“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.
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).
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