I hear some Arsenal fans say that Unai Emery needs 3 or 4 transfer windows to build his team. On the basis of what I saw at the Etihad I continue to question what it is our manager is trying to build? Earlier this season when he switched to 5 at the back with 2 DMs in front of it, I questioned whether the Spaniard was in fact a negative manager after all.
I understand why he would want his two strikers working hard and tracking back against the champions but apart from that his tactics seemed to be to park the bus. There are certain sides over the years who defend like it’s an art. A Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool or Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea were masters of setting up to get a one-off result. For over two decades that hasn’t been in our DNA nor should it be. Arsenal are a club who have values of playing the game the right way, Ivan Gazidis told us in the interview process Emery impressed by sharing that ethos. Yet in Manchester our most creative individuals sat on the bench. Ozil didn’t come on for ‘tactical reasons’ while his teammates didn’t have a single shot in the second half.
Like Jose was never going to work at United due to being too negative, Gooners won’t stand for too many games like that when we show zero ambition. We have had heavy defeats on our travels before but it’s rare where we would not try and hurt the opposition. With the attack we have, we were always more likely to get a result by asking questions instead of hoping we lucked our way to a 0-0. Just 12 months ago, we looked more likely of getting a draw at the Etihad by being on the offensive. A similar mindset saw us knock them out of the F A Cup.
I prefer the time we lost 6-3, to what I saw on Sunday. You can hold your hands up to the opposition being better. We accept their owners care more than ours. But to not even try and attack, to be defensive, to try and just hope Aguero has one of those days? That’s not an Arsenal I want to see.