One of Unai Emery’s main ‘Selling Point’ (or at least one of the only ‘positives’ so far) is supposed to be that whether you’re a big player or not if you’re not performing then you’ll be dropped (with fans pointing to his treatment of Ozil as an example).
Now, after five games this season we’ve kept one clean sheet and have already conceded eight times facing close to 100 shots (the 31 against Watford boosting the total). Looking at our only clean sheet and our best performance defensively this season, the starting players were: Niles, Sokratis, Chambers, Monreal.
What has changed since then (apart from the oppositions of course)? Chambers has been dropped (not for his bad performances though) and Monreal sold (although he played twice after that Newcastle game). Our starting four has been: Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Kolasinac.
The full-backs more or less pick themselves with injuries limiting our options but with Chambers around, has Emery not seen enough to drop one of Luiz/Sokratis for him? Since the pairing started, we’ve conceded at least once from either of their errors.
Luiz losing Barnes against Burnley, Luiz again giving away a penalty and running towards Salah vs Liverpool, Sokratis vacating his space and challenging for a header with Kane (even though his teammate was already challenging for the same header) and both of them literally giving Watford goals Sunday.
But the thing is, he has NEVER dropped them, and it doesn’t look like he will anytime soon and one has to ask if this ‘ruthlessness’ is only limited to a selected group of players or if he truly has it in him to drop ANY underperforming player, although the evidence so far points to the former being the case.
By Akinnubi Oluwamuyiwa