Emery Tactically Clueless, We got Pepe’s Twin Brother, MO10/LT11 Need to Start: 8 Observations

1-0 Not to the Arsenal, and quite rightly so. No point in doing player ratings as all worked hard but just could not get through the wall of Blades. For that we missed a player who committed his best years to us but was left home to plan for Halloween. Under Emery we are losing our identity, reputation and enjoyment of the game, so why keep him any longer?


Eight Painful Observations

  1.  It is all well and good to try and play via the flanks but it cannot be our only way of attacking. Sheffield United had figured out that we like to get behind defences from the wings and they had it covered almost all day long. The Blades also had a solid wall in and around their ‘D’ and we just did not have the inventiveness to get through it. We also missed aerial power up-front and so we laboured and laboured to create half-chances at best… and in the end we managed just three shots on goal. It SCREAMED out for Mesut Ozil but we all know that the only way to get him back in the team is for Emery to get sacked.
  2. I have said it many, many times, and I know not to be the only one who’s said this: Guendouzi and Xhaka both playing deep just does not work. Either of them need Torreira to play next to them to get the best out of them, but LT11 is as unloved by our Spanish Manager as MO10. Here is the thing: we will not win an away win under Emery if Torreira does not start, simple as that.
  3.  Willock is a brilliant player but not in the hole. Play him next to Xhaka and he will shine, play him in the hole and he will suffer. Joe needs to do B2B football and there need to be players in and around the hole to whom he can pass the ball and combine with. Wenger would not have sacrificed Willock, such a young talent, at half time. He would not have dented his confidence like that, but Emery likes to pinpoint the blame somewhere else. Ceballos came on and he was neither bad nor good, as in effective. It is like putting on another Guendouzi: both run a lot and like (a lot of touches with) the ball a lot, but lack the quality as yet to make the difference.
  4. Does Pepe have a twin brother/ did we get him instead? The talent is there but he lacks composure and technical precision and I am hoping, badly hoping, that it is down to frustration/ a lack of confidence at the moment. He needs to be given a rest till after the international break in November and then start anew. Maybe Henry or Bergkamp can be hired for a few months to get Pepe to his best again?
  5. Emery made changes but they all did not work. It was more of the same rather than coming up with something better. Ceballos is clearly no Ozil. Laca is also no Ozil but we became stronger once he came on and tried to own the centre in attack. It was too little too late. And if Emery is so keen on wingplay for Arsenal, why not bring on Tierney and Bellerin and refresh our efforts? Kolasinac and Chambers worked hard  but just lacked the quality when putting the ball into the box.
  6. But the hardest part of it all was our laboured efforts to play the ball out from the back. We lack movement and technical ability for this and it made us look like a bottom-half PL team. Emery’s tactics are obviously to sit back and win games on rebounds and counterattacks (a third of our goals are scored like this), but for this we need far better passing, both short and long, and also better runs by our attackers. We were bad in all departments and hence only managed three shots on target – one every thirty minutes!
  7. The goal we conceded was a poor one. A number of players – including the keeper – got their positioning wrong and we paid the price for it. In away games it really is not good to concede the first goal, and I think we all knew it would become a hard night for us after we did. We cannot say the Blades did not deserve to go infront and it is also no coincidence that it happened.
  8. The only positive I can take from this game is that the players really wanted to win and gave their all, and that on a cold and damp October night in Sheffield. So we have the spirit, we have the quality squad, but we really, really lack a manager that can take us forward. The sooner the BoD realize this the better.

By TotalArsenal.

29 thoughts on “Emery Tactically Clueless, We got Pepe’s Twin Brother, MO10/LT11 Need to Start: 8 Observations

  • When you and I agree completely TA? You kno…
    (Hmm. Sitting. Pondering, the apropos hyperbolic parallel…)
    Nope. Nothing approaches that height of unbelievability.

    Well, except what this manager trots out as a his singular plan week-upon-week.
    He can’t be fooling Raul– or anybody in the tier of decision-makers at the club.

    This will not magically get better by degrees.


  • No it will not, JW. It is a shame as I believe Emery works very hard and wants to succeed, but he was Gazidis’ man and was the wrong choice for the club, style of football and our values.

    I don’t want us to be a club that sacks its managers all the time, but we have cul-de-saced ourselves and need to move out and on…

  • TA,
    I can’t believe you actually have the stomach to write this post. I agree with all 8 observations. I just cannot comprehend how the “clueless clown” is setting us up for failure game after game. The players are trying so hard but nothing good is coming out of it. I don’t what poor Torreira did to piss off Emery. We seem to play with more bite, more guile when LT11 is on the pitch. This game also needed MO10 badly, especially in the second half. I have been wondering all season long if the “clueless clown” is actually watching the same game we are all watching. I find myself asking the question every match day when the team sheet is out: Why pay MO10 all that money every week for him to sit at home comfortably on his couch while his buddies labored thru another tough game? There is no way anyone can convince me that Ozil is no longer good enough to at least make the bench. No f#*king way! Ozil could not have possibly played worse than the way we’ve been playing in the PL since the start of the season. He is a real asset that is clearly being wasted and it seems like the only way for him to ever play for Arsenal again is if we have a bunch of injuries up front at the same time or if the clueless clown gets sacked. My preference is the latter. The sooner the better.
    We need our Arsenal back. Enough of the mediocre display every single f*^king game. I have tried but I can’t take this anymore.


  • TA said it all. I’d just be a little more gentle about Gervinho v2.0 as he actually opened slace with his moves last night but his shooting technique is not good enough for Premier League. It’s not fair to judge players in a wrong system with a wrong manager at helm but Pepe doesn’t look like a winner in The Best Buy category.

    Emery has sucked the joy out of Arsenal and we now genuinely celebrate football Thursdays because that’s where we play with our best players.

  • TA, can’t agree more with your review of the match. I think Emery should get more adventurous. Let’s start from the rear.

    1) Leno (the keeper) is supposed to be the orchestrator of playing out of the back. He has a poor reading of the field situation and therefore is a poor orchestrator.

    2) Holding is our best creative passer in the back line. He should take over from Sokratis who has done well (but not good enough) seeing that he is learning a new trick (playing out of the back) at the tail end of his career. Is Emery scared of benching him?

    3) Tierney looks an obvious upgrade on Kola. Why is Emery dilly dallying while our season’s objective slips away.

    4) Midfield: Agree with you that Guendz and Xhaka are too similar. They are too commited to the same space, lying deep. If you ask me, I’d say our midfield is our weakest link. I was disappointed that no big personality was brought recruited in the summer. Torreira would improve the combo, but won’t change things dramatically because Douzi and Xhaka are no box to box and T11 is expected to be the holding mid. Offensively T11 is given to only short ball circulation.

    5) The big one … Ozil. I don’t see how Ozil would have performed worse than any of our attacking midfielders yesterday: Saka, Willock, Pepe, Ceballos. Martinelli. The tragedy of Ozil’s permanent absence is that Aubameyang is a player who needs only 2 through balls in a match. Without the through balls the best of Abamayang would never be seen. I guess that Pepe also deserves somebody to be placing him on the run. Two super talents being wasted because we don’t have a creator.

    A little digression. I feel that great-potential Saka should be managed more carefully. He should not be over exposed as yet. There is already too much being expected of him and that’s a recipe for the fans to sooner than later turn against him aka Walcott, Oxlade, Iwobi etc.

  • Good read TA and little to argue with.


    The team worked hard to find a way through a disciplined and packed defence.
    Pepe had his best game so far and was unlucky not to score what would have been a brilliant team goal.
    Saka has huge potential. Dean needs to be retired, Saka should have had a penalty. What use is VAR?
    Duozi is developing into a terrific player, though where he should play remains open to discussion.

  • I am not an EMERYOUT advocate, but today I’m in such a bad mood, that I have to share this link with you.

    It is good for mood elevation too, but the main reason for sharing is that I cannot help but feel that Unai is such a fraud. He had more than 2 weeks to figure out a foolproof tactic against Sheffield. He has access to almost the entire squad as they are close to be fully fit. He had a lot of players sitting out the international break, so he could rest some of our key stars…
    Yet, ha manage to nominate a fully predictable line-up (once again), with a fully predictable tactic (attacking on the flanks). Aubameyang lacked the service because Pepe is not in his best form (he was still the man of the match according to WhoScored, while Willock was the worst by a huge margin), Saka/Martinelli are not yet good enough to provide chances and assists, and with Xhaka supporting the back 4 there are nobody else to feed the striker.

    I think Emery should try to experiment with the 3-5-2 and 3-4-3 formations again, because his favorite midfield 3 is really very poor. So as long as he insist to play Guendouzi and Willock, while keeping Torreira, Ceballos and Ozil on – or even off – the bench, than we will keep playing this ugly yet ineffective football.

  • I fully agree with TA’s 1-2 anf PE’s 4th point.
    I am so happy with our attack. We have Lacazette, we have Auba, we bought Pepe, and we have Nketiah, Nelson, Saka, Martinelli in the queue, with John-Jules and Balogun waiting for ther chances…
    And while it will not be a popular opinion I am pretty satisfied with our defense as well. Sokratis is a no-nonsense player, and while this category is heavily overrated he is experienced and usually reliable. Luiz was also a valuable and cost-effective addition, he has great passing skill and can be dangerous from set pieces. Holding is probably our best defender, and he is a smart player too. I like Chambers as well, he defends superbly and can play DM, support the attack, a real utility. We have 2 brilliant full backs in Bellerin and Tierney. Mustafi is a world cup winner, and we haven’t conceded a goal when he was on the pitch. And both Mavropanos and Saliba are quite promising. So I see no need to splash 90M on Upamecano – in my opinion.
    Taking into account that we have a tall keeper with out-worldly reflexes being good with his feet, and a backup-keeper with Arsenal DNA, confidence and flawless 2019 track record I cannot help to feel this area covered as well.

    So our struggles must be related to our midfield, as PE suggests. So the main the question is that: are we clearly weaker than the time we had Cocquelin, Wilshere, the Ox, and Flamini, or we have a quality midfield with Xhaka, Torreira, Ozil, Ceballos, Guendouzi, Willock and co, but they are inexplicably misused.

  • Pb …. still on the midfield. When a team is pleasing to the eyes, it is the midfield. When the play looks ugly, it is the midfield. When we talk about Liverpool’s intensity, it’s thanks too their midfield. When we talk about a team without fight, it’s the midfield. Transitioning the ball, essentially the midfield. Cover for the defence, the midfield. Supporting the attack, the midfield. These are why the midfield is called the engine of the team. And that is where all Emery’s non-drama are taking place.

  • ” So the main the question is that: are we clearly weaker than the time we had Cocquelin, Wilshere, the Ox, and Flamini, or we have a quality midfield with Xhaka, Torreira, Ozil, Ceballos, Guendouzi, Willock and co, but they are inexplicably misused?”

    Nailed it.

    The question, however, is why? UE is a vastly experienced successful coach.

  • ” So the main the question is that: are we clearly weaker than the time we had Cocquelin, Wilshere, the Ox, and Flamini, or we have a quality midfield with Xhaka, Torreira, Ozil, Ceballos, Guendouzi, Willock and co, but they are inexplicably misused?”

    Nailed it.

    The question, however, is why? UE is a vastly experienced successful coach.

  • Thank you for the fine read Total, I just don’t know how you can be so objective after watching another Emery masterclass in ineptitude.

    As pbarany has already pointed out Emery had two weeks to figure out Sheffield U’s style of play – frankly it only takes two minutes:-
    – Bruising football
    – Double Decker Defense
    – Score on set pieces
    – Shut the back door.
    He had almost a full squad at his disposal – yet he left the player who can unlock a DDD at home.

    His tactics were the same simplistic stuff we see every week – EVERY team in the league knows what to expect and make their plans accordingly.

    Who in their right mind would select Willock to play in the hole and not Ozil – Oh yea! our very own tactical mastermind the one, the only, Unai Emery.

    I just hope our B.O.D. show some balls and kick him into touch.

  • Since Ozil made his debut for the Gunners, no player has created more chances than him. In fact, no-one comes even close.

    Premier League (since Ozil’s debut)
    Player Chances created
    Mesut Ozil 522
    Aaron Ramsey 272
    Santi Cazorla 190
    Olivier Giroud 183
    Granit Xhaka 121

    He has also been the club’s top assist maker in three of their last six seasons, although admittedly did not feature in the top three of the list in the last campaign.

    Premier League (since Ozil’s debut)
    Season Player Assists
    2013-14 Mesut Ozil 9
    2014-15 Sanit Cazorla 11
    2015-16 Mesut Ozil 19
    2016-17 Alexis Sanchez 10
    2017-18 Mesut Ozil 8
    2018-19 Alexandre Lacazette 8

  • I just read this:-

    Unai Emery’s greatest, and only achievement so far is getting a large contingent of Arsenal fans to, for once, passionately back Mesut Ozil.

  • “If you pick up a fight make sure you win otherwise you’d find yourself standing alone”. …. 10 more matches is as far as my grace to Emery holds, maybe less.

  • PE,

    My issue with Emery is really very basic and based on what I’ve witnessed in his short tenure I cannot see him changing his philosophy. You see I just don’t like his brand of football and I cannot bear the thought of having to endure it any longer than this season.

  • I still don’t know why Emery does not want to start Auba with Laca and Pepe with Ozil in the hole, with Douzi and Torreira behind.

    That is by far the best lineup but Emery just wants to play them in the Europa. Got tired of his tactics (or lack of it)

  • The clueless clown is a big fraud, who clearly is mismanaging our very strong and talented squad and doesn’t know how to resolve our issues. Yes he is passionate, yes he is a ball of energy, yes he a fast talker (although he doesn’t really say anything meaningful – just a bunch of word salad), yes he so desperately wants to do well, and yes he absolutely feared getting “sacked in the morning”, etc., but he is ruining our season nonetheless because he has no idea what to do, no inventiveness, no creativity, no risk-taking, no nothing. It seems to me that he makes his team selection hoping and praying that it works (overtly caution and way too calculating), instead of just selecting the strongest available team that can combine well and spank the opposition to submission. I swear that for the first 20 minutes of the game yesterday (I turned the TV on right after the game started and missed the lineup), I had absolutely no idea that Willock was even on the pitch. The clueless clown is overusing our inexperienced youngsters especially Guendouzi and Saka and I just hope that we are careful not to turn on them (like some supporters did Iwobi or AOC) when their muscles finally get tired and they start going backwards. We need to protect them and manage them much better that the clueless clown is currently doing.

    I hope that Mesut Ozil and Lucas Torreira stay strong and positive through this nightmare and continue to train as if they are starting the next game. I understand what not being able to get on the pitch and help out game in/game out can do to one’s overall confidence, so I urge MO10 and LT11 to keep the faith and work hard. The clueless clown will be gone soon if we keep playing like this (and there is nothing right now that suggests that he can change things and actually improve the team).
    I need Ozil and Torreira to get rescued from their exiled island. Please Arsenal BoD, please Josh Kroenke, please Stan Kroneke, somebody do something quick!


  • I have read some stuff on Emery out there and if it’s true, Emery is a lazy mediocre who gets bored with obligations that had led him to the position he occupies. When I say lazy, I mean he doesn’t want to improve himself. Remember how he was praised for his bravery regarding English language at the beginning? Compare his sentences from the beginning of his spell and now – has he improved in that field?

  • TBH Admir?
    He’s managed to become better at obfuscating– via a higher word count.
    Sez more, means less.

    This morning, Amy Lawrence (writing at The Athletic) used a metaphor to describe Emery’s status:
    “Emery looks like a man with a bunch of keys,
    desperately trying to see if one will unlock the door.”

    I commented on her article that the opposite is true:
    “Emery has but one key, and insanely keeps trying to force it in the lock.”

    Then, I could be mistaken. Might not even be a key. Just a screwdriver afterall.


  • I like your key/screwdriver analogy, JW1.
    If Amy would be right, then Emery would not stop experimenting. But I don’t think he ever did, or maybe in his first few months. But after the 22 games unbeaten streak, he seems to found a one-hat.fits-all solution, that doesn’t fit any more.

  • “10 more matches is as far as my grace to Emery holds, maybe less.”

    That sounds reasonable, PE.
    I’ll join your quest. 🙂
    Let’s (re)evaluate Emery in mid-December.

  • Guys, I cannot concur with waiting at all. This is not going to become a brilliant team in 10 matches. With this style? Any improvement will be incremental. Treading water at best.

    Then mid-December where are we?

    After last night– I can’t see Emery rolling 7s often enough– through to season’s end– to reach top-4. The risk presently is sticking with Emery, not jettisoning him. Now– is far better than waiting until December’s slew of matches. Imagine waiting– in that rush of matches– to make a change? That would be unfair– even to an experienced manager. We’d be trading one handicap for another.

    Now? Means we would have a chance to evaluate any changes to team in advance of the January TW.

    Freddie. Is ready for the role IMO. Arsenal DNA. Instilled energy into the youth teams. Certain the senior core would find him a relief with a recharge. I’ve no doubt that Freddie Ljungberg could do no worse than Emery– and surely worth a roll-of-the-dice now.


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