Would some Arsenal fans really prefer Emery to Arteta?

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!

Be Kind In The Comments

Dan Smith

Tags Arteta Emery


  1. Answer to your question Dan
    Absolutely not .
    I believe his win rate for Arsenal was 48%
    Put that against Wengers 55% who remember was here 22 years ,and Artetas ATM which is around 60%,you can see he was way out of his depth here .
    The board came out and said that we went through the worst time in our history with him in charge ,that speaks volumes about his coaching skills .
    He put us back 2-3years and now Arteta is having to clean up his mess .

    1. During his tenure AW win ratio is 57.25 but as you mentioned it was over 22 years
      Unai Emery who took charge of 78 games during his tenure has a win ratio of 60.56%
      MA so far as a win ration of 52.1% but I agree with you stats on their own with no context don’t mean much, let’s check when both UE and MA have played a similar numbers of games, there is also many others factors to take into account like our losses under both, this season we lost by much smaller margines, 1 goal margin, we are more difficult to beat but in the same way we scored way more goals under UE but no trophy, MA has already 2…, don’t get me wrong I like stats to a certain extent but they can easily be manipulated to suit one’s narrative.

  2. Emery ‘s record in the league is better than Arteta’s. Emery missed Champions league by one point whereas Arteta finished ten points off fourth with the club’s lowest points tally in two decades. Arsenal also had the worst European run for two decades. Arteta was lucky covid gave him 17 free weeks to work with the team. After covid the sting had gone out of the season and as we have seen empty stadiums have changed the landscape of football which greatly assisted Arsenals wins v City Chelsea and Liverpool . Emery never had a fit Bellerin Tierney or Partey. Emery had to play Ozil whereas Arteta has been spared that problem. Emery made it hard for himself with such a brilliant first season as expectations were that he was told top 4 or the sack. After 8 games Arsenal were 3rd a point behind City. The fans demanded Ozil play which weakened our defence. So Emery had to play defensive football Arsenal then had a poor run of four games and that was enough to sack Emery. Arteta started this season with high expectations and this latest poor run is very similar to Emerys. If we lose to Leeds and Spurs Arteta should be sacked. Arteta though is being given special treatment.

    1. you lost me when you mentioned Ozil, give it a break with all this Ozil hate will you? since Ozil stopped playing what is the average goals scored by Arsenal? the earlier you guys realize there is no creativity in Arsenal team the better for everyone.

      1. How much creativity did ozil bring, 2 assists and 1 goal in a season. We don’t need ozil, we need someone better. The board should have realised this when they froze ozil out, although it’s not like we’re not creating chances now anyway, our strikers have just decided to go on vacation. We could easily have scored 5 goals that I can remember against Aston villa but we couldn’t even score one. Go check the stats, and see we actually do create chances even without ozil.

    2. You’ve made very valid points but I don’t believe Arteta should be sacked. I think he’s got potential but spot on on everything you said about Emery. People don’t know he actually over achieved taking over from wenger who had spent 22 years with a non-competitive team, he was head coach, not manager. Had no say over transfers. They didn’t get him the players he wanted, yet he finished better than wenger’s last season in his very first season.

    3. I think these comparisions don’t have any real validity as Arteta didn’t take over from Wenger so we have no idea if he could have done better, or completely bombed.

      I was in favour of Emery being sacked. I cannot forget the drop in form before the end of the 2018/19 season, so finishing 5th wasn’t the end I was expecting. Losses to Everton, Watford, CP, Wolves and Leicester, plus a draw to BHA from April onwards, was hardly inspiring confidence and Baku was awful.

      The new season may have started ok, but it didn’t stop the feeling that the season was beginning to go awry. The players downed tools and confidence in Emery plummeted along with the league position.

      The one thing that Arsenal need right now is stability after the latter Wenger years and Emery’s sacking. Freddie filled in, but he was not the answer. Arteta is not the finished product but has done brilliantly to pick the team up and actually win a trophy. I’d be interested to know who you think should be put in charge, and would they want the job, bearing in mind the structure that the club works within?

  3. I’m not one of those who would say Emery was a better coach for Arsenal than Arteta or vice versa. I still believe Arteta should be given till the end of the season at the very least before we can start to properly analyse his game plan or tactics or whether he’s even who we need going forward. Arteta has the potential to be a great coach.

    Now all of this doesn’t take anything away from Emery, he’s a great coach who just lost the dressing room, it is in this part that I feel Arteta was better than he was, You can’t tell me a coach that won the Europa league three consecutive times with sevilla beating klopp’s Liverpool in one of them is a fluke of a coach, we got to our first European final since 2006 in his very first season, that, unlike you Dan and Dan kit above would like to believe is also not a fluke, the disaster of the final loss to Chelsea had nothing to do with Emery, by then, he had already lost the dressing room as evident by ozil’s foolish display in that final walking off lazily after contributing absolutely nothing all game. Also bearing in mind he did the exact same thing Arteta is doing in freezing ozil out, but the pressure from the fans forced him to bring ozil back and toxicity never stopped since then till Emery had to leave. I believe this is what Arteta is learning from. The problem we had under Emery is what we still have now, players that are not motivated to play for the badge. We’ve had this problem since wenger was in charge and I feel he was partly to blame in that many players were overpampered by him. He many times selected players who were out of form over players that were in form. This was Arsenal’s mentality for the majority of the 22 years Arsene was here, you can’t take that away in one or two seasons, Emery tried but the mentality was still there, the players still acted like spoilt kids and I have the opinion that it would most likely happen again under Arteta.

    Emery and Arteta have both done the best they can with this team, who knows, maybe the ozil situation is not sitting well with the players, which is exactly what happened under Emery. Emery had to tweak formations to try and get the best from the team, Arteta has done exactly the same and both have failed at that as well as they’ve had success.

    You only need to look at Villa real and see what Emery is doing with them currently(2nd in the la liga) to know whether he’s a fluke or a great coach. Even guardiola and klopp will flop massively with our current team. We need the entire mentality of the club changed. Remember how fabregas and few others said under wenger, we would lose a game and players will be joking around and taking selfies on the bus back home. That mentality is still at the core of our club and it infects new players joining us. That’s why I completely support Arteta’s ruthlessness, we need that.

    1. Agree on most Kstix but not the last part when will our fans understand that Wenger left the club some years ago now most of the players have been recycled or are not his. How can we still blame Wenger for everything? What mentality are we talking about? Loosing does not mean you stop laughing or stop to live. Fans need to come out of this mentality. What matters is what you do on the pitch and talent you have. What’s the point of having talent less work horse on the pitch, who make grumpy faces when we loose but produce no results. Th same Wenger mentality which I don’t think remains at the club any more as the great man has gone for some time won us trophies and made us finish in top 4 years after years.

  4. I always preferred MA over UE and any other manager. I wanted him to take charge after Wenger instead of going to any other manager. What a disappointment he has been not because of result but the football i have seen the team play under him. I thought as he has worked under two of the best attcaking football managers he would be a mix and best of both but he turned out to be another copy of Morinihio. We should try and get Rodgers next year.

    1. When Arsenal Signed Unai Emery I wasn’t that excited about him, I could never forget how he Failed at PSG VS Barcelona. After watching some games I could see the intensity of pressing being way higher that with Wenger but we had no exciting Football. But Vs Fulham 10/7/18 when he played442 With
      Laca Welbeck
      Iwobi Xhaka Torreira Mhki
      Monreal Holding mustafi Bellerin
      I thought this is the arsenal that i want to see. Welbeck running into space creating options, Lacazette played so good – his touch, creativity finesse he was playing real good, Iwobi and Mhki played with the wide backs so well and made many runs through the middle, Xhaka and Torreira moving the ball quickly and protecting the defense, it was refreshing but UE could not stop switching line ups and tactics and Arsenal looked unmotivated, we could not defend, we could not attack, could not keep possession, bye Emery. MA first thing he did was working the basics like positioning and this was important, Arsenal could defend way better, I trust that MA will have Arsenal playing better attacking football. I think he has done real good in terms of positioning for the team we just lack that spark when attacking. I would give Arteta another season then start judging. He has no easy job in front of him. Keep on supporting and I hope to see a good game against Leeds. English is not my first language so if you don’t understand Sorry 🙂 Come on Gunners

  5. Villareal’s current position in La Liga might have proven that Arsenal’s main problem isn’t the managers or the players, since there have been plenty of foreign players join and leave the club. Emery’s high pressing philosophy seems to work well in La Liga currently and I bet Wenger has also found some new ideas

    The Invincibles were the peak achievement of our foreign players, but it all went downhill afterwards. I believe there’s too much leniency at the club, negligence, complacency and lack of control from the top executives

    Arsenal have been paying their employees handsomely with high incentives, but it’s difficult to motivate mercenaries and complacent people if they don’t really love the club. If I were Kroenke and spent 300+ M on player transfers without any major trophy, I’d make sure no employee can stay in his comfortable zone without progress

    1. Excellent comment and observation. There are big changes happening throughout the Arsenal club. They will take some time to bear fruit. I don’t think most of us are patient and maybe we shouldn’t be. Arsenal seems to have been a boat adrift for a long time. I really hope there is a comprehensive plan in place that can lead to some stability and success.

  6. Wenger was a great period and a downhill period.
    He probably should have been sacked earlier, than he was, but that is all academic.
    It is also academic to compare Wenger, Emery and Arteta. Emery had to go, as he had lost the dressing room as the writer rightly says. Emery had before his Arsenal job, and now it seems also after it, documented he is a very good coach, and there can be several reasons, why he didn’t succeed at Arsenal, including an obvious language barrier.
    So the comparison between Emery and Arteta is a waste of time. Arteta is our coach. He must be given a chance, even if our results at the moment are mediocre. If he were to lose the dressing room or if we were to drop into a relegation fight, it is a different matter.
    I hope, and I still think, Arteta will do very well. But time will tell.

  7. Having fully reas ALL the predcedingpotst most of which agreed with Emerys sacking but none of which give wholhewrated longterm support to Artata , I bring a completely different opinion to this site.
    Firstly Emery is gone and there is no point in a daft comparison betwen two managers in totally different positions. To expand on this PRECISE point, I SCORN all attempts at comparisons that are not like for like, as unless you start from the same place, which successive manager seldom if ever do, then spurious comparisons are pointless and irrelevant. All they do is provide a false platform for some to vent their fury on this one or that one or both. I will not join this pointless discussion.
    Instead i will stake my reputation as a 60 years plus attending fan, who flatters myself I know a thing or two about life and a deal more about football and what it takes to be a success as manager.
    Firstly a top manager needs clear vision , insight, clear purpose(sometimes called ruthlessness, fairly too). He needs work ethic AND to be a top coach , to have a top understanding of where he sees the club developing and of all staging posts along that journey. And it is a journey that takes real time and cannot be expected, at least not by reasonable fans, to be accomplished in the ridiculously short time that many fans on this site show so regularly and so foolishly.

    He also needs great man management skills and to be a briliant communicator(which so hampered his predecessor who soke poor English). He needs much else bsesides.
    In Arteta I clearly see future greatness and to my shrewd and observant mind he has all these qualities and more too.

    I totally reject the mealy mouthed and hasty, even downright unfair andfoolish comments made by so many. I say THEY are the ones lacking; in intellect, in powers of real observationand in a clear reluctance to even fully consider the many, many handaps MA has to overcome even before winning the first of his two trophies in less than 9 months. An extraordinary success, to my thoughtful mind.

    I will leave it here but it if two full seasons from now -which will be a fair time to judge him and NOT before then – he has not lived up to my predictions, then and ONLY THEN will I admit I was wrong.
    But I will NOT be wrong and whatever I am, I am not hasty, not a three year old in a sweet shop demanding ALL I want and demanding it NOW, and I will carry on calling out the many blinkered fools who cannot see the future greatness in MA that I for one see so VERY CLEARLY!

    1. Jon
      I thought I gave Arteta my support and only said he isn’t the finished product yet. I’ve no doubt he has the makings of being a great manager for the club but he still has things to prove. He is on the right path and I hope he gets long enough to prove you right and the doubters wrong

      1. SueP, Fortunately for our club , policy will not depend on the many hasty juvenile comments on here from “3 year olds in a sweetshop children” but on sober, rational judgement from the owner, coupled with the certain knowledge of seeing the many handicaps he has already overcome and still has to overcome. Which, IN GOOD TIME, HE WILL!

        Mature fans can see this but rational thinking is not given to the majority, in any walk of football life involving fans!

        When I READ SOME OF THE DUNDERHEADED COMMENTS ON HERE, I am so glad to be a sober minded realist and not a 3 year old child in a sweet shop!

      1. It was a bit early for a gin and tonic so it would have been a coffee.

        I rate Arteta quite highly, (not yet the finished product) regardless of what you think.

  8. I think Emery is a decent manager but his style and personality won’t work in England. It was never a good fit at Arsenal. I am losing faith in Arteta. The team is not getting better. His tactics are simply to play 7 players on defense to prevent goals. Since all of the midfielders are playing defense there is not anyone in the middle to feed the forwards. It is painful to watch and must change.

  9. Agree with most of the above posts. Emery was on a downward projectory which he would never have been able to control at Arsenal. He needed a fresh start and it’s obviously been good for him, although let’s not forget what happened at Arsenal after the unbeaten streak ended. I actually wanted Arteta at Arsenal from the beginning. Even as a player he gave the impression of being someone who was thoughtful about the game. I remember him spending a lot of time on the bench sitting next to Wegner while he was injured. I have been disappointed with some of his tactics since, especially the number of scoring chances created. These have been rare and caused our strikers to go to sleep. However I believe that he should be allowed to continue and be judged in June when the stats are all in.

  10. His style of playing from the back was straining the team sometimes. But Emery signed better players (Tierney, Gouendouzi, Ceballos, and Seliba) than Arteta. He introduced Saka to first team football.He took us to Europa league final during his first season. The problem with Arteta is he’s unable to groom and trust youth. Emery also comes with experience. But I dont prefer any of them. I’d rather prefer Wenger

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