time, play them in their strongest positions, play an offensive game, convey his thoughts in a way that we all understood, it might have worked out!!!!

            As I remarked to Durand, what stick we took suggesting all was not well!?!?

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