It’s all expectantly quiet today and with the international break upon us within a day or two, I can understand that, because the Leicester debacle feels like it whipped up yet more anger and frustration and the comms that followed only poured petrol on the proverbial flames.
The problem with the international break, however, is it gives rise to reflection and stewing and that’s what I think will happen for the next week. I’ve seen Arseblog is today running with the data side of where we are at and it doesn’t make for good reading for any Arsenal fan, because it just underlines how much more unlikely it feels like top four is with each passing week, and on the Gunners Town show on Monday our host Charlie Hawkins read out a stat that our probability of getting top four is now listed at around 17%.
That’s horrendous and yesterday even I did a quick ‘based on trend’ bit of calculation to work out that based on our current form we’re likely to be at around 57 points come the end of the season. Last season that would have put us in joint seventh. The season before it would have been seventh again. And given that Leicester have broken into the top six and look like they’ll be staying there this season, I make that about where we’ll finish unless something miraculous happens.
That miracle at the moment seems to come from the mind of Unai Emery and given some of his increasingly baffling statements about how well we’re doing, about how we’re improving, I just can’t see it myself. And that’s why all Arsenal fans want the club to drop Emery as soon as possible. The data, the comments from the man himself, the quality of players we have, the tactical decision making and substitutions; all of it points towards a man who has already lost his grip.
I was quoted as saying Emery is a lucky boy because the next four games are very winnable. Well, the last four games – Leicester as a potential outlier you could argue – were winnable and we picked up two points from a probable 12. There’s been rumours that Emery has six games to save his job. I hope it’s that he’s down to his last “life”, which means failure to pick up maximum points in every one of the games against Southampton, Norwich, Brighton and then West Ham, need to result in immediate dismissal.
Whether or not that happens I don’t know. The club has access to statDNA. Perhaps they can work out the probabilities of top four at Christmas if you’re 15 points away from the top four positions?
The other argument I’ve heard is that Unai Emery is a master in the Europa League – getting us to the final (even though the performance was abject) and having won it three times before. Personally I think that it’s a massive gamble to hang your hat on a knockout competition. You can afford a blip or two in a league campaign because it rewards consistency. What you can’t afford is any of that in knockout competition. The Europa League has plenty of teams in it who could do us over, not least Man United, so do we really want to be putting our eggs in that basket despite the fact that Emery is known as a specialist in the Europa League?
Not for me. No way José. Nope. N’-ah. No way.
It looks like Emery’s been given his chance so we have to hope that he does something over the break to repair the broken confidence in this team, but I’m not holding my breath too long, and I’d advise the same for thee.
Catch you all tomorrow.