There is no greater sight for a Spurs fan like myself and my podcast partner Bharat Bhise than to see Arsenal struggling and the last 12 months have helped to really take the shine off our own poor form. Bharat and I were talking last week about how we’d love to see Unai Emery stay in a job, as they are terrible with him in charge. Unfortunately however, this is football and decisions are made in a heartbeat, with nobody given much time to turn things around. Emery has been a disaster since he took over at the club and not even their arrival at the Europa League final is enough to paper over the cracks, and here is where it has gone wrong for the Spaniard.
Playing it Out
The overriding feeling with Emery is that he is utterly resistant to change and he doesn’t seem to be able to realize when there is something seriously wrong. A perfect example of this can be seen from his insistence that Arsenal play out from the back from goal kicks, a tactic which has caused them far too many headaches and goal opportunities to keep count of. Emery has players like Sokratis who are not ball playing defenders and defensive midfielders who don’t want to receive the ball, nonetheless he continues with this absurd strategy and they pay every single time.
One of the keys to managing a football club is managing the players, and simply put Emery just can’t do it. His handling of the Mesut Ozil situation has been ridiculous, his management of new players like Pepe and Tierney just as absurd and the way he acted following the Granit Xhaka incident just highlighted how unable he is to properly manage players in the dressing room.
Arsenal are for all intents and purposes a top 6 club and a club which should be pushing for top 4, quite why Emery sees the need to set them up as though they were a relegation club is beyond everyone. Emery plays at home against lesser teams and sets up with back four and two defensive midfielders, a bizarre strategy which shows the fear that he has about losing games, this fear then cripples him and his side’s chances.
Finally it has been Emery[’s subs that have had many people scratching their heads, leaving Lacazette on the bench in favor of Torreira when they are chasing the game, bringing Pepe on for Guendouzi when they need to protect a lead, not to mention his strange half time substitutions which he enjoys making. All of this points to the fact that the Spaniard doesn’t know his players and that he has lost all tactical nous which many thought that he had when he was back in Sevilla.
As much as Bharat and I would love Emery to stay and take Arsenal right down the bottom, it looks like he will in fact be on the way out the door very soon indeed.