Opinion – It is time Unai Emery started to enforce discipline

There is a massive lack of discipline at Arsenal and Unai Emery has to get it under control.

Over the last few months, I have witnessed a significant lack of discipline involving Arsenal players and it appears to me that it is almost out of control.

I am not going to analyse every single incident but a simple summary clearly shows there is a problem.

You have a senior player telling the coach to his face he is no coach. Another senior player liking social media posts calling for the manager to be sacked. That same player defiantly and publicly saying he will continue a relationship with an abusive so-called massive Arsenal fan channel calling for his teammates to F off and to leave the club.

A captain that tells the fans to F off and then sending cryptic messages to the Arsenal fans when on international duty.

I could go on and in some of these examples, we are talking more than one player. Some of these incidents was covered in this article.

How the hell has this been allowed to happen?

I do not recall this happening even in the darkest days of Arsene Wenger, certainly not to this extent.

Did Sir Alex Ferguson allow this culture to exist at Man Utd? Nope, he soon slung those players out of the club and we are talking huge stars.

Would the likes of Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola allow such a culture to take root?

There are examples when it has got out of hand, Jose Mourinho at Chelsea but even then it was done behind closed doors and not in public.

Massive fines, being dropped, being sold and so on are all weapons available to Emery to enforce discipline, So why is he not doing anything?

Lack of discipline will undermine any manager, it is like a disease that if not contained will soon spread.

I do not want to see the big players dropped or sold but Arsenal is far bigger than any of them can ever dream to be and if necessary, the full weight of sanctions must be applied.

This is just one example of what Emery can do to start steadying the ship because as things stand right now, the players just do not respect him. Not in my opinion anyway.


  1. Ferguson was feared at Man United, whereas Guardiola got Man City’s support from the start. Because Emery doesn’t have that kind of power yet, Arsenal have to discipline the players with rules and sanctions

    Start by selling Xhaka. Then sell Ozil with a discounted price and pay some of his salary if necessary

    Arsenal shouldn’t let rebel’s influences and bad examples thrive at the club

  2. Gotanidea, how much money do you contribute to our club and, therefore kronkie?

    It must be an awful lot, because you are very eager to throw his money away at a whim.

    To date, you have named xhaka, ozil, torreria, mustafi as players we should sell at cut prices and/or subsidise their salaries.

    Then I guess, you will demand he buys players to replace them, along with the necessary salaries to attract them to our club.

    But if UE had the ability to man manage these players, along with the rest of the squad, there would be no need to do this, would there?
    It’s not as if he came to us wet behind the ears and needed to have a nurse maid…he took one of your examples of a rebel and tried to make an example of him – look how that turned out.

    Emery should have installed his way of management right from the start, so start blaming the guy supposedly in authority.

    1. Quite right. HIS MAN MANAGEMENT SKILLS HAVE ALWAYS BE QUESTIONABLE. His apparent dislike of talented players also goes back a long time. His sale of David Silva and Xavi, to of the greatest talents of of recent times. His falling out with Neymar and Cavani at PSV. These are not isolated incidents and in my opinion are related to him trying to force a style of play which was not anyway suitable for those players and detrimental to the team as a whole. It should be no surprise to anyone who has followed Emery’s management career, regardless of his success in the EURO cup, that he is struggling in the toughest league in Europe.His record shows,in my opinion, that he will never manage the like of Ozil. Auba,Laca and Torriera are unhappy and they will soon decide to stay at Arsenal is not in their best interest.

    2. GOTTA STOP DOING THIS OLD CHUM, PEOPLE WILL TALK IF I KEEP HAVING LOVE INS FOR YOUR COMMENTS. I have always thought Got an idea is , how shall I put this, not the brightest tool in the box and it DOES,as you say, come down to man management ability or rather, LACK OF IT!

  3. It seems like the manager has LOST senior members of the dressing room. The writing has been on the wall for a while now. The players are probably leaking information themselves in retaliance against the manager. Özil and Aubameyang clearly dislike him (the writer has covered how) and are probably leading the revolt.

    My main question is this:

    WTF happened between last season and now for Arsenal to be failing so dismally in the league???

    I feek the answer is entirely more complex than just: Unai Emery

  4. The Southampton game is a much win game. And it must be a clear win. We must also win all the games before the Man City game. And we must change our manager ASAP. Mou, Enrique and Arteta. Any of those 3 will do a good job.

  5. Discipline works in a curious way. And it has to do with faltering belief in our players, towards their coach and the tactics they are implementing. Because when the players go to the pitch and play how their coach wants, they no longer need to resort to belief to understand whether or not the tactics are any good. Sense and reason can conduce a much stronger belief in player than the blind faith in their coach. And it’s clear as a daylight that Emery’s tactics neither make any sense or reason. And that is killing the belief in the players. They don’t think that they can go to pitch and win by playing how the coach wants. And when that happens, discipline issues follow. And if Emery wants to solve these discipline issues, he better sort out his tactics and let the players play in their best positions and play them to their strengths and not to their weakness. You train weaknesses in the training ground, not in a game. That’s the only way. If Emery takes a more authoritative stance towards discipline issues, he’ll fall harder than he’s currently doing.

  6. The solution is clear. Get a new manager and freeze xhaka just to send a message to the other players. Emery is just too scared of football and the players can see it. It would take a miracle for him to turn this around.

  7. I think Emery is tough with players ala benching Ozil and taking away Xhaka’s captaincy

    He is tougher than Winger who molly coddled the players ie gave ridiculous wages to average players, started players who were poorly performing

  8. Respect is not conferred by position, it must be earned. Emery can do what he wants but he has not earned the respect of the players and to attempt to do it now by imposing sanctions is going to lose him the dressing room entirely, more so than he has already.

    Emery needs to change, if he can, and quickly so or th situation will become unrecoverable. Unnfortunately, however, it is highly unliky that such change will occur. We are in for hard times, I’m afraid.

    BTW, you’all notice how well Santi Cazorla is doing for Spain. Another player we shod never have sold.

  9. The issue is not discipline, it is ability. Emery has none and he does not recognize it in others.

    Unai Emery tried to use these techniques. He froze Ozil out last year and then, when he was losing badly, brought him back to save the season. He started this season the same way. You cannot bully players with 25 million pound contracts. All Ozil has to do is smile, not speak, and keep cashing checks and there’s nothing Emery can do about it for two more years. He should have understood that from his problems with Cavani and Neymar at PSG. Unfortunately, he did not learn.

    So two years in a row he tries the bully tactics and they fail.

    Here’s how the Granit Xhaka issue will play out. Emery will not let him play again and in January he’ll move, either on loan or permanently. He will play well for his new team, proving beyond any doubt that the issue is Emery, not Xhaka.

    Emery supposedly wants the Gunners to press. He did not pick Ozil because Ozil doesn’t press effectively. Hmmm….

    Well, no one else on the team is pressing effectively either, so maybe it’s not Ozil. Maybe it’s someone else?

    Emery wants to press because pressing from the front is the new fad. Pep does it, Jurgen does it, so Emery does it. Except those teams have been built to press high and have the athletes and the coaching to execute it. Emery’s players clearly have no idea how to move into the press decisively and the players behind have no idea how to rotate their coverage behind the pressing players. That’s coaching.

    His midfield is terribly balanced because he is forcing Guendouzi into the team. Granit Xhaka is not a defensive midfielder. Anyone who watches him knows it. He knows it. He’s a good central midfielder. He passes effectively, he shoots from distance. He is a decent tackler. When he played alongside Torreira in the center of a midfield two he was effective. Unfortunately, that left Emery’s pet Guendouzi out of the equation. Out goes Torreira, Xhaka is pushed into the DM role, and Arsenal’s midfield runs around like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off while pundits and so-called experts praise Guendouzi for his energy and aggressiveness.

    Meanwhile, back in the table, Arsenal are tumbling like Chinese acrobats. Demanding discipline is like demanding effort. It sounds easy enough, but getting results is more complicated than just threatening people with dire consequences especially when the people you are threatening are not powerless employees, but multi-million dollar football stars with access to millions of media followers.

    Initial reactions to Xhaka’s situation from Arsenal’s fans has been to blame the player, but now he speaks and his family is threatened and he plays well for his country and the situation is more nuanced. His teammates support him. Former players and his national teammates support him. A line of teams are more than willing to have him in their teams. So go ahead, discipline him. Strip him of his captaincy and humiliate him in front of the public to ear points from social media idiots.

    Good luck on your next signing.

    The same people screaming for Xhaka’s head are asking to sign his national teammate. You think those players do not talk? You think Xhaka hasn’t told the guy, “if you go, make sure you get everything in writing and make a lot of money because the coach is a liar and an a-hole!’?

    How is Emery going to discipline Ozil? Keep him out of the team? Been there, done that. Send him to train with the kids? That works if the player really does suck (Like lord Bendtner), but when it is one of your best players? Not so much? Do you think it hurt morale to have Ozil making idiots out of his teammates in training, then being left out of the side? Even if columnists keep blaming Ozil, the guys on the training ground know Ozil is better than the guys playing in the games. If you win, well, no one cares, but when you lose… things change.

    Bad man management is like erosion. You don’t notice it happening, but then the cliff caves in and a bunch of houses fall into the ocean and everyone points fingers. Emery and the Arsenal front office are poor man managers. They started with Ozil, then screwed up royally with the Ramsey situation, then screwed up a second time with Ozil, and are now mishandling this situation with Xhaka. In the end, Ozil will get his millions. Xhaka will get a new team, and Arsenal will finish fifth or sixth and Gooners will have to satisfy themselves with the return of St. Totterinham’s Day.

    Meanwhile Arsenal will try to sell the same table position that had everyone screaming for Arsense Wenger’s head as ‘progress.’

    1. I think that we have been in this management sink (seems more appropriate than a “trap”, maybe bottomless pit, quagmire, quicksand, bog) for quite a while. Things were sliding at the end of Wenger’s term and it has gotten worse.

      To add to paul35mm, not that he needs my input, once you fall down into the hole/sink/bog, it is very hard to get back out. That is what really scares me right now, we are fast approaching a point where the pain will be for an extended period going forward and may get worse.

      Players talk and they have a lot more power than in years past. Discipline is important but you have to play nice with them, encourage them. Some seem to like sticks, but sticks don’t tend to work with professional athletes anymore (well, except for hockey players as they need them).

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