Wenger spoke and Emery listened: A Smooth Baton Change.

Arsene and Emery

Not long from now, weekend of August 10, emotions will begin to pour as the new season starts. Already, the bookmakers are all over the place, miles off the mark as they are wont to be. Only old time can tell and all we can do at the moment is steel our nerves as our dreams and our fears jostle for a pride of place.

I watched again the videos (Emeryesque) of four of our best performances last season. The away and home wins against Everton, the home loss to Manchester United and our home win against Burnley. They were displays, bar the out of sync errors, that only a talented squad could have produced.

Just before Wenger departed as manager, he said in nearly as many words that what he was leaving behind is a talented squad. As he offered that opinion in a voice that hardly carried a sound I felt he was pleading that it be not dismantled. Re-watching those matches I understood his sentiments. We truly did and do have a talented squad.

In stepped Unai Emery with a mantra of wanting the team to be protagonist, to play with energy and intensity, and win the ball early. Emery, no doubt has studied all the videos of the games of his new team and recognized that it is a talented squad that for debatable reasons lacked the right energy and intensity in many of its games. For him the right ingredients are there, only how to bring all to bear.

That should explain why Emery said of the team that it is not so much about the formation as it is about energy and intensity and by implication that it is also not so much about the ins and the outs as it is about protagonist and winning the ball early. When Wenger spoke about this squad and the talent in it there were important ears that heard him. The new recruitments made so far appear to be essentially for ironing out mere creases.

To get the gist of this post, watch again those four matches mentioned above. Even in the one we lost by 3-1 to Man United we had 75% possession of the ball, made 33 attempts on goal, 16 shots on target to Man U’s 4. Despite the fact that we conceded three careless goals it was a match we still would have won but for the magical de Gea between the Man United posts. That day there was energy and intensity, we were winning the balls early and were clearly the protagonist. That day it was Unai Emery’s team on the field and all he is racing to do is resurrect that performance and keep it at a full rolling boil.

His players have gotten his message but old habits die hard. In the three pre-season matches so far, more movement has been evident especially when not with the ball though it still needs to carry more bite. It is an exciting beginning watching this seed sown on Wengersoil sprouting. With patience and care it would grow to bear beautiful fruits.

Ferguson and Moyes bungled their baton change. Ours is promising to be as smooth as the Jamaican 4x110M relay third baton change that had Usain Bolt as the anchor man. Will the roof be brought down? We steel our nerves.


22 thoughts on “Wenger spoke and Emery listened: A Smooth Baton Change.

  • Excellent stuff, PE. I have not watched any of the friendlies recently, so I cannot agree or disagree with you, but I am hoping that indeed the changeover will be smooth. Have been away for a week so apologies for the delay in getting your post out. 🙂

  • thanks a lot for this post, PE, it had to be said … and the Great Man deserved such an afterthought/homage
    you could actually have added the atletico-chelsea-leicester-liverpool home games to your list, but … you had made your point
    as for me, i wouldn’t be bothered at all if ihad to support the team below on more than one matchday of the 18-19 season:
    there wouldn’t be any “new man” in there, but in my opinion – as i wrote somewhere else – the only thing such an XI would have to fear, would be … fear itself; unfortunately, last year, in away games, the poison infected them
    watch out! having said that, i have nothing against the “new men”, especially the young torreira, who will soon be a regular rival of kanté as best holding midfielder in the world …
    have a brilliant season, i for one am looking forward to it

  • The first requirement is to stop losing away games against weaker teams through sloppy defending and a lack of heart e.g. games against Stoke, Watford, Bournemouth, Brighton and Swansea from last season come to mind.

  • TA, your absence for a week was …. killing. Glad your back.
    Lichst to keep Bels company. Papa to plug Kosh hole. Leno to give Cech competition. Torreira the obvious missing link. Douzi for the near future though knocking loudly. I think our new signings are a massive vote of confidence on what Wenger left behind and that’s a sure evidence of a smooth baton change. As somebody put it, Wenger has provided the inspiration and Unai is bringing the perspiration.

  • LE GALL,

    You summed it up so dramatically.

    Bel Must. Kosh, Monreal
    Ramsey Xhaka
    Mkhi Ozil Auba

    ……. remain valid anytime they troop out👍👍👍

  • I think, if I am critical, and it’s only an observation from what I have read and seen in friendly highlights, that we are still lacking in defensive discipline. Giving away two pens, not keeping clean sheets, etc. So I am asking those who did watch the games what they made of our defensive performances….

  • PE, good stuff. Needed saying, if you ask me, as fans and bloggers have fawned over “Emery’s Arsenal” that it makes you wonder if anyone would acknowledge what a good team we have had under Wenger; a squad only lacking in hard work in defending and belief. Okay, there is the oft mentioned weakness in defensive midfield, which is what Emery has gone ahead to with the recruitment of Torreira and Guendouzi.

    Emery’s regimented style will bring focus and required energy. The new boss means very few are assured they will be starters, which will, perhaps, cause everyone to be on top of his game. I feel we will prove harder to beat; all we need to do to make top 4 is repeat our home form and improve our away form.

  • Yeah, TA. Good on Alex; even though a few not so enlightened fans predicted his sale.

  • The switch from Wenger to Emery has been a smooth one, but based on the retention of the vast majority of the pre-existing squad, the signings the club have made, and Emery’s historical tactical approach, I’m expecting another 6th or 7th placed finish for the Gunners. Man City, Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham remain ahead of the Gunners in terms of the quality and balance of their squads and have tactically superior managers. All for positivity but have to stay realistic at the same time.

  • That’s it Dave, …… Emery is trying to bring the heart to the team and there’s no bigger heart than the little man Torreira able backed by Lichst and Papa. Have you noticed Douzi’s overflowing enthusiasm? That’s heart.

    The transition from Wenger to Emery is seamless, thanks to the SIR’s recruitment of Emery who is simply a more fiery Wenger. They sought out and found the missing links.

  • Hi all..
    PE.. Nice post bro..

    Waldo.. Agreed with you about the smooth estafet in our Manager role..
    And for that reason.. I don’t agree about your prediction.. Come on bro.. We will be in top three this season.. And will be win the PL if we add Dembele.. hehehe..

    If only Auba come earlier and can play in UEL.. We already win that Cup.. hehehe..

    We are different from MU.. Sir Ferguson leave them with his Glory but not the team and spirit..
    Wenger leave the same spirit as Emery have.. We will continue our way of football.. the arsenal way..
    And with the team that Wenger bulid plus what had Emery brought.. I very optimistic we will back to our glory..
    Emery for Emirates.. Maybe it just happened that way.. hehehe..

  • Yes Eris …….. the away form where the “fight” is critical is the key.

    Here is the home and away positions of the top 6 teams:-

    Manc 1st and 1st
    Manu 3rd and 3rd
    Tot…. 5th and 2nd
    Liv …. 4th and 5th
    Chl … 6th and 4th
    Ars ….2nd and 11th.

    All the other top 6 teams were within the top 6 positions both home and away. Arsenal was a respectable 2nd in the home position and an abysmal 11th in the away position. Which of the two positions is the abberation? Obviously the away position caused most likely by the lack of cojones in away trips. That’s all the SIR and Emery are trying to provide and that’s why I see it as a smooth baton change. The ailment is correctly diagnosed.

  • Waldo …. you seem to miss the point. We had a good squad but that lacked a fight. That weakness is being addressed by first the changes in management and secondly with new signings whose major reputations are their toughness and positivity. And of course the change of management has gotten the fan base on board. The whole chemistry is now different so things ain’t any longer what they used to be. At the very least you ought to give it a chance. Am optimistic.

  • Chan. …. I agree with you. Ferguson left an aged team for the small timer Moyes. In our case Emery is a modern Wenger, more conversant with energy, intensity and the press. We simply changed dates. That’s why it’s seamless yet positive.

  • Hi all..
    We are playing against Lazio now..
    Any link for livestreaming..??

  • Ends 2-0, Arsenal. I saw the game on the club website; a stable performance with some pragmatic approach to the occasion. It’s one week to the start of the EPL and I am sure the players are not about to risk injuries, seeing as Kolasinac is now said to be out for 10 weeks.

    My concern though, is with Mustafi not featuring in the game. Could he be on his way out, for sure? If yes, I do hope we have a ready and better replacement for him. Sokratis is untested in England and may suffer if he’s thrown in at the deep end so soon. Wish him the best, still.

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