Emmanuel Petit believes Arsenal’s ‘DNA’ has been lost since Unai Emery took charge

Arsenal legend Emmanuel Petit strongly believes that the north London club’s ‘DNA’ has been lost since Unai Emery took over from Arsene Wenger.

Writing for Paddy Power News, Gunners legend Emmanuel Petit damningly stated that it’s like “they killed the heritage of Arsenal when Arsene Wenger left”.

We struggled in Wenger’s last few seasons in charge, but at least we still stuck to the club’s core values and identities.

Since Unai Emery was appointed, it’s clear to see that the team’s playing style doesn’t fit in with the club’s historic ‘DNA’ – this is something that has Petit can’t forgive.

The free-flowing attacking football we played under Wenger seems to be a distant memory right now.

Of course no one expected this transitional phase to be easy, but how has Frank Lampard instilled a pleasing identity at Chelsea in a couple of months whilst Unai Emery has failed to do so in over a year at the helm?

We were sat comfortably in third place in the Premier League at this time last week, a shock defeat against Sheffield United and a dismal draw vs Palace has left us sitting in fifth.

Are we going backwards under Emery?

Take a look at what Petit had to say about Arsenal’s current woes below:

“Do you know what makes me sad? It’s not the fact that Arsenal are struggling to be back in the Champions League, or fighting for the title, that’s been the case for a few years.”

“It’s that, what I feel now, is that when I look at Arsenal, I don’t see the DNA of the club any more. I don’t see the style of play from back in the day, the way we played for 20 years.”

“There’s no fluid passing, no movements, no one or two touch, I don’t see that style at all.”

“Since Emery arrived I don’t get pleasure from watching Arsenal any more. Some times, it’s even boring.”

“The Sheffield United game was such an ugly match. Then, against Palace, Arsenal were brilliant for ten minutes, then their opponents score, and suddenly we see all the weaknesses of this team mentally.”

“Come on. This is Arsenal. You should play football.”

“Every time we have the ball, the opponent should be scared, but they aren’t any more – they love playing against us. It’s very frustrating to see in the space of two years, but I don’t see the Arsenal style.”

Petit’s assessment of our current ability seems spot on, it’s become a real battle to get results from matches against respectably weaker sides.

In his tell-all column for Paddy Power, Petit also had his say on Granit Xhaka’s ‘unacceptable’ reaction to fans after being subbed off.

We look no closer to re-establishing ourselves as a top four side in the Premier League under Emery. We’re also hardly any better in big games since the Spaniard took the reins.

Something needs to change very quickly if we’re to mount a serious challenge for a Champions League spot against the likes of Chelsea and Leicester City.

Should we replace Emery in a bid to get our rebuild back on track?

Tags Emery Emmanuel Petit Granit Xhaka Petit Unai Emery


  1. if the players remove their shirt and putting on masks on their faces, no one would recognise this is arsenal, probably a mid table team playing just to survive in the EPL.

  2. Get rid of emery now .
    And in january get rid of ozil…xakai..
    And please get brendan Rodgers for manager.

  3. Petit spot it!
    Can’t even remember when we play good last since Emery is appointed, it hurt to watch our Dear Arsenal this days, who will bring back that DNA as Petit has pointed??

  4. This is certainly one view point and rightly put its hard to argue against but what if there is a reason to it and a method behind the madness?

    How many years did Wenger carry on playing attacking football whilst trying to make us more secure? Did it work or did we still get hammered those times our attack failed? If you can’t go forward because of how weak you are at the back why wouldn’t you sacrifice that temporarily to make us more secure (competitive is Emery’s exact word) at the back? Especially when you only have one striker in form at the time.

    He gets slammed for playing it out from the back, yet, even though its still far too slow and changing the players (now they are fit) would make it instantly much better, the backline looks slightly more composed doing so.

    He wants players who run around like headless chickens is another phrase I’ve heard a lot – but how else do you implement any type of press if players don’t have the work rate to match? It hasn’t looked so headless imo in the matches we have been protagonists in 🤷‍♂️

    No man management skills yet we’ve seen plenty of videos from the training ground of him working one on one with different players trying to iron out there weaknesses – one with Luiz where he is showing him how to use his arms better to not get turned and without giving away a foul, working with Nelson to help him remain calm when being pressed are the two I remember most clearly. Anyone feel like denying that Sokratis wrestles less? Or that Luiz uses his dark arts less? Or that many of our younger players are making better use of their abundance of energy now and less ‘headless chicken’?

    He gets slammed for the way he phrases things or the words he uses but if you take the time to actually interpret his actual meaning he does make a lot of sense – we have made improvements, we are more ‘competitive’ in our defence, we do need a system that works for the whole team, which means that some players will need to get more comfortable doing things they don’t want to and others will need to make more effort.

    Im not saying he always gets it right, that he couldn’t possibly have done better with another approach or that I even agree with every decision he makes but I think he has done far more than many give him credit for and hope that he makes the changes he recently promised, to bring back our lost creativity, sooner rather than later. He is slowly filtering injured players back in and our play is edging that little bit further forward but he is maybe being too cautious imo and could speed it up a bit now and truly show us what he can do with our talented squad.

    Anyway just my opinion and alternative view point again – feel free to debate, ridicule or ignore as you see fit 😂

      1. Vlad the impaler, so much for the request from MadHatter to “debate, ridicule or ignore”; you just direct him not to offer an opinion at all.
        You encapsulate in your response, everything that is dragging this site down.

    1. WENGERS last 47 match as manager
      GOAL SCORED-90
      CLEAN SHEET-17.

      EMERY’S FIRST 47 Matches as manager

      GOAL SCORED-86
      CLEAN SHEET- 10.

      Bearing in mind Wenger never had the luxury of managing player emery has at his disposal. probably the word “improvement” has a new meaning now.Hate to say we were better under Wenger.

    2. You probably look at the table I assume and don’t watch matches at all that’s why you only see the points n think we are ok..not good but it’s not end of world. If you watch the matches then you will know it’s torture and makes you fall asleep watching us play. I would rather loose by playing entertaining football then win 1-0 with boring football. The way we are playing now is exactly how you loose fans when suddenly ppl are no longer interested in watching you play.

    3. If Wenger got this squad, we would be scoring at will with Ozil and the front 3 in a 4-2-3-1.

      I don’t mind Emery going all the way and conduct 1 on 1 sessions with the squad, that’s actually good coaching. But what he fails to do is to get all the individuals to understand what they are asked to do, or he fails to evaluate the capabilities of the individuals to execute his plans. Playing from the back is one good example. Failing to create is another. And that is bad management.

      Every manager in the world is not going to get all the resources he wants. Emery has a reasonably good squad and I think what makes a good manager is to work with what you have, play to your players’ strength, and get the result. Wenger did a way better job in this area.

      Quite frankly, I think Emery is trying too hard to fit the wrong players to his system and fail to offer a chance for the players to do what they do best.

      Poor resources management, boring games, failed to stand up for his players.


      1. Wenger probably would have carried on attacking that’s true, but would he really have had us scoring at will with just Auba on form? I don’t think we would have and what usually happened when the attack wasn’t working was we got hammered and that hasn’t happened either so far this season 🤷‍♂️

        I don’t think Emery does ignore his players capabilities to carry out his plans – take playing out from the back as an example, Sokratis and Luiz aren’t the best at it that’s clear to see, whereas Bellerin, Holding and KT are all much more comfortable doing so.
        So whilst he could just kick it long when Sok and Luiz are playing, and playing it out when it’s KT, Holding and Bellerin, what happens when for example Sokratis has to stand in for Holding? Do we carry on playing it out or revert to kick it long?
        This is why I believe Emery persists with it – he needs Sokratis and Luiz to be more comfortable doing it because they need to fit in with how he wants the team to play.
        It’s the same reason he values a high work rate – it’s a major requirement for the pressing system he wants us to implement.

        It’s also pretty clear that our team as a whole is/can be dangerous on the attack, where we came unstuck was our defence. So to my mind it makes perfect sense that is what he has been focusing on as we don’t need to get better at attacking but the whole team needs to improve defensively – and slowly but surely it has even though its the SAME players.

        In quite a few interviews now he has said he wants a team of 25 not just a starting 11, he wants a system to fit all the team and that’s its a process – it could be looked at like this:

        Phase one – assess players, move on ‘deadwood’ and replace with better fitting players – completed in summer window.
        Phase two – work on the teams weaknesses and individual player errors, start laying the basic prep work to get every player ready for the new system.
        Phase three – start implementing the new system, find the right pairings so you know who makes strong or poor combinations (for rotation purposes) etc.
        Phase four – build on the system, adjust to better play to our strengths and look to dominate (made easier by having addressed the weaknesses before hand).

        Obviously that’s just an example, and could be utter pish but any plan would have been hampered by player injuries and so many new/young faces. Plus as I’ve said before he only finally got the players he wants/needs this last window so he hasn’t actually had that long to be working on the ‘Phase two’ part of my example process and I would say we are already seeing the start of ‘Phase three’ now that players are returning to fitness 🤷‍♂️

  5. I’ve said very same thing before. Emery is trying to replace Arsenal DNA with who knows what. That’s why he is struggling.

    We needed someone to combine Graham’s defense with Wenger’s attacking style and flair. Emery has delivered neither; actually made defense worse and killed our attacking flair and style.

    20 years of branding Arsenal on attacking, slick passing, one-two touch football. Emery is slowly killing an identity that drew millions of fans around the world.

    If Emery doesn’t understand this simple concept, then he never deserved to be manager in the first place.

  6. Hahaha….spot on bro…one day one he will go to Madrid or Barca then admin Martin will start jumping up and down playing that loyalty card. Guy is one of the best talents at the moment bearing in mind he is only 19. Way way ahead of so called hyped up all British players we have.

  7. You can never deny that in the modern football world, you need money to be successful. Money can come from sugar daddies, or from actual operations including gate receipt, merchandise sales, prizemoney and sponsors – all required a good brand. Killing the brand is like dismantling your financial foundation.

    Like it or not, Wenger was the one who built the a powerful global brand for Arsenal. Before Wenger, Arsenal may be great in England, but not so much outside UK. How many brands in the football world can be so attractive to fans and sponsors by just winning 3 FA Cups in the last 10 years?

    Destroying the brand because it was built by Wenger (someone you don’t like) is the most stupid decision.

    We talk about being pragmatic – so as long as the brand is helping Arsenal, we don’t care who built it and should keep its DNA.

    Is Emery the one to keep the Arsenal brand great? Can Emery make Arsenal the EPL champion again? Will the same set of player give a much better performance under Guardiola, Klopp or Rodgers?

    Your have the answer in your head and your heart.

    Talent is inborn, and if Emery has just this much talent, we have to admit it and let go.

    1. DiDi, please brush up on the history of Arsenal, particularly the 1930’s under Herbert Chapman. Also, you might be interested in the “Battle of Highbury” when England beat Italy 2-1 and check how many Arsenal players played for England that day. Also Bertie Mee and George Graham managed teams that won silverware in Europe. Thus Arsenal was well known outside the UK prior to the arrival of Arsene Wenger.

  8. A global power brand is different from a known brand. Knowing

    Global is much bigger than UK plus Europe.

    I live in Asia, the most important market for most global brands, so I know how the affection towards Arsenal had changed in the last 20 years or so. the historical info you mentioned was not even known to most people here. In fact, the reputation of Arsenal started to take an upward trend when they heard there is a team in England that “won the championship without defeat”.


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