If You Are Going Through Hell… Keep Going

A very bad day at the office for Arsenal. Wolves devoured our more or less strongest available team and made us really worried about the stamina, quality and belief left in our Gunners.

It is so easy to blame the quality and mentality of the players; if it is was just that simple! It is also easy to blame the manager’s tactics and football vision, as I often like to do. I liked that starting 11 v Wolves, especially from a defensive point of view. Yet we copped three in the first half and lost our belief and energy more or less after the first goal went in. It probably was a combination of fatigue and Wolves just being a good team that can play football which did it for us.

We needed to win the CP game first and then see what happened at Wolves, as we all knew that would be a very hard game to win. Had we won v CP we could have rested the key players with the aim to have them fit for the Foxes game (and hope for the best v Wolves with our second string team in the main). Emery chose a weakened team and we lost with CP having more shots, and shots on goal, than us. Then we had to win v Wolves and Emeritus did put his strongest team up, even though a few were not fully fit/ in the red zone. It back-fired and we conceded six goals over both games and did not get a single point.

We should not fool ourselves regarding how good we are this season under Emery. The stats really do lie. Recent away games v Everton, Watford and Wolves should make us very worried about next season when the real Emery influence will start to show (there are still remnants of Wenger – good and also not so good – in this team).

OK, he will be able to strengthen the team this summer and make it more his team, and maybe this will make it all different, but I would not yet count on it. We are lucky that MU and the Chavs also have rubbish PL seasons so we are still in with a shout to finish in the top four some how. Luckily, we are in the semis of the Europa League, and if Emery has anything in common with Wenger it’s his ability to do well in cup competitions. That might save him and us. However, Emery will need to refocus and reenergise his team for which he has very little time. My only advice is to not give up and keep believing. As Churchill once said “If you are going through hell… keep going.”

I still believe in our first team but realise that our squad is weakened right now (without Holding, Bellerin, Ramsey and Welbeck and some of the fit players struggling to play at the required level) and that fatigue is playing its part. Strategic choices will have to be made re which games to focus on most, who to play when and the formation and tactics to get the best possible result given the circumstances.

The good thing is we (and the BoD) will really see what Emery is made of over the next few weeks, and that will also help those with the deep pockets to decide how big his summer transfer budget will be (and whether he is the right man for Arsenal after all).

By TotalArsenal. 

27 thoughts on “If You Are Going Through Hell… Keep Going

  • Our losses meant that we go to the Leicester game with a must win.
    Any loss or draw will mean that we will finish 5th or 6th.

    I feel that the team is devoid of good players that are mentally strong (3 (Sok, Kos, Xhaka) out of 11 is not enough. We needed all 11 to be mentally strong), and compared to Citeh, the player camaraderie is obviously in the dumps, and only Emery can and must pick it back up.

    We should play 3-4-1-2 from now on until the season ends, with Auba and Laca up front.

    And we should play Wengerball.

  • I can’t agree more, fatigue is a massive issue on a squad (Gary Neville touched upon it) low on resources compared to Utd and the Chavs. We have played 4 games in 9 days 3 away, 1 in Naples and 1 home, a game more or less every 2 days if you factor in travel back and forth Italy.

    Watford, CP and Wolves have not had this therefore are far fresher. Its only natural we have struggled, what we need our high tempo pressing that won us the tie against Napoli but how many players could do that 4 times in just over a week against less jaded physical quick teams.

    Then theres our squad, we have a good base at last in Leno, Sokratis, Holding, Mavripanos, Koscielny, Kolasinac, Bellerin, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Torriera, Lacazette and Aubameyang with the addition of Nkethia, Nelson, Smith-Rowe and Willock coming through. But we are about to see a massive overhaul, we could see upto 11 players leaving through sales contract exp or retirement.

    Cech, Monreal, Jenkison, Wellbeck, Lichsteiner, Ramsey are/will/could be leaving due to retirement and contact expiry. Then theres players we need to sell Ospina, Mustafi, Elneny, Iwobi, Ozil, Mikhitarian and possibly Chambers. Some of these players few of you might say we cant sell them, but you have to look at what we want be, where we want to be and look at MCFC and LFC and say how do our players compare.

    Iwobi Ozil and Miki are symbols of what we have become, slow, lazy, over complicating things, slowing our attacks down, no passion, no care and no energy. We need to reset and start rebuilding which has started this season.

    Second phase will begin this summer hopefully with champions league to back us up. Then signings, not necessarily bank breakers but players like Mavripanos Torriera and Guendouzi they are out there we net to get to them first.

  • I’ve only seen the goals and Leno was culpable for two of them, but he’s had a very good season up till now so I’m not going to dig him out.

    What yesterday and Palace showed was how a sustained run of 3 games a week and injuries have eaten away at our squad, a squad that isn’t strong enough to start with, certainly not strong enough to sustain a challenge after losing its 4th key player to injury. I feel that both the Palace and Wolves result have put paid to our top four hopes and that Emery will increasingly focus on the Europa. Of course he won’t admit to that but I suspect that that is the avenue he will take.

    With Valencia coming up on May 2nd and May 9th I’ll be really interested to see his team selections for the Leicester and Brighton games?

    Willock to maybe get a run out after the encouraging cameo from Nketiah?

  • Nice comment, James. I agree with your core but reckon there is space and need for Iwobi (still developing) Nacho and Ozil. I would like us to get another CB for strength in depth (cover for Kos), a quality right back and a winger (whilst also playing Nelson).

  • Cheers Kev, you keep selling Willock to us, so I am looking forward to seeing him start soon! 🙂

    Agreed with the quality of the squad as a whole, but I am also looking critically at Emery here…. it is a lot about building confidence and clear tactics/instructions and I am not seeing this enough at the moment.

  • Emery can only do so much Total, yesterday he played most of the populist players and we folded under pressure and stress.

    I excuse him, give him more latitude because he’s not been the job a year, but there were players at Molyneux who have previous, under Emery and under Wenger and there has to come a time when even their supporters can’t excuse them anymore…

  • “Iwobi Ozil and Miki are symbols of what we have become, slow, lazy, over complicating things, slowing our attacks down, no passion, no care and no energy. We need to reset and start rebuilding which has started this season. ”

    Yes, Özil showed that he truly doesn’t care about the club and footbal in general when he goaled against Palace.

  • Kev, Willock looks a much better player than Iwobi.
    We need more work in the front three as they seem disconnected at the moment. Once that happens, we will fail in scoring more.

    Sorry TA, but Iwobi is inexcusable for yesterday’s game.

  • Sorry for the phrasing in the first paragraph.

    The ending sentence should be “Once the front 3 is at the same wavelength as the rest of the team, we will be scoring freely”.

  • TA … that’s a good post. Perfectly understandable that the post expresses doubts … players or coach or both. Which one is the better indicator of us …. our great home record or our appalling away record. It doesn’t quite rhym that we are both. The disparity is too huge.

    All the same I feel that we have done well with this squad. Am not dreaming of a big overhaul this summer. I would regard 4 right signing and 2 or 3 upgrades fron the academy as a successful summer.

  • 84, I actually like Iwobi, but if he isn’t careful he will find younger, hungrier players catching him up and overtaking him or the club will just go out and sign a Pepe and Alex will end up a squad player.
    It’s in his hands…

  • Iwobi has it in his subconscious that the box is a difficult place. He should study the Brazillian Romario whose greatest gift was his understanding of how easy goal scoring can be. All’s needed is a quiet mind in the box. You could see Iwobi’s going at 100mph.

  • Sorry Kev, other than Mkhi I believe in all these players both in terms of quality and attitude and I see the role of the manager much bigger than you appear to do. That is of course fine. What matters is we move forwards and upwards under Emery and I have my doubts whether we are under him going anywhere but backwards. But it is still too early to say and we will know more in eight months’ time. The scenario I am most worried about is a failing Emery and our biggest players gone by then.

  • Iwobi is a class player who just needs to make the switch and start scoring more regularly. He is still young and it will come. Half a season on loan at say Bournemouth or Burnley would do him really good, I reckon.

  • It’s cool Total, I’d love to have a pint with you or a glass of red to really discuss our club.
    The thing is I agree with you, I think that our club is where it is because of our manager or managers, the defending, the mentality, the contracts, the salaries, all these things have contributed to where we are, it’s just that I don’t think that this manager or any manager can rectify our position in only 9 months…

    TA it took Klopp 4 years to get Liverpool to where they currently are after years of poor management at Anfield and he still hasn’t won anything and Pochettino even longer and he’s never won anything. But those clubs stuck by their managers and now they’re reaping the benefit the alternative route is the one being taken by Man Utd and Chelsea with all the associated bedlam.

  • The nature of man is that he can’t help but have an opinion on an issue even without enough facts. Otherwise we’d all be nearly dumb and BK and all wouldn’t exist.

    My opinion of Emery or to be more accurate my prejudiced view of him: while Wenger focused on the larger picture to the detriment of the detsils (my other prejudice) Emery appears to me as the opposite. The details can take him off track. But just because am not yet ready to swear by this, am for given him some more time.

    Well, if he qualifies us for the Champions League don’t be appalled me singing a different song. Indeed nothing succeeds like success.

  • Kevski, I should be in London soon for a meeting or two, possibly for a project. I seem to remember that you are ‘Euston’ based, which is of course not far from Kings Cross where my train would finish its journey. So maybe we can have that glass of vino etc rather sooner than later. Klopp got into top four in his first full season, Kev, and from the start was there confidence in the style of football etc. I am not against Unai in any way and I don’t really look at ‘results’ at this stage. I am looking for vision, man-management, tactical nous etc and am worried, that is all.

  • Ah experiencing joy trumps success! 🙂
    But agreed, Pony, to give Emery more time.

    It looks like the Americanos had enough and started summer holidays early. Ah well the Frisbee beckons! 😀

  • OK, ok… Well done, TA… That video from MTV will get me to chime in re: the Arsenal. Those shown/interviewed include many teammates and friends (but no girlfriends, dammit)… They actually interviewed me, but I was not at my best that day and I didn’t make the final cut… It’s from the National Championships in (not-very-warm) central Florida, November, 1991, I believe…

    I’m back down in (cooler than expected…) Mexico trying to do some business (and possibly succeeding…) but I have gotten a few glimpses of Arsenal in these past two matches. Pardon my silence, but, since I didn’t see the full matches, I was rather operating under the, “If you can’t say something nice, you shouldn’t say anything at all” premise. With that in mind, I think I SHOULD say something about the Ozil goal vs Palace. How can (so many) Gooners hate on a guy who can do THAT?…

    Beyond that I really can’t say too much about the games but I will mention that both of them were not on the regular US television channels, not that it mattered for me, as I was away from my home screen(s) anyhow. On Easter Sunday, however, I had a decent stream going for at least parts of the CP game (including Ozil’s goal) and I saw the end of the Wolves match at a bar/restaurant in a sizable beach city BUT only after a Liverpool supporter (of Swiss origin) stomped off after City scored their 2nd goal in the Manc derby and I got the restaurant guys to switch over to our match. I will suggest this: We get the TV coverage of a mid-table club, maybe, because we play like a mid-table team. To repeat myself (from my most recent post…), it’s the Moo-dern game. We play on the break (plus out-wide and back in again) and we’re happy enough to let the other team have the ball. If we score first, we’re in with a chance, if not, forgeddaboutit… I think I saw on Arseblog that in away matches where we haven’t scored first we’ve earned a total of ONE point this season.

    Perhaps it’s true that Arsene had too much on his plate (after David Dein left?…) but at least he bought footballers and then let them play. Now we have an owner (same as always) who listens to the accountants more than the manager, which rather pulls the rug out of arguments like give him (Emery) more time and we’ll fix it this summer? By leaving the recruitment to the fellow who replaced Sven (whose initials are N.O. O.N.E…)?… Ramsey, never my favorite, but always one who kept running hoping for some chancy bounce which might come his way, is off to Italy while Ozil and Mkhi are too expensive too keep. (That’s it for our “creative” MF, btw…) Soon enough we’ll say the same about Laca and Kola and PEA (our main source of goals) not to mention other popular targets (for hate) Iwobi and Bellerin. We’ve watched too much of their growing pains, I guess, but they’re primes await…at bigger clubs, I fear…

    Or maybe not. W(TF) do I know?…

    AND (at least) BIG matches (that actually matter if you’re into the not-a-trophy, trophy stuff…) STILL linger. Man U might beat Chelsea this weekend (seems more likely than us beating Leicester…) and then, who knows, we could beat Valencia (over two legs) and then beat Chavs ourselves in Azebaijan on May 29… Anything is possible, I guess, but do we REALLY want this season (of just about, IMO, unwatchable football) lasting THAT long?…

    To me, I hate to say it’s (just about) all bad… That said, it all goes away when I get in the Pacific and ride (body surfing only, no boards for me…) a few waves…

    That’s where I’m headed right now. I hope others are enjoying their Fridays as well…

  • Good to hear from you Seventeenho, and I eagerly await an email from our man in Mexico, when you are up for it! 🙂

    Good comment too!

  • Thanks for that TA! That was THE game– for me for 20+yrs.
    Recognized several of those faces– all but a couple names escape me now.

    I’ve had several moments where I was going to weigh in on recent results. But, nah. It’s all been pretty obvious the issues. And I’ve managed to keep my hope this season– at arm’s length.

    Whatever you might think of Emery’s capabilities– it’s unfair to judge him on this team’s results IMO. To expect him to get everything perfect was never on the cards. And he would have had to be perfect managerially and tactically for this group to succeed this season. Odds of that occurring were slim (and still are).

    But. Unai Emery did position Arsenal to succeed and reach top-4 this season. Had unnamed players done the minimum expected of a PL pro– they most certainly would have. Finding the team solidly in 3rd place right now.

    But that’ll be the extent of it from me. I’ve let out the necessary slack to UE based on what he’s accomplished thus far. Whether the club make top-4, or the win the EL, to qualify for the CL– or not. It’s been apparent to me that he was never going to become Jesus Christ-in-a-three-piece with the team he inherited (and the modicum of talent added last Summer).

    Maybe he rates with Raul & Co. and gets some working capital. Maybe not.
    Simply being level-headed about a a transition year for North London Transient Football Club.
    (That HT– is a takeoff on our name prior to ‘Elvis From Hell’ — ‘Houston Transient Ultimate’) 🙂

    Rooting as hard as ever. Easing up on the stresses.


  • JW, it is amazing that you and Seventeenho recognise/know people on that video. I really like it.
    I agree with you re giving Unai time. But unlike you I am worried about his abilities.

  • That’s cool TA, just email me when you have a definitive date and we can have a meet.
    I work off of Kings Cross and St Pancras quite a lot as well.


    Spurs 0-1 to West Ham. Plenty of twists and turns to come!

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