Unai Out, Monster Nuno Espirito Santo in? Frankfurt Preview/ Strong Line-Up

It’s Spursday football night again, except it is the mighty red and white playing Die Frankfurthers and not our firs and skins wearing NL neighbours. Having watched a few CL games, it is quite scary to see the difference in level and quality of football between the CL and UEFA league teams. It is sad to say that we currently play the sort of football that can only be scheduled for the Thursdays of the week and not Tuesdays/Wednesdays.

But that doesn’t mean we should not look forward to our match tonight. We will need something from it as Standard Liege and Eintracht are both four points behind us with still two games to go. Lose tonight and we could face a hot-waffle night in Eastern Belgium in two weeks time. The way we are currently playing, and the general feeling regarding our current manager, we should expect a tough night. Eintracht Frankfurt are in a similar position in the Bundesliga as we in the PL: they have 17 points from 12 games and are in 10th position (Arsenal are in 8th position with 18 points from 13 games).

Arsenal have, very peculiarly, floated the name of Nuno Espirito Santo as possible replacement for Unai Emery. Why have they done this? It seems unprofessional to do this when Emery is (still) in charge. Are they gaging the supporters’ response to the possibility of the Wolves’ manager becoming ours? You tell me but I don’t think the club should lower itself like this. Do these things behind the scenes and don’t put both managers in such awkward (at best) positions.

 Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo is hot favourite to replace Emery in the Arsenal dugout

For what it is worth, I do believe Santo would be a monster at Arsenal, the monster of NES: he plays a good brand of football, speaks good English, gets the very best out of his players and team, and simply has done miracles with Wolves. Even more importantly, he gave focus and direction to the team and has created a winning mentality and lots of positive energy in and around the club. He would take Arsenal on a journey with a recognisable style and loads of fight in the team. I would sign for that right now.

The question is whether NES will want/ will be allowed to leave Wolves. I would love him to take over at Arsenal, but, perhaps paradoxically, would rate him less if he were to leave them in the lurch right now. If he could do it to them he could do it to us too in the end…

Given everything I wrote above, I reckon Emery will put up a strong team to get us over the line and save his Arsenal career for at least another few days.

I expect him to line-up something like this:

Mustafi will probably start but if Emery wants to play it a bit safer he could go with Luiz. Bellerin has a late fitness test with a hamstring problem, so I expect Chambers to play on the right. In midfield Unai should play Torreira and Xhaka but he may not dare selecting the Swiss given ‘the situation’. If he does opt for another Torreira/Guendo combo in the DM-pivot, Arsenal will struggle once again. In attack Emery has plenty of options and I guess he will look to play a much more attacking game in front of the (critical and antsy) home crowd tonight and therefore put out most of his big guns (with Auba on the bench as his insurance policy).

The final big question is: will Emery be able to instruct and fire up his players to play with purpose and intensity and with a real desire to win tonight? We will see in just a few hours.

By TotalArsenal.

47 thoughts on “Unai Out, Monster Nuno Espirito Santo in? Frankfurt Preview/ Strong Line-Up

  • TA …. you are a tough. You keep going.👍

    Emery must be in a quandary. If he fields a 2nd string and loses tonight, hell will brake loose. If he fields the Ist string and loses on Sunday hell will brake lose. The only option he has is win, win.

    A lot of the Arsenal fans are in a worse conflict. They want a win win but to see Emery sacked they also wish for a double loss. It is that messy and that’s why the BoD should not allow the present situation to linger on. They should not wait for the fans to reach the point where they’ll begin to twist their (BoD’s) fingers by boycotting matches.

    There are situations where change for the sake of change is valid. Right now we are there so any change is welcome. All the same a good change is always the best.

    Nuno Espirito Santos. That name alone is so exotic. I like his mild sensitive looking eyes and his smiles. He looks a good man and his team plays good football. However I know enough now to know that one cannever really know if it’s all due to a bunch of good players or due to the coach. With respect to this who would not have done a good job with Pep’s Barcelona team – Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol, Messi, Pique and co. The big arguement remains whether Pep molded that team or that team molded Pep. There must always be a question mark behind names whose track record are not too long.

    Am ready to put my money on 7/1. That’s Arteta, with the proviso that he is assisted by BFG. Arteta impresses me as a tactician and BFG as a strategist. They’ve worked together beautifully, voiced out recently by BFG. Supporting their technical nous is the fact that both are excellent man managers. The duo represent the Arsene Who of the moment to me.

  • Emery’s tonight line up is anybody’s guess. What I know is that he can’t face another poor performance particularly at home. It would influence his selection but we would still see a lot of changes as it is arguable the better team between the 1st and 2nd strings. This is a good game for Xhaka’s come back.

    My guess:

    Chambers. Mustafi. Holding. Tierney.

  • Although i like NES’ way of playing, i very much doubt that we will pry him from Wolves, who is playing very well this season.

    Fred and Mikel are the possible ones to lead the team, and they are tactically very good players, and similar minded.

    I liked what Pep Guardiola said about Mikel. He mentioned that a defensive midfielder reads the whole pitch well enough, and players of other positions just learn about that is around them. Thus, Fred and Mikel will become good managers. Vieira is a good manager, and he will grow to be like Wenger.

  • Maybe it is wishful thinking, but I would like to see Nelson coming back to the starting line-up very much. Similarly I predict (or wish) that Emery starts reintroducing Xhaka today. My expected XI:


  • PE, my man, we cannot compare Guardiola with NES in any way. Both are very good trainers but both have had a different class of girlfriends until now. From the first time I saw Wolves play under NES I knew he was a good manager, because I saw a real good system of football, a fit squad and lovely passing football with a bite up-front and a solid defence. But most importantly, I saw good midfield football. Yes good players can manage themselves to a large extent but only if and when the team is at the very top, and Guardiola had this situation a few times, but that is not a luxury NES has had.

  • Quite like that line up, PE, and you are good at predicting these…. It also allows for subs to come on and make a difference up-front if need be.

  • 84, nice to quote PG re defensive midfielders. But Arteta has only been in the passenger’s seat and it is a big unknown how well he would manage the wheel! I am not against it but prefer somebody who I have seen at the wheel tbh.

  • Good job with the preview, TA. In spite of all the negative vibes, it is still the club we love and support so, we must look forward to games, whether on Spursday or Tuesday/Wednesday.

    Funny, you reckon Arsenal has put out the news about interest in another club’s coach when, clearly, that’s not our style. With the management stating support for Emery outwardly, my feeling is the Nuno news was put out there by his agent to remind his present club of his star power, in the event of negotiations for increased wages; or, to put the Arsenal management under pressure to make the call, what with the polls and extracts of tweets by Arsenal fans, blinded by the desire to see the back of Emery (I do too, don’t get me wrong) being placed in blogs and the dailies. It’s a game the super agents play so well and with Raul’s known relationship with Jorge Mendez, easy to make the connection.

    He won’t be my first choice, however. If we are looking for a big manager (and maybe, that’s what we need), Rafa Benitez, Allegri, Brendan Rogers, and the likes of Ancelloti come to mind. Below that rung, I’d include Pochettino, Nuno and Eddie Howe. The ideal will have to be ex-players who understand our values and would passionately pursue needed improvements in the team and players. This group will include Freddie, Arteta, Vieira, Sol Campbell and Mertesacker. Any combination of two (Manager and Assistant) from this last group will work for me.

  • I feel Emery will be desperate to get the win tonight, especially as the scoreline in the reverse fixture flattered us. Our goal was pelted with shots (‘what else is new?’, I am sure you asked) and we were lucky we took our own chances while they fluffed theirs. If they get lucky and score first, the Emirates crowd will turn on the team and any scoreline becomes possible.

    I fully expect a team that will include some regulars and our strong second stringers. My team will be any combination/formation of:



    Torreira ———-Xhaka—————Willock



  • Hey, jw1! Just saw on the last thread you hit a landmark with the missus.

    Happy 38th wedding anniversary, then. May you continue to enjoy great bliss and love in your home, all your days. But… 38 years? You don’t sound it, nor write like it, man. Plus, you are tech-savvy, something I thought was for the millennials.

    We would have to play “Guess the posters’ ages” here one day. 😅

  • You could of course be right, Eris, but it is the BBC reporting here and they have little incentive to play along with an agent’s commercial tricks, I reckon. They wrote this in yesterday’s article re this: “BBC Sport understands that if Emery is sacked and Nuno is allowed to speak to Arsenal, then the Portuguese would be a strong contender to take over.” I guess we would need to know who spoke to the BBC but I would imagine it was somebody from Arsenal, possibly supported by the BoD…

  • Eris, I must say that of all the managers you named, NES excites me the most. As per my previous post, I care less about previous achievements and more about fit with my five key attributes 😀

  • Lots of buoyant, effusive commentary today!
    Good on us for finding sustenance from our love of club.

    Arsenal. The Arsenal!

    Thanks Eris for the congrats. And TA– Mrs jw1 is two years my elder. She– robbed the cradle. 😊
    Truth-be-told Eris– in IT just 7-8yrs. More MacGuyver than Turing. I’m a ‘dinosaur’ of sorts– at several careers now.

    And Eris– I think you hit the nail squarely– with your view that this ‘leak’ was Mendes doing. Surely the most obvious ploy? Force Raul’s play earlier in dumping Emery now– while also letting Wolves know two things. One, ‘Nuno’s worth more than you’re paying’– and two, If Arsenal does move now– before January? Wolves have time to locate their replacement before January’s TW. A respectful strategy for everyone– except Emery (I’m a ways past that bit of concern myself).

    I’d love to be conversing with all of you during the EL match today– but here we are celebrating Thanksgiving. A day for thanks for the things you may be blessed with. Friends, loved ones, experiences.

    I consider Bergkampesque & BKers camaraderie among my blessings.

    17HT– Mrs jw1 and I will be sharing a Thanksgiving dinner with Mike Barry. a Houston Ultimate buddy– that our friend Cindy should recall (both Texas A&M Aggies). Mike is one of those guys I spent many weekends with, over many years, playing the highest level of disc together (someone you’d want in that foxhole with you).

    Might catch a little of the 1st-half. Will check in afterward.
    Go Gunners!


  • Some really good comments today.

    Strangely enough I feel a tad sorry for Emery, after all he has given every ounce of his being trying to make the Arsenal team a success, But the fact is that his best has not been good enough – is that his fault? Well I don’t think it is; in my opinion the fault lies with those that hired him, “they” obviously lacked the foresight and vision needed to evaluate the candidates.

    If I’m right that is even more worrying as “they” will be searching for the next manager!

    It’s game day and I feel zero excitement.

  • TA. Thank you.

    A third full Emirates with no away fans, the return of Xhaka, Bellerin counting in defence. Should be a fun evening.

    I do not believe AFC or any club would publicly voice an interest in another manager.

    Teams will be announced soon.

  • Arsenal
    26 Martinez
    20 Mustafi
    5 Sokratis
    23 David Luiz
    21 Chambers
    34 Xhaka
    28 Willock
    3 Tierney
    77 Saka
    14 Aubameyang (c)
    35 Martinelli
    1 Leno
    9 Lacazette
    10 Ozil
    11 Torreira
    19 Pepe
    24 Nelson
    29 Guendouzi

  • Happy thanksgiving to our American BKers!

    And thanks for the kind words, JW1. You have enriched this blog from the moment you joined it and long may it continue. 🙂

  • Close TA! OK not close. But quite humorous.
    It is frisbee Erik. Ultimate Frisbee. 17HT and I played for teams in California and Texas at the same times in the 80s and 90s. Look for YouTube videos. It’s not dissimilar to football in many ways. The running, defensive strategies, and the like.

    3-4-3. Would have rather seen Mustafi in the 4 and Chambers at CB– especially with #20 on a YC.

    Go Good Guys!


  • Cheers, TA. I guess the way things have been, Nuno may just be a good shout. However, it’s all speculation and I still see the hand of his agent in the news making the rounds. It’s not as if the BBC have not been purveyors of stories which later turned out to be untrue.

    Lol @ jw1 being married off before being born. I didn’t even realize he was Texan (or is he?).

    Thanks, jw1, for shedding more light. 😁

  • We conceded the second in the 64th minute. How many saves did the EF keeper make in the next 30 minutes? None that I can recall.

    Truly awful 2nd half performance.

  • I really, really, really want Enemy to leave. I don’t care who will come in. I just want this lad booted out of the club in a way that no other manager dares to play such a crap-looking football.

  • F… me, I’d take Big Sam right now. We need a 40-pointer manager to keep us in Premier League. Dyche, Pardew, Allardyce, Warnock…all welcome.

  • I didn’t miss much, did i?

    Our players have a severe lack of belief that they can win, and it is sad to see the team bereft of belief and in a very bad way. Even Emery cannot lift this team. A change is definitely needed, and it is a matter of when.

  • Good Ebening and Welcome to The Emptyrates!
    Even the post-match presser was devoid of any creativity:

    “Emery: We had control until 50 minutes
    …but we lost the control in 50 minutes…
    …but really in 50 minutes we lost control.
    I think we deserved more but we lost control on 50 minutes…”

    Might be a bit much Unai– to expect the FA to shorten matches to 49 minutes.


  • The issue with Emery last night was that he had absolutely no idea what went wrong. He said: we were good until 50. And then he said: we are getting better.

    Use your eyes Emery. We lost to Frankfurt, which we won away at their home comfortably. We are getting better?????

    We need to bring in a good psychologist to lift the players mood. Or make them get stuck in a lumbering sleep which they are winning games? And we see 11 slumbering but effective players?

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