Player Ratings: Auba Carries Team, CBs Hung Out to Dry … Freddie before/in the Fall?

Watford 2 – 2 Arsenal

We will do some deep analysis tomorrow or so, when we are less emotional and have perhaps a bit more perspective. Let’s first do some player ratings, so we can continue our discussions tonight.

If you go two up quite easily in the first half then a team like Arsenal should of course not give two points away anymore. Away games after international breaks are never easy, but I was shocked by how chaotic we looked and played from the off. This was another game in which we allowed dozens of shots of which nine were on target… We are all over the place and seem to play like we only just met up for the first time.

Arsenal verandert in schietschijf bij Watford: 'We waren bang'

Player Ratings:

Leno: 7 – dealt well enough with the many crosses and corners into our box. His distribution is good but as a team we really don’t make it easy for him, as we are too static and too ucomfortable on the ball when surrounded by opponents.

Kola: 6 – an extra point for the assist and for the shift he put in. On the wing he is limited as he is neither a quality defender nor comfortable with the ball for long; as a result, too many times he plays the ball back and stops our attacking momentum. But, as Goonereris noticed during the game, he was also left isolated a lot.

Luiz: 5 – there is so much to like about David during a game, but he made a schoolboy error that cost us. I thought it was a harsh penalty but when you play away you have to be extra careful and not make any contact if you can help it.

Big Sok: 5 – same as Luiz. Made a mistake that cost us and allowed the Hornets back into the game. Furthermore, he and AMN did not defend our right side very well with many Watford attempts and crosses coming from that area. However, they also did not get quality defensive support from midfield and it took Emery far too long to realise this and sort it out.

AMN: 5 – an extra point for a quality assist (avoided being offsite and a calm ball into the free Auba). But he made too many mistakes throughout the game and was just too slow to deal with Watford’s wing-play.

Xhaka: 5  – decent first half and tired a lot towards the second half. Was he fully fit? Many of us have said it but the combo of Xhaka and Guendouzi does not work, as they do not compliment each other whatsoever: they both need a defensive midfielder next to them and to play in tandem with them. Emery seems to disagree.

Guendouzi: 5 – tried hard to make up for his lack of defensive ability and appeared lost in Emery’s midfield set-up. Failed to support defence and link up with attack. See also Xhaka’s text.

Ceballos: 6 – finding his (rather hockey sticky) feet in the team but had some good moments both in defence and attack. Not sure why he was taking off but there you go.

Auba: 8 – Lethal. MOTM and single-handedly carrying the team.

Pepe: 6 – a few moment of quality but he looked rusty and often lost within the team set-up.

Ozil: 6 – great pre-assist for the (normally all important) second goal and he was very lively in the first half with more quality passes. Faded away a bit in the second half.


Nelson: 5 – really struggled to get into the game and with the Hornets’ physicality. Seemed a bit low on confidence.

Willock: 6 – really wanted to make a difference but was also lost in Emery’s tactics.

Torreira: 6 – put on far too late and should have started the game next to Xhaka (or Guendouzi for those who somehow believe he is better than the Swiss). Did his very best to stop the mess that was happening in midfield and got close to scoring. I would always play the Uruguayan Terrier, but Emery really cannot afford to start him on the bench in away games.

Emery: 4. Some will say that the defenders let him down, and they did, but there is so much more wrong with the way he sets up the team and instructs and motivates the players. Freddie before/in the Fall?!

By TotalArsenal.


36 thoughts on “Player Ratings: Auba Carries Team, CBs Hung Out to Dry … Freddie before/in the Fall?

  • Well done with the post TA- it’s not easy putting lucid thoughts together after a display like that
    I guess one ray of light is that Watford allowed us to come home with a point.

    Maybe I’m still emotional and should wait until I’ve cooled down – BUT I really do not like Emeryball.

  • The thing is, GN5, that a point is not too bad for an away game after the interlul against a team with a new ‘old’ manager at the helm. We didn’t play great in the first half but still got our two priceless goals; but the way we gave it away in the second half with so little protection of our defence and seemingly unable to pass the damn ball around was simply shocking and embarrassing.

    You are right re the ray of light… but this sort of luck will not continue to come our and Emery’s way…

  • It’s been another dreadful game of Emeryball and another proof he should be given P45 as soon as possible. He shouldn’t have been hired at the first place but now the damage has to be cut. Throw his stuff out of the window, don’t allow him to come to work tomorrow and give the security guards his picture just in case he appears.

    We play like a relegation-battling team that visit a mid-table team…week in and out. Emery made me want Mourinho to take over and that’s huge.

    Anyway, here are my ratings.

    Leno 8 – he is under constant fire because we don’t defend. We don’t apply any pressure on the opponents so we have faced more shots than any other team in Top 5 European leagues. 96 shots over 5 games (almost 20 per game) have resulted with just eight goals conceded and three of those came from the spot.

    Maitland-Niles 5 – he picked an assist but he is not a reliable RB and never will be. He can pick an assist every now and then but that won’t change the fact he leaves his side wide open too often and that his attacking output doesn’t justify his defensive errors. He should be played in the midfield and develop as a B2B midfielder.

    Kolašinac 4.5 – he picked an assist but he is not reliable at either side of the pitch. Not the sharpest tool in the box either as he was on a yellow card when he joined the mess just before the break. For all his popularity, his real level is a back-up LB at Arsenal.

    Sokratis 4 – Greek Mustafi, as I said before. All his flaws gets highlighted now that Luiz is playing next to him.

    Luiz 4 – he was supposed to make our defence more organized and instead we got a bigger mess than the one we had. Conceded two penalties since his arrival.

    Xhaka 4 – the fact he is an Arsenal captain says everything about Emery’s Arsenal. He should have been sold last summer. Actually, he should have never signed at the first place. He can’t fight pressing game and his statistics don’t justify his inclusion.

    Guendouzi 4 – he remains Emery’s alibi. He should have been sent on loan or with U23 to learn some basic stuff.

    Ceballos 6 – for the sake of that tackle that led to our goal and for his ability to control the ball which is a rare quality at today’s Arsenal. Why he was withdrawn by Emery is beyond me.

    Özil 6 – he looked sharper than the one would expect after such a long break and non-football problems. Should have been on the pitch until the end of the game as he could have kept the ball and release a counter-attack when we were ahead.

    Pepe 4 – he was awful today. I fear we might have spent those 72 millions much, much better.

    Aubameyang 9 – scored a brace. Earned his paycheck.

    Willock 6 – added some juice.

    Nelson 5 – poor shot when he should have put the game in bed.

    Torreira 6 – nothing special to mention.

  • TA,
    I can’t believe you actually managed to put together this post after that shocking display. Good on you. Asides from Leno and Aubameyang, I think you were a little too generous with your ratings. 😀

    I have tried to get this game out of my mind but I just can’t (I’m still pissed off and very irritated. Maybe I will feel a bit better tomorrow). Not because we screwed up royally and gave Watford 2 freaking early Christmas gifts, but because of how we played football (actually how we have been playing so far, since the start of this new season). If we played great, wonderful football and still lose, I’d be ok with it and would simply attribute the loss to back luck. Not that pathetic display that I saw today in the second half. For a title-contending team to play like we did/are doing is horrible. Are we serious contenders or just pretenders? With our current squad, we should be the former but I fear we are the latter. I’m beginning to wonder if it is a language issue with Emery. It just seems to me like something is missing or getting lost in translation with the team setup and instructions. Plus Emery doesn’t seem to have a Plan B or C or know what to do when things start going from bad to worse. I don’t know about you guys but I just feel like we haven’t played like the real Arsenal so far this season (or last season for that matter. Sure there were some glimpses of Wengerball here and there but overall we just seemed lost too many times).

    Xhaka’s post-match comments summed it all up for me: “We were too scared…” When the Captain of the team says that the whole team is scared, that’s just not good news at all. I doubt you’d ever hear Adams or Vieira or Henry talk like that back in the day. This team has NO identity right now, NO leadership on or off the pitch, and NO full confidence like Liverpool. That is down to the Manager or the Head Coach, whatever the f*ck Emery’s title is. This is one of those interviews I wished Xhaka, as the Captain, hadn’t been that honest. It now lends credence to the general belief and misconception that Arsenal are simply too weak mentally and physically, too fragile, can easily be broken and/or pushed over, go into hiding or hibernation when the going gets tough. Simply put, “They lack Cojones”, as Troy Deeney once infamously claimed. Based of today’s second half display, it is hard to totally dismiss that claim out of hand…

    I just want my sexy Arsenal back. Right now, I just don’t see how we can get better under Emery. Nothing personal against him, it’s just that the type of football he wants to play doesn’t suit this particular group of players. We are an attacking team, that is our main strength. We are not a tough grind-it-out defense-oriented, over-my-dead body type of team. We should use our strength to put most bottom half teams to submission every time.

    Like I said in the previous thread, I am now out of patience with Emery. But I am also willing to let him sort through this self-created mess and get it together very quickly in the next 5 or so games. If he can’t fix this, it’s hard to see how he will survive his inevitable sacking and it will be his own goddamm fault. He must remember that he is no Arsene Wenger. This is the new ruthless Arsenal FC. Failure is not an option!

    There! I’ve said my peace. Now, I am going to try to relax and get this f*^kjng game out of my mind!!! 😣😖

  • Most unctuous aspect of Emery’s insistence we play out from the back?
    Given the allowance of a first-touch inside the box, he stations the two CBs on the corners of the penalty box. Basic knowledge in any sport– that the less space a zone or press must cover from point A to B, the more pressure on the possessors. You want the defenders running to cut off advance. Not closing down to trap, limiting paths of escape.

    Papa and Luiz have to be well out toward the edge of the 18– to make playing it out possible. Done correctly, the defense stretches. Swinging the ball side-to-side, moving them to create space and

    Cannot believe this is the way he wishes to play.
    Handing clear advantage to an opponent at minimum.
    Or– goals and points as was the case today.


  • The reason for our second half breakdown is the frequent disconnect between the defensive players and the offensive ones. When we were countered you see 2 groups of players on the field: 4 up top and the rest in defense.

    We were absolutely murdered when the opponents attack us. Where was the compactness? Why can’t we play like other teams and play our game as one team? Where is the plan B which we switch positions to cause the opposition problems? Why was Ozil subbed when he was doing fine bridging between defense and attack?

    We need to do more and grow some ba**s.

  • Apologies TA. Do appreciate your review.
    Simply having a difficult time ignoring the Emeryphant in the room.


  • Hi TA. Good for you getting this early review out amid much emotion and reaction. I share the frustration but think it’s too soon for panic. A couple of quick reflections:

    1. We shouldn’t forget that 3 of our likely first choice back 4 are not currently available. Both full backs and one CB. Most teams would find that loss challenging.

    2. We are also a team in transition. Previous posts have flagged the turnover this summer. We are now trying to integrate new signings and youth team players. It is inevitable that we will take some time for the team to look like they know each other. The truth is currently they don’t.

    Less charitably then, two more reflections:

    3. Luiz doesn’t strike me as an improvement on Mustaphi. Arguably he is more error prone rather than less. That’s a matter of opinion of course but putting that to one side, his record makes clear that he is never going to be the cure to our defensive vulnerability.

    4. Emery doesn’t know what to do in midfield. He has an assemblage if high quality players, but he looks quite clueless about how to deploy them in an effective formation. I don’t think he is anywhere near the sack however; the amount invested in the squad this summer makes a departure before the year end almost unthinkable. The players would have to rebel against him I suspect for that to happen.

    Where does that leave us? Expecting better and with some reason to hope for it too given our defensive players coming back from injury. Reliant on our attack keeping us in games by getting goals out of little while we cross our fingers that the opponents waste their chances. And waiting to see if Emery can land in a midfield combination that works – the law of probability suggests that should happen sometime even without any managerial inspiration!

    It was a long interlull to have to go through to come back to that…

  • TA, congratulations. Your emotions well under check.

    I agree fully with your reviews and ratings. The space in front of the central defence was repeatedly open. That’s the primary reason bottom placed Watford made a record 31 attempts against us. We are lousy everywhere defending as a team, but that space in front of the CD is our weakest lack.

    I persist with my call for Chambers to be slotted there. Wenger said that the midfield is his ultimate role. He was voted the best player at Fulham playing there. Nobody thinks much of that because Fulham was relegated. The truth about Fulham last season was not that they didn’t have good players but that they recruited 10 new players who were only able to gel when it had become too late. Chambers was voted the best of the lot.

    All the central midfielders we have are poor to very poor defensively. Even our hope Torreira is too small for the physicality of the premier league a fact Emery must have realized, hence his use now in more forward positions. It’s been so easy for teams attacking us through the middle. Same through the flanks with Kola and Niles but at least there we can hope on the return of Bellerin and Tierney.

    The error by Sokratis is unforgivable. We seem to be under the Mustafi curse. Nearly all the 8 goals we’ve conceded in his absence this season are errors.

    There are 2 insurances playing out of the back. One is that if the noose begins to tighten a player can always go long. The other is the goalkeeper who is always the overload player, the free man. It is STUPID for the keeper’s 1st pass to be to his man in the 6 yds box because any player bearing down on the defender on the ball has also nullified the keeper as an option to be passed to on account of his proximity to that defender. And that is one insurance gone. When this sort of elementary mistakes are made one can only wonder about the famed Emery’s very detailed coaching style. Could it be that he is too theoretical, not really grounded in reality? How intelligent is he? Non of us has any inkling because there is that smokescreen that he is handicapped with his spoken English. He communicates nothing. Pochettino who has as few English words communicates better. At least he doesn’t rattle along saying nothing. The stacks are beginning to pile up.

  • TA, there is already a “deep analysis” in your box waiting for the right time. Cheers.

  • PE makes good points about our CDMs. And we do have a muddle here. But our problem starts with us having to plan our team to protect our CBs! Did we worry about this with Adams or Campbell there? Better CBs would be covering for our CDMs. Chambers must be perplexed. He’s sat on the bench watching abject rubbish on the pitch and must be asking himself how the manager thinks that he is a choice that would be worse still! At this moment our defence looks less capable than it did under Wenger in his last years. I see no excuse for this. Holding and Chambers are not rubbish. And frankly nor is Mustafi most of the time. We should be doing, and now find a way to do, better with the resources we have available.

  • Per Opta:

    31 – Arsenal faced 31 shots in their 2-2 draw against Watford, the most they have ever faced in a Premier League fixture since Opta began collecting such data in the division in 2003-04. Barrage.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe)


  • A day later and I feel worse about the game today than I did yesterday. That was as bad an Arsenal performance as I can remember, the two great goals by Auba in the first half glossed over just how poor we were in pretty much all aspects of the game. Our passing was pathetic with the worst offender being AMN, the 20 pass move concluded by his perfect pass and Auba’s strike almost, (if you were blind) made up for his general ineptitude.

    In a previous week I expressed my concern about our ability to pass out of the back but I never, ever thought it could get as bad as it was yesterday. Watford, like every other club in the league, know that all they have to do is put pressure on our goal kicks – and then simply wait a moment to reap the rewards.

    Canadian TV is not covering the Europa League so for the first time I can remember I will not see this weeks Arsenal game – usually that would upset me, but I’m actually happy as I derive absolutely no joy from watching the boring incessant back passing that is dished up by Emery-ball.

    As a kid I stood under the clock at Highbury freezing my nuts off in short trousers, in all sorts of weather, watching Arsenal play on a muddy quagmire, I’ve stood by my team through thick and thin for over seven decades, I’ve seen the performances of every player and manager since 1947; but as it stands today I’m at such a low point that I do not want to watch any more of this type of football – as it’s nothing more than an than insipid display of defeatism.

    The team has no spine, no soul, no leadership, no direction and worst of all an obviously inept Manager – who bears all of the responsibility for where we are at today. The club ownership needs to stand up and be counted and make a rapid change before what we are forced to watch becomes the new and accepted normal at Arsenal.

    Oh dear it’s so sad to see how far we have sunk since the inspiring days of incredible Wengerball – oh, how I miss it!

  • Good summary, TA.
    I agree with most, therefore I will only focus on the minority report here. 🙂

    While I fully support (and will keep advocating for the rest of the season) that Xhaka and Guendouzi are better substituting each other than complementing, I wouldn’t rate them the same. Quoting Phil Spencer from and Dan from JustArsenal respectively:
    Granit Xhaka: Much of Xhaka’s best work today was done under the radar but after his difficulties against Spurs he was a consistent, disciplined shield for the Arsenal defence. By the 65th minute he had won four tackles, the rest of the team had won five. For the most part his distribution was solid in a much-improved display. 7
    Guendouzi – 3
    I praised him so much in the Derby but this was as ill-disciplined as you can get. He twice played a blind pass to Leno which could have led to a goal, then gets a yellow for a pointless scrap on half time.

    And I also challenge the common bases that we have a solid attack which is being constantly undermined by a sub-par defense. Of course I’m not happy for conceding 2 goals (especially both being results from huge and unnecessary individual mistakes, misjudgements), but I believe we should have scored 4-5. Aubameyang was great, no doubt about that, but we still had our fair share of chances which we managed to screw up big time.
    Pepe is one of the culprits, but I still have a huge faith in him. As Phil Spencer pointed out: “A goal would do his confidence the world of good.” I believe his record signing fee was a great investment, but the returns might come slower than expected.
    But my major disappointment was Nelson. Sure I think of him as the future Sterling, but he was playing today as Iwobi in his bad days. Misplaced passes, wrong decisions on dribbling, a lot of promising attempts (including a fairly easy shot) died in his feet. He was playing like a teenager today. And even though he has a good excuse for that (being only 19 years old) we need more from him, Willock and Guendouzi in the future.

    It might be the weakness of EmeryBall, but it is not enough being clinical in front of goal. We need to tear the opposition apart, and start scoring 4+ goals against such sides. Maybe with Bellerin, Holding and Tierney (and Luiz) we would have a defense more solid and compact…

  • Fine heartfelt comments fellow BKers.

    Admir I disagree on your assessment of Xhaka, as I am sure you will know by now, but other than that I agree with you sentiment even though the scores are a bit too low. When two chess players start a game they both have identical pieces except for the colour… but it’ll become quickly clear who knows what to do with them and who doesn’t. And the latter will make for sorry and lost pieces on the board. Emery has that effect on individual players.

    Gino, agreed with a lot. I actually appreciated Xhaka’s honest assessment. The smack in the face of truth hurts at first but after that we know where we stand. Playing out of the back scares the players because it is bloody hard to do it well and bloody risky at the same time. This is nothing to do with attitude or putting your foot in etc, but with accurate passing under pressure in and around our box. It is not working and we either train much harder on it or abandon this playing out of the back altogether.
    Also agreed on the lack of commu

    84, yes playing as one team seems impossible under Emery… it is because he doesn’t know how to set up the midfield in the PL. Xhaka had to do so much running to cover the defence in this game it was absurd – positionally we were all over the place.

    JW, very sensible comment and agreed.

  • Cheers Pb, good comment. I cannot give Xhaka a 7, though. He was the captain and the defence was not protected and he had a part to play in it. But maybe I was too hard on him. I noticed how exhausted he was at the end and I bet he made most meaningful kilometres of all the team. I didn’t want to single out Guendouzi and that is why I gave them the same score.

    Our attack can be better, and will be better, but if you look at the number of shots on goal and actual goals, I reckon we do pretty well in the league. I am not going to be critical of Pepe as he needs time to settle in.

    Agreed Nelson was disappointing but we have to ask why this was the case. Emery has a habit of sacrificing players at half time when things are not going well, and that is exactly what he did with Nelson. For a young player that is not good for confidence…. Unai is an X-manager after all…

  • GunnerN5,
    I feel you man, I feel your pain. Same here. I guess I was so used to the beautiful free-flowing interchangeable football we played under Arsene Wenger (even though we sucked big time defensively after moving to the Emirates) that I am currently failing to see what Unai Emery is trying to do exactly. I’m not talking about win-loss-draw here. I’m talking about our inadequate/inept displays on the pitch, our team’s identity (or lack of). I didn’t really quite get it last season either and this season seems to be a repeat of last season so far. Are we not a possession-hungry team anymore? Are we now only a counter-attacking team? Can we no longer dominate teams and score 5-6 goals? Do we practice team defending? If so, why are consistently gifting goals away via stupid mistakes? I thought Emery was supposed to be a meticulous, detail-oriented, video-nut manager/head coach? Is he seeing what we are all seeing, and if yes, does he plan to do something, anything about it? What are we doing or trying to do on the pitch exactly? What about instant in- game adjustments when things look bad instead of persisting with the lunatic approach at all costs? Has Emery ever heard of Albert Einstein’s definition of INSANITY ( “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”)? Are we f*cking insane now? All teams now know we are going to persist with playing out of the back so they just camp on the edge of our box and DARE us to try. And guess what, we most certainly oblige them, knowing our players are not comfortable with it. Fan-f*cking-tastic!

    From starting team selection f*ck-ups (leaving Ozil, Torreira, and Lacazette our for certain games when we are all thinking this is the right game to play them) to weird substitutions (why take both Ozil and Ceballos out when they were pretty much the only two players dragging the team forward?) to stupid set-ups (a gaping hole between defense and midfield) to repeated suicidal attempts to pass out of the back no matter what (when the players are clearly not yet very comfortable or confident with it – anybody remembers poor Petr Cech last season?), I just don’t recognize our Arsenal brand of football anymore. What the f*ck is happening here in front of our eyes? Why are we now all of a sudden trying to play like a mid-table team when we should be dominating the game and dictating the tempo?

    Please Emery, make us understand just what the hell it is you are trying to do, ffs! Your incessant cluelessness is definitely not going to cut it. We don’t get it and I’d bet my left nut that most of the players don’t quite get it either!

    Clearly, my utter frustration (and irritation) from yesterday hasn’t gone away yet even after sleeping on it. So, I am gonna stop here before I bust a vein.

    Laters guys.

  • Can you imagine what is going to happen if we play like we did yesterday against the Mancs in two weeks time? Another 8-2 really is not inconceivable. Our problems are tactical/style of footie and Emery does not seem to be able to get us set up right… and two weeks is a very, very short time.

  • Gino my man take it easy. Emery either gets it right now and or he doesn’t and he gets replaced sooner or later. If you think about it… we are in a win-win situation now.

  • So much to be disappointed by.

    I don’t understand why Ozil and Ceballos are escaping the fallout from the craven display. They gave no support whatsoever to their defenders,. To see Kolasinac struggle because so much is expected from him was worrying but even more was the awful display from AMN.

    AMN was struggling, his positioning was poor, his distribution worse and his crossing awful (apart from once!). He is still a boy and what he needed was for someone to give him some support – that man should have been Ozil. Ozil should have given him a simple outball, he didn’t

    Same with Pepe who had an awful game. Held the ball when he should have passed, passed when he should have taken on his opponent, hardly tackled or helped AMN. But .. he is new to the PL and needs help and advice. Who has been in the PL the longest in this AFC team? … Ozil.

    It is easy to blame the defence, especially as they made such obvious individual mistakes. As a backline they are fragile. Clearly unable to play the ball out from defence they should be allowed to lump it in the direction of PEA, instead we see the defence under pressure from our own goal kicks. Don’t give Sokratis the responsibility – if we have to play this way then let Xhaka make the decisions.

    Our bench was very inexperienced and who thought “oh great, Willock is coming on, he will amake a difference”? Perhaps in time he will, but it was crass stupidity to bring him on and not Chambers when we were so obviously getting hammered in front of the CB’s

    We desperately missed Lacazette

  • Good points Eric. You can argue that the attackers should have supported the defenders more and I get your point re Ozil and Ceballos. The other way to look at this is that we should have retaken the initiative and force them back in their own half, and we just were unable to do so. I think we did not play compact as a team enough and once we had the ball our passing was too poor to keep control. I expected more from Ozil and Ceballos in that respect but as a team we were all over the place.

  • Very well put Gino92, more to the point and far less emotional than my outburst.

    Erik, We lack a steel backbone and have for several seasons.

    I have been very reluctant to criticize Emery but I’m truly shocked at how he has sucked the style out of our team. We play slow, ponderous, boring football relying on the other teams mistakes but we have proved that Arsenal are one of the most mistake prone teams in the PL.

    It’s like having a business card welcoming us fans to mid-table mediocrity.

  • I don’t mean to lay blame at just Ozil’s feet but he is a WC winner and a player of vast experience. I expect him to take responsibility and he simply doesn’t.

    TA. Yes, we COULD have taken the attacking initiative but 26 shots by Watford in the second half points to that being highly unlikely. We needed to shore up the area in front of the CB’s. Chambers could have done so – we would have been better bringing him on and playing 3-5-2.

  • Erik,

    Ozil hardly put a foot wrong and supplied some sumptuous passes, but he was still missing in action in his defensive duties.

  • DAZN (Canada) claims that their listed schedule is incorrect and that they will be showing the Frankfurt v Arsenal game – so I will be watching.

  • Erik, but we don’t know what Emery’s instructions were for Ozil. We also know that he is not good at defending, but I did see him get involved more than you think. I believe in playing people to their strengths, and I would keep Ozil away from defending and producing the key passes..

  • Note I’ve been unable to locate any public comments by Unai Emery since his post-match interview.

    Been hesitant to assert there might be a language-barrier at play with our lack of cohesion. But seemingly, it looks to factor. English-only myself, I’ve managed bi-lingual teams (in different sports) where positioning a player in-game is critical. It’s not simple. Multi-lingual would pose some difficulty for Emery. French, English, Spanish, German– are mainstays. Translating details (through channels) on-pitch appears daunting. Hard to achieve nuance under those conditions.

    There are deeper issues within the team.
    Emery’s captain stating to the press– that the team were ‘scared’?
    There’s no 180° pivot from this. Can’t put that back-in-the-tube.

    Cannot with confidence, tally-up the collective fortitude required of this team– to pull back from what appears a brink. There’s no ‘team-DNA’ to rely upon with this flock of players.

    I’ll go on record.
    My intuition has been keen at times (not wishing it by any means).
    Fear that Unai Emery has lost this team.


  • Agreed, JW. You may recall that I wanted a bilingual (Spanish and English) nr2 for Emery. His English is still quite poor and for a tinkerer that’s really not good.

  • Quite a bit of venting with sincere intent on here. Brilliant comments, largely. TA, good job bringing this opportunity to put it all out there. I agree with most of the comments but must state that since Giroud left, hoofing the ball into the opponents’ area has become a sure bet for handing possession to the opponents. We need a bit more intelligence about the players, if we must persist with playing out of defence.

    PE made the point when he suggested we could vary the actions as we attempt to play out from the keeper and this can only start from the training pitch. When opposition players load our area to try the press, they would usually have more players out of position doing so. This would allow for spaces for designated outlets, say Pepe and Auba in different flanks of the pitch (Ozil in the middle) to stretch the defence, who will wait to receive a lofted pass from the keeper, as the opposition concentrate on winning the ball from a press. That unpredictability will give the pressing bunch something to think about. Of course, there will be other times when the keeper just needs to kick out. Sokratis didn’t look too smart when he chose that pass to Guendouzi, considering the other options he had, but that’s down to the coaching.

    That result (along with that performance) still hurts.

  • Oh, and I thought Xhaka worked hard yesterday; too hard, all considered. You could see he was resisting every temptation to go into tackles yesterday, wary of his reputation as a yellow card magnet. All he needs to do now is start taking charge of some key decisions in play…..

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