Opinion – Disliking Unai Emery does not mean he is wrong

It is very easy to dismiss what Unai Emery has said about his time at the Emirates because quite a few Arsenal fans simply dislike the man but it does not mean he is wrong.

There is no point debating what Emery said about Mesut Ozil, he said nothing that we do not already know about the German and minds will not be swayed one way or another.

However, what he had to say about Nicolas Pepe is a worry, a big worry.

Emery did not want to sign Pepe, he wanted to sign Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace instead, according to the interview he gave in the Guardian.

It will never work when a manager is ignored, he is the one that has to coach the players, instil his tactics and vision and if he does not want a player then forcing that player on him will never end well.

That does not mean that Emery gets exactly the player he wants, the club has to think about more than just what happens on the pitch. They have to take into consideration resale value, the economic impact on the club and so forth but to ignore the manager’s wishes is simply untenable long term.

The manager has to have the power of veto, he is the one that loses his job if it goes wrong, whereas the player can be awful on the field and even a disruptive influence but he will not lose his job and can instead just sit on his backside and keep collecting his wages week in and week out.

Things are ok under Mikel Arteta right now, not great, but ok, however, that will not last long if the head honchos insist on signing players that the manager is not keen on.

Yes, it is a big worry that the manager is basically forced to work with players that he did not want and on the face of it, that is exactly what happened with Nicolas Pepe.

Tags Nicolas Pepe Unai Emery


  1. Robert Acedius says:

    You don’t have to dislike Unai Emery just because he was wrong.

  2. Lenohappy says:

    Emery might be wrong on every other things, but he is right about Ozil, dropping Ozil is one of the few thing’s that Emery got right, the board also disappointed him, I mean he asked for Maguire they gave him Luiz, he asked for Zaha they gave him Pepe who we all know will surely needs time to adapt, Zaha would have improved immediately, emery made mistakes but the owners too played there part.

  3. Rory johnson says:

    The jury is still out on pepe as far as I’m concerned, doesnt make UE right, he was willing to pay 80 mill for zaha who has a whopping 35 goals in 206 games, a worse goals per game than Walcott!! thanks but no thanks Unai!! 👋👋

  4. SueP says:

    Emery had to coach players that were not of his choosing when he accepted the job so Pepe was one more. If the club could not come to a financial arrangement with CP then Zaha could not be signed anyway. We have been hearing about how many targets AW missed out on. It is, or was, up to Emery to coach what he was given. It wasn’t the case that he asked for a left back and got a centre forward instead.
    Ideally the manager should be able to target the player(s) he wants and be part of the conversation around that but getting what you want is not a given especially when the finances are precarious

  5. Eddie says:

    The same man who told the board he needed experienced players and leaders so Litchesteiner was brought in, the same reason Sokratis was brought in instead of Paying a little more to get Abdou Diallo when he was Sven’s first choice?
    Isn’t it the same Emery who wanted Nzonzi? Gamiero? All at what age?
    Even brought in David Luiz at what age??

    I’ve read and read him come out and blame every single soul but himself.
    When we won, it was his tactics and game plans, when we lost it was the players.
    I’m sick and tired of reading what he has to say.
    He lost my respect completely when he made the statement that “He has turned us into trophy contenders and made us more competitive than we were under Wenger”… Such a disgraceful statement to say with the depressing football he brought.
    He should just move on and stop whining.
    The truth is yes the club didn’t give him all the players he wanted, but he’s responsible for the stagnation and downward spiral we fell in.

  6. Sue says:

    I wonder if the same thing will happen to Arteta?

    Like it or not, we’re stuck with Pepe.. with the installment plan, we’ve probably paid for his right leg…

    1. Robert Acedius says:

      I think Arteta is a more passionate man than Emery, even if he maybe don’t look as if he were. But he has the fire, and something is boiling inside of him. He know the greatness of this assignment. He know that he is on a mission. A crusade – if you will – to the Holly Land of Ashburton Grove. He’s a jesuit priest, and he don’t accept any compromises. That attitude can take him all the way. That can make him a winner, and that can be his fall.

      1. Sue says:

        👍 nice one, Robert.. I just hope the board back him… I want to see players brought in that he wants, not just having to make do or take the cheap or ancient option… we shall see….

    2. Mogunna says:

      Lol! Well said! Sue! Let’s hope he will play better with two legs next year! We have a new Ozil, when you average wage and transfer price, they about same!

  7. ken1945 says:

    A very true observation Robert, especially as none of us really know the man personally – it’s his time at the club that we judge him on.

    The article also highlights very well, what the difference is between a coach and a manager, something that both UE AND MA knew when they took the post.

    The club wanted to change the structure when AW left, by delegating many more responsibilities and that’s when gazidis brought in the 3 musketeers.

    Martin highlights exactly the flaws this approach can also cause and I wonder if Arteta will be as easy to have his wishes ignored?

    Have to admit, if we are to believe anything managers, coaches or players say, my sympathies lie with Unai Emery on this one.

    1. SueP says:

      I’m afraid I’m not so forgiving as you, Ken. Jon constantly wrote that Emery’s poor English was a factor in his demise and I totally agree.
      He started well enough but the capitulation towards the end of last season and the embarrassing EL final revealed inadequacies in his leadership and this lead to a rapid downturn and sacking.
      I would never besmirch his character but he failed as a coach and lost the respect of the squad.
      Yes, a coach is not the same as a manager but I’d be amazed if there isn’t a decent working relationship between Arteta and Edu.

      1. ken1945 says:

        SP, I was only talking about the Pepe / Zaha question and that pales in comparison to the rest of the mistakes – plus the observation from Robert regarding an individual himself.

        1. SueP says:

          Got it!

  8. Shakir says:

    The anti-ozil fans…OMG😂

    Keep on doing what you are doing mesut brother because your manager,your teammates and many arsenal fans believe in you and know who you are….

    (Oh what am i doing,he is not going to visit this site anyway)😂

    1. Igot350K4scoring1goalandu? says:

      I am very curios to know what Mesut is doing now on the football ground in England when there is no football at all!Last when I checked the stats he scored one wonder of goal (I would nominate it for goal of the season) and one assist of a corner kick (unfortunately there is no award for a single assist, only for the max assists per season).
      Unai paid the price for playing his preferred players – Mesut,Xhaka, Socrates, Laca. No complaints, Unai was part of our history and records, let us move on with Mikel. Good luck to Unai, good luck to Mikel too.

  9. Namo says:

    Few games to the end of last season, we were still hopeful of making Top4.
    Emery just needed to beat Brighton and Crystal Palace at the Emirates. If we had won those two games, we would have finished 3rd and gone on to play the Europa League final, under less pressure. He bottled everything. Lost to Palace, drew Brighton and finally messed up at Baku.
    He should blame himself. Take some responsibility for your actions, Emery.
    On many occasions, you looked clueless on the touchline, scratching ur chin, while you turned Torriera from DM to box to box midfielder. You gave us some of the most dull and boring matches, in recent times.
    You blew it man. Take responsibility, dust yourself up and make a fresh start.

    1. Robert Acedius says:

      Yes, everything looked fine after 31 rounds. Before the trip to Goodison Park. And if the team continued on a decent level they would have ended up before Chelsea and Tottenham – in third place. A more than acceptable result of the debut season for the new coach/ manager. And I’m sure Asn’l in that case would have won in Baku too.

  10. jon fox says:

    Delighted for once to be able to agree Martin! I still believe Emery is a good manager but he was given a bum steer by Arsenal. But he must also bear much responsibility for his constant tinkering, his confusing our players with odd selections and team shapes and by his own inability to learm our language.
    He was not a natural man manager either, which is always a huge disadvantage. WENGER WAS A GREAT MAN MANAGER AND KLOPP IS IN MY VIEW PROBABLY THE SINGLE BEST EVER MAN MANAGER IN FOOTBALL HISTORY. If you fail to get players onside, no matter how good,bad or indifferent they be, you have NO chance. His sacking was inevitable and deserved but he still has many skills . Just the wrong fit at the wrong time for us.

    1. SueP says:

      You have said you feel that Emery is a good manager but have then listed all his failings
      Klopp as you so rightly point out shows what being a manager is all about

      1. jon fox says:

        SueP, The problem with using nuanced comments, which I often use among the many definite opinions too, is that some people will pick up on what they want to from ones comments while virtually ignoring the other nuances. I think you may be doing just that by not fully taking on board ALL my comments. You can easily be a good manager and still make many mistakes, esp while you are still struggling with language, a new country, a new set up and so are the players trying to bond with a new manager. My comments were not, IMO , incompatible with each other. I did not point out as I COULD HAVE DONE, PERHAPS SHOULD HAVE DONE, HIS FINE MANAGERIAL PEDIGREE WHEN HE ARRIVED But hey, that’s life!

    2. Robert Acedius says:

      The negative about Jürgen Klopp is that he make Liverpool play such a boring football. Effective – yes. He is german, isn’t he? But oh, so boring. His infantry soldiers are like the guys who were battling each other to be the first to die on Omaha Beach in Normandy in 1944. Yeah, great and heroic, but no culture, no artistry. No flair. I prefer guys like Robert Pirès, the d’Artagnan of Highbury, and his peers. The Invincibles! Jürgen “Don’t mention the war” Klopp – is a bore. And – don’t forget – a bloody loser. The way he lost the CL final two years ago. No comments. The way he lost EVERYTHING 2019/20. All the cups (Carabao, FA, CL), the EPL and the chance to go unbeaten through a full season – and to beat our 49 straight. The best in The History of Football, Jon? Awrajt!

      1. jon fox says:

        Robert, if you truly believe that Liverpools football under Klopp is boring, then I can not DISAGREE more. I find it thrilling, vibrant, compulsive and am extremely envious of it. Frankly, I AM AT A LOSS TO UNDERSTAND THAT POSITION YOU HOLD.

  11. Grandad says:

    As someone who does not dislike Emery at all, I am glad we did not spend 72m on Saha who failed at another big Club and who is overrated in my opinion.While the jury is still out as far as Pepe is concerned ,he is undoubtedly highly talented and I feel he will come good next season.The fact that he is a few years younger than Saha,coupled with the terms of the transfer fee undoubtedly influenced our hierarchy to overrule Emery on this occasion.Lack of communication skills was the downfall of Emery in my view.He strikes me as a very decent hard working guy and I wish him well for the future.

  12. Top Gunner says:

    Arsenal fans put pressure on Unai Emery to bring back Ozil. Be careful of what you wish. Ozil is just bad news for Arsenal. Regarding Pepe, Zaha is much better than the predictable Pepe. As fans lets just live with the decision that most of you made, by bringing back Ozil from exile. Arteta’s career will be short-lived he he still believes in Xhaka, Mustafi and Ozil. Emery left the team in No 11, and it is still there, under Arteta. What makes him better

    1. ken1945 says:

      Nobody put pressure on UE to bring back Ozil, he did it himself.

      Dropping him after winning five games in a row, then making him captain, then dropping him from the squad, then bringing him back when he started losing games, was hardly the actions of someone who knew what he was doing.

      If what you are saying is true, then the claim that the majority of fans were against Ozil, it follows that your suggestion is arguing against itself – are the vast majority of fans against Ozil or are you suggesting a small minority forced UE to bring him back?

      As for the view that Arteta is going to fail because of his selections, just remind me where we were when he took over, versus where we were WHEN UE left?

    2. Loose Cannon says:

      TG, I too have the same fear for Arteta. Blindly playing Xhaka when we have AMN. Ozil being Ozil, cannot expect much, but we do not have a CAM and Cabellos is another disaster and Willock should be sent on loan to master the skills. So compulsion makes him play Ozil, unless he proposes to play the other waste of money Laca in that position with Auba in the CF role.
      Well Arteta if he cannot get his targets, will be doomed someday. I have given up on this squad.

  13. AlexLaca9 says:

    Could’ve submitted that as an opinion piece, it’s longer than the article itself lol

    1. SueP says:

      I agree
      A very thought provoking read

      1. Admin Pat says:

        I agree too! I will post it this morning….

  14. Top Gunner says:

    I’m saying Emery left the team in No 11 on the log, and we still No.11 with you beloved Arteta. My question is, what is Arteta doing better? I dont see any improvement regarding Arteta and Emery. Regarding the issue of Ozil, Emery did not want to play Ozil at all, but some Arsenal fans put pressure on Emery to bring back Ozil. I hope that you are happy that the team is in No.11 on the log

    1. Mobella says:

      Hey bro, when was the last time you look at the table. The next time you visit JA, just scroll down to the bottom of the page and wait for few seconds for the table to appear and then see for yourself we are not in 11th position with an outstanding game. As for fans putting pressure on Emery to play Ozil, Ken has put out exactly the way it was.

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