The odds are very much against Unai Emery turning it around at Arsenal

Very few managers have ever recovered from a poor start and turned things around.

The Arsenal board are hoping that Unai Emery will turn things around but the odds are against him.

I did a quick bit of research looking for evidence of high profile managers turning things around. There was very little.

Sir Alex Ferguson is shown up as the perfect example at Man Utd. Some will argue that Jurgen Klopp did it at Liverpool. But really, that is about it.

I found this on the website 90min – 5 managers who recovered from poor starts to be successful at their clubs but three of them simply do not apply, Pochettino, Sarri and Conte. Their bad starts were right at the start within ten games, not after 18 months.

The Arsenal board should be asking themselves if Emery has the ability to do what almost every single manager in a similar position has failed to do.

I would love to be able to come up with a list of managers that have recovered after 18 months. It is with great regret that I cannot.

It is hard to see Emery being able to be that unique manager that does the unlikely. I mean, he has not really shown any signs that he is capable of doing that.

Some may argue that it is not as bad as what it is being made out. They will point to finishing 5th last season and reaching the Europa League final, that Arsenal was very close to making the Champions League. Some will also argue that we are just twelve games in.

They have valid points, maybe some patience is required. But surely that patience is built on the belief that there is a manager in place with the ability to turn things around?

I just do not see too many that are convinced by that.


  1. Those smart executives at Arsenal surely know about the stats

    I guess it takes two more defeats before they axe Emery

  2. The board believes in him for reasons best known to them but I don’t think he is the man to take us forward.
    The man can not put out our best 11, it is so pathetic.

    Hope he repays the boards trust in him and gives us some great performance

    1. I know that I can’t run a practice, recruit or do many other “manger” things very well, but I do think I could figure out how to play the players we have in their right positions on a regular basis, which seems to me to be fairly important.

      So I guess the board is thinking that Emery is a pretty good choice compared to the likes of me. And if that is the measuring stick they are right – they shouldn’t change a thing.

      So SJ – the reason known to them is that he is a better manager than me (I am sure that makes everyone feel better and understand what is happening behind the scenes)!

      Still, I think that I have him on that selection and placement element 🙂

  3. Whether Emery is expel from his job or not that does not change the fact that arsenal have average players who don’t know what it means to play for great arsenal fc…is not all about sacking Emery but who is going to be the next coach…
    Arsenal need a coach that has authority over the players and that will demand huge sum of money to put things in order, because any coach won’t perform any magic with these set of lazy players that’s the truth….Arsenal need a top coach

  4. I must say that I agree with this article whole heartedly. It seems clear that Emery is close to the sack. Exactly how close is up for debate but from the statement the club itself put out, it is clear that he is in the last chance saloon. I have used the expression”the departure lounge” and that is PRECISELY HOW I SEE IT RIGHT NOW. Racking my old and feeble brains I have failed to come uo with a single Prem manager who has ever turned a club around from being in Emerys position, aftef 18 months; ie a moderately decent start, whilst failing to impress, then falling away badly to the end of his first eason and a second season so far that has been a total disaster from beginning to end. He has, this season, actually been fortunate in few new injuries but has messed up everything he has touched so badly that we all – or well over 90% for certain, judging by myriad posts – want him gone right now. I am nearly certain he will not be here in Feb and his sacking any day before then would be hugely welcome and is to be expected. It will happen fellow Gooners; the only doubt is the exact timing. And good riddance when he finaly goes!

    1. Jon, what about Bruce Rioch leaving and Arsene Wenger joining-now that wasn’t to hard to remember, was it?

      Players threatening to leave, the fanbase in turmoil, an ageing back line, previous manager sacked for taking money out of the club, a drinking culture that saw players turning out drunk out of their minds… up pops David Dein, he knew EXACTLY what to do and the rest is history.

      Today, when UE leaves, he leaves having destroyed everything that was in place to ensure he succeeded – who would want a poisoned chalice like that?

      1. Ken

        Forget UE for a minute.
        The question we have to ask is who should take the can for appointing him in the first place
        AW love him or hate him left a style of play. The board should have appointed a manager who understood the fabric of the club and not an outsider. Or a manager who could carry on the style but add a few ingridiants to enhance it and take us to another level.
        I beleive we are in this mess again because the management up stairs have cocked up again.

        1. Allanball08, that person, gazidis, has now left the club I think we would both agree?

          But that is my point, this was a completely new regime that swept everything before it away, except for some incredible reason Steve Bould.

          Those fans who called for this to happen, are now complaining about it and UE is the focal point of their anger.

          It’s completely overlooked that gazidis took the decision of contracts, buying and selling of players away from Wenger two years before he left…well that’s the claim when it suits their arguments, but conveniently forgotten when it doesn’t. Remember the much heralded three musketeers?

          I don’t blame kronkie for the present state of affairs either, as he has committed over two hundred and fifty million pounds since Ue took charge, plus auba and lacs when the new regime stepped up to the plate.

          I agree with you regarding the mismanagement from the new regime, but UE is the coach and it’s his team now.

      2. We are told that AW didn’t have a clue, but fifa have just appointed him as their chief of global football development.

        We have replaced him with UE, well done to all concerned, we’ve got our Arsenal well and truly back.

      3. Ken you clearly misunderstood what I said. You are talking about two separate managers; I was referring to the SAME manger improving things that had gone drastically wrong. I had thought my phrasing was clear, but not to you it seems. The article itself, on which I added my view, was specifically about the EXISTING manager turning things around; NOT a totally new manager. Obviously though, Wenger was a prime example of what you thought I meant.

        On DD, he tried, but failed, to get Arsene appointed instead of Rioch in 1995. As to the substance of what NOW most matters, getting this disastrous idiot fired, each day that the board wait is another day of regression, as we all know. I now expect him to go around end of this year or early Jan. THIS MINUTE would be far better.

  5. Spot on AdMart.
    We need a manager/coach who the players are in awe of and will run through brick walls for !…………………………..we have a coach who is having the piss taken out of him , the players are not stupid and will have heard of rumours that he could not control the dressing room of PSG and if that is true then he should have never been interviewed let alone given the job.
    Just because he knew all the players from a dossier, I have Panini Cards going back years of every PL player, that makes me more eligible than Emery and not forgetting my London Colney Subbuteo pitch where if any player is out of hand then I re-paint their face to look like Ian Dowie !

    FIFA appoint Arsene Wenger as chief of global football development, well deserved.

      1. did you actually build a model of Colney from Subutteo? Afraid I never got past the board and players, it is somewhere in my Mom’s attic.

        1. Did I build a model from Subbuteo ?……………..Stewart, I`m also the head groundsman aswell, the pitch is immaculate, I have a mini John Deere ride on mower for it ! 😆

    1. Le Coq, Oh,you cruel man! Making them look like Ian Dowie! How can you live with yourself! As to the substance of your post you could not be more correct. And also on Wenger, whose appointment is a masterstroke. If I had my way, Wenger would run FIFA and make all key decisions personally. It would then be honest AT LAST.If only… Sigh!

    1. You changed how you spelt a swear word but it is still picked up by the filters. I will restore the comment and remove the offending word. Please refrain as best you can from using swear words. It is against the rules of the site.

  6. Quick fixes are very rare in football, and sometimes it doesn’t even matter who the manager is. Many things contribute, and even with right tactics and mindsets, there are tons of things that can go wrong in the football, such as injuries and such.

    But, all one can hope for is the manager who can convey his ideas such as tactics, team selection, player management and mentality to players, club boards and the fans alike, and whose actions in the pitch conform to those same ideas. That is a bare minimum requirement.

    If Emery was able to do just that, I don’t think many would have an issue with him as after Wenger, it was going to be an uphill battle for any manager currently in Europe to build a team that has flair and character that Arsenal fans want to see while performing equally well in competitions. But Emery has clearly shot in his own foot by making very questionable decisions and opting tactics that clearly go against his own ideas that he swore by when he joined. Forget about the football style that is characteristic of Arsenal, Emery hasn’t quite lived up to all talks he has himself given. Emery talks of balance but his team selection almost always have lopsided balance in terms of Offense/Defense, Brute/Creativity, Wingplay/Centerplay, etc.

    Following that up with his choices of playing/freezing certain players, making players play in unsuitable position (Torreia), just makes fans doubt him plain and simple. And some of his tactical decisions has been absolutely appalling at times that would even raise questions about his understanding of football fundamentals.

    We do have to accept the fact that it might take up to two more years to build a solid team in the mould of Man City or Liverpool from what we have now, but Emery just can’t be trusted with that time as after one and a half season, and now with all players fit, Emery just doesn’t seem to decide on his best starting XI. That’s unacceptable. And his press talks clearly indicate he has no intention of deciding his best starting XI, as he keeps saying, it depends on opponents and situations. He might think he’s being tactical, but all he is doing is killing the coherence in the team by experimenting and making him look like a clueless coach.

    And if things continue in the same manner, it’s looking really grim for Arsenal this season.

  7. I don’t think any top football coach in the world not even Pep Guardiola. Jurgen Klopp, Zidane or even Jose Mourinho if any of them is employed by Arsenal before the international break ends can turn Arsenal around to win the PL title this season on 95 maximum points, that’s assuming Arsenal collect all their remaining 78 points from 26 matches left for them to play. More so, if the current average crops players in the club’s first team squad at the Emirates Stadium are the players who the new coach will have on ground to work with without any notable new player signings reinforcement done to the squad during the next January window which if done could guaranteed a top-four table finish for Arsenal at the end of the season. And could see the new Arsenal outlook win the Europa League Cup title for the club for the first time in their history.

    Defensive facilities have bed ridden Arsenal defence for a very long time now but with the club looking weak to solve the problem until maybe during the next January window when they might sign one top quality centreback before Williams Saliba arrived to the club next season. But report is having it that he’s current injured for St Etienne where he was signed from last summer window but immediately loaded back to the club to thus forced Arsenal to sign David Luiz as replacement to the departed Koscielny. Which may not have happened had Arsenal not loaned Saliba back to St Etienne but bring him to the Ems for action immediately completing the deal to sign him. But why did Arsenal do this kind of Saliba signing business with St Etienne? Arsenal are the only PL club side that I’ve known to have done this kind of business. I rate them poor in this regard!

  8. Emery does not deserve any more time in my opinion. The end of season collapse last season and the current struggles demonstrate that he can’t cut it at our beloved club. He had the whole summer to rectify the shortcomings of last season. The Board backed him beyond our wildest imagination. He got a top class winger we all craved for (Pepe), a new CB(Luiz) as well as a youthful hungry winger (Martinelli). During the previous transfer windows, he got a good goalkeeper (Leno), a decent CDM(Torreira). Add to this the youngsters that have come from the academy (Saka, Willock, anyone?). Yet, he cannnot fashion a team to play well against Sheffield, Leicester, a poor Man Utd, etc. He should be gone by now.

    1. And where is his midfield? Why wont some admit that AFc has a average squad of players..

      1. I think that some people are probably a bit deluded in thinking that we are a challenger and some are really hopeful that the problem is primarily Emery – the answer is a bit of both I think. We have holes, but I think that we could get quite a bit more out of what we have now. Are we threatening for the title? No of course not, we need DM and defenders to even think about the top, and maybe even then it is too far with what we have. But I think that a more creative manager could use the pieces we do have to seriously challenge for top four.

        Is top four enough? Not ideally, but it would mean that we aren’t dropping tons of points, that we can keep a couple of clean sheets, win on the road, those sorts of things. I would be pretty happy with that – especially compared to my fears of what is to come for the rest of the season.

  9. If Emery turns it round, he keeps his job, if he doesn’t, he doesn’t. Thats it, its plain as day. Come January we will be better off or have a new coach. Simples.

    1. What is ACTUALLY “simples” is that come January we will definitely have a new coach. FORGET “or”!

  10. Emery never actually wanted Torriera and you know what he was right. I do feel a tadd sorry for Unai on the whole. We have a very over rated squad with only Abameyang, Guendouzi and Ozil top 4 quality. We have a good crop of youngsters coming through which gives me hope. The the fact we play 3 in the middle with only one good cm does not. Sokratis and Luiz are worse than chambers and Mustafi so that’s not great. Leno isn’t in the top 10 keepers in the league. AMN made us forget how bad Bellerin could be and on the other side Tierney needs the season before we judge him. Lacazette is sadly over rated he’s slightly too slow and slightly too small to be the lethal striker Abameyang is. Pepe I’m giving till the end of the season but chances of him coming good are slim too.

    1. Liam, just for clarity, where did you read/find out that Emery never actually wanted Torreira?

      If what you say about the squad is correct, why are you feeling sorry for UE?

      He’s brought in twelve new players, got rid of twenty one, two loanees, a good crop of youngsters coming in…so he has, surely, been the architect of this squad of players and how they play?

    2. So Emery personally told you that he did not want Torreira then? Somehow, I do not believe you! I also feel a tad sorry for Emery, but not for the same reasons as you. I feel sorry for anyone who after 18 months and who claims to be a real professional , not merely someone who is paid money either, to get no further than pathetic and “pidgeon”English in a job where fluent communication is vital. But more than that, I feel very sorry for all Gooners world wide who have to suffer the stupidity of this man remaining, albeit in name only, as “manager” of our great club.

  11. i ask myself which of our players would walk into the current liverpool team ?. and, you know what ?, i cannot think of any , not a one.we do have a decent squad, but by no means a winning squad. we are as far away from winning the league as we were back in 73/74 in my opinion.there is definately something wrong with the culture of our club, and i have an idea where that has come from .laziness, disrespect,tardiness,mediocrity to name but a few traits in our current squad.we are no longer competitors, we are cowards. when our club captain (former) admits that the team were actually afraid , then , that, for me , says it all . we have no spine in every sense. sacking the manager will not fix this 100%, we need a total clean out , from the chair right down to the players.

    1. I think our forwards could get in. Klopp would also do wonders with Pepe he has a record of improving already good players but he’d be deputy to salah. And I think guendouzi could get on their bench and get games over Henderson here and there. But I honestly can’t see the rest in that Liverpool team, they are just that good

  12. Emery wanted Nzonzi who I believe would be equally as bad as Torriera but Emery a bigger more inposing cm which I agree with. Now to Leno he’s not commanding, his distribution is poor and he prefers to parry when it’s easier to catch. Lacazette next, perfectly good striker but not clinical enough to lead the line when we have Abameyang. We would be much better off dropping Lacazette, playing ozil behind Abameyang and playing Pepe and Saka on the wings.

    1. Liam, so taking your last sentence, why do you feel sorry for UE, it’s his choice not to do that isn’t it? I agree with your suggestion, but pepe has got to show a lot more, before he could be selected over lacs in my opinion.

      As for Torreira, it was your opinion then about UE not wanting him…not saying your wrong, but I hadn’t seen that comment.
      Leno, I’d prefer Martinez, simply because I agree with you.
      Lacs, slightly too slow? Maybe, but what a shot he has from outside the area when placing the ball in the top corners…Too small? Don’t know if you remember Joe Baker and how tall was Wrighty? Not much in it I think.

      1. Ken, I’d say Joe Baker was shorter than Laca. I was at Orient on the opening day of the season in ’62 when he scored his first League One goal and Strong scored the other, if I remember correctly(which is far from certain!). As for Wrighty, I have never heard of him.(Though I might be lying!)I PRESUME HE MUST HAVE PLAYED FOR US!!!!

  13. Unai will change the lineup again against Southampton. That is the hallmark of his relic of a tactical nous. What bothers me is the eroding of our one touch football. We are now too slow in building attacks and slower in repelling attacks. We will get used to this boring football until the new year. So keep your tickets crossed

  14. @Muyizo… I do not think there would be unfamiliar lineups, for I believe the only new name that would pop in is definitely ‘Tierney’ on our left back over ‘Kolasinac’ who is in Xhaka’s category..
    Tierney might be the one who finally gets Emery style and kick it in.
    Thoughts though.

  15. Some members here are of an opinion that Arsenal currently doesn’t have good players to make up to the top four. I would like them to clarify, how this team, without the new additions in summer, got to the Europa league final and just one point shy of top four in the league table? If not for some horrible mistakes in last few games last season, Arsenal would be playing in CL this year. And we have great new additions to that squad, Pepe, Saka, Martinelli, Ceballos, Chambers, Bellerin, Tierney, Holding, Luiz and we only lost Iwobi. We have more than we need in terms of players. Emery’s tactics are making them look horrible believe it or not. There are some problems with our players in terms of their lack of pace and physical presence, but that’s all. We have very skillful players but Emery is making them look like amateurs.

    For example, Torreira did have a central role last season, and we were looking quite solid in the midfield when he was there and now with Emery’s insistence on Guendouzi and Xhaka as a regular starters, Torreira’s form is down the drain and Emery is literally killing Torreira’s form by changing his roles. Torreira just looks unmotivated whenever he plays because there was no sense in dropping him like that when he was in such a fine form. Torreira should have been the undisputed starter in the midfield. Heck, he made Xhaka look good when they played together. And Xhaka was doing good with Torreira. It’s this combo of Guendouzi and Xhaka that stinks, which Emery just couldn’t get enough of, that has killed our midfield tenacity.

    Both Xhaka and Guendouzi are players of very similar moulds imo, in terms of tackling, distribution, passing. Defensively both are weak. And Emery didn’t seem to understand that this far into the season for whatever reasons. Xhaka and Guendouzi don’t fit together. There were some likable traits of Xhaka that Torreira made us aware of last season, but when partnered with Guendouzi this season, Xhaka’s weaknesses just overpowered whatever good he had to offer. That’s the responsibility of the coach, to find a combination of players that brings the best out of everybody, and compensates for their shortcomings, but Emery has been brain-dead to this synergy aspect of a team selection. And the less we talk about his 3 DM midfield trio selection, the better.

    I have no complains regarding how Emery is handling Tierney, Bellerin and Holding, as they are just outta recovery, but his choice of players in the midfield is the most divisive aspect of Emery, and will probably see him off to his end with Arsenal.

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