Unai Emery’s best 5 games as Arsenal boss – and the 5 worst

There’s a cruel irony that the man trusted to take Arsenal into a new era post Wenger, is 90 mins away from costing us a place in the next season’s Champions League. Unai Emery might see that irony as Karma.

Always coming across as a decent man, he’s always spoken of his time at Arsenal with respect and dignity.

While he might never publicly say it though, you sense there might be a couple of his ex-players he won’t have any sympathy for, if he knocks them out of the Europa League this week?

Many ask why it seems that Arteta is getting more patience from his employers then Emery did? For me it’s as simple as Emery lost the dressing room. When that happens in football (I’m not saying it’s right) a manager’s position becomes untenable.

For all of Arteta’s struggles, we are yet to see the negative body language that was a feature of Emery’s final games. Remember how Aubameyang would publicly berate youngsters if they made a mistake in the final third, how everyone was so fed up they didn’t celebrate a stoppage time equaliser against Southampton. Xhaka’s meltdown at home to Palace was indicative of where the squad were at mentally, and even Arteta in his first few days in the job had to politely question the level of fitness he had been left with.

Let’s call this week though the Unai Emery week. Last week I paid tribute to the Spaniard by writing a brief summary of his time in North London.

This article will explore his approx. 15 months in charge and pick out his 5 best and 5 worst Arsenal games.

Feel free to add any suggestions in the comments ……….

 

Emery’s Best 5 games

 

5 – Arsenal 3-1 Leicester (22-10-18)

I picked this not for the result but for a spell in the second half when our football was sublime.

Let’s be honest even when Emery took us 22 games unbeaten, we were very rarely entertaining to watch. For a brief 20 min spell our football was orgasmic with even the players shocked by how good their goals were.

It takes a lot to create an atmosphere at the Emirates, but the football that evening was so good the crowd knew they were watching something special.

 

4- Napoli 0-1 Arsenal (18-4-19)

On paper a tough draw but defending a 2-0 lead from the first leg it was incredible how straightforward we made it look. Our game management was very un-Arsenal like as we protected our advantage in a manner many thought not possible by this group of players.

 

3- Fulham 1-5 Arsenal (7-10-18)

In his final season Arsenal were not easy to watch under Mr Wenger and it wasn’t always clear what our identity was under Unai Emery. Yet for one lovely afternoon along the River Thames, all of Unai’s principles clicked. Ramsey’s goal in particular was a thing of beauty, counter attacking at its best.

The away fans chanted ‘We got our Arsenal Back’. We hadn’t but one for one afternoon we could hope.

 

2- Valencia 2-4 Arsenal (9-5-19)

A year on before his exploits in the FA Cup, there were accusations against Aubameyang that he went missing on the big occasions.

When Valencia took the lead after 11 mins, the renowned intimidating Mestalla was rocking. Up stepped Auba to score a hat trick and send us into our first European Final since 2006. It could be a good omen for this week as we played the second leg of this semi-Final knowing we couldn’t qualify for the Champions League domestically. Obviously because of events in Baku this result doesn’t get talked about that much.

 

1- Arsenal 4-2 Spurs (2-12-18)

As has been tradition over the years the build up to the North London Derby was dominated by the media putting together a combined 11, with apparently not one gunner making the list. Like our famous 5-2 wins in years gone by, we came from behind thanks to a storming second half, perhaps the best Aubameyang and Lacazette have linked up with on the pitch.

Thanks to his 4th goal, in one moment the Emirates took Torreira and Emery into their arms and welcomed them to the Arsenal Family.

It didn’t last.

 

Emery’s Worst 5 Games

 

1- Sheffield United 1-0 Arsenal (22-10-19)

Often seen as the turning point for Emery where the majority of Gooners seemed to really start questioning our manager.

As strange as it might seem to say now, many were starting to question why Ozil was being paid to sit at home while we were struggling to make chances at a newly promoted team.

It seemed to underline how bad Arsenal had been away from home under Unai. Slow build up, sideways passing and zero creativity. To put it simply, we were boring to watch.

The late siege on the United goal never came.

 

2- Leicester 2-0 Arsenal (9-11-19)

With the Foxes second in the table at the time there were natural comparisons between Unai Emery and the job Brendan Rodgers was doing at the King Power, especially that Leicester seemed more entertaining to watch.

We did nothing to change that perception as our manager stood in the rain and essentially hoped we could hang on for a 0-0 draw with the home team missing plenty of chances. It was depressing to see the gap that now existed between the two clubs with the score line flattering them.

 

3- Arsenal 2-3 Palace  (21-4-19)

The beginning of us choking and throwing away our top 4 hopes.

Three days after qualifying for the last 4 of the Europa League, many accused Unai Emery of prioritising Europe by resting talent and starting the likes of Jenkinson and Elneny. In truth you couldn’t account for some of the defensive errors that day, especially from Mustafi.

A win would have put us in third on 69 points with 4 games left to play. As it turned out 71 points would have been enough, so this really was the turning point.

 

2- Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal (29-12-18)

Our annual humiliation was made at Anfield. This time it felt worse because many had convinced themselves that Unai Emery, during a 22-game unbeaten run, had changed the team’s mentality. Yet we ended up making the same defensive mistakes individually and collectively as we would have done under Mr Wenger.

Liverpool felt sorry for us in the second half so took their foot off the pedal.

It made a mockery of gooners who just a month before were boasting about a draw at home to the same team. This was the classic, ‘things change yet stay the same.’

 

1 Chelsea 4-1 Arsenal (29-5-19)

They say it’s not ‘if you lose’ but ‘how you lose’. Even though it was a Final in his first season, this was such a heavy bleed, Unai Emery could never recover from.

Given that we were the ones who had to win in Baku to qualify for the Champions League, it’s amazing how our players allowed the occasion to pass them by.

The first half was a poor spectacle from both sides. In the second half they scored 3 goals in 11 minutes. We have been bleeding ever since.

 

Name Me Your top 5 below

Be Kind In The Comments

 

Dan

23 Comments

Add a Comment
  1. gotanidea says:

    Emery only got one and half years, because he didn’t win any trophy and seemed to have lost the dressing room. He was also mocked by some players and fans, even until now

    Any football tactic enthusiast surely knew that Emery’s positional play was bad and he lacked of ideas. Arteta is better in that aspect, despite making some bad player selections

    However, Emery seems to have found the high pressing players he was looking for. The upcoming EL game will prove whether Arteta is better than Emery or not

    1. Alanball08 says:

      Good morning GAI
      What we have forgotten about UE
      He started like a rocket and took us 22 games unbeaten..with some luck and good football in-between
      The latter part we were falling like a stone and if you took the latter part of his first season and up until he was sacked he had lost the plot, lost the dressing room and we had stats to match a relegation side..
      We will drive the stake deep In too him on Thursday and be glad we had ditched him
      Onwards and upwards

      1. gotanidea says:

        Getting kicked out of EL by Emery will be an embarrassment, so hopefully we win

        1. ozziegunner says:

          Comparing the two squads Arsenal should play Villarreal off the park.

          1. gotanidea says:

            I agree. Because we’ll have several popular and expensive players ready to start on Thursday, as compared to Villareal’s

    2. Innit says:

      We will see who is the better tactical football brain on Thursday when Emery and Arteta face off

  2. A J says:

    Put it this way.

    We’re 2-1 down (and got off lightly) to a man who the best some could do was take the *iss out of his efforts to learn the native language of the country he was working in – how’s your Spanish ?

    Some people earn respect.

    For me Unai Emery was one of those people, despite how it turned out at our place.

    1. Dan kit says:

      Good morning or should I say Ebening .

      1. A J says:

        Well Dan done – someone had to !

        “Here all week, meat draw on Friday and don’t forget to try the chicken in a basket” !

        1. A J says:

          Well Dan Done ??????????????????????

          I’m morphing into Unai himself !!!!!!!!!!!

          1. Dan kit says:

            Lmao
            Didn’t notice that till your second post
            That made me chuckle

    2. ozziegunner says:

      AJ, well said and they say Arsenal is a “classy club, just as people mock Roy Hodgson for his speech impediment.

      1. A J says:

        Thanks ozziegunner.

        I rated and respected the man for his efforts at our place.

        A reminder of this man’s background, before hitting the buffers with us ;

        “At Sevilla, Emery won an unprecedented three consecutive Europa Leagues, and moved to French club Paris Saint-Germain in 2016.

        Team Paris Saint-Germain
        W 87
        D 15
        L 12
        Win % 76.3

        Compared this to Tuchel’s PSG record, who as we know is now managing Chelsea ;

        Tuchel departed Paris Saint-Germain with a record of 95 wins, 13 draws, and 19 defeats in 127 games, with the best win percentage in Ligue 1 history (75.6%) and the highest average of points per game (2.37, tied with his predecessor Emery).”

        It’s obvious, given the tools, Unai Emery is a very manager.

        Arsenal –

        ” In his first competitive game in charge, on 12 August, his side lost to Manchester City 2–0 in the Premier League.[44] After a second consecutive loss to Chelsea on 18 August,[45] Emery recorded his first win as Arsenal manager on 25 August, in a 3–1 home win over West Ham United.[46] After this game, Arsenal won 11 games in a row, their best run of form since 2007.[47] Arsenal then extended their unbeaten run to 22 games, including a 4–2 win over arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur in Emery’s first North London derby.[48] Their 3–2 loss to Southampton in December was the first time they had been defeated in all competitions since August.

        However Arsenal capitulated towards the end of the season, only receiving 4 points in their last 5 league matches, effectively discarding any chance of qualifying for the Champions League through league position.[50] Emery yet again reached a Europa League final, but was unsuccessful as Arsenal were beaten 4–1 by fellow English side Chelsea.[51] Arsenal finished the season in fifth position, one place higher than the previous season, narrowly missing out on a Champions League spot.”

        Apologies, the above is a bit lengthy.

        However, I pasted it as this for me looks a very decent manager.

        ” 4 points in their last 5 league matches,” remains a complete mystery.

        A manager who was building up a head of steam regarding his career suddenly turned into a complete loser ?

        Not for me.

        And Baku ?

        I have always thought, and do to this day, THE DRESSING ROOM LOST UNAI EMERY – NOT THE OTHER WAY ‘ROUND”.

      2. Dan kit says:

        Or how some fans mock some players about their dress sense and how they should be on the Paris catwalks ,at the end of the day its abit if p1ss taking out of an accent😂

  3. Declan says:

    Anyone remember the film Carry on Abroad with the manager of the hotel Ells Bells always complaining about his blooding stove😂

  4. Elton Rono says:

    Why arent we after a player like Donnarumma? Leno has stated he isnt staying and he hasnt been that brilliant. Our scouts are so poor.

    1. Declan says:

      He’s off to the ‘Old Lady’ and we will likely get Szczesny to replace Leno🤔

  5. A J says:

    The legend that is Arsene Wenger (yes, I did think he stayed too long tho’) didn’t escape the “mick take”.

    One of Parlours often told stories.

    Wenger to team in dressing room, after possible explosive planted in the stadium ;

    “Boys, the kick off could be delayed there is a security scare.

    There may be a bum in the stadium”

    Allo. Allo !

  6. ozziegunner says:

    For a supposedly poor coach Emery has still won 3 more Europa League trophies than Arsenal. He also has the highest win percentage of any recent manager at PSG, including Blanc, Ancellotti, Tuchel and Ponchettino (thus far). While managing PSG the team won 8 domestic trophies second only Blanc with 11.
    Emery was not a fit for Arsenal to follow the long term and successful Arsene Wenger (a big ask) as head coach (not manager) with a markedly changed management structure.

    1. Dan kit says:

      But nobody cares about the EL though Ozzie ,it’s like saying a manger as won the carling cup compared to the FA cup

    2. A J says:

      Possibly the wrong man at the wrong time – definitely in the players eyes.

      From the “freestyle” of Wenger (from top to bottom) to the micro- managed , fanatical attention to detail of Emery.

      Anyway, I wish Unai all the very best – except on Thursday night of course !

  7. Sue says:

    Brilliant, Dan 👍 Agree with all of them.
    That spud game (4-2), will live long in the memory (as well as my Sky planner 😉). Unfortunately, so will the Baku humiliation….

  8. Bobs says:

    Everybody were talking about Emery losing more point in his final 5 matches taking 4 points in 4 games.

    If I’m not mistaken Arteta got 2 points in 7games.

    Which is more worst?

    Emery never got a single player he wanted but Arteta got his own player.

    Emery was a coach while Arteta is a manager.

    The only thing I blame Emery for is not taking control of his dressing room, Arteta saw this and quickly let them off. ( Though maybe it won’t be easy for Emery to let them off because he was a coach).
    And only thing I credit Arteta for is not taking s*** from any players.(not allowing them sit on there comfort zone).

    And this is not about his language. Bielsa can’t speak English and only communicate with interpreter. So not a big deal.

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