Today You are Unai Emery: Ten Questions for You

If you were Unai Emery with over two months to go till the start of the new season, how would you go about to make Arsenal successful again? There is pretty much a clean sheet for you and you can spend at least £50m on players – a budget that can be enlarged through selling one or more players this summer. I actually believe the budget is higher than £50m but the BoD are rightly not going to advertise this publicly: negotiations benefit from claiming your budget is tight.

We all have our views on how Arsenal will get better, and I reckon I know most of the regular bloggers-on-BK’s views, but it would be good to see them expressed through answering a number of questions. Non-regular BKers and new bloggers are also very welcome to give us their views, of course. There are no right or wrong answers here, because it is about your football philosophy, views on players and how you believe you will get the best out of them. And it is all a bit of fun of course – we all know that we are not football managers! 🙂

So here are my ten questions to you:

  1. What style of football would you want us to play NEXT season and why? Strong focus on attacking football (goalfests ala Liverpool); strong focus on defence, winning many games with tide margins (the old Arsenal/Mourinho’s/Atletico Madrid approach); a strong balance between defending and attacking (the initial Wenger Arsenal teams, MU under Ferguson in the mid to late stages of his management career); or a form of total football (ala Barca, Wengerball, Man City under Guardiola)?
  2. Which formation would you like us to play in?
  3. Which two positions would you strengthen as a priority?
  4. Any other positions you would like to strengthen?
  5. Who would you sell?
  6. And who would you buy?
  7. Who would you appoint as Emery’s assistant?
  8. And who would become captain?
  9. Which two youngsters would you promote into the ‘Top-18’ squad this summer?
  10. Which two or three other things would you change, on or off the pitch, to make us more successful?

I will give you my answers a bit later today.

By TotalArsenal.

91 thoughts on “Today You are Unai Emery: Ten Questions for You

  • PE, I think every def/mid that Arsenal are linked to, in the foreseeable future, will be compared to Patrick Vieira, as in, is so and so the new Patrick Vieira, can he be the new PV, have Arsenal signed the new PV, etc etc etc?
    Personally I’d be happy with a new Manu Petit or a new Edu or Gilberto Silva…

    Apparently Emery has said some interesting things about Rabiot recently and that he has great potential to be a D/M, so watch this space if Wilshere leaves?

  • 1. man city under Pep
    2.4-2-3-1 system
    3 defence and goal keeping
    4. CDM
    5. cech, mustafi, chambers, wilshere,
    6 leno/oblak, sokratis, dembele(spurs)l/ndidi (leicester),
    7. garcia and Thierry
    8. ramsey
    9 niles, nelson
    10. medial team,finance

  • Hi there TA. Some quick replies from me:

    1. Continuity. Attack and possession play, making the most of our attackers, speed and passing play. Reassure the fans that we aren’t abandoning the past 20years but going to build on them.
    2. 4,2,3,1. The manager favours this, and I like it too. Works for our front line, but some thought needed for the pivot.
    3. New CB and GK for me.
    4. RB cover would be sense. Key will be choice of players for the pivot. Do we settle from 2 of those available or do we buy. And if we buy what sort of player – a DM or a Santiago replacement.
    5. Not sure I would sell. Some retiring or at end of contracts. We won’t buy in many new. A GK will need to go if we buy in that position.
    6. As above in terms of positions. I can’t judge the personnel to be honest. Nor have any sense as to who might realistically be available.
    7. I’d keep Bould for a year perhaps, again by way of some continuity.
    8. Rambo if he stays and is secure as part of the pivot. Harder choice if not him. Might be Xhaka otherwise.
    9. I’d like to see Bielik given a chance if he ever gets fit. I think we’ve already seen a crop of youngsters with real potential. The tough bit will be to find enough space to really give them decent chances. Our squad is a strong one already unless we sell off a lot of players.
    10. Fan support and patience will be key. Not to get carried away if we make a strong start, nor to panic if we don’t. We are going to have to wait for things to settle in all likelihood and I’d expect some inconsistency in our performances. In the back room I have to hope that all the decision makers manage to get on and execute the strategy as a team. The risk with so many well paid egos is that they fracture and become distracted by internal power plays. Ivan will have to be the CEO now. Away from us I’m hoping for the Maureen rot to start to spread within Manure, and for the Spuds to stagnate a bit after their progress of recent years. That will keep me happy while I wait!

  • 1. Of course Total Football.
    2. 4-2-3-1 and 3-5-1-1
    3. Defense and DM.
    4. Goalkeeper, but it is the third on the priority list. At least we had better ‘keepers compared to Liv.
    5. Hm.. i would only sell one.. Iwobi.
    6. Lichtsteiner? Convert him to a central midfielder.
    7. He has his own assistant, and if i would have a say then Mikel is the bridge between the old and new.
    8. Only one name. Bosscielny.
    9. Reiss Nelson and The Greek Lad.
    10. Change the way we haggle over deals?

  • 1.strong balance between defending and attacking
    2. 4-3-3
    3. CB & CM
    4. GK
    5. Mustafi
    6. Sokratis, Lichtsteiner (already happening) Torreira, Leno
    7. Dennis Bergkamp..Dennis Bergkaaaamp. DENNIS BERGKAAAAAMPP!
    8. Aaron Ramsey
    9. AMN & Nelson/Nketiah
    10. Sell players if a great offer comes in and rebuild. Call out the media negativity and ban the worst offenders. Make a fuss about referees not giving us the correct decisions.

  • TA will try to do something later. but maybe a new question. who will manage spurs next season if pochettino defects?

  • 1. This will need to be determined situationally, by opponent. We have an attack worthy of some of the styles given as examples. But to think somehow Emery’s influence will jump-start a sixth-place team to emulate style(s) of best-ever teams is a bit grandiose.
    2. Again, based on opponent. Mostly accomodating the LMAO foursome as a priority.
    3. CB, GK
    4. DM (RW or sign and promote Reiss Nelson!)
    5. Mustafi, Welbeck. Possibly Xhaka (depending on incomings)
    6. Evans, Rabiot/Nzonzi, (exclusive of the current rumored defenders incoming)
    7. Loaded question. Emery knows who and what he needs most in an assistant.
    8. Monreal.
    9. Nelson, Nketiah (assuming Mavropanos already in)
    10. Like Shard’s idea of eliminating bad press– as best as can be done. Restrict access by individual credentials, not organizations. When you limit a pundit’s access? Creating conflict isn’t as important as having a livelihood.


  • A bit of deviation to the original story, Zidane inherited a great side. and Guardiola too when he was at Barca. Zidane’s next club is going to be what the world is watching eagerly.

    And ESPN is talking about Yacine Adli. He looks like Cesc, albeit much taller. Maybe he can be our next Cesc?

  • Porky Posh signed a contract till 2022 last week, so unlikely to go, Retsubster. It must be Arteta at RM next muhahhahaaaha 😉

  • JK–
    Interesting comparison Adli v. Fabregas.

    Brings to mind a facet I’ll revisit in how players are analyzed, as the club’s backroom team decides on ‘whom to pursue’. The NYTimes article I’m linking to here was posted in Feb 2017. Though much of the background seems rooted in previous years’ experiences (up to 2014-15). Accounting for the club’s hesitance to expose anything unique to Arsenal’s StatDNA methodology.

    Nonetheless, the choices I’m seeing of players being pursued– and with vigor? Give me the feeling they were targeted with intent well before season’s end. Likely a set of contingencies– setup much as the varying possible timelines that played out in the run-up to AW’s departure.

    The SIR team have already weighed groupings of players they would like to bring in. What the StatDNA system should already be able to provide (post-AW) is an ability to determine which players would team best with the existing squad. From a perspective of what I’ve witnessed in other sports, and the depth to which Arsenal surpasses other known football-based systems in their coding of performances? And, given the platform has been maturing since 2012? This level of analytics should be available presently. Then, as with any system? Comes down to whom and how the data is applied.

    With last January’s moves– I’m inclined to have faith in those signings now being pursued by SIR. Not yet certain whether the intent is to create a stop-gap squad for the first season– with further intent toward better talent in the next 1-2 transfer windows? Or– this is the way the plan starts?

    Probably prudent to halt with that.


  • TA

    Maybe it’s just a way to get Spurs some money for when he leaves. I presume Real Madrid were aware of the possibility from before, especially because Zidane had been dropping hints from before. Of course, maybe Poch was turned down by Real and that’s why he signed up. Or it’s just hilariously bad timing.

    Personally, I hope they hire Wenger. Mainly for him, but I think he would be a good fit for that side. Pochettino’s pressing style doesn’t seem to be what the likes of Modric, Kroos, Isco and even Casemiro would like to be doing, or the best use of their abilities.

  • What style of football would you want us to play NEXT season and why?
    6.5/4.5: our quality attackers can get goals and our back six plus the B2B midfielder should focus strongly on making us hard to beat, both from transition as well as attacks build up from the back against us. Second season is for full integration of style of play .A bit like Porky Posh has Spurs playing at the moment (but then with much better attackers). So strong focus on balance between defending and attacking (especially away from home).

    Which formation would you like us to play in?
    4-2-1-3: Double DM pivot has two midfielders play closely together and only go forward (one of them) when safe to do so. In the hole, it is 1. Rambo; 2. Jack. 3.Iwobi. Rambo to do his B2B running from a more advanced position. Mesut – from right wing – allowed to move into the middle to team up with Rambo or move into vacated space when Rambo is supporting the defence. Up-front three of Auba, Laca, Mkhi, Giroud (bring him home), Perez

    Which two positions would you strengthen as a priority?
    CB and LB as cover for Nacho – Kola (or Mustafi) becomes DM

    Any other positions you would like to strengthen?
    RB – possibly GK
    Who would you sell?
    Welbz, possibly Holding and Rambo (if not signing soon)

    And who would you buy?
    Chris Smalling – 28 and he is a Gooner (and Sokratis) – Ben Chilwell (Leicester) – Fabregas as player/assistant manager, Bring Him Home Giroud

    Who would you appoint as Emery’s assistant?
    Cesc Fabregas and DB10

    And who would become captain?
    Xhaka – Captain material all day long

    Which two youngsters would you promote into the ‘Top-18’ squad this summer?
    AMN and Bielik

    Which two or three other things would you change, on or off the pitch, to make us more successful?
    Mental preparation for away fixtures (but am sure Emery is on the case), tactical and technical tweaks for each game, especially in centre of midfield (double DM pivot), introduce large standing section at the home of football and get most vociferous supporters in there.

  • Shardo – Arsene at RM would be sweet. I reckon he will want to do something less in the limelight, but if he goes for it, I will be watching RM games regularly for the first time ever. 🙂

  • Shardo makes you (or me) sound Japanese 🙂

    Ohio Shardo san. Konichiwa Totalo sensei.

  • To me too TA. That’s just a few words that one picks up from here and there. Sayonara is another. 🙂

  • ‘Comes down to whom and how the data is applied.’

    There’s the crux Jw1. How the data is applied. I really think Mislintat was recruited specifically because he’s good at extrapolating the data and combining that with traditional scouting. At least that was one of his reported strengths.

    Wneger loved data, but I think the data might have let him down. He did say that he was advised against signing Griezmann, and there’s some suggestion that Mustafi and Xhaka were signings driven by data. Ultimately they are his signings, and not bad ones at that (Maybe Mustafi is?) But yeah the refinement of that data is an ongoing process. Hopefully they’ve reached some sort of a breakthrough with it.

  • You say sayonara while I say Konnichiwa, Konnichiwa, Konnichiwa – I don’t know why you say sayonara, I say Konnichiwa, Konnichiwa, Konnichiwa 🙂

  • TA, …. interesting post.

    STYLE: with the ball same as Wenger’s but a bit quicker in transition. Without the ball more energy through organized pressing.

    FORMATION: mostly 4:2:3:1



    SELL: Campbell, Perez and Akpom.

    BUY: Leno(keeper) and Tanguy Ndombele(CM). *** Ndombele will bring the much needed energy into our midfield. He is like a cross breed of Vieira and Yaya. Only 21 transfer market value of £13.50 but rising rapidly.

    ASSISTANT: Emery’s choice.

    CAPTAIN: Xhaka

    2 YOUNGSTERS: AMN and Nelson.

    MORE SUCCESSFUL: prioritize PL totally until Jan. If in the mix for top 4 maintain that policy. Top 4 or nothing.

  • Though I’ll add to your on-point observations Shard– that the StatDNA project– at those points where many of those players were evaluated– was in a neophyte stage. From what I’ve gleaned from systems that have been hybrid-ed in other sports? And knowing what I’ve researched about Arsenal’s system– it may just be on-the-cusp of fruition. My earlier thoughts (back last Summer) were that it might be functionally integrated by next January or next Summer 2019.

    One of the aspects where it may have already made a difference is at the youth level. My head tells me that signings like Holding, Bramhall, and Mavropanos are results of this system.

    The idea of Mustafi and Xhaka (don’t forget Elneny!) being identified through analytics is likely. Though I have a suspicion that AW trusted his own intuition more so than the data. As you mentioned, the data can only provide objective direction. It’s human aspects that inject subjectivity.

    To close these thoughts– I’ll add that there have been a spate of young, data-driven managers/coaches in US pro sports. Given jobs based on their ability to adhere to statistical analyses and application (We have one here in Houston (Astros Manager AJ Hinch, baseball) who has been top-notch in the system provided to him by the backroom nerds.

    Football is the next frontier. Arsenal are at fore.


  • “One of the aspects where it may have already made a difference is at the youth level. My head tells me that signings like Holding, Bramhall, and Mavropanos are results of this system.”

    Mavropanos wasn’t StatDNA’s signing, it was Mislintat’s. He’d already wanted him while at Dortmund.

    It’s an interesting point about youth football. I think it’s more likely that they test out the system at youth level rather than it providing a breakthrough there. You get to test and try new parameters and permutations etc and you get to see the results of it, all without losing out on big money or with big stakes.

    I agree that it was and remains a forward thinking step taken by the club. I’m not sure what basis there is for thinking the system may be ready to bear fruit by when you say, but I hope you’re right.

  • Shard–
    The StatDNA project began in earnest 6 years ago. Creating data, transcribed and coded from video– of 3 generations of footballers going back to the late-90s (‘Sarah Rudd’ ring a bell?). The foundation of the system is an ability to compare player traits for decades– at a deeper level than any other system available. A system capable of predicting progression/regression of individual’s performances year-over-year. A system that can express optimum lineups game-over-game.

    ‘Fruition’ in current circumstances at the club level– right now? Means creating a model of existing personnel to match with affordable, available and ‘sign-able’ players as a group– in order to optimize results on-field– for the upcoming season. If Emery is to pull a top-4 rabbit from the hat– the squad needs to be deeper first, pull in one direction second, be more talented, if possible, third.

    I have no doubts of Sven’s ability to mine gold– in the form of Mavropanos– but still it’s not by eye. Must have been using some form of data analysis at Dortmund previously too. Now with access to what could be the most advanced platform to-date? I expect good things within 2 years. That would be a period where we see improvement– through several transfer windows– with more extensive pools of talent to draw from.

    As for ‘fruition’ and the longer view? Identifying youth prospects at a younger age. To quantify physical traits of prospects even younger. To sign them before other top-10 Euro clubs identify them. The aspect, just now coming of age– is the coding and transcribing of youth prospects from available video. As that data expands and matures, applied in a potentially more advanced system? Arsenal may widen the gap in obtaining a larger percentage of first-team or near-first-team prospects– for a time. That gap, that period– could be the time when reaping the benefit of– or profiting from– that pool of can’t-miss prospects– translates into– either promoting great players into the team– or selling great prospects for greater sums.

    There’s really no other means to level the financial playing field– than outsmarting those clubs.


  • Agree with all that, and take the bits I don’t know anything about on faith 🙂

    Great comment jw1

  • Apologies to the regulars– and to TA.
    Previously expressed I wouldn’t go ‘full-heretic’ on the topic.
    Hope to lay all this out with a timeline– in project format on a site I’ll setup over the Summer– while watching the WC.

    Can revisit it offline at leisure.


  • Been busy, but a nice, upbeat post TA.
    I’ve avoided reading anyone’s comments before answering your 10 questions amigo.

    Here goes:
    1) It’s got to be attacking football, Mourinho finished 2nd and everyone is asleep at OT, Football is razzmatazz now, the worldwide audience wants entertainment, not 38 games of Atletico Madrid.
    I’d just like to see us be more pragmatic in certain games, adapt our style to take into consideration the opposition. If need be play more defensive to get a one-off result, but overall our style is attack, attack, attack.

    2) 4 3 3…. I’ve read that Emery actually favours 4 3 3 anyway, switching to 3 4 3 during games if his team is in possession and are attacking.

    3) Centre-Half and Goalkeeper.

    4) Centre-Midfield of a defensive variety. Although I’d like to see Maitland-Niles given a good run before we splash money in that dept.

    5) Ospina, Jenkinson, Campbell, Akpom, Pleguezuelo, Fortune, Moore, Mavididi, Zelalem, Nelson if he doesn’t sign a new contract, Ramsey if he doesn’t sign a new contract.

    6) Oblak, Calgar Soyuncu, Rabiot if Ramsey or Wilshere leaves, Lucas Torreira and I’d take Dembele on loan for a year would be interesting.
    I’m guessing that we’ve got Lichtsteiner and Sokratis signed n sealed.

    7) I’d leave that to Emery.

    8) Monreal or Xhaka, but nobody stands out to me…
    If Ramsey stays then I’d guess that he’d be a strong favourite as well.

    9). I think that Mavropanos and AMN are already established in the senior squad, so Ntekiah for me, he’d start in all the League Cup games and early UEFA Cup games, depending on the opposition. Also if he signs I’d bring Nelson into the seniors otherwise I’d have a punt on Nwakali.

    10) I’d reintroduce safe standing behind both goals for home fans only, it could boost attendances to over 70,000, improve the atmosphere and put 1st team games within the price range of many fans who are presently priced out. And tempt Retsub out of retirement. 😉

    I’d play more reserve games at the Emirates, try to encourage more local youngsters to attend games, get them young…

    I’d employ a new DJ, someone who could play some decent music and help get the ground rocking, sometimes the pre-match atmosphere resembles a care-home for the elderly.

  • Cheers chappelinos for the responses 🙂

    Some interesting suggestions. Re style of play it appears that most want to see aanvallen, aanvallen, aanvallen – attack, attack, attack but a few prefer a bit more balance in our play for NEXT year.

    I thought AB’s response summed it up best: “Continuity. Attack and possession play, making the most of our attackers, speed and passing play. Reassure the fans that we aren’t abandoning the past 20years but going to build on them.”

  • Most prefer 4-2-3-1 and few like 4-3-3 – everybody wants four at the back. 84 suggests a refreshing alternative of 3-5-1-1.

  • Players for the chop are a mixed back with Welbeck and Mustafi getting a few votes. Not that much appetite for seeing players go – AB wants to keep them all – but Kev as other ideas: “Ospina, Jenkinson, Campbell, Akpom, Pleguezuelo, Fortune, Moore, Mavididi, Zelalem, Nelson if he doesn’t sign a new contract, Ramsey if he doesn’t sign a new contract.”

    Ramsey should sign da ting soon or he can go too! 🙂

  • Mixed bag again re new signings with a Oblak and Leno (GKs) mentioned a few times and there seems to be support for the imminent purchases of Lichtsteiner and Sokratis. What stands out that nobody is asking for sexy players/big names but solid additions. Oblak is of course a big name (and v unlikely to pick Arsenal as his next destination this summer) but nobody is asking for Bale, Memphis Depay, Kane etc.

  • Re assistant for Emery, most are chickening out. Booooh! Come on guys, this is a great chance to get a former supper Gunner back at the home of football. Imagine Dennis Bergkamp on the bench!!!

  • Nelson, AMN and Ntekiah are the favourites re youngsters entering the Top 18. Kevsky sums it up likes this: “I think that Mavropanos and AMN are already established in the senior squad, so Ntekiah for me, he’d start in all the League Cup games and early UEFA Cup games, depending on the opposition. Also if he signs I’d bring Nelson into the seniors otherwise I’d have a punt on Nwakali.”

  • “1.What style of football would you want us to play NEXT season and why? Strong focus on attacking football (goalfests ala Liverpool); strong focus on defence, winning many games with tide margins (the old Arsenal/Mourinho’s/Atletico Madrid approach); a strong balance between defending and attacking (the initial Wenger Arsenal teams, MU under Ferguson in the mid to late stages of his management career); or a form of total football (ala Barca, Wengerball, Man City under Guardiola)?”

    1.Heynckes’ Bayern would be ideal – strong counter-attack, direct approach, strong defenders and a no-nonsense defensive midfielder with strong physical presence. Early Wenger who wasn’t afraid to use physical players is also a great role model.

    2.Which formation would you like us to play in?


    Čech – Bellerin, Alderweireld, Chambers, Monreal/Kolašinac – Fellaini/Javi Martinez/Ndidi – Mkhitaryan, Ramsey – Ozil, Aubameyang – Lacazette.

    3.Which two positions would you strengthen as a priority?

    A central defender and a physical defensive midfielder.

    4.Any other positions you would like to strengthen?

    If possible, a winger and a goalkeeper.

    5.Who would you sell?

    Mustafi, Welbeck, Perez, Koscielny, Ospina.

    6.And who would you buy?

    Alderweireld/Skriniar, Javi Martinez/Ndidi/a free transfer of Fellaini.

    7.Who would you appoint as Emery’s assistant?

    Tony Adams. Let’s see if he’s ready to put money where his big mouth is.

    8.And who would become captain?


    9.Which two youngsters would you promote into the ‘Top-18’ squad this summer?

    Nketiah, Smith-Rowe.

    10.Which two or three other things would you change, on or off the pitch, to make us more successful?

    1) Players would be advised to spend more time on the training ground making themselves better players than shitting stuff on the social networks.When I see Bellerin making some fashion post on Twitter, I know he’ll be shit in the next game. It may be just a poor conclusion from my side but it looks like that (which doesn’t mean it’s like that 🙂 ).

    2) Strange people from Arsenal Fan Tv would be banned from the stadium and denied permission to use the name “Arsenal” in relation to their disgusting reality show.

    3) Team and players have to be prepared for every single opponent. Weak links especially. If we have an opponent with a yellow card, overload his side in order to get him sent off/get easier way to the goal.

    4) People at the stadium should support the players 90+ minutes and do it in a way that the opponents shit themselves. Maybe Mislintat’s poaching efforts that has already seen half of Borussia Dortmund joining Arsenal should be focused on luring their crowd as well.

    5) Make a strong pressure on the governing bodies to get VAR into English game. Call Mike Riley every time his employees fuck up against us. Make a committee in the club that would use video-footage of the referees’ mistakes to make additional pressure on the referees.

  • 84, maybe Jay Zee could do the odd set, I’ve heard that he’s a Gooner… 😉

  • If I were to try and answer your questions, TA, it’d be longer than the time I wrote my wife’s Ph.D. thesis… 😉 …so I cry, “Unfair!”…

    What I realize is that I’m (much) more in the “watch and see” category of observer rather than being the “I’m smarter than everybody, so it’s my wheel to invent…” sort of fan. I’m also of the bent that it’s management by committee now, so even if he’s my Unai(que) (Arsenal) Emery(iate) I wonder exactly how much power he’s really got on a bunch of the questions at hand…

    That said, I appreciate the desire to get lots of info from the regulars via the questionnaire and some of the answers (and other comments) are great.

    I’m most intrigued by J-Dub’s stats “project,” esp. if it gets Shard interested… The thing about Money-Ball, however, is that everybody keeps their algorithms private…So that all you can do is (later) make a movie about it…

    I gotta finish this building project (which is rather killing me at the moment…) And I’m hoping to watch some WC matches when that “spectacle” begins…so look out for an, um, bigger presence (from me) at that time. In the meantime (for the regular teams at least) there’s still the basketball…

    Before I sign off, however, I will say a couple of things… Five years on offer for Ramsey seems like he’d better sign (before the WC hoopla begins) and I wouldn’t be surprised if the captaincy comes with it. (He’s awfully calm in those interviews he gives…) On the other hand, I’m not totally sure if he actually makes my first 11 when everybody is fit–at least in the more structured football I imagine we need to play if we want to stop leaking goals so badly… So, for me, A LOT hinges on what’s really going on with that situation. In the old days I’d (or they would…) say, “Watch this space.” With the world now being done by Tweet, those days, I fear, are history…

    Happy Friday!

  • Oh, I did want to chime in on Kev’s great stuff about #10…and some of the other “intangible” things folks have suggested… (“Restrict the press, JW? Are they the enemy of the people now?…)

    Arsenal leading the way on “safe standing” seems a very (very) good thing, but I think an intermediate step would be improving (or building…) the on-line market for ticket resale. If season ticket holders cannot (or choose not) to attend certain matches, drop the prices and get the young (and more fun) folks into the stadium in their stead. The empty seats WORKED (Wenger is gone), but they should never be seen again… I’m not sure how to work out the details, but “reserved” seating (meaning empty but sold seats) is killing the atmosphere in our stadium. It seems to me that it’s more than DJ’s and songs (our attempt at “You’ll Never Walk Alone”–“The Wonder of You,” went the way that Gunnersaurus probably should…) but something needs to be done to make the House that Arsene Built (H-TAB) into the Fortress of Emery(ates)… We played well enough vs the bottom 14 there this past season, but (correct me if I’m wrong) we only took 5 (of the 15) points (on offer) from the other top 6 teams at home… (Our rivals took back 8 points…)

  • 1. Wengerball is easy on the eyes!
    2. 4-4-2
    3. CB and GK
    4. DMF
    5. none
    6. Gareth Bale
    7. Mikel Arteta
    8. Aaron Ramsey
    9. Nketiah,Dragomir
    10. Take an aggressive approach to dealing with the media,
    allow safe standing at the emirates, reduce home ticket prices for seniors and families.

  • HT–
    Enemy of the people? The press? Never!
    However, when you have individuals who profit from the conflict created by their efforts (which I have misgiving in describing it as ‘writing’)? Those individuals can ply their trade elsewhere. Have the ‘news org’ (again a loosely applied term) assign a new ‘correspondent’. Until we get one we like.

    Don’t know if you’ve noticed or not HT? But the level of vitriol and toxicity has waned with regard to reporting on Arsenal. Almost like some of those sites have magically gone ~poof~ and disappeared after AW left town. Pop-up blogettas are a term I’ve seen used to name those temporary bullhorns.


  • Hey JW, I knew what you meant, I was just giving you the Kroenke Jr. treatment…you know, “Joshing” ya… 😀

    The level of vitriol got pretty high around the Arteta appointment, I thought. It would’ve worked for me, as I could write about Artet-enal as easily as games played at the Emery-ates… TA, on the other hand… 😮 Good thing you weren’t (quite) right on that account… In other predictions, when does this NBA final between the Rockets and the 76ers get going?… 😉

    No, as I wrote recently, I think we should get a “new manager effect” from the Wenger Out bizness… Question: How do you know which “blogettas” have quit if you’ve blocked them on your Snowblow (NewsNow or NewSnow…) feed? My all time favorite was one called Arsenal4Life where the guy would sometimes start his posts with stuff like, “OK, that does it, I’m quitting as a supporter…” I even posted there a couple of times to point out the contradiction…

    OK, gotta get this day started… Laters… But looking forward to Admir’s reply once the dirty words are removed…

  • Seventeenho

    No surprise you are chickening out on us. Look how OMG is brief and to the point – you can do that too for once, champion of verbosity! 🙂


    I will have another look but I could not find a comment of you anywhere when I had a quick look earlier.

  • You are sharp like chedda’ today HT. 😉
    Apparently, that finals will be next season?
    Rockets are very close though. Unlike some fans– I don’t whine when my team loses fairly.

    As far as the blogettas?
    Can tell– when they stop popping up.
    Ya’ know what? As an exercise– might just ‘unhide all publications’ on NewsNow (or scrape a list from the ‘hidden’ ones). Visit each one to see when the last post was popped-up. What I’d really like to know is how some of these crap-fests are OK’d on NewsNow? I mean sure– the W-Out thing had been going on for some time. But for those sites to be included in the roster of aggregated sites– they would have had to have been active for some period. Hmm. Wonder if this has been one of those Russian-influence campaigns? (Maybe Assange is an avid Arsenal FanTV watcher? 😉 Or Zuckerberg is a Spud!!!).


  • OMG – Gareth Bale united with Ramsey would be some move.

    Admir, as always when it comes to analysis, that is fine comment. Fellaini…. not so sure but I can see where you are coming from. I don’t like his nastiness though and I reckon he will get send off a lot as the refs won’t protect him if wears the mighty red and white colours.

  • 1.Concerntration on drilling defence, high pressing game
    2.4-2-2-1-1, take note of oppositions weaknesses and change to exploit.
    3. Goal Keeper, Central defence
    5. Ospina, Perez, Akpom, Campbell
    6. Draxler, Rabiot, Oblak or Butland, Sockratis, proposed defender from Juventus, dude from Freiburg, youngster from PSG look a great prospect.
    9.AMN, Nelson, NKetiah
    10. Sort out Ramsey 5yr (pay him in line with Aubameyang) & Welbeck 2yr contract.

  • Admir–
    Would you be OK if we got Fellaini on a free and played him in goal?
    We could kill two birds with 14 stone. 😉


  • @TA: Yes, Fellaini is a nasty piece of work. When you spend two years under Maureen’s special attention and being his secret agent (you know, nothing spells a secret weapon like the biggest guy on the pitch with the biggest bush on top of the head 🙂 ), you get corrupted as a person and as a footballer, more or less. The problem is, Arsenal need a few bad boys (hence Lichtsteiner and Sokratis in frame to join us) to protect gentlemen in the boots.

    Fellaini is a free player (if I’m correct), he can be used in at least two different roles, he adds physical presence, he adds height at set pieces. We won’t have a chance to get a player with his experience in Premier League for less money (we don’t have a sugardaddy – Visa-less or not – to buy us a shiny defensive midfielder).

    Minus: passing range is poooooooooooooooooor but I reckon other players would pass the ball for him. Also, your observation about the refs is probably (98%) correct.

  • @JW1: I stand corrected – we can use Fellaini in three positions. 🙂

  • Cheers 07, Draxler?! Have not heard that name mentioned for a while. He seems to have snubbed us a few times, but you never know. I actually like Auba on the wing with Laca in the middle, with Mkhi as another option. I know Draxler is a typical winger and it would be nice to have that added option but I reckon he would not come cheap and we have more pressing needs….

  • Admir, I reckon we could do a cheeky bid for Kante as the Chavs are in turmoil and Abramovic may be looking at cashing in. Kante next to a deep operating Xhaka would really excite me. Fellaini could work too but I just don’t like his elbow stuff.

    On another note, are you looking fwd to the WC?

  • OK,

    I normally dont play as I am out of synch and all the good, provocative answers like “sell the whole team and buy a new one” are already taken. But, I have some time today and the NZ weather just now stinks, so:

    1. None, I want structured pressing where needed, and more organisation. After that I dont care how we win, we should win. I prefer 2-0 and less goals shipped in general. I should note I never see real big differences between attacking (with ball) or defending (without). It’s all football and you can move up or down field equally easily with either really. So, how about this for what I want:

    –> “I want us always playing offense, with OR without the ball”

    2. An effective one, so for us lately, 4-2-1-3 or 4-3-3. Not too fussy as long as I get #1 with some structure where everyone is playing the same STYLE of game with or without the ball.

    3. Any of the 4-2 or 4-3 in those two formations. We are strong on attacking talent. I liked the comments on needing some mongrel. I wonder if Vieira was so good because Sol was hulking behind him?

    4. GK behind Cech maybe. I am not an Ospina fan (nor a critic, just…)

    5. No one really, perhaps some “spare attackers” which seem to be Campbell and Perez. I would thin youth ranks of those who dont seem like they will get there (Zelalem?), AR if he doesnt sign. JW I am mixed on, depends on where he fits, right now he doesnt exactly fit anywhere perfectly.

    6. Mongrel A and his cousin Mongrel B. I am not too fussy as I am pretty sure we are not personnel weak, but organisationally weak as a team.

    7. Dennis (for TAs sake) and Vieira (for the defense’s sake and to add mongrel)

    8. AR if he stays, Monreal if he does not, of those around now.

    9. I am not youth team focused so I will go with others here

    10. Structure, so structure in practice and on field. A slightly tighter, more unified ship. I think the damage of some few selfish players over the last several years (not just Alexism, but RvP and others) has hurt Arsenal badly. In Arteta’s (and BFGs) defense, those two were always “much more glue than talent” which I think is key. We need to recreate and find new “glue” amongst the squad.

    cheers – jgc

  • For assistant, #7, I could add, someone ugly looking and with poor attitude but good defensive mindedness… team needs more of that and less hair product..

    cheers — jgc

  • The Prof is happy with a mongrel in a system! 🙂

    I think you are on to something in terms of the squad quality and needing to focus on a more systemic/organisation-focussed approach. Kola can be the Mongrel – let the beast loose. 😀

  • Kolasinac is an interesting one TA, he might be one of those who could be an early beneficiary of the different voice and direction on the training ground?

    He came to us as the best left-back in the Bundesliga for 16/17 and looked an absolute steal initially, but his form seemed to vaporise and he became very much the left footed Debuchy for the majority of 17/18, almost a carbon copy of Paulista.

    What made him so impressive in those early game?
    Was it because he was unknown quantity to opponents?
    Was it adrenaline or even creatine?
    Was it too much coffee?
    And why did his form fall off of the edge of a cliff?
    Did Arsene knock the aggression out of him?
    Or did he just struggle with the role he was expected to play in our jazz quartet/quintet of a defence?

    Just had a look on NewsNow and apparently Arsenal fans are going ‘wild’ and ‘crazy’ at some kind of transfer speculation or other. All rubbish of course.
    Well I yawned a massive yawn and put the kettle on, how boring have these imaginary transfer rumours become…
    Roll on August.

  • You just love putting the kettle on, Kevsky! 🙂

    I reckon Kola had stiff competition from Nacho and he just did not have a great partnership with the Chilean firecracker (but who did?). As a DM I would imagine him to be very energetic and aggressive, whilst also able to bomb forward (leaving Xkaha to sit deep) if and when there is space. I am not sure how disciplined he would play and how many yellow and red cards he could collect, but boy would he bring bite and energy to the midfield. Xhaka and Kola sitting deep(er) and Rambo in the hole – with Ozil, Auba, Laca/Mkhi up-front. I would pay a few shillings to go and see that, Kaptein Kev 🙂

  • Nacho is a great player TA, although I didn’t think that last season was one of his best, having said that it wasn’t a great season for the entire defence, but we did even had AMN player LWB when Kolasinac was fit and Monreal was in the back three, so what was that all about?
    I guess it’s just one of those great Arsene mysteries. 🙂

    Changing tact slightly, I notice that all the Rwanda mischief making in certain sections of the press has suddenly vanished as they move onto the next target.
    I don’t click on the Daily Mail anymore, in fact I’m running out of sites to click on at an alarming pace, but this mug of tea is delicious TA 😄

  • Well Kev I am glad you choose to blog at BK and I hope your cup of cha did you good. Do you have a biscuit or bar of chocolate with your cuppa?

  • I prefer coffee. And it was very amusing to me to learn while in the Netherlands last year, that they call a latte, ‘Coffee done wrong’. Please TA, confirm this is true. 🙂

    PS. The latte wasn’t for me. I agree it is wrong.

  • Indeedo Shard – it’s been a while since I ordered a koffie verkeerd! It is too milky and I reckon black coffee with koffiemelk – a condensed milk specially made for koffie – is still the most popular option.

    The only time I enjoyed a koffie verkeerd was after a meal out, served with a glass of amaretto with a layer of whipped cream on top. As the Dutch saying goes: Alsof een engeltje op je tong piest – It’s like a little angle weeing on your tongue. 🙂

  • Kev

    Now the Daily Mail is saying Putin ordered Abramovich to stop running Chelsea.

    I think Kola’s issues come because he wasn’t playing as a LB in Germany. He was a Wingback, and his stats were amazing. I remember looking at stats in search of promising players (as one does) and thinking wow this guy is amazing. Well before he was linked with us. Almost couldn’t believe we got him. But it seemed to me his issue is a lack of defensive awareness. And this fits with what I think the Bundesliga is like. They seem to not be as risk aware. I didn’t watch the Bundesliga last season though. And very little the season before. So maybe I’m wrong.

    Anyway, I think he’ll improve. Our entire defense was a bit all over the place last season especially. Totally disagree with TA’s idea of playing him as a DM though. If he finds it difficult to defend with the touchline to help him, he’ll be much worse, and more damaging in the centre.

    He’s good going forward, and this will fit nicely with what we know of Emery. Wanting his fullbacks to push high up, and the DM to drop deeper.

    Which leads me to Xhaka. I really like him, and it isn’t essential for him to be a destroyer. But if he’s the DM, he needs to improve on his defensive awareness/anticipation as well, as well as his tackling. He was steadily improving on his positioning last season, so hopefully he will continue to improve his all-round game.. Plus can we add N’zonzi? 🙂

    (I love transfer rumours, because I enjoy the thoughts of how to fit the players in. But I don’t take them seriously.)

  • Shardo

    To me it looked like Kola is a DM who was asked to play on the wing, and that is why I would like to see him as a DM. He would be a very B2B midfielder next to Xhaka, who’ll get the balance right between defending and moving forward and offer that real thrust of speed that Xhaka does not have. Xhaka and Kola would play nicely on a line where can take the ball forward very well (K) and the other can move the game on by a long-distance ball (X). Kola is a good, aggressive on the ground defender: a decent tackler, strong at making clearances and very tough in the one to ones. It would be worth given him a go there, but until then we will not know for sure.

  • Question to the fellow Bosnian-Herzegovinian on this blog, Admir: am I right in thinking that Sead has played DM before for club and/or country?

  • Surprised no one has yet mentioned that Kola was nearly frozen out of the attack– by Sanchez. That LW / forward-third of the pitch was a no-fly zone for anyone else in attack– while Alexis was ‘in charge’. The midst of Alexis’ influence coinciding with Kola’s arrival. Took several months– but Sanchez seemingly got his point across, rarely passing the ball to Kolasinac. Certainly not affording space for Sead’s signature move to the goalline cutting one back toward the 6.

    Much like Bellerin in attack, who was starting to show signs of rejuvenation on the right– Kola was beginning to show glimpses of his original form until injuries in late-March and April.


  • Iwobi playing on the right – Welbz on the bench. 1-0 to England – set-piece header from Cahill. I am already missing Jack in midfield.

  • No biscuits TA, I am on a diet……….again!

    Shard, that doesn’t surprise me at all, I wonder what the Mail has to say about the impending trade was with the US ☹️

    I would still be favour of having them banned from the Emirates.

    I see that Soyuncu scored for Turkey.

  • First half Nigeria were poor – lack of shape, cohesion and confidence. England played at a good tempo and forced mistakes onto Nigeria: 2-0 was well deserved. Second half, England’s tempo was low and Nigeria came out with much more believe and they moved the game into the midfield, so away from their box. Much better by the Super Eagles and Iwobi scored a cool goal. I thought he did well in a team that needs to do a lot of gelling in the next few weeks.

  • Ah. See your comment now TA– somewhat understated.

    In hindsight, through a dark lens, Wenger may have played the Sanchez contract drama correctly. After Chile was eliminated from the WC– Sanchez changed. His fire doused. A chapter of his career story impossible to fulfill. Sanchez may still make good– to a degree– at United. But it’s as likely– or better– that he and the Specious One will become combustible soon. Just as likely that Mourinho will stifle Alexis as he has done to so many others. The effect on United’s other players will be a slow rot. Costing £400k per week. For 4 years. All so delicious.

    Wenger loosed malware in United’s system. (The Chilean Firecracker Trojan? 😉 )

    That Arsenal came away with more than was likely possible that cashing £60M might buy a year ago? In the form of an already familiar tandem like Auba and Mkhi (IMO another Cazorla)? Was like hitting the ‘Turbo button’ on a rebuild of the club. Ensuring Ozil’s signature. With a chance of becoming a top-tier team– sooner than when a next generation of Arsenal stars arrive.

    All that– with a more minor incidental– of rekindling Kola’s career.


  • TA, JW et al

    Hmm, agree don’t on Alexis and thus his effect on others. Heart of my comment, he and RvP and a few others over the years were too me focused and not enuff team focused. Another reason I like Ozil and the other new folks so far. Seems less about them than the result.

    Regarding Kola, agreed he came looking great so, like so many questions what happened? If he’s got the fire he could be the mongrel in the middle (MiM) … I’m less about sides unless a player is wildly one footed, in which case why are they here.

    Cheers — jgc

  • I see that the Daily Mail is at it again regarding Rwanda…

    Arsenal really should consider banning them as their smear campaign just rumbles on.

  • I saw some brief highlights of the friendly between England and Nigeria and had to chuckle when I saw Dele Alli booed and Alex Iwobi cheered every time they got the ball.
    Of course the commentators were unaware of the fact that the majority of the Nigerian fans were probably Gooners and mentioned that the booing of Alli was due to his Nigerian heritage, not sure about that tbh, what do you think PE..?

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