Granit Xhaka thinks that what Patrice Evra said on Monday night football was ‘bullshit’. I think the performance of him and his teammates was bullshit. I think the energy, intensity and structure of the team on Monday was bullshit. I think the side selection and tactical set up against a newly promoted team was bullshit. And I think any belief that Unai Emery is the man to take us ‘forward’ is bullshit.
But then again, he was an Ivan Gazidis appointment, so perhaps we should have seen it all along, after all.
At least there is little time to stew on the abysmal result of Monday night because tomorrow evening we have the visit of Portuguese side Vitoria Setubal and at some stage today Unai Emery will have a press conference and probably waffle incoherent nonsense that none of us understand. Like a politician talking about Brexit in the UK, his words are relatively meaningless and we’ll have to wait until tomorrow night to see if there’s a reaction from the team.
Except it’s not really tomorrow night we’ll be wanting one from, is it? Because tomorrow night will be a rotated team that will probably include Holding, Bellerin, Tierney, Torreira, maybe even Özil, Martinelli and Ceballos from the start. It’ll be a team that I’m hoping show the same verve and snap about it as the young team that trounced Standard Liege in a thoroughly enjoyable evening of football a couple of weeks ago and it’ll probably be an infinitely more enjoyable watch than what we were subjected to on Monday.
And if that does happen, you’ll have me – and probably a fair few of you – wondering what it will take for Unai to rotate in some of those players to the Premier League match day squad. What will it take to see Torreira start in the base of our midfield? What will it take to have Chambers at centre half? What will it take to give Özil a run out behind the striker in a number 10 role? What will it take to see Tierney and Bellerin?
Because as it stands we have players who have performed poorly on Monday, yet I suspect many of whom will still start on Sunday at home to Palace. That’s because Unai Emery doesn’t seem to want to pick players on form and performance. He seems to pick those with the hardest running or training stats. Or those that he deems are his ‘go to’ players. It’s weird because whilst we have three home games in the next four in all competitions, for me it feels like we are at a point in which Unai’s team is set for the foreseeable future, which is weird because it’s those players who could cost him his job.
Perhaps you think me melodramatic but a poor performance against Palace on Sunday, defeat to Liverpool in the cup in midweek, followed by another poor performance against Wolves, should probably see his Arsenal managerial career standing on a knife edge. The next game after that is Leicester and the way we are playing – especially away from home – has me putting that down as a pretty concrete ‘L’ in a few weeks time.
Nailed on defeat.
How on earth am I thinking like that as an Arsenal fan?? How far have we fallen that we are that shocking away from home?
It’s not as if I don’t have the data to back it up either. I saw a tweet from Orbinho yesterday which showed team away points since the beginning of last season. Chelski, United, the Totts, Palace – all have more away from home than us and we’ve all seen the supposed ‘crisis’ some of those teams are in. Then we’ve got Leicester just one point behind us on away points gathered, then Wolves. There’s supposed to be a ‘Big Six’ but our away form makes us look like mid table fancies. It’s pathetic.
But we don’t play Leicester until 9th November so at Leicester Emery has a buffer. He’s got three home games to get some sort of response to his team and hopefully during those games he’ll realise that he has some players he’s got benched that he should probably be fitting in as regularly as possible. The best hope we have right now is that players utterly force him to play them through good individual performances. So I’m thinking Tierney, Torreira and yes, I’d even love Mesut Özil to have a blinder. I’m not naive enough to think he has a future with us, that he will be played more often by the manager, or anything like that. But if he at least plays well we know we have an option from the bench.
So that’s my hope for tomorrow evening. I’ll drop you a match preview in the Steve Morrow then.