Arsenal v Saints Players and Management Assessments: It’s Not Pretty or Clever


joe w and marti new

I am in a sour mood. I shoot at anything that moves. It’s time to tell the king that he is naked.

Leno: he is a bit too infatuated with playing the ball out of the back irrespective of the effectiveness of the opposition press. He needs to display better judgements to keep our opponents unsure at each moment of our route out. At the same time our outfield players are such a let down. Most of the ‘lesser’ teams are quite comfortable playing out of the back.

Bellerin: I have never, never seen Bellerin give a cross-field pass. I am sorry but he has not grown his game since he bust into the scene. His crosses into the box for example have remained on the same level all these years.

Tierney: I like his deliveries into the box but he has to work on his defending, his build up play and movement off the ball. Only 22 yrs and still adjusting to the Premier League am hopeful he’d rise to expectation.

Chambers: lacks creativity. Could not give one line breaking pass yesterday. Wouldn’t fit if he is pushed up to the central midfield as I had previously thought.

Sokratis: doesn’t play like a veteran. Too excitable. Not the calm influence his experience should possess. Holding should replace him to hopefully get back quickly to his pre-injury level. We need more intelligence from the back. Sokratis look thick skulled.

Guendouzi: a bit of an enigma. Has a number of things going for him but obviously Emery has not taught him the rudiments of defending. Awful in that part of the game.

Torreira: has the tenacity that is generally lacking in the team but he’s just not interested in incisive passing. Busquets is the modern holding mid not Makelele, somebody should tell him.

Ozil: I keep seeing a lot of intelligence in his game but somehow the mix on the pitch can’t make him flower. Poor boy.

Aubameyang: is a top class goal poacher but he is made to track back, defend and help bring the ball out. That’s a gross misuse of him.

Lacazette: is a net buster. He is not a false 9. He lacks the fine touch and the willingness to part with the ball quickly for his mates. He has the ‘selfishness’ of a box man which he very much is. These should rule him out from always dropping deep and having to help build play. It’s unfortunate that Laca and Auba thrive in the same space. Not many think beyond playing them together. For the sake of the team they could be a case of either or.

Pepe: is finding it so difficult to find his range. Am yet to see one Arjen Robbenesque move that was the hallmark of his game, the reason he cost so much. Is he being mismanaged?

Willock and Martinelli: I like these two boys. The way I see this squad they deserve to be given more playing time. Our regulars are either not good enough or are being mis-utilized being too specialized.

Emery: his time is up. As soon as I saw that back-3 with Sokratis on the left of it, I knew we would be poor. I think Emery is at his wits’ end. Let’s begin to rebuild for next season by sacking him now.

Sanllehi is in my cross hair. Maybe the perfect Barcelona system hid his short comings. Even a caretaker coach at this moment would be welcomed. Emery’s continued stay is inimical to the entire Arsenal structure.

By PE.

24 thoughts on “Arsenal v Saints Players and Management Assessments: It’s Not Pretty or Clever

  • Thanks PE. Reasonably fair assessments so not too much to argue with. Trust and believe in Emery’s system and style of play have gone and every individual player is influenced by that. Yet they also carry responsibility and I guess that most players believe the best thing for Arsenal is the sacking of Emery. This makes sense so now we just have to wait for it. Later more. 🙂

  • Excellent assessment, PE. I like how you dare to do what Emery should have done – completely drop David Luiz from the team. 😛

    We are close to a relegation battle. The Board should have reacted months ago.

  • Admir … you miss no detail. Luiz happens to be our best central defender and Chelsea’s cast off. How are the mighty fallen.

  • PE, I beg to differ on your take on Auba and Laca. Their camaraderie is good on the pitch and it would help us in the future. The issue now is not on one person. It is the whole team spirit that needs relooking at.

    Last night’s game is a good example of how the team wanted to help each other out. The anxiety amongst the players are evident, but they did look more willing to play well and win for the team and the fans.

    As per Emery’s interview for Sky yesterday, their reporter is quite a prick in his questions:

    I am not pro-Emery, but I want the team to play well and changing the play out from the back as per my last comment is what I want to see.

  • What a disappointing time to be an Arsenal fan.
    Il give my take on things .
    That dressing room is at an all time low .
    I dont see enough fight confidence or style of play.

    One thing that really stuck with me yesterday that the media or anyone else seemed to question. Is in desperation I think we had 5 strikers on including ozil . So my point in NO midfield? Wtf and still trying to play out from the back.

    Lucky for him he had willock as his midfield
    That is the managers fault.
    They could of put 5 past us .
    TA is right a caretaker manager to steady the ship.
    We have the talent.
    As Wenger used to say let them Express themselves.
    Get the basics right .
    Ruind my whole weekend

  • I had surgery on my had on Friday.
    Watching Arsenal is as painful.
    I like Emery I believe he is a decent manager but it’s gone wrong very wrong and the pressure is to much now

  • Talk about a sour mood, PE. But that was telling it as it is, right there. And I agree with all the observations/assessments you have made, being largely, the sentiments shared by most here. One thing though, with Bellerin so poor, I dread the thought of having Rob Holding thrown in at the deep end, so. Not when we are lacking confidence. Rather, I will ease Mustafi back in first, for Sok or Chambers (who didn’t do too well but was not really given options by Bellerin in front of him; he will do better in a team high on confidence and willing to bomb forward).

    Also, I am a romantic when it comes to pairings on the field and did like the idea to shoe-horn both Laca and Auba into the side. But if it hurts the team, then one has to drop to play super-sub, instead of bringing on a kid for that purpose.

    I think it’s best that Emery be given the sack now, along with his cheque, so we can start to re-build.

  • Admir, saw from the last thread, that you have designs on Emery’s job, CV, PowerPoint presentation, pinky promise and all…

    There’s only one problem. Ivan Gazidis, the muppet who fell for all that has since left the club, which cuts your chances down by 99.5%. 😂

  • Hi PE – You have summarized quite well the situation. 😞 After giving myself 24 hours to cool down, I feel that the assessment is very harsh. My reasons for saying so are:

    1. While Emery may not have had the reputation of a Klopp / Guardiola, he was respected. i.e. he is not a complete doofus with tactics even if it appears so at the moment.
    2. The Team did fine last year and I sense that he has not lost them yet.
    3. No one likes losing or being booed. So am sure at a minimum he and his staff are trying to correct things. But clearly what they are trying has not worked so far.
    4. The biggest problem we seem to notice as many (TA, PG, yourself) have pointed here is that his team selection is just crazy this year. I like to think that he tried to be too clever with his choices and is paying the price. Is the solution to just tell him to use the best players (as many have commented) and stop over thinking. Our game has clearly slowed down and I have to wonder if he has inadvertently taken out the instincts of the players leaving them always one step behind the opposition.

    The question of course is whether he should be given enough time. That depends on who is available as a replacement, if they are a long-term solution, and the impact (financial and on players). While Poch is being talked about by many, clearly he has run into a wretched form at the Spurs and so why do we think that he will overcome his loss of form and create a miracle here?

  • Eris–
    Funny how things look 18 months on. But it wasn’t Ivan who wanted Emery. It was definitely Raul’s play. It was to be Arteta per Ivan. Ornstein wrote several pieces to that end. What happened IMO was Raul– at the moment of everyone’s doubt– made a power play. Sanllehi cleared the decks of anything connected with Arsenal’s DNA– that may have stood between him and absolute control. Gazidis no longer had the political capital– nor the inclination– to fight for what he (and Josh K) had planned for in a regime change. It looked, for all intents– that Ivan pulled his Milan ripcord much earlier than he’d originally planned. There would be no soft landing into life after Wenger.

    That simple. And looks the catalyst for the current resistance to cutting ties to Emery. Otherwise– it’s just money that leaves with Emery.

    Thought NBCSN’s Kyle Martino (former USMNT player) posited best stating how it was folly to give Emery upcoming matches with Norwich, Brighton and West Ham to see how he does. That Emery has already had a large sample size to prove his abilities. This next 3 matches is such a small sample– that nothing could be resolved even by winning all of them. Martino felt that Emery is not equipped with the tools/abilities to right the thing that are wrong– almost all of his own doing.


  • A salient set of points by (the owner of) Arseblog:

    “We started yesterday’s game against the league’s bottom side with a back five. Some might call it cautious. It was a decision based out of fear. Emery had talked up Southampton’s away credentials to the point where even afterwards captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang parroted it. He said the team expected the Saints to play they way they did, and that’s because Emery is obsessed with, and terrified of, the opposition. It doesn’t matter if they’ve only won twice all season, they are fearsome dragons in his mind, and thus he sets up accordingly and that fear is transmitted to the players.”

    How does this manager change a culture and mindset that he has crafted in such negative fashion? And how do his superiors– those who pull his marionette strings– not snip them now– or even 3 weeks ago?

    This is what the first signpost– on the road to ruination– looks like.
    The only good decision is to turn in another direction.


  • friends,
    i don’t agree with 3-4-1-2 being a defensive strategy
    it doesn’t have to
    in 2016-2017, the so-called “tactically weak” arsène shifted, literally overnight, from his preferred 4-2-3-1 to this setup, and took us along an 11-game (i think) unbeaten run in the PL, and to a victory in the FA cup final
    the thing is, arsène wanted our lads to jump down the opponents’ throats from the getgo, and to play wengerball in their half
    that’s how, with a supposedly weakened side, we tamed conte’s chelsea – so beautiffully – in the final (to be compared with the way emery’s side downed tools against sarri’s chelsea in baku)
    but one year later, the WOBs (Arsenal Moron TV, the “pundits”, the “sport columnists” of daily papers, all those who knew better than The Great Man) got what they had been cryin’ out for … and that’s where we stand, now
    please, let’s not be too harsh on our lads: hector, for instance, has obviously a very hard time getting back to his level, let’s cheer him up; chambers has been used as a pinball (but not by wizards) for the last three years, he has improved a lot, he is young, let’s help him; i, for one, look forward to his partnership with rob
    etc, etc … we know the harm that’s already been done to shkodran, granit, let’s not repeat the same mistakes, over and over again
    arsenally yours

  • Oh well, jw1. I guess you just might be right, which also means Admir stands a chance for the manager’s job then. 😀
    I always thought that Arteta was more a foretold Wenger preference and he was in the mix, in keeping with that plan; until Emery came into the picture with his PP presentation and tactical talk-through…

  • LeGall. I agree with you. We need to get behind the team, and not booing them off the pitch at full time. It really doesn’t help one bit.

    We need to move the ball quickly out of the back, not slowly. That’s the game changer.

  • Um guys, the situation and player bashing is up to a point where it cannot get much worse than this. But seriously, last season we were bashing up Mustafi pretty badly and now we are tearing up at Big Sok. Can these plastic fans just stop doing it?

    The negativity goes around, and is felt by the players. We should encourage them to learn from the mistakes and move ahead, not bash him into the ground. The players can then focus on their training and have a better mentality to win games.

  • Good post, PE, and I agree with so many comments, that it is hard to list.
    Just a few points to make:

    1. Aubameyang is a great guy, but he shouldn’t be the captain of the team. Saturday he had a relatively anonymous performance, and while we may argue whether is was due to the generally poor service or his uncharacteristically poor first touches, he clearly couldn’t lead or motivate the team. Attackers can disappear for a game, that happens to Messi, Kane or Salah too, but that makes them sub-optimal captains.

    2. My perception that Guendouzi is a young Wilshere grows stronger every week. If performance would be all about passion and energy he should expecting the golden ball award. But since it is also about anticipation, decision making, knowing your own and your teammates’ capabilities & limitations I don’t see his 1143 PL minutes justified. Yes, he can play attractive when the whole team plays great, but let’s not forget those beautiful individual and team goals or assists Wilshere contributed. The main similarity that they both were prodigies well before they turned 20, but couldn’t really capitalize on that – at least I don’t see Matteo playing any better than he played 15 months ago. The main difference (besides the injuries) that Jack couldn’t hold on to a starting spot in the presence of Cazorla, Ozil, Ramsey, Arteta, Rosicky or the Ox, while Guendouzi not only has more PL-minutes than Torreira & Ceballos or Xhaka & Willock (both combined!), but he is apparently expected to marshal our midfield. Which is not only crazy (as Guardiola doesn’t expect the same from the equally talented and young Phil Foden), but clearly does not work.

    3. Yes, the penalty and VAR were clearly jokes, but the bigger point is that we need a better defensive coach. And this time I cannot shift the blame to Bould either – whom I think shouldn’t make a living in the coaching business. It seems we are cursed that great defenders descend into mediocrity, or simply forget when and how to defend. Tierney’s fault on Armstrong was so clearly unnecessary, and might have been regarded rascal in the ‘old days’, but is a complete suicide now. I can’t believe why they don’t eradicate this attitude in trainings.

  • Just an off-topic curiosity.
    Arsenal Women beat the Women’s Super League (WSL) bottom side at home by 1:0.
    After the game, on the press conference one of our players said: “these are the types of games that can decide leagues”.
    So let’s not yet demand that – the undeniably talented and experienced – Joe Montemurro takes over Emery’s job at coaching the gent’s team, as the “let’s share some positive bullshit” philosophy is still preferred over admitting playing poor and ineffective.

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