Unai Emery has to make a huge decision or risk losing his job

Managers are judged by their results and rightfully so, there is no better metric at the top level and just making progress season after season is simply not enough, not when you are a top-six team.

To achieve consistently good results and win silverware difficult decisions have to be made, managers have to be ruthless and know when to be brutal with certain players.

If Unai Emery does not make the decision to drop Granit Xhaka and accept that he can no longer be considered first-team material then he reduces his chances of achieving those consistently good results and winning silverware.

You cannot carry passengers at the top level and that is exactly what the Swiss international is now.

It is becoming more and more difficult to understand why Emery sticks with Xhaka and it will get to a point where his job could be at risk. If you keep selecting players that cost you points then you have to answer for that.

If Emery cannot make the hard decision to discard his captain then the board will step in and for them making the hard decisions is all in a days work.

It is not a case of dropping Xhaka or you lose your job, it is the failure to identify the weakness and deal with it that will bite you in the butt.

Xhaka is not really the issue here, to be honest, it could be David Luiz or Ainsely Maitland-Niles or whoever, if a player is not good for the team then the manager has to see that very early on.

The truth is Emery failed to see that until it was too late with Mustafi, once is bad enough but twice and then questions will be asked.

I feel we are at the stage where Emery is starting to put his job at risk continuing to select Xhaka.

68 Comments

  1. patrick says:

    UE just needs to stop tinkering to much and select his best 11 week in week out…and Xhaka isn’t in it. He needs to find another club captain too. I’d give it to Cebellos without thinking 2wice. He has the fire & passion wearing the badge. It doesn’t matter one bit that he’s on loan to us too…who knows, he may want to be with us permanently after the loan period is up, forcing his way out of RM…

    1. Fred says:

      I also at times wonder what is xhaka doing in an Arsenal jersey.There are Soo many potent midfielders for us to continue cutting this guy some slack.

      1. Okobah Chris says:

        I have never been a fan of Xhaka, but in all honesty, he is now developing from bad player to horrible player.
        I used to refer to him as walking card when he came new , but now he is a walking defeat.each time he wears arsenal’s jessy he is ready to cost arsenal the game.

        1. Latiffa Chi says:

          Arsenal will be garbage as long as emery is the gaffer.

    2. nonny says:

      the only people I know in our best 11 is pal and leno I will like to know our best 11 please

      1. Atid says:

        Best x1 for the premier league

        Leno
        Bellerin Chambers Holding Tierney
        Guendozi Torreira
        Ceballos
        Pepe Lacazette Aubameyang

        Bench – Martinez, Sokratis, Luiz, Niles, Willock, ozil, Nelson or Martinelli

        Best x1 for all 3 cups

        Martinez
        Niles Sokratis Dino Kolasinac
        WIllock Luiz
        Ozil
        Nelson Martinelli Smith-Rowe

        Bench – Macey, Mustafi, Burton, Xhaka, Saka, John-Jules, Balogun

        1. Nonny says:

          From your best xi you added bellerin,holding,Tierney who are all injured and torriera what has he bèen doing as of late to start ahead of willock and ozil, this from your xi’s it’s clear we don’t know our best xi and we are tinkering like our head coach leno and pal is the only ones that are assured of there place on the team by merit

          1. Sparkles says:

            @Nonny what has Ozil being doing of late to deserve a start? The trio OF TORREIRA, GUENDOUZI AND CEBALLOS are currently our best midfield.

      2. Momanyi says:

        Let’s not be harsh on the issue now, My thinking couldn’t be good but we need ozil in the pitch in such big games. Player maker and other team notice his presence and develop some fear you easily win

    3. Tommogun58 says:

      Quite right Patrick, always pick your best team it has to be the way to go,he is a tinkerman.

    4. Atri says:

      Ceballos is on loan, and is a work in progress. He was found out against high pressing Liverpool. Other teams like Wolves, Liecester, Watford, etc, will do the same to him. Will see how he develops before thinking too far ahead about him.

  2. mosha sharif says:

    UE still in testing his formation…stop it plss….no more testing..the war has begun..

    1. Sonam Dorji says:

      Emry feels that he is the only to manage within players at arsenal but never realise effects of his management by always keeping world-class assit player on the bench always ozil. Ozils has more world record in football history than emerys age. Emery has no quality and ability to deal with world best players like naner dimaria mbaype at psg and now at arsenal with ozil who is the best assit king in the football history. Shame on uni emery… usless coah in football history.

      1. Ikya says:

        Sorry, the comments about Ozil is like living in the past. I personally believe Ozil is past his prime. He is on reverse

  3. Innit says:

    Yes.
    He needs to drop Xhaka

    Emery has several central midfielders to choose from for DM, box to box and CAM
    Torreira DM
    Guendouzi B2B/DM
    Wilock B2B/CAM
    Ceballos B2B/CAM
    Ozil CAM
    Nines (when bellerin comes back can play Central midfield or right midfield)
    Chambers can play DM if needed too

    No need to start Xhaka or Mkhitaryan in their respective positions or any positions

    Example in central midfield we could play Torreira, Ceballos and Ozil or Torreira, Guendouzi and Ceballos or Torreira, Wilock, Ceballos

    Xhaka has become a liability like Mustafi. Emery mustn’t start him anymore

    1. patrick says:

      Luiz can go into the middle too and Chambers partners Holding/Sokratis

      1. Jibrin Isah Masha says:

        Yes,Luiz is more or less a defensive mieldfielder

      2. ozziegunner says:

        ?

      3. Francis Martinos says:

        Maybe because he doesn’t trust Chambers but with the errors committed by Sokartis and Luiz, he has to risk using Chambers at the back and Luiz at Defensive midfield. If he doesn’t do this, then he’s certainly not a manager we can rely on. He’s a passive coach and his insistence on being Protagonist is a lie.

        1. apangu iddi amin says:

          This was my view but people didnt realise when i was complaining of not using Chambers.

    2. Kev82 says:

      Mkhitaryan has left for Roma mate

      1. Junaine Manuel says:

        Mikhy is a liability….he is nowhere the same player that ran for Dortmund…

  4. Siang Yong Chong says:

    UE, too rigid cannot accept advises.

  5. Loose Cannon says:

    Good article on Unai and his stubborn attitude. I was thinking that our club has been in a transition over the past 3 years.Mediocrity has been met with the boot.Arsene graciously resigned after adding Xhaka,Mustafi, Kolas. The catalyst for change resigned. The diamond eye resigned after giving us trash like Mavo , Lich, Socrates. There have been hits like Torrera, Auba, Laca, but the misses can cost you the job.Emery i feel will not be sacked but his contract may not be renewed keeping in mind Allegri and Mourinho are available. Both are big league winners ok for a 2 year deal

    1. Sue says:

      Maureen?? Urgh, no thanks….

      1. Diogenes says:

        Agree, Sue.

        Mourinho and Allegri would not work — they need absolute top players for their style to work. And their style without results is worthless…

        We need someone like that young German guy who brought Hoffenheim into the UCL and is now leading the table with Leipzig…

      2. Loose Cannon says:

        Sue, I’m desperate for silverware, i dont mind Jose for a season or two if we clinch the league or UCL.We got top players in PAL, Lucas, Tierney, Leno,next year Saliba.Also Mesut likes Jose, who knows, he may come good.Jose knows when to park and how to park.He did win something at Utd.

        1. Sue says:

          I am too, LC…He has been nothing but a complete ?? not only to us, but others also.. and i wouldn’t ever want him at AFC..he’s vile

          1. Pat says:

            ? vile! Sue, I didn’t want to say a word but you always make it impossible. I will swallow my hatred for him and allow him 2 years if we will definitely win premier league. Honestly I don’t like Emery’s style. Our team is full of talent and yet we play like children. Sue loves.

          2. Sue says:

            Sorry Pat, i get a little carried away.. most of the time ?
            We always knew it wasn’t going to be an easy ride.. i just hope it won’t get that bad, that we have to employ Maureen ?? I’m thankful for 2 weeks off now, so my blood pressure & mood can return to normal!
            Hope you’re ok sweet… laterz ?

        2. Maks says:

          Mourinho at Arsenal is very very stupid idea!

          1. Loose Cannon says:

            Maks why? I too never liked Jose but am willing to humble myself and accept a serial winner.He won the Europa with Utd! He won the league with Chelsea. He is more tactically sucessful than Emery.I mentioned we would drop points at the Emirates and we did. We have good enough players but cannot grind results.Sorry we will be 6th again this year if this main doesn’t use his brains.

  6. Edward Watkins says:

    Luiz must play in midfield no CB, arsenal would play. Leno, Bellerin / Mitland ; Chambers , Holding /Sokratis ; Tierney / Sead ; Torreira /Luiz; Gounduzzi / Wilock; Ceballos / Ozil ; Pepe / Rhys; Aubameyang /Lacazette; Lacazette / Aubameyang /Sead. Xhaka (bench) / CC / FA

  7. Edward Watkins says:

    Luiz is a old playera I would prefer Upamecano or Rugani .Imagine Saliba and Upamecano un 2020 they Will ve the France defender of the figure and Chambers and Holding like back up

  8. Isaac says:

    UE is real joker…
    Just love testing ,I hear tactics,,,”nonces tactics”there many managers who mean business…
    He has done many nlanders n I dought whether there is room for change…pretending to b unpredictable in selecting his 11

    changed e team in each n evry game last season…I wonder e tests he was doing for all that long.

    I wonder what he based on to make xhaka e captain,,,, a bench material…hehrhe
    Ndouzi has talent but also leage games material not yet premiership 1st team.
    I failed to know y Toreira n Laca were benched against pool.
    Am sure if it was not pressure from e pundits…he wudnt av started A,L & P

  9. Break-on-through says:

    Not just Xhaka, Luiz has been costly too, even Leno in that same game as Xhaka. Leno we can’t drop really because he’s no1 but if he keeps doing it in big games, then Martinez has to get a shot even for a short spell if must. Xhaka knows he needs to cut that stuff out so to do it so soon, he has no-one to blame but himself. Luiz, I don’t think Emery is going to drop him because of his passing, but giving goals away cheaply is huge. Even Wrighty sounded double standardish when he said Xhaka needs to be dropped but Luiz is ok because of his passing. The problem is that we don’t have a huge amount of quality or options in CM, so Xhaka will be needed.

    I’d like to see Luiz and Guendouzi in midfield because there’s a chance it could be very good, or else keep going with Torriera and Guendouzi until they forge a partnership. Then Xhaka can try to sort himself out if he’s to play his way back into the team.

    1. patrick says:

      fair enough statement…

  10. H M Yahya says:

    Unai Emery is ‘color blind’. He couldn’t recognise the right players for the right positions or games. His reputed forwards could not score as many as they wished because he deprived the team of a playmaker in Ozil thus starving the forwards. I just can’t understand what did he see in Xhaka? Unai must discard his sentimental or favouritism on selecting players for game time!

  11. Les says:

    Drop Khaka-to many errors,too many yellow cards giving away penalties costing us loss of points

  12. nito says:

    morning guyz.
    I want to believe despite his(xhaka) errors, lets not forget he isnt the out and out holding midfielder whose work is to clear and forward. Also lets not forget in the whole thing the error resulting to the penulty would have come from any of the defensive players we have.
    The question is, what in the hell is happening at the emirate stadium? Is it that our manager isnt ready for the premier league just yet? or is he still trying out.
    We have very good defensive players who are ready to take the bull by its horns but does our manager trust them.
    Chambers during his first game of the season proved more than an asset but was droped for error prone Luiz.
    Xhaka natural position is not a holding midfielder but yet a player more box to box midfielder with less defensive responsibility. Ozil an all coungering number 10 yet frozen just coz the manager doesnt or isnt ready to mix it up with the world best. I would be a happy fan knowing that UE is ready to field the players who are ready to take the pain for arsenal all day long.

    My all time arsenal starting 11 with Xhaka playing the M.Carrick/Lujburg roll would be:

    Bernard Leno
    AMN Chamber Sokratis Kolasinic
    Toreira Xhaka
    Pepe Ozil/cebelos Reil nelson/Auba
    Lacca/Auba

    With this formation toreira is able to take or shoulder more defensive responsibility allowing xhaka to support both defence and attack with ball distribution ability.

    1. Nonny says:

      Torriera,xhaka,ozil
      On current form that
      Midfield might be easily
      Squashed I think you are
      More concerned with names
      Other than recent performances
      If you think chambers should
      Be given a chance based on his
      One game camoa at Newcastle fair
      Enough but what has other like
      Nelson, torriera,Chaka done to
      Be given the nod, over willock,
      Guendouzi,martineli.

      The problem is we fans say field
      Our best 11, field our best 11,
      Yet we fans don’t even know our best
      8 not to mention our best 11

  13. benex says:

    Xhaka should be drop or Emery risk Losing is job, He should play the midfield trio of Guendouzi, Toreira and Ceballos.
    Replace either Luiz or Sokratis with Chambers, until Holding is fully fit. I hope Tierney get well soon tired of seeing that big brainless Kolasinac in our team. Missed Bellerin too, AMN is not up to it.

  14. Enock bera says:

    For me surely am getting impentiant from u.e selecting xhaka in every game ,if it’s his way of testing the middle of the park why can’t he drop xhaka and test with other players ,coz xhaka last Seaaon cost as top 4 by giving a stupid penalty to Brighton ,so Emery is putting himself in boiling .

  15. CanonSpike says:

    100% agree with the article.

    UE is too inconsistent with his formation, lineup and tactics.

    He’s overthinking things, playing to counter the oppositions strengths, when that in turn weakens us.

    He should be playing a consistent 4-3-3 formation since we have the perfect players both starting and coming from the bench and reserves.

    Let the players bed in to the main formation and tactics, and we can expect better consistent performances.

    Starting 11
    Leno
    Bellerin–Sokratis–Holding–Tierney
    Guendouzi–Torreira–Ceballos
    Pepe–Lacazette–Aubameyang

    Sub
    Martinez
    Maitland–Chambers–Luiz/Mavropanos–Kolasinac
    Willock–Luiz–Ozil/Smith-Rowe
    Martinelli–Balogan–Saka

    1. patrick says:

      I’d go with Bellerine/Holding/Chambers/Tierney

      1. CanonSpike says:

        Not bad at all mate, I actually like that

  16. ArseOverTit says:

    Miki has thankfully gone to Roma on a loan deal then!!! Hopefully it has some option to buy and he can actually have some impact there to earn a stay there (same with elneny).

    Speaks volumes that we couldn’t shift mustafi.

  17. Nonny says:

    Mustafi remains
    Mkhi gone
    And willock posted this in his Instagram

    Willock wrote on his Instagram story: “Disappointed to be withdrawn from the u21s due to injury. All the best lads @england”.

  18. m says:

    Drop Xhaka. It’s painful.

    Torreira DM
    Matteo and Ceballos
    Ozil CAM

    Behind the three attackers.

  19. Phil says:

    These later Wenger signings are now clearly showing just how much he was becoming lost in his own thinking in his final years.Mustafi £35m Xhaka £35m Elneny £7m Failure to sell a clearly hostile Sanchez to Citeh £60m. That’s near as damm it £140m we spent and failed to recoup on players who are either gone or will be when the season is over.Just think what Raul could have done with that money.
    But it’s no excuse for Emery.The topic is about his failure to realise just how poor Xhaka has been but he still refuses to deal with the situation.He will not be at the Club next season as I’m sure the hierarchy will have identified his many shortcomings.The way he is going he will be getting a P45 in his Xmas card.

  20. Tommogun58 says:

    Yeah good post admin,and chambers should be in the side by now ready for when he can partner holding for the rest of the season,Emery overthinks things in my opinion,but he is the coach and has to live with whatever decisions he makes.

  21. Nonny says:

    That the problem our coach is tinkering, fans are complaining but look at every article the same fans who thinks Emery is tinkering come’s up with 10’s of different formation and player selection of there own isn’t that also tinkering, the truth is when ever the results are not going our way we resort to many antics to criticise whom ever we feel is guilty. If we fans can’t settle for best 11 of our own and we tinker with players selection and 1st formation what different have we done from our head coach, so far what has been generally accepted is that xhaka isn’t worthy of a staring place in our 1st 11.

    1. Phil says:

      Yeah but that’s the issue here Nonny.Its Emery’s JOB to select the side and put the players in the right position isn’t it? Other than AMN who we know is only a stand in there were still options open that the Manager got blatantly wrong.THREE DM’s have us ZERO creativity.Torriera should be the shield in front of the back four.Xhaka should never have been anywhere near that side.If he was reluctant to play Ceballos he should have allowed Willock to play.He would have brought far more energy and drive to the midfield as well as doing the defensive side of the game that Xhaka is just incapable of doing

      1. Nonny says:

        They may be 3 dm’s but 2 are stationed to work as cm’s/box to box with xhaka the only actual dm

        1. Phil says:

          Well it’s not working very well is it?
          We all know Xhaka cannot tackle.So Why is Emery playing him as the DM?Whereas Torriera is a natural DM Yet is being played to break up the play too far forward.It doesn’t make sense.And that’s the issue I have with Emery.Too many players are not being played in their natural positions and it’s down to him.We had years of Wenger doing this and now Emery.FFS just play Torriera deep and get Xhaka out of the side

    2. patrick says:

      I’ll stick to what I’ve posted many times earlier of MY best current 11 at hand…week in week out…

      Leno
      AMN (Bellerine comes in when fully fit)
      Chambers
      Holding
      Sead (Tierney comes in when fully fit)
      Torreira
      Guendozzi (Willock as change)
      Cebellos (Ozil as change)
      Auba
      Laca
      Pepe (Nelson as change)

      1. Dominic Slater says:

        My away team. Martinez, Bellerin, Chambers, Luiz, Holding, Tierney, Ceballos, Guendozi, Aubameyang, Laca, Pepe. Luís is actually an attacking centre back, Holding and Chambers are also good passers of the ball. I’m just not happy about Leno. Some games Torreira, Willock or Mustafi for one of front 3.

  22. Grandad says:

    Spot on Patrick.AMN and Willock can also add energy and drive to the midfield and provide healthy competition.Looking further down the line, if Emery is determined to stick with a 4-3-3 system, and I hope he does,he needs to bring in a ready made, physically powerful defensive midfielder like they have at Liverpool and MAN city.Without such a player we will be exposed on the counter attack as our full backs bomb forward.I hope I am wrong but I cannot see Torres is being a successful DM in the Premier League.

    1. patrick says:

      Torreira is the best we’ve got at the moment. He just needs to be given game time week in week out to do what he does best… This is my honest opinion

  23. KingChukky says:

    Yes, Xhaka is a disappointment and needs to be kept in the bench (ASAP). The coach has selection problems too, but the bigger problem is the players’ mentality. I could give you a whole list of non top 7 clubs that Arsenal will lose points to. This says a lot about team spirit and mentality. UE needs to demand more of his players. They need to develop a dominant/winning consciousness.

  24. Sean Williams says:

    Absolutely agree with this article. Unai Emery is putting his job on the line. Two weeks ago I was a strong supporter arguing to give him time. In the last two weeks I have seen an series of choices by Emery, and performances by Xhaka, that leave me in a state of disbelief. Xhaka, and Xhaka alone, cost us a European Champions League place with his ridiculous penalty against Brighton last season. Xhaka with his absolute stupidity and mindless football cost us from winning the game against Spurs. We have a choice as humans and footballers. It’s the same for all people on earth mindfulness or mindlessness. Mindlessness is the worst quality on earth. So Xhaka must be dropped now. Right now.

  25. Sean Williams says:

    I would rather see Ozil than Xhaka anyday. I’m not a fan of Ozil at all and he lacks desire…BUT he has creative skill and could be played a bit deeper. I’d rather a midfield of Torreira, Guendouzi and Ceballos and if one of those are out use Ozil. Xhaka is a dark uncontrollable footballer. He will cost us and has.

  26. Sam says:

    Please Emery, keep Xhaka on the bench for 6 consecutive matches and he will seat up if you so love him. Your job or Xhaka. Morouho will not tolerate him, he will not allow a player mess his job.

  27. Dominic Slater says:

    I think Mustafi would be perfect for that role. He is the best passer in the team and he leads in tackles, interceptions, blocks and 2nd in passes and pass completion rate. As long as he’s not the last man in defence.

  28. Tebogo says:

    Mr charity, either penalty or red card. It depends on his mood that day. In all fairness to both team,supporters and coach, Xhaka does not positively contribute to the progress of Arsenal. Drop him without looking back.

  29. Toogun says:

    I’ve been saying it severally,Xhaka is not good enough for this team.If he’s not passing the ball back when the attack is moving,he gives the ball silly to the opponent.He does not drive the attack and yet this is Emery’s best player.I wonder what he sees in this player when you have a Ozil who has incredible vision and is always forward looking or the new boy Ceballos.Guendozi and Torrreira can do the defending to free Ozil or Ceballos to feed the attackers,yet Emery keep playing Zhaka.I earnestly thought a buyer will come for him during this last window but no one came because no team want a liability.He is as calamitous as Mustafi.

  30. Joshua Garba says:

    Xhaka should be dropped. He has cost AFC a lot.He singlehandedly denied us Top 4 last season because of his careless tackles. He’s so sluggish and doesn’t bother to know where to make such rough tackles. Unai Emery should better decide about this guy.

  31. Cyril Oseghale says:

    Yes its the job the coach has to do now.
    there’s some other things as just a fans of Arsenal for over 35 years I notice you lose a match same way like the previous then check your playerthat seems to be poor and weak and the player mistakes. A player fail to do what he ought to have done repeatedly then the coach is lacking behind ext match this is not acceteable.
    I have seen many times Arsenal are very weak or forgetting himtself defending when under attack your players doing nothing to come back and help even he lose his ball. I mean the coach is inefficient in this areas
    Jaka for me has not done enough really if we give a close look at the team generally he make costly miske and the team get on losing at the end that’s the coach ineffectual weakness of the coach
    Next match I think this captain when drop from the first team he will look inward and tak a decision himself huge money is paid for his services
    l also like to see back some good player with injuries coming back then the said player will wakeup
    Every player must work with everyone in the pitch mass attacks and mass defence our coach is also weak there back they too there he should openup shout to his players good coaches win matches shouting to his player sometimes when a player is closed to you give him the message either to the captain is also alaoud then what stops ours doing that
    Lastly we cannot continue like this am tired for top six having spend lots of money and losing matches you ought to win
    If we cant beat any top four then we are not there macks my words beat some of them and deal with the others heres Arsenal disappointment come failing to beat small team but you see them struggling losing or draw. Coach you re good but theres lots more you need to do this new season
    Gunners for life.

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