Well now kids, how many of you could have predicted that an average, mid-table team from Germany, who have had patchy form, with no “official” supporters in the stadium (although we know they were there), would pick up three points against Unai Emery’s shambolic Arsenal team?
Just about everybody I reckon.
This team is done. More crucially, this manager is done and if nothing else had told us that before last night, the Europa League home time to a team we beat 3-0 away a couple of months ago, did.
The team selection was was as we’ve come to expect with Emery; it was defensive, it was lacking ambition and it smacked of fear against an opponent who are industrious but certainly nothing to be worried about. And that showed in the first half. Frankfurt had one shot off target in the first 45 against a team that included Sokratis, Luiz, Xhaka, Aubameyang – all first teamers – started, in clearly a move by Emery to have a proper roll of the dice to get a win to try to give him a stronger hand to his superiors who decide his fate.
That makes sense and pre-game I kinda got it; he desperately needed a win so playing some of the stronger first teamers made sense. But the downside, of course, was that if Arsenal did anything but win and win well then he would basically be done and there’d be no turning back. After all, this is Emery’s competition, the one that probably got him the job in the first place.
So if he’s not capable of delivering in the Europa League, having utterly failed domestically this season, what are we doing with him in charge?
That is a question for Raul and the people at Arsenal running the club. They are the ones sitting on their hands. This has gone beyond questioning the capability of the head coach. We k ow he is unfit for purpose. What we are looking at is an acknowledgment that this is unacceptable and the club will act accordingly. But they sleep. As of me writing this today they sleep and ignore what is clear to everyone.
I don’t understand the decision making. Nobody does. A back three with wing backs looking to contain Frankfurt worked in the first half as we limited them to one shot off target, but in the second half the second the equaliser for them came, we all knew there was only going to be one winner. And it wasn’t going to be in red and white.
Unai tried to change things with subs, but he wasn’t helped with injuries, as David Luiz came off and I suspect he’ll now be a doubt for the weekend. It’s also striking on who Emery turned to when he needed something to happen. Mesut Özil, the guy who was shunned from the first team, the guy who Emery ‘esplayned’ was not included because of a club decision (clearly to hound him out), is now somebody who Emery relies on. It is farcical. But then again so is Arsenal under Emery. We’ve become a rudderless, boring and predictable team, with a total lack of confidence chucked in to boot.
As soon as the equaliser went in you could the life sucked out of these Arsenal players; they are paralysed with over-instruction and fear. Emery has analysed and analysed and analysed so much that his words mean nothing to the players and when you are in a spiralling form situation like this you need your head coach or manager to be the inspirational figure who can pick his players up.
I just don’t see that in Unai Emery. I haven’t seen that in him at all really, even last season on the unbeaten run, if I’m honest. Things were going well and I was putting it down to his reading of the game rather than motivating of players. I don’t know any players that have ever appeared to want to run through walls for him.
And the best managers have a blend of tactical nous with motivational speaker in them. They are charismatic and as a result their players do everything for them. That isn’t Unai Emery. Never has been. So now we’ve got a manager who isn’t succeeding in his analysis, who the players have lost faith in, who can’t inspire them either.
So what are we still doing with him in charge?
That’s a question for Raul and the Kroenke’s and at this stage you have to be looking at them and saying that once again they are the ones who are causing these problems. They are the root cause of the decline in Arsenal in the last ten years and the visible manifestation of that is our coach. He’s taking the flak for their poor management of the club just like Arsène did. Only Emery doesn’t have the charisma, the goodwill, or the ability to lead a big club like Arsenal.
I expect the deal to remove him will take place today and maybe tomorrow, but my worry is now turning to what happens when a new man needs to be appointed, because it’s the same people who have let Arsenal get to this half-empty stadium state. How can we honestly look at them and think that they know what they’re doing?
That’s what #WeCareDoYou was all about. It was about looking at the fact that the fans feel disenfranchised with the leadership because, frankly, there isn’t any leadership. The match day experience has been sacrificed, there is no real resemblance of ‘Arsenalness’ about us any more. Doing things ‘The Arsenal Way’ doesn’t really exist any more. And that’s why we form a collective of fans looking to make ‘noise’ to try to get the club to change.
So come on KSE, come on Raul, show us you care.