The Myths About Emery! Dan Smith
Immediately after we lost to Aston Villa, our manager said if he had his way, we would be playing the next day. As a former player himself, he understands the psychology of sport. When you have a disappointment, you want to as soon as possible have a chance to get it out of your system.
Instead we had the international break. 2 weeks to sulk, bitch and moan about why we lost. 2 weeks to blame certain players and question tactics.
Arteta will be aware that he’s being doubted on social media. He’s also smart enough to know how fickle the modern-day fan can be.
On various platforms, I have listened to and read some outrageous things, to the point it scares me how reactionary some gooners have become.
One of the strangest is the support gathering pace that perhaps we shouldn’t have sacked Unai Emery.
This time 12 month ago I felt the consensus from the majority was Emery had lost the dressing room to the point he had to go. When we were lifting the FA Cup Emery’s name wasn’t being mentioned. On the contrary, some were predicting a title challenge and telling us why we had a better coach then Pep Guardiola.
This Emery chat only seems to have occurred on the basis of our latest loss. Before that I never heard a comparison. 4 out of 8 defeats for Arteta, along with Villarreal being second in Spain, and suddenly we are making Emery is the one who got away?
There are stats which can be twisted to suggest Emery had a better record than Arteta, which has led some to question why one got sacked and the other hasn’t?
What I don’t understand is why what Arteta is doing, has anything to do with Emery? Surely if you rate Emery, that shouldn’t be based on what his replacement does? If you like him, you like him? Why would you only start missing him now?
If you think he was good enough, that shouldn’t change whether we are winning or losing?
Again it leaves me feeling that some people are saying these things for their own agenda, or are so fickle they are wrongly educating the next generation of Gooners.
Maybe it’s due to lockdown forcing a 3-month break which has made everything seem longer, but you only have to remember this time last year to recall the dark days of Emery’s reign.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not justifying players going through the motions, but it was evident he had lost the dressing room. Once that happens it’s untenable.
Do you remember Arsenal equalizing in the last second against Southampton, and no one in the stadium caring because the display had been so flat?
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe an assistant manager at Man City would be top of a short list if the club had any ambition. I believe our ex-captain ticked a box of being a cheap option, so grateful for a high-profile job that he accepted limitations.
Time will tell if we hired the right man but regardless, we were correct to sack Emery.
Here are a few things I heard recently in support of Emery. I’m going to try to show you how, sometimes, context is key.
Emery Has A Better Record In His First 28 Arsenal League Games
The facts show that Emery started better. After the same amount of Prem fixtures it reads, Emery 17 wins, Arteta 13. That’s a win percentage of approx. 60 percent for Emery, roughly 46 for Arteta.
Most concerning might be the ‘goals for‘ column. Emery’s Gunners scored 60 goals in 28 matches, Arteta’s Arsenal only 41. I can’t argue with these facts. The issue I have is that it’s irrelevant.
Arsene Wenger won 12 of his first 28, so that proves how a coach starts has zero bearing on what comes next.
Emery didn’t lose his job based on his first 28 League games. Everyone acknowledges he had a good start to life in North London, but once we lost to Southampton in December 2018, he couldn’t turn it around.
It was how he started that gave him the benefit of the doubt to have a second bite at the cherry, despite bottling the race for top 4 and humiliating us in a major European Cup Final to our bitter rivals.
So, yes Emery started well, but that’s nothing to do with why he was sacked. Look instead at the state he left us in. However low you might feel at the moment, you can’t compare the situation to this time last year.
If nothing else, I don’t think you can claim our current boss has lost the dressing room. Look up ‘losing the dressing room’ in a dictionary and you see Unai Emery on the touchline looking lost in the rain at Leicester.
Emery Inherited a Worse Squad
Both managers have had to work with players they failed to sell because of being on huge wages.
Arteta returned to the Emirates on Boxing Day with his employers having already confirmed they would only be doing loan signings that January. This summer was his first chance to spend money. That’s why some argue this isn’t Arteta’s team.
Suddenly others want to make the same argument for Emery, suggesting he inherited even more dead wood but finished 5th compared to Arteta’s 8th. Logic though shows that Emery had two pre-season Windows to make improvements and failed, contributing to our worst League position in 25 years.
We can’t judge Arteta’s transfers yet because it’s only been 8 games of his first full season.
It was Emery who brought flops like Torreira, Guendouzi, Sokratis, Pepe, Luiz, Lichtsteiner, Ceballos, Sanchez, etc. It was his genius decision to cancel contract negotiations with Ramsey. So this narrative that he dragged Mr Wenger’s misfits to 5th is not true.
Arteta Inherited A 5th Place Team and European Finalists
If you knew nothing about football you might fall for this.Yes, the majority of last season’s squad who finished 8th, had the year before been 1 point off 4th, then winning a Final away from qualifying for the Champions League!
Yet Emery didn’t take us to 5th, we fell there after bottling the run in. As for Baku. He led us to humiliation against Chelsea in a European Final. We have to live with that forever.
Yet that’s not why he was sacked. He was sacked because he never improved the players’ confidence after Baku, he just made it worse. In all my years being a Gooner, never had we looked more lost then last November. Ozil, Mustafi and Xhaka were frozen out, Auba was shouting at the youngsters, the stadium was half empty, there was zero identity. That’s what a rookie boss had to contend with.
To say Emery was left a bigger mess by Wenger is silly. Emery had a blank canvas, a whole pre-season to put his ideas across to a group who had months to prepare for life after Wenger.
The day Arteta arrived we were 11th in the table, 26 points behind Liverpool, no time for the new boss to work with players in training due to a hectic schedule, and clearly not impressed with the fitness levels of the talent he had acquired. So we were on course for a bad season, no matter who we replaced Emery with. The damage had been done.
Emery Would Get best out of our attack
Many fans want Aubameyang to be in the middle, Laca dropped and Pepe to replace Willian. Arteta is under pressure to make those changes when we go to Elland Road. So it’s fair to say our attack could be playing better.
Yet, where did the notion that Emery could fix it come from?
Pepe’s best game was the FA Cup Final under Arteta.
Our captain re-found his smile now Emery has gone.
In fact apart from Leno, which current player was better under the old regime? None! Emery wasn’t doing anything different. He also played Auba on the left and would play a back 5.
If Emery Had Arteta’s Squad ….
This is the latest subjective theory. Imagine in Baku if Emery could have selected Gabriel or Party, would the result have been different?
Listen if you think Gabriel is doing well, you have to give credit to the coaching and man management. Emery equally had money to spend, but couldn’t get the best out of the likes of Pepe. To repeat, he chose to let Ramsey leave on a free, so don’t make out he didn’t have input. In fact he had the majority of the current players and was taking us backwards.
Emery is 2nd in La Liga
Being 2nd in Spain after 9 games is enough to convince some fans that Emery has proved he should never have been sacked. By that logic, everyone will be head hunting Real Sociedad’s boss because he’s top in La Liga.
Listen, Emery won a treble at PSG, and that didn’t make him ready for the demands of English Football, so making a good start at Villarreal doesn’t change anything.
All I know is, from Day One, I understood what Arteta was trying to achieve. I saw he had an ethos and thatthe players bought into it. I never got that feeling under Emery. It’s a waste of time thinking our situation would be any different under Emery.
Time will tell if Arteta is the answer, but…
What I do know is that Emery wasn’t!
We don’t know if Arteta will fail, but.
We know for certain that Emery did!
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