Sometimes I feel like I write about Arsenal out of some kind of habitual nature, because if I’m completely honest with you, I really don’t feel that motivated to do it this morning.
Yet here I am, Sunday morning, tapping away at my iPhone trying to make sense of what is going on at Arsenal once again.
It’s another defeat we have to reminisce over. It’s another lacklustre performance, even though there were times where it at least felt like we were on the fringe of doing something, although ultimately we fell short and were once again bettered by our opponents. Then it was another baffling post match presser from Unai Emery, in which he insisted we needed patience with the ‘young players’ in the team.
Bernd Leno, Calum Chambers, David Luiz, Hector Bellerin, Sead Kolasinac, Mesut Özil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are not ‘young players’ any more. They are all experienced players with plenty of games under their belts. That’s right out of the eleven yesterday.
This Arsenal Manager is making excuses. And they’re lame excuses. He’s overseeing the worst Arsenal form since I was born. I am 37 years old. He’s giving mind-boggling reasons as to why we are regressing and all we can do is sit here and watch some of the worst football I’ve ever seen an Arsenal team play.
He switched it to a back three yesterday and at times it actually felt like a good idea in terms of a containment exercise. But that sums up Unai Emery’s Arsenal – a ‘containment exercise’ away to Leicester. It’s pathetic and simply not good enough.
The Arsenal board must act because if they don’t then we will find this season’s ambitions are done and dusted before Christmas.
What’s the point in analysing the game? We’ve seen this one before. Outshot again. Barely any shots in the second half. A complete lack of belief once we went behind. It’s a sad story that is being replayed again and again. The stats, the form, the history – all of this points to one thing – a manager who has failed to get the best out of a talent group of players. When that happened Bruce Rioch was sacked. People might say it was in the summer but he only got one season. And that was right because what he delivered wasn’t enough. I know he was binned because of off the field stuff, but he never felt like a manager of Arsenal, the club always felt a little bigger than him. Emery is exactly the same.
We now have an international break and as much as I think all of us are hoping the trigger gets pulled on him, I cannot see it happening, because I think the board will give it until December and especially given the next three games – Southampton at home, Norwich away and Brighton at home. All very winnable, even if it doesn’t really feel like that right now, but given how tough the schedule is after that, I suspect that if we don’t pick up nine out of nine then that will be that – and should be that – for the manager.
But by then I think it’ll be too late. Teams like Leicester and Chelski will have disappeared off into the distance and we’ll be left with a season that will be petering out – from January!
It’s turgid stuff. We don’t look like any Arsenal team I’ve seen before. We are ugly to watch, inefficient, we lack drive and self-belief is negligible. This manager is sucking the life out of the club and now would be a perfect time to exit him.
“But who would you get?” I hear people ask.
Anybody with a direction, ability to communicate properly to players, plus somebody who instils belief. Leicester has Puel and acted, bringing in Rodgers and look at their turnaround in fortunes. So don’t tell me it isn’t possible. But the board, Edu and Raul – need to recognise now that this situation is unsolvable under Emery and they need to act. And if they do act, there are games in which the new manager can instil belief, can start a bit of a run and maybe even connect with the fans more than Emery has done.
We want to enjoy our football again and it feels like there’s no way that can be done under Emery. Maybe that’s Freddie, maybe it’s Arteta, maybe it’s Magelsmann, maybe it’s a Benitez until the end of the season. Anything has to be better than this. We’re all ready for it but for every week that passes in which the board don’t act, their goodwill is evaporating amongst the fan base.
That’s all I’ve got for today. A couple of week’s off The Arsenal feels appropriate right now. Let’s just hope for some news in the next 24-48 hours.
Catch you all tomorrow.