By Dr Billy “the Dog” McGraw, head of pyschology at the University College Hospital of the North Circular Road.
According to the Daily Telegraph, “Arsenal’s new head coach Unai Emery could be an unmitigated disaster or a phenomenal success. We do not really know, and that alone is a radical departure from the past decade when Arsenal’s seasons would blend into one like in Groundhog Day.”
Which is rather curious when one considers just how similar the two appointments are and the success that Mr Wenger had in winning the FA Cup 7 times – more than any other person in the entire history of history.
For in each case Arsenal have found one of the less well known European managers among those who had won the French League and both are Cup maestros. Mr Wenger won the League with Monaco before Arsenal, Mr Emery with PSG.
Both are men who at the start of their Arsenal careers brought in unknown players at very low prices. Mr Wenger famously introduced Vieira who had been languishing before he reached our shores, while Mr Emery has given us Matteo Guendouzi.
In both cases I stared in disbelief at what this unknown player could do on day one. I am sure Guendouzi will need time to get used to life here – he, like the other newcomers has not been introduced to a PGMO referee yet. And we recall how Patrick got sent off and sent off while fouls of the same magnitude drew a little shrug from the PGMO man when Patrick was on the receiving end.
Then there is the issue of quick transfers. Mr Wenger was famously undertaking transfers by phone while still living in Japan and working with Grampus 8. Mr Emery had left PSG, but he was still picking up the phone and bringing them in before we’d learned how to write his name.
In a world in which Chelsea have only spent money on one player, Manchester City two (one of which cost them under £3m) and Tottenham are still trying to find the keys to the safe where the fivers are kept, we have paid for four and got one on a free. And that’s before you consider any of the youngsters brought in for future use.
So obviously Mr Emery has a clear vision of what he wants to do, and he’s not afraid of bringing in the kiddies and letting them show what they can do.
But also like Mr Wenger, he has been left with some gems in the locker. Bergkamp, Dixon, Adams, Winterburn, Parlour… So Mr Emery finds some rather interesting players at his disposal: Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette…
And both were dismissed. OK there hasn’t been a “He’s French what does he know about English football,” Tony Adams type comment but he’s not just come to us on the back of back to back to back trophies in Spain or Germany.
But there that other Cup connection: Mr Wenger became the cup specialist par excellence. Indeed on the North Circular Road we speak of nothing else. As so is Mr Emery: three Europas and two successive cup doubles. Seven cups. Same as Mr Wenger.
So with all these connections maybe we should take a moment to look back at what the very start of Mr Wenger’s first season was like, even though he was pulling the strings at a distance. (One imagines that what with Japan being the home of high tech companies he had a satellite receiver of mega proportions on his rooftop so watch the English games live even if they were not on local TV). Here is how the season began…
|17 Aug 1996||Arsenal v West Ham United||W||2-0||Premier League|
|19 Aug 1996||Liverpool v Arsenal||L||2-0||Premier League|
|24 Aug 1996||Leicester City v Arsenal||W||0-2||Premier League|
|04 Sep 1996||Arsenal v Chelsea||D||3-3||Premier League|
|07 Sep 1996||Aston Villa v Arsenal||D||2-2||Premier League|
Of course in those days we took results like that and thought they were ok; a solid start to the season and all that. After five games the league table looked list this…
There was moanings and groanings, because after five games the season before we have been unbeaten and sixth. This Frenchie was not an improvement! That season though we ended up third which was thought to be an improvement so Mr Wenger wasn’t a Frenchie anymore but a Frenchman. Although for a while the Mail called him a French.
A step up.
So can Mr Emery take us to third? Curiously that is what we have predicted anyway with the rise up the league based on an improvement in our away form back to the level of two years ago.
Maybe he can. Fingers crossed.
Except when typing.
- What is the difference between Stan Kroenke and Henry Norris, and who’s to blame?
- All the experts agree: at least one of these Arsenal transfer deals will happen in the next 48 hours
- Early Season Preview: The nine (yes 9) innovations we’ll have to get used to.
- Why is it becoming so difficult to find a sponsor for new football stadium?
- Corruption flares up again in Italy, as Premier League figures don’t look too clever
- How much does a club have to spend on transfers to get a trophy?
- Does the team that is top after 14 games usually go on to win the league?
- How the Taliban infiltrated the World Cup and used it to maintain its war on women