What style of play are we exercising under Unai Emery? by Eddie Hoyte
Happy New year folks, this will be my first article this year 2019, and I’ve been thinking about doing it for a while now but I had to make sure I get every bit of my facts and research right first.
Quickly to it, what’s our gameplay? Under Wenger we were known for the beautiful football only second place to Barcelona when it came to the Tiki-Taka. Under Jurgen Klopp, it’s the pressing and counter-attack that Liverpool play with, while most people will call Mourinho’s defensive minded game as ‘parking the bus’. Emery at PSG was also the pressing and counter attack.
Right now Emery is no longer the coach at Paris but the coach at Arsenal. We’ve had good vibes since he came and went on a run of 22 games unbeaten, but most people will tell you we rode our luck and could’ve lost a ton of games while under that run. We’ve had people applauding Emery for shutting out some players that Arsene Wenger deemed fit and important for his style of play, and we’ve escaped with it a few times, while these players shone a few times also when called upon. Despite the fact we went 22 games unbeaten, hell we are still sitting 5th on the table.
Here’s a curious case and situation for you to ponder. After the Liverpool game, this was part of Emery’s statement: “There were some positives, Ainsley played as right winger and scored. Iwobi, after some matches not playing very well, he played 90 minutes with a good performance,”.
Eh!! Hello?? This is Emery unconsciously admitting Iwobi was on a bad run before the Liverpool game, if Emery knew this? He knew this and yet he kept on playing Iwobi despite knowing he was in a bad form? Same thing he did with Mhiki before he got injured, no matter how bad these 2 guys played, Emery kept on playing them and they hardly contributed anything to the team that whole time. Is it a sane thing to do to keep on playing players you’re aware kept playing badly, while you shut out other options only because you’re stubborn and insist on doing things your way? Any explanation anybody??
Emery at PSG knew his plans and he had the perfect players for it. Emery’s style of play needs and demands wingers!! Pacy and tricky wingers. His attack was compared to the Liverpool trio the season Liverpool got to the UCL final. The mistake this man keeps making is trying to play that same way with an Arsenal squad that’s not complete. At Sevilla he played with with wingers successfully.
His style of play demands tricky wingers and strong midfielders, he doesn’t really need what we’ll call an attacking midfielder. PSG had none, and their stats showed proofs. With over 90% of their goals and assist coming from Neymar-Cavani-Mbappe. Insane stats for each one of the that season, with Neymar and Mbappe being the main catalysts. Not forgetting they had Di Maria on the bench to slot in as a direct replacement for any of the wingers. Emery played the 4-3-3 with that squad, the midfield trio of Rabiot/Pastors -Motta- Veratti. All defensive minded midfielders but sharp at transiting defence to attack after winning the ball. Anyone see the pattern at Arsenal?
Constantly playing Iwobi-Aubamenyang-Mikhi upfront and his midfield always consisting of Torreira-Xhaka-Guendouzi? Trying to play with the same style he did at Paris? With players we don’t have, the only winger being Iwobi who’s not even half of Sadio Mane not to mention Neymar or Mbappe. I believe this style of play is the reason he constantly plays Iwobi and it speaks so much as to why when we attack, we do so from the flanks and mostly through the LW and Iwobi. Mhiki forcefully playing as a RW is crap, Ozil forcefully playing as a RW is crap!! Aubameyang playing as a winger is crap!! Why is it hard for Emery to adapt and make use of his best players until be brings in his own choice of players and wingers? The best thing to do is to play to the strength of each players, an attacking duo of Auba and Lacazette with either Ozil or Mhiki playing behind them. Iwobi coming in to add flair after half time, why force players to play outside their wings?
The defense is a total different topic, forcefully playing the high line with players who can’t adapt to it and look how we constantly concede during each games. Still yet, he’s stubborn and not doing anything or switching the defense to make it balance. We called Wenger names and questioned why he’s not flexible because he failed to be rigid and change his style of play but we can’t do the same thing to Unai Emery? The same pattern under Wenger is what I still see, only difference is we run a lot more this time. Emeryball? More like Wenger’s Special sideways ball.
We don’t have proper wingers for now and Mesut Ozil’s agent said yesterday that Ozil’s going nowhere, and I think Emery needs to realize that to survive he needs to make use of his best options this season. After selling out players and getting his players, we can play the way his team did at PSG and Sevilla. I know wingers are very important to him, he’s trying to build a team as Liverpool and PSG, but without the right players so, we are suffering and struggling with it.
It shouldn’t have to be until we find ourselves bottom of the table before we start questioning his mistakes and stubbornness. We’ve been through all of this, I personally am not interested in going through everything I did under Wenger, it’s a new year, I’m sorry if I plan and I want a better year than the previous ones, I don’t want any of that 2018 feelings and bad vibes.
Emery should sort out his issues with the squad and he should make use of what he has the right way.