With Allegri and Enrique Waiting in the Wings, Emery Better Heed the Storm

“Hey Unai, Wake Up. A Storm is brewing…”
Howdy Fellow Gooners!
It’s been a long while since I have written anything or posted any comment on here but I have faithfully continued to check in on my favourite football team, as always. After watching Saturday’s display, I tried to resist the temptation to be critical of many aspects of the game but my conscience ultimately got the better of me. So instead of focusing on the players, my initial observations squarely put our head coach Unai Emery in the hot seat.
Selection Decision:
Arsenal possess a luxury of talented and technical players capable of going toe-to-toe with any team in English Football (and even European Football) and getting a good result on their day. It is understandable that Emery likes to get the balance of the team right and play his brand of football. That is totally admirable and brave. However, in games against the best teams, you simply have to play your best players, period! Those teams are considered best not simply because of individual players, but as a collective, cohesive, and deadly unit. There’s no point having world class players like Lacazette and Ozil and not playing them from the start. Ozil didn’t even make the bench (assuming he is healthy and ready to play). A “bulldog” like Torreira also didn’t start in a game of this magnitude. That to me is wrong.
Tactical Game Plan:
Liverpool are a great defensive team, from front to back, with a dedicated group of players who feeds off their very passionate and energetic manager. One of their main strengths is their wingback play. Knowing this, why didn’t Emery set up our team with Lacazette in the middle to hold up play and invite others to join in the attack? Why not have Pepe and Aubameyang on the wings to occupy those two marauding Liverpool wingbacks? For a large part of the game, we had too many players behind the ball, constantly inviting Liverpool to attack. We are ARSENAL and we are know for playing a beautiful game, not passive football. We should have taken the game to Liverpool and given them a little taste of their own medicine. I believe we have quality players to achieve this, we just needed to believe in our abilities and play with passion and desire. I remember Emery saying last year when he got the job that he wouldn’t mind winning a game with a 5-4 score line. Against Liverpool, if the objective was to be mostly defensive and only rely on the counter, then we might as well have played with a back 5 (with Chambers in the mix).
Moving Forward:
I am not a head coach and I am not a master tactician, but in my humble opinion, we must play these big game with our best available players going forward. We don’t need to experiment any longer. With the attacking players that we currently have at our disposal, we should be aggressive and take the game to any opponent on any given day. I think Emery gets too worried about conceding goals and losing that he becomes overly calculating. Just set the players up to play good football and win the game. Preach and practice team defending and the rest will take care of itself. So for the upcoming NLD, I would like to see a front 3 of Aubameyang-Lacazette-Pepe with Ozil behind them. Torreira also needs to start next to either Xhaka or Ceballos. I know it is early season, but we need to start playing good football again. No more excuses. Let’s close the gap a little on Manchester City and Liverpool, whole putting Tottenham far in our rear view mirror. I believe we can do this this season. Though I think Emery got both tactics and selection wrong for Liverpool, he must quickly redeem himself against our bitter rivals. Failing to do so and losing in similar (or worse) fashion could signal the beginning of the end for Unai Emery at the Emirates, I fear. He is in season 2 of 3 and once supporters grow tired and turn on him, there would be no return. Not when a certain Max Allegri and a certain Luis Enrique are still available and waiting for Raul’s phone call.
Can Unai Emery see the slow-motion storm brewing on the horizon and do something about it now before it’s too late?
Please have your say and be courteous and respectful of others opinions.
Thank you and have a blessed day.
By Djifa – OceanGooner

72 thoughts on “With Allegri and Enrique Waiting in the Wings, Emery Better Heed the Storm

  • Hey Djifa,

    Fine post and I agree with most if not all. I know many feel we need to remain loyal to Emery and that our Pool defeat was not too bad and I respect that. The result does not bother me as I expected to lose but the line-up, tactics, substitutions and lack of feasible plan-B are a concern.

    In hospital with my dad now. All went well and we are hoping to go home anytime soon. More on this post when I am back in the UK tomorrow.

  • TA,
    I am very sorry to hear about your father being in a hospital. I hope that it is nothing too serious… In any case, I hope he is doing much better now and I wish him a speedy recovery. I am sure you and the rest of your family will stay strong for him.

    Will keep him in my thoughts and prayers!

    Thanks again for taking time to issue this post when clearly, you have way more pressing issues to deal with. Very much appreciate your dedication and hard work.

    Take care.

  • TA, glad to hear from you. Your voice sounds strong and optimistic. My get well soon to your dad.

  • Djifa,

    Your message resonated so well with me though I’d say let’s wait till WK 10 before we start sky
    gazing. Having had a few days to digest our Liv game I see myself beginning to look forward expectantly. Amazing, but am even beginning to think that Emery has exorcised the voodoo of Anfield. Somehow am feeling that from now it is game on.

    I have a theory that against the stronger teams the PALs are not likely to be started together. I look at it this way: for each one of them fielded, it is one man less in the midfield. For the sake of balance of the team, against the begger teams, I expect only two of the PALs to start. That’s my tilt to balance … note … only against the bigger teams.

    My mood has brightened and am looking forward to the NLD.

  • Great post without sentiments .It wasn’t losing to Liverpool that pains me but the manner in wish we lost .Emery kept Torreira, Laka. on the bench and was using kids like Guendozi and Willox against Liverpool at the Anfield. Even Chambers would have done a better job than Niles at right back .More annoying he didn’t sub until Liverpool were three goals up ..That man should better sit up otherwise the fans would soon turn on him. Some are already getting tired of him .I just hope he does not repeat the same mistake? against Tottenham this weekend…

  • Helo gunner’s, hope your Dad get better soon, hope he’s getting better, I just don’t understand our coach, when we expect result nd good selection from him, it feel as if he’s afraid of some team’s or manager’s but he’s a top manager how can u go to anfield nd play Liverpool with willock nd Matteo in the midfield, nd you know Liverpool will play with Henderson nd wijnadum,nd you left torreira, lacazette on the bench eeh, the thing with our great manager arsene Wenger, the same mistakes, Liverpool are not a match with us when we play aubameyang,lacazette,Pepe, BT he chooses to put a lineups of fear, let us not make the same mistake against Tottenham or we will end up dropping another point at home.

  • Morning all, Djifa I read your post with great interest. I am also an advocate of fielding your best eleven players. I really wanted to see Lacazette in the front to lead our attack with Pepe and Auba on the wings as I felt that we needed a strong player in the middle who could hold up the ball and then release our fast wingers.

    In the end it was not an embarrassing loss but once again we were badly outplayed (but for a few half chances) which showed that the gulf between us and the top two is very evident.

    We need to make a statement on Sunday and put five points between us and Tottenham, a loss (unthinkable as it is) would put them a point ahead of us and dampen the early season confidence of both the team and our fickle supporters.

  • Good morning all, Djifa I read your post with great interest.

    I am also an advocate of fielding your best eleven players. I really wanted to see Lacazette in the front to lead our attack with Pepe and Auba on the wings as I felt that we needed a strong player in the middle who could hold up the ball and then release our fast wingers.

    In the end it was not an embarrassing loss but once again we were badly outplayed (but for a few half chances) which showed that the gulf between us and the top two is very evident.

    We need to make a statement on Sunday and put five points between us and Tottenham, a loss (unthinkable as it is) would put them a point ahead of us and dampen the early season confidence of both the team and our fickle supporters.

  • This is so annoying – Word Press must be on some sort of time delay? My first post did not appear even after refreshing 4/5 times so I changed the header and it still did not appear – then bingo!! two posts show up……………..WTF!!!

  • Lol, GN5, I guess Word Press thought they should give Double for our Trouble, then. 🤪

  • I agree that the game could have been better from our perspective…. if we had taken our chances… who knows? a respectable 1-2 or maybe even 2-2 .

    However against a settled, fit, balanced, European Champions league winning team that virtually selects itself week in week out its hard to figure out exactly what tactics or mix of players (subs) would have given us a clear victory AT ANFIELD? Of course we COULD get a fluke victory over them just like Chelsea worked tirelessly to defeat a vastly superior City 2-0 (who knows that victory probably got them into the CL). While we failed (in three or four winnable games in our run in) to grab the win that would have helped us sneak into fourth place

    City did come back in the return fixture to slice and dice Chelsea 6-0 to confirm the gulf in class

    My point is this….. We lost because we played a against a much better team. A more balanced fully fit Arsenal team will definitely produce some great performances and get great results. until then our forwards should have to take their chances.

    And If the game is winnable on paper … then we should not sit back whatever the consequences.
    TotalArsenal my prayers for your Dad’s quick and full recovery.

  • Djifa, fine post and well considered take on what transpired Saturday evening at Anfield. If you ask me, I think it is that knowledge that his job isn’t as secured as his predecessor’s that drives Emery to take some of the odd (defensive style) decisions he tends to take.

    Well, now he must realize he is very close to the end of his honeymoon period and simply get the team to be the very best they can be, using his best 11 as often as feasible (fixture congestion, injuries, opposition, etc). Against the top teams, and especially Away from home however, I’m not sure it will be wise to play all front 3 of Pepe, Auba and Laca (PALs); I would keep Auba on the bench in such games and throw on either of Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Nelson or Martinelli. If Ozil can be made to track back, he will be my choice for a the left side of the front 3; Torreira, Xhaka and Ceballos to make up the rest of the midfield trio. But that’s only when we are away against the top sides. At home, we must take the game to every opponent, without exception.

    Emery May have the whole of this season to prove how much of a good fit he is with Arsenal; after this season, I have no doubt a change will happen.

  • First, you don’t know whether Lacazette or Torreira are match fit, so your decision that Emery HAS to play them is taken from a position of ignorance. Second, we saw Wenger mindlessly attack superior teams for a decade and get battered from pillar to post, so your suggestion we should fight fire with fire is just more of the same. Third, how many more times do you need to watch Ozil to realise he contributes absolutely NOTHING!?

  • I heartily agree with you. It is beginning to worry me that Emery’s team selection seems so poor. Look at the difference when Torreira came on. He should have been playing right from the start His blindness with regard to Xhaka’s shortcomings is alarming and Guendouzi shows promise but he was well out of his depth against Liverpool as sadly was Ceballos.
    If Lacazette had started too, then that front 3 would have kept Liverpool on the back foot instead of inviting them on
    Let’s hope Emery learns these lessons quickly or he may be getting his P45

  • Thanks for this post! I have read it with a lot of enthusiasm. I must say, I agree with your views entirely!
    I must street however the fact that somehow at the start of the game, it seemed like we were trying out something. What a pity!

  • Last season the defense let us down. This season it’s looking like the manager’s selection, tactics and lack of a response plan B will let us down

  • Fantastic comments and loyalty to our great club. Unai is a good Coach. We have a good team We should fear no for.

  • I don’t understand what you mean by his brand. Any brand that does not ensure victory is wrong. Emery made Arsenal to miss top four spot last season through his poor team selection in away matches. I hope he doesnt do so this season. Why leave out top and experienced players when playing Liverpool. It doesnt make sense. Let him change now and use our best players always. Leicester used almosed same players to win the league. What is he trying to prove?

  • ” 3 of Aubameyang-Lacazette-Pepe with Ozil behind them” – you will be waiting a long time for that.

    The guy plays with his preference of 8 defensive minded players or as he did on Saturday played 6 but asked 2 attack minded players to defend the wings (Willock and Cellabos) that left Auba and Pepe to play with themselves upfront ( I don’t give a flying……. but that is cowardice considering the players you have available). Southampton played football against pool and gave them a scare, we go and hope for a result playing negative. I don’t care that we were away as I have seen these shitty tactics repeated at home to Crystal Palace last year. Concede midfield, concede the ball, concede the space, its pathetic esp after a big Outlay in the transfer market for attacking players in the last few yrs. Face the facts we have been an attacking team with attack minded players and a attacking philosophy. Work with what you got, don’t try re-inventing the wheel which I think he is trying to do.
    This guy is not suited to Arsenal, certainly Arsenal of the last 2 decades. Even George Graham started off playing entertaining football at one point. this guy come in and its a shit show.
    I don’t know why people are falling over themselves to give this guy time, he has shown me nothing in his tactics, man management and philosophy for me to think it will get better. I am just hoping that it will get better but I see nothing that convinces me that it will.
    (okay sorry I am a bit ranty today, but the guy is driving me this way.)

  • Are you serious? Sack him if we don’t beat shithouse . We are Arsenal and we don’t sack managers every 5 minutes. ( Exception Bruce Rioch) and at the moment can’t afford to . We don’t need to make it a hot seat after such a long period of stagnation who will we attract? Allegri and Enrique are nice thoughts but will they take a job with the sword of Damocles above their head as they walk in. Patience my dear and fellow Gooners.

  • I also don’t understand why Emery did not play Ozil along side with Laca and Auba and Torreira.
    He is just forcing Guendouz to play just like Ozil or Torreira of which he is still far behind from that.
    But, since he has decided to turn the club into politics, I beg him to quit and leave us. We have already gone through a lot with Wenger, we don’t want to go through this kind of pain again.

  • Emery is not going to change anything. The moment he left Torreira, Ozil and lacazette on the bench, I realised he is another mistake

  • I am a die hard Arsenal fan in Nigeria and I must not fail to say I was not satisfied with Emmery selection against Liverpool. He must wake up his ideas or be ready to go

  • Whilst on side with much of your reasoning I feel it’s a shame that you brought on board the threat of Allegri and Enrique .Your criticism is sound but as you say you are not an experienced manager nor are you in possession of all the facts, so let’s not threaten the Manager so early in his tenure
    Otherwise a well reasoned post

  • I don’t understand the gloom or the anti-Emery feeling.

    Last season we got more points and finished higher than the season before under AW. We scored more goals and had the team not screwed up in just one of the easier games we would have been Top 4 (only one point away).

    What do you expect from Unai? The man has only had one proper transfer break . He identified the defensive problems and hopefully bought the players required (we have yet to see either of his 1st choice FB’s or 1st choice MF).

    We wanted a better Anfield performance and we got one. Had the ref spotted the pull on Douzi for the first goal and not spotted Sideshow’s stupid pull, we could have got a draw or even better. After all, we had 48% of the play which is more than most at Anfield. With better finishing we would have scored 3.

    I agree it was frustrating not to see Laca start but apparently he is not 100% fit, nor is Ozil, who didn’t even make the bench.

    I have every faith that Emery’s teams will play attacking football when we have a settled team but perhaps not at Maine Rd, Stamford Bridge or SHL.

  • Painful really. The big coach got it all wrong. This piece is simply apt!

  • The line up was wrong tactics weong, Emery have to step up cause the fans will start breathing on his neck 😡 reckless and pathetic tactics.

  • In fact with your suggested line up of front three and ozil playing behind them and any of Cebalos or xaka pairing in DM I would have employed you as the next coach.

  • Gee it was Djifa that caught my attention and subsequently brought me here,but its you who is making respond. Your assessment of the situation with regards to the pool massacre of the once super firing guns is apt and in my opinion a statement Raul should take to the bank. I

  • Right from the start of the game we lost that match against liverpool. We should have taken the game to them. A blind man will make a better selection than the one we had against liverpool. Why not play toreira,ozil and lacazette from the start? I predicted we will lose bc of our game plan. Pepe is new to English league and we all see hes good but we need to have a game plan and play our own football against top oppositions and not let them bully us. The boys tried but our tactics and tactician failed us. Arsenal are not known for negative football and Emery has brought that to our door step.

  • We played like cowards. Too scared to even get out of the box. Never seen an arsenal team conceed that much possession to the opposition.

  • Nothing grates as much as having a well prepared comment just disappear into thin air. Hope you’re able to get it retrieved somehow, Eric the Red.

  • On point!!! Emery got it all wrong and Ozil is the key in his team. He must know that!!! Emery must understand his player & there capacity, for now Arsenal don’t have any play maker like Ozil!

  • I absolutely agree that Unai Emery got his selection wrong, leaving the boys to struggle unnecessarily.
    I think Unai should look at Sir Ferguson approach to each game, where in Ferguson take on every single game with the full strength of the Team available to him.
    Unai simply gave the Liverpool – Arsenal match away.

    It is high time he comes up with his first team list and use them religiously with reliable substitutes.

  • I couldn’t agree with you more, he got it wrong selection wise and tactically as well. Luckily for him the scum neighbour’s are next so he can redeem himself immediately else, we are seeing the begining of the end for Unai. Enrique stay put!!

  • Eris, our superhuman TA has the tricks to make them appear.

    Djifa, a good thought out post and tactical issues and personnel issues all brought up. I will write a longer post later when i have time to read it word by word.

  • Nice post, Djifa.

    I agree with most of it. It’s just every mention of Luis Enrique’s name raises my eyebrow.

    Emery doesn’t use talent he has on his disposal. He doesn’t have a philosophy at all. He claims to be a cameleon but his football is not about adaptating, it’s about subjugating. Arsenal are still one of the greatest clubs in England and in the world and the one that is too big for Emery.

    If you have a team full of lemons, make a great lemonade – don’t ask your lemons to pretend they are apples.

  • Hey Djifa, your post attracted a lot of attention and comments, so well done Sir. I know you are currently sailing the big open waters so you may not have a chance to respond…. but if you could that would be great. 🙂

  • Djifa and all,

    Well, for me on watching a bit, we didn’t get MF right. My main takes:

    A. Not enough attackers, I’d have gone with PAL up front with Ozil or Ceballos behind. P and A can cover off the wing defense a bit and press with L.

    B. Too much youth and attacking youth. Specifically, Guendouzi and Willock. With my front four I’d have had Torreira Andy Xhaka defending, covering the back 4 and distributing out to Ozil/Ceballos et al. They also lacked the nous imo to get thru the traffic (see below).

    C. Too little variety / brain. This is especially UE, IMO… when heavily pressed and little space is up front nearby, go long. It’s 11 v 11 so there’s is always space somewhere. Recognise it and take it. The few times we did, we looked good and turned them about. We kept doing everything the same and thus … I.e.they dared us to go long(er) and we didn’t really take them up on it.

    The rest of the choices I can live with. But we were simply, not set up smart, did not have our smartest players where needed, and did not play smart vs what was presented to us…

    I’m not saying we’d have won, but it would have been better.

    Cheers — jgc

  • Emery is definitely not that tactically sound. Am already seeing a pattern with him and I can’t wait for his time with us to be over to be honest. There is a reason PSG allowed him to go…one of the reason is his inab3to work with superstars. Against Chelsea it was same mistake at d final. We shld have made top 4 last season too.

  • Djifa, I thoroughly enjoyed the post and the subsequent debate from the others.

    Like you and the others, I did not really enjoy our negative tactics and poor team selection. But for what it’s worth, it was a quite effective gameplan that nearly succeeded in the first half. If Pepe/Auba had put away their chances, we would have been calling Emery a tactical genius.

    I certainly remember something similar happening when Wenger played defensively and stole a 2-0 away win vs Man.City (good old Santi).

    I’d say the players can come out of the game with confidence, they gave their all against the Champions League winners, IMO the only team who can go toe-to-toe with Pep’s City. Let’s not bash any players and give them our support in the NLD!

  • Fellow Gooners,

    Thank you all for some fantastic comments (both positive and negative). I really do appreciate all of your view points. I didn’t write this post to advocate for and/or to encourage the sacking of Emery, far from it. I like him, I like his passion, and I really want him to succeed at Arsenal because ultimately, we all share the same goal and his success will be our success as well. Rather, this post was written to invite good debates and opinion-sharing amongst ourselves regarding what transpired at Anfield, how Emery sets up the team against the top teams, and what we all want to see him do to improve us as a team this season, starting with the NDL this coming Sunday. It appears that most of you saw the Liverpool game the same (or similar) way as I did. Again for me, it wasn’t the fact that we lost the game that got me upset. It was more the manner in which we lost it, the fact that we didn’t play like the mighty Arsenal but we played more like a bottom half of the table team. Liverpool out-fought us, out-worked us, out-played us, out-witted us, out-shot us, out-scored us, basically any other out-blank you can think of. We are Arsenal, damn it, we are nobody’s little bitch! We don’t cowered down and play defense the entire game (we don’t know how to do that anyway), we stand up and fight!!! I just believe that with the talented group of players we now have, we should have done way better than that sorry display on Saturday. We somehow managed to do ok most of the first half but then the second half was a totally different story. The introduction of Torreira brought a bit of life and bite to our play in general, I think. So, couldn’t he have started the game in the first place. He seemed very fit to me and ready to fight, I thought.

    JB, your reasoning doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t think Emery would have put both Torreira and Lacazette on the bench and then brought them on when chasing the game if they weren’t match-fit. Something tells me Emery is way too cautious to do that. I think Emery’s doctrine is if you are not match-fit and ready to play, you are not even making the bench. In my view, this selection had nothing to do with match fitness. It had everything to do with the way Emery saw things and tried to set the team up for counter-attacking football but it backfired. Your other point about Ozil’s contribution to the team (or lack of) is even less meaningful. I get it that we all have differing opinions about our enigmatic number 10. But like it or not, he is the best playmaker we have and he is still a world class player. He needs to play and we need to be more appreciative of him and not criticize him all the time, even when he doesn’t deserve it. We just seem to move the ball with a lot more fluidity and interchangeability when he is on the pitch, in my view. On his best day, he could toy with Liverpool just for fun. Yes, at times he can be a liability defensively but he does try. Defense is really not his forte. That’s not why we signed him back in 2013. I may be in the minority here (and elsewhere) but I think Ozil’s lack of contribution gets too overblown. I’d bet you that with the attacking trio (PAL) that we now have, if you surrounded Ozil with tough quality defenders and with a fast and strong ball-playing defensive midfield general, you too JB, would be singing Mesut Ozil’s praises until the cows came home. He is that good! To some extent, I can’t help but feel that Arsenal didn’t do everything in their possibility to maximize and capitalize on Ozil’s immense talent and abilities these past few years. And now here we are, staring at a stalemate… So stop blaming Ozil for all of Arsenal shortcomings these past few seasons. We simply were too poor as a team, it wasn’t just one individual.

    Anyway, like TA said, I am at sea right now and may not be able to reply to each of your comments but I’d give a try if something does catch my eye, when I have time.

    And TA, I hope your dad is back home recovering nicely.

    Thank you all for your support and wonderful comments once again.

  • I’m in total concurrence with your view and tactical analysis above. We ought not to be losing any matches that badly with such a quality squad that we got. I got little hope that Emery will take us anywhere if not sinking our team to the grave. That dude Just learnt nothing his first season. He should be fired like yesterday

  • Just checking in…busy week for me… 😮

    I’m glad all is well with you TA… Though it’s all in rehash mode by this point, I’d still like to hear your thoughts on our game at Anfield. Of course, we’re getting to the tipping point of the (work) week, so maybe it’s time to think about the NLD.

    This post is interesting and I (finally) get it–that Djifa and Gino92 are one in the same. Where do all his supporters come from (Twitter, I’m guessing). Checking the stats page on WP, This post is at least 10 times more popular than that live-blog I did… 😦

    Which tells me a few things: 1) I should quit live-blogging (or maybe blogging altogether, 2) Nobody can watch and type at the same time–probably because they’re watching on the small screens (phones) or not even watching at all, 3) It’s still Mustafi’s fault–or Ozil’s–or Wenger’s…

    Or, more optimistically, playing those guys–or managing the game exactly as I believe it should be managed (Wenger’s way…) and all will be good… :8

    Frankly (and this is why I need to quit blogging about–and probably even watching–Arsenal), we need to understand that if Emery doesn’t know best, there’s no point in trying to tell him what to do. “Play our best players” (ALL the time, i.e., no subs even…right?…that would be the logical extension of the idea) is patently absurd. (For Emery, I fear–as it ought to be for even the “would-be” manager, it’s NOT a video game…) It’s a long season (looking VERY long to me…) and all we care about is promotion (to the CL.) Don’t people realize what that means? Hint: it means we need to get out of the domestic cups ASAP and not worry about these games against Pool and City. And playing for a point vs all the other teams is probably for the best too–home and away… A loss is worse than three draws…even if a win would get you (all) those (3) points.

    And, lest we forget, (despite losing the team last spring…) Emery is a “big game” manager. That’s how he won those Europa League trophies (and became a “big” manager)… Between that, and his promise to cut costs, that’s how he got the Arsenal job…

    I don’t like the cowardly football (at all) but that is Emery’s (obvious to me…) “style.” Invite-em-forward (with pointless and dangerous idiocy around the back–though I see the time-wasting value if you’re protecting a scoreline…as we are–nil-nil in EVERY match) before booting it long and hoping we get the 6Fs…a Francophone fenom flashes fantastically forward (and) foots one in (never or at least seldom a head). (Smash and grab is another way to say it…) That’s how we played at Newcastle, home to Burnley and at Anfield. Will it be different for the NLD? Or for any of our matches? Sure, Emery will read MY IDEAS (or sense my sarcasm…) and adopt them… Or maybe I need to open a Twitter account and just do a bit of guest blogging/commenting here and there… Help me out, folks, I am desperate to improve my football club…or at least get a few likes… 😀

    So, while I object to Gino/Djiba’s “managing’ Arsenal without considering the real-world constraints approach, I basically agree with the post (and, if anybody’s been reading my stuff, I’m horrified that we’d rather just eat Ozil’s salary–in a desperate attempt to get him gone–rather than play the guy) BUT you cannot argue with results. We’re still top of (the rest of) the table, 3-1 is better than last years’ 5-1 (even if the consolation goal was just that…) AND we (literally) made just as good scoring chances as Pool did, until well, they scored theirs and then David Luiz went from defensive savior to up on the cross. Will Sunday be the resurrection (and thus we only need to keep flogging Mustafi)?… Keep looking forward, I say, BUT, if you’re looking for good attacking football (you know, with some possession in the opponent’s half) you’d better look elsewhere…

    In fact, it’s probably best not to look… Spurs and ManU (BOTH) lost at home…and we haven’t done THAT…


  • Morning 17HT (at least for us)

    I’ve been blogging (in one form or other) since the 90’s. My reason for blogging is to associate with other fans and to get the opportunity to share/bore others with my historical based posts. I doubt if anything I’ve written has ever had any influence on our club (although one of my posts was picked up by Arsenal.com).

    To the point, live blogs hold little interest to this blogger as I want to simply sit back with a glass of red, a nice snack and soak up the game. I prefer to join in a blog once the game is over and my thoughts are clear.

  • Thanks for this piece Gino. Seems this match more than almost any other under Emery’s direction– have thoughtful Arsenal fans on either side of a fence opinion-wise.

    From my perch Emery played not to be embarrassed.
    That– is the sum of what was gained at Anfield.
    There was much more to be had.

    Chances were slim we would capture the 3-points on offer.
    After the first goal– the ‘probable win’ projection for Pool was in the low-80th percentile. Horrible odds that Arsenal would win (or even draw) continuing down the same path stylewise. The first half? I can concede UE’s strategy was worth a shot. Surely, continue with it– had we converted through Auba’s lob or Pepe’s burst. But if not square 0-0 at half? At 1-0 down– Emery certainly should have opened it up immediately– subs-on at the outset. Klopp made adjustments to our defensive compactness at half. Borne out by the early ball played through the middle to Salah (on Luiz’s grab). Didn’t see that at all in the first-45. Whether it was on that possession or later– Klopp had a plan to attack us differently in the second half. Luiz’s foolishness mooted the necessity– as Pool dropped back to defend their 2-0 lead.

    I’ve held a view since the weekend’s match. That Emery would prefer to tinker and outthink any opponent, rather than lay the groundwork toward progressing AFC. In my experience in other sports– as a manager or coach? I’ve been guilty of the same tactics. In general though– it’s because I wasn’t blessed with abundant talent where I could just roll the ball out and tell my team(s) to– ‘just go play’ to their strengths. Emery’s squad have enough talent to– at the least– find out if we could go toe-to-toe with Pool for a half– by shifting into an attacking strategy.

    I’m not suggesting that Pool are not a formidable foe. They are one to be wary of. But here, IMHO? This match was a great chance to ‘roll out the ball and play’ — and see if the attacking talent could win the day.

    What else might Arsenal have lost?


  • I just want to clear one thing: nobody can go toe-to-toe with Pool. Not even City as Pep changes his tactic and even cede possession to neutralize Pool’s advantage. So, I can live with that.

    The problem is, Emery sees Liverpool in every opponent. We have attacking four that earn roughly around million pounds per week. Release them on the smaller teams and shoot yourself with all confidence you can get with maulings of Burnley, Sheffield and all other bottom-half-teams. It’s England and in England a goal-difference beats head-to-head as the tie-breaker.

  • Indeed…reasoned (clear) commentary (after the fact, as well as during the game, before the result–and groupthink–clouds the situation) is always welcome… (And, I like the historical based posts too–keep ’em coming…)

    Even in your time zone (Eastern Canada, right?) I’d get in trouble going for the red wine at game time… So, espresso is my drink of choice…which maybe makes me a bit more aggro than I ought to be. Personally, I think, people are awfully knee-jerk as well as indulging in more than a bit of logical fallacy when they pen their “reactions.” When I have the energy I like reading and responding, but not always. Unfortunately, there’s plenty of dross out there and wading through it (often) is pretty dispiriting.

    For me, my first impression is often my best, and the live-blog format is where my education pays off (I took a typing–not keyboarding–class about 40 years ago).

    Also, given that we’re facing some DIRE football watching (even if the current management team is probably on the right track, results wise…), live-blogging, I think, might be the closest thing we’ve got to a (virtual) pub experience.

    So, I guess you’re voting for me to give it (the live-blogging) a rest. Trust me, I’m almost there… 😦

    …But, (if I get inspired to try again…) I’d prefer if you’d glance at the in-match comments and participate (at half time, or the final whistle)… And, I’m also prepared for people to throw my comments back at me, so that we can do the more violent parts of the (virtual) pub experience…even if I’m too old to fight (and I’ve always been a lover to begin with)… 😀

  • Hi J-Dub and Admir…

    I think Admir has it spot on with his 2nd paragraph…And that JW is correct also that working on his tactics was more important than rolling out a plan B in reaction to the scoreline. I wonder if that was a function of having taken a lead in this same fixture last season and then being unable to (get his players to) close up shop in that one.

    The fact that he was able to get his guys to do so (and curb their attacking instincts) could be seen as a “victory.” To me, it warns of a long and not at all enjoyable season ahead. (And potential collapse–again–if the players get sick of it.) So what if we finish “top of the rest” if it’s completely glum.

    But that’s just me…It’s a results business, as they say, but I need a break from business (all the time)…which includes not putting (cowardly results, like avoiding a blow-out) ahead of the result at hand…

  • Admir– and I’ll cede you are correct. But did qualify my view with– “after the half”.
    Can’t win or draw a match down 1-0 without trying (something else) to score. By not changing tactics at the half? IMO Emery essentially forfeited the chance for a result. What would have been the harm in trying to go at Pool? Especially at 2-0 after the PEN? Goal difference isn’t a viable reason to me.

    Reprising my closing query, last post: What else might Arsenal have lost?


  • I’ll add a postscript to HT’s live-blog comments. From feedback over the last few seasons?
    That some BKers around the world aren’t always in a place where they can settle in front of a TV screen– or even a mobile device, and watch live. Some are in transit, or away from home. Some seem to like that they can get a read on the match from a Gooner’s-eye-view of it.

    It’s not an easy thing to do solo either.


  • 17HT,

    Just got back in from a shopping expedition with my wife, of 56 years.

    You are right we are in eastern Canada, (London, Ontario) along with my son and daughter, my son used to live on Highbury Avenue, and my grandson, plays for the Junior Gunners – his choice of team name.

    You misread me, I would not vote against a live, in fact I find them enjoyable and the immediate
    reaction type of comments are very revealing. To be clear when I’m watching Arsenal I prefer to concentrate on the game (and I’m crap at blind typing); but when it’s not Arsenal I’m all in for a live blog. Please don’t stop because of my comment, I will try to be involved.

  • Gino…. I was not sure anymore it was you and had no time to check… So I used another name… Hope ok?

    Thanks again for a fine blog and comments. 🙂

  • Btw, about Luis Enrique and Allegri…

    Allegri’s Juventus were incredibly over-achieving team but in a way non-venomous snake deals with its prey – they’d eat a lifeless, exhausted body of their victim after 90 minutes of boring them to death. Slow build-up play, disciplined defence and individual class in the attack to knock a goal or two. That worked well in most knock-out ties but didn’t in either CL Final against the Spanish giants. So, if Allegri comes in, don’t expect fireworks.

    As for Lucho, his Barcelona spell was pretty much MSN-directed. In his first season (2014-15), he swept the table but it hadn’t looked like that while Suarez was suspended for his World Cup bite. Real were 8 points ahead at some point but Suarez returned and became a gluecazette for Pepessi (Pepsi?) and Aubaymar. Andresut Özilesta did his magic from the midfield as well as Xhakitić.

    What was the problem with Lucho then? He couldn’t work a plan B when any of MSN was either unavailable or off the game. To put it this way: I’m not sure Lucho has proven that he can drive stick and he would get a lot of stick in England.

  • Carabao Cup 3rd-Round fixtures announced:

    Nottingham Forest. Hmm, sounds familiar… 😉


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