Well now. What should we talk about today then? Is there any particular Arsenal-related topics of conversation that we should focus on?
You’re right, how silly of me, Petr Cech being given the number one jersey, Xhaka bizarrely choosing to up his short number to 34, whilst Hector and Mo Elneny got single figures with 2 and 4 respectively.
I reckon that’s what should be focus of today’s blog, hmm….?
Or we could, y’know, talk about the fact that the Ornacle dropped an absolute ITK bomb on us yesterday by announcing that the club will be replacing Arsène Wenger not with Arteta, but Unai Emery, who I spoke about yesterday morning.
I’ve got to be honest though, whilst I did a little reading on him as an option for us, it wasn’t really something I was completely convinced would happen because I was pretty sure Arteta was an absolute done deal. That’s certainly the way things seemed to be heading and after a few weeks of this speculation growing, I found myself coming around to accepting the idea of the Spaniard in charge.
Yet Arsenal did themselves ‘an Arsenal’ and went completely against the grain of what we were expecting and appear to have gone with the more experienced coach.
This is an interesting one on so many levels. Firstly, the process, because we were led to believe that Arsenal had a checklist of needs for the new manager – bold, progressive, working within the existing structure, etc, etc – and that’s why the names of Arteta and Vieira were considered. They were both unproven to an extent and that is why they seemed to fit an extreme version of the mould that Ivan had laid out in his press conferences.
But Emery is an experienced man. A man we can actually have a frame of reference with in terms of how he will stamp his mark on Arsenal. A man who has won European and domestic trophies at PSG and Sevilla. Despite having tonnes of cash at PSG, he still had to win the league and even did the domestic treble, winning manager of the year in the process. You still have to know your onions to get a team to perform, no matter how much talent you have at your disposal, so that should please us.
What should also please us is that this is a guy who will be chest deep into the detail. He’ll study everything about us, about the opposition, about how to play, then look to find solutions that get us winning football matches. We’ve had so long of Arsène and his trust in his players and the players haven’t delivered (in big trophies, although I have nothing against the FA Cup, because it’s brought some fabulous memories) when they’ve been given the chance. Now it’s time to put a leash on some of them and direct instead of gently suggest.
There may be a few players whose noses might be put out of joint but do you know what? Screw it. They know Emery is a winner and has won competitions before and I hope that his reputation and CV in recent seasons ensures that the players up their games as individuals and as the collective.
I’m excited. I’m excited because I think this is an appointment that is going to be different and I’m excited to see how he sorts us out and brings back an actual style of play to Arsenal, which I feel had been lacking for the last couple of seasons, but hopefully we’ll now start to see form again.
What I will say though, is that the way this has all come about does feel a little, well, fishy. After all, he – like Sarri and Jardim – haven’t really been in the running at all if you believe the journos. And as much as I try to ignore 90% of what they say, when most of them seem to be singing from the same hymn book, it isn’t usually because they’ve all got together for a guessing game session and all randomly selected the same bloke.
As the news started to filter out yesterday we got an insight into the way in which Emery was settled on as the main man and it all seems like it was a ‘blown away by the interview’ narrative the club are taking. Supposedly he came from left field with his ideas. Again, this all sounds a little fishy but more than that, it worries me about our selection process that we can flip-flop so dramatically after a process which only ever seemed to be going on one direction. Ivan and his team don’t really appear to know what they want and that’s a little worrying.
But only a little to me, because whilst I think Ivan has gone for the safer approach and blinked at the last minute re: Arteta, I do think that it’s the right thing for Arsenal to do now. If somebody asked me to bet it all on a guy who I suspect would have been a massive success or massive failure, or somebody with more experience and probably more of a known quantity in terms of risk, there’d be absolutely no way I’d choose anybody but the man with experience. So from that perspective I’m happy and I think we all have to be.
And now we have to back the new man when it’s confirmed. We have to be pleased that this announcement has come now and we have to hope that Arsenal can be as swift in their decision making for transfers and we get some deals done in the next few weeks before the World Cup starts.
It’s time for us to become more unified as a club and it appears we’re doing it with Emery in charge.
Ooh, a quick ‘p.s.’ for you. Last night I made my radio debut on LoveSport Radio. It’s a new radio station on 558AM and DAB digital radio (other listening options here) and yesterday Dave, Giles and myself were on The Arsenal Fans show. I think it will be available as a podcast but we might also be doing it on a regular weekly basis so I’ll keep you posted on any movements on that front. Cheerio people!