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So should we be supporting Emery, given the way things are going?

by Blacksheep

Hello everybody, I doubt you’ve missed me but it has been a very long time since I wrote anything for Untold. This is mostly because I’ve been busy writing non-football stuff but also because I’ve not really had anything to say.

Like Tony I was initially quite encouraged by the recruitment of Unai Emery even if, like many on this site, I was very sad to see the departure of Arsene Wenger. I decided that this season I would just try and enjoy the football rather than worrying about where we finished or if we might win a cup or three.

After all going to football is so much more than watching your team win, lose or draw. It’s about the experience of being there, talking to people you only see in the ground, catching up with Tony and Andrew and (occasionally) Walter, enjoying a beer or two and the convivial hostess at the Swimmer [steady on. ed]

We lost to Manchester City on the opening day but we played well. We lost to Chelsea away and played even better. Then we had that 22 game unbeaten run and things looked quite bright. We could also see there were problems – we rode our luck in many games – our defense still looked ‘iffy’, but we kept piling on the points.

Then we beat ‘them’ and I thought we might have really kicked on from there and made a top four trophy (lol) ours. Instead we have dipped into mediocrity, epitomized by defeats at West Ham and Southampton, drawing with Brighton, being massacred at Liverpool. We went out of both domestic cups without putting up much of a fight in either.

No matter, we stayed in touch with the top four and fifth looked a given considering the way United had been playing under Maureen. But the introduction of Solskjaer rejuvenated them and now top four looks ominously out of sight (I know mathematically it is possible but there are probably now five teams that are better than us in the league so sixth is where I’d expect us to finish).

No problem however, because if Senor Emery is good at anything he is good at winning the Europa League, our passport to the Champion’s League and football’s top table. Bate Borisov, a team in mothballs since they haven’t played in their league for ages, should be easy to roll over… shouldn’t they?

I couldn’t watch last night’s game but I’ve read the reports and, to quote Aristotle at the feast of  the Trojan wives, ‘we were absolute garbage, no redeeming factors’. I’m sure (with Tony and Andrew and I there to cheer them on) the team can still win through to the next round but my confidence that we might actually win the EL is severely dented. Instead of CL football next season I fear we will revisiting ‘empty stadium Thursdays’ again, if we are lucky.

So all I have left to look forward to this season (apart from the company of fellow Untolders) is the miserable fare that this team is serving up under Emery on a weekly basis.

Yes, I know we have injuries – everybody does – and I know we have no money but we still have a potentially excellent squad of players who – with the right motivation and direction – are more than capable of beating most teams in this league and nearly all of those left in the Europa.

That is if the manager chooses to play those players. I agree with Walter that trying to change the way Mesut Özil plays the game of football makes no sense. I might not use him in some games but he adds so much to this team that to leave him behind or on the beach (often with our other only creative player Ramsey) is madness. If it was madness that got results then fine, I bow to the manager’s experience and initiation, but we are rubbish at the moment. Not only are we rubbish we are boring, hard to watch and ineffective.  

So actually the only joy I get from football is watching the race for the title as a neutral. We are not in it so I’m rooting for City. Yet when they lose its still fun, given the ridiculous financial doping they have been allowed to get away with.

An English team has to win the PL but I really hope one doesn’t win the CL, especially not City. When Liverpool got dragged back from running away with the league it was fun. When Spurs thought they were back in it only for City to rally, it was fun. I rejoice in any setbacks the top four have (like Chelsea getting beaten 6-0) or Kane and Allie being crocked.

I am reduced to schadenfreude, so low has my team fallen.

At the bottom of Walter’s last article Tony added the following footnote:

‘This article does in some way challenge the slogan that has been on our masthead for some 10 years – “supporting the manager”.   In a further article we’ll look at whether it is time to reconsider Untold’s long held position of supporting the club, the manager and the team.”

I am going to pre-empt my Untold colleagues and say yes, it is. Last season much as I saw that the writing was on the wall for Wenger’s reign I (like many others) cautioned that we should be careful what we wished for.  

This is Emery’s team now and I don’t like it.    He needs support, from us and the board, but he needs to know that we have standards and he needs to meet them.


Walter’s original article is How to kill a player

A third article in this series on reappraising “supporting the manager” will appear tomorrow morning.

12 comments to So should we be supporting Emery, given the way things are going?

  • Sikelela Mavuso

    Emery needs to go man. He has made the team worse. In Wenger’s last years we weren’t winning a lot of games but we were still entertaining. How do you explain losing in Belarus?

  • Jonathan Martin

    He’s got tactics and abysmal at team selection… anyone can see that Iwobi – total cack

  • Keeping player on the bench 4 long time

  • Neil Fitt

    He needs to be backed. For now………..has to be more flexible though ……seriously let down by disinterested kronke.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    This season and, come to think about it, the second half of last season, I have gained far more pleasure from watching our Women play than I have our men. I have also had a chance to chat with Joe Montemurro before one of the early season games which was a real pleasure. He is a manager with a vision of how he wants his players to perform and they have fully bought into his way of thinking.

    I am certainly not sure about what UE’s philosophy is with our men, and it is difficult to see that the players have any idea either. Certainly the way they played against Bate they seemed to have no idea at all about how to get the ball into the net.

    There is no wonder that all of our top youngsters are looking to the Bundesliga to progress rather than our first team

  • Ojo

    @blacksheep, im glad you’re writing again, I always had the impression that unlike Tony and Walter, your articles had less spin.
    I agree with all you’ve said, were piss poor at the moment. I like it when you say he needs our support, but that he needs to know that we have standards and he should meet them. The only problem I have with these criticisms is that its coming from the untold headquarters, the AKB headquarters of the universe. The same set of people who didn’t insist on standards when Wenger was pissing all over the place. The hypocrisy won’t make me take this new found pragmatism seriously.
    Anyways another advantage I hoped Wenger’s sacking would bring is that people would no longer judge the coach based on sentiment and loyalty, but based on his work. Emery isn’t doing well as it were and at the expiry of his period of grace, if results are still mediocre, for the first time AKB &WOB will agree to change

  • Overall Emery has a difficult job, between Wenger and Gazides the club is a complete mess. Players allowed to run down there contracts, Sanchez,Ozil, Ramsey, Wilshere, that is at least £100 million thrown away, that could have used to buy players. However the Ozil situation, is being mishandled by Emery. Arsenal offered a contract, which he signed, we now have to honour it. Trying to force him out, by not playing him, is very unprofessional. Ozil is a very creative player and should be selected to play.

    On the signings during the summer Terreira, Guendouzi and Socratis are good additions to the squad. It is clear Wenger was not given the budget necessary to complete at the elite level. Not withstanding that.Mustafi and Xhaka have been disappointing acquisitions. We can argue about the merits of Wenger vs Emery.

    The fundamental issue is the ownership situation. The Kroenke family have no interest in the team or results. They never attend matches and they are investors purely for financial returns. Unlike other owners such as United and Liverpool they do not wish to invest in a big way. The other clubs also are run on a commercial basis, but will invest. We obviously cannot compare Man City, as they are owned indiireco by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority who have assets of $1 trillion dollars. Chelsea have an owner who also does not operate on a commercial basis. However the debt is a loan on Chelsea books.

    The bottom line is football has many owners with no attachment or affiliation to the club. The ownership situation and investment has a massive impact on the results. The more investment you have, the more Marquee signings you can make. The fair play rules have no teeth, the City owners the Abu Dhabi provide in-house sponsorship with no bearing on reality, to circumvent the rules. At Arsenal we can thank David Dein for bringing in the Kroenke’s. At the time the Arsenal loving board, were furious. Danny Frizman, the last real owner supporter, made Dein resign. People forget Frizman drove the Emirates stadium project, Daviu Dein wanted Arsenal to move to Wembley. David Dein then set up Red and White holdings with Usmanov. Perhaps he realized belatedly Kroenke was the wrong owner! Frizman was Arsenal through and through, and only sold his shares due to illness and sadly passed away. David Dein son Darren was also involved in selling our best players RVP and Fabregas. I do not wish to rewrite history, but these are the facts. As a supporter on the North bank Highbury, since 1962, how I yearn, for the way the owners and supporters supported our beloved club!

  • Mandy Dodd

    My natural instinct is to support an Arsenal manager, especially one taking on such a difficult job at a difficult time.
    Emery has not been helped by injuries, and probably funding, but some of his relative misfortune is starting to appear a little self inflicted.
    If he has good reason for now playing Ozil, it is not being communicated, perhaps it cannot be. If he is trying to force him out to sign players of his choice, emery needs to be careful.
    Reports and tweets suggest Ozil is now digging his heels in. He doesn’t have to go anywhere. This is a battle Emery could easily lose, unless he wisens up a little.
    He seems to be doing the impossible at the moment, uniting much of the fan base, against him.
    He needs to be careful and put all his energy into winning games. Trouble in the stands, refusing to play an expensive player, should it be combined with no CL football next year, could put him on a very sticky wicket. I hope things improve, he doesn’t seem to be doing things he indicated he would.

  • Gord

    Congrats to the U23, as they beat the young spuds by 0-4. Willock with a brace, Nketiah with 1 and Gilmour with 1.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    I think Emery’s football philosophy at Arsenal is, playing from the back. But to say one doesn’t know what his football philosophy is, is not true because he Emery has made it known what his football philosophy is right from the onset of his head coach job of the Gunners.

    Some Gunners could innocently have not yet mastered Emery’s football Philosophy and are still in the learning curve of it leaning to master it. However, it could also be some Gunners or a Gunner is intentionally refusing to adhere to Emery’s football philosophy and game tactics to stick to his own way of playing and stubbornly resentful of any adherence to Emery’s football philosophy. Thereby could be causing friction and disharmony in the dressing room and on the training ground to thus festering lack of focus in the squad I want to speculate. Should this be the case, though unfounded, these friction and disharmony might have trickled down to the performance of the Gunners in games for Arsenal on the field of play culminating to their becoming erratic in their performances in the PL and in the Cup games that saw the club got knocked out in two domestic Cup competitions and a threat to the club’s progress in the Europa Cup is looking a distance possibility that could happen. Save, if it is blocked from happening. But I think Emery and the Gunners will block BATE from preventing Arsenal to progress to the round of 16 of the competition.

    We know Ozil problem with the winter as he often falls sick to cold and injury during the winter seasons which has seen him missing in actions for Arsenal even under Arsene Wenger who brought him to the club. So, it not surprising to see him missing in actions for Arsenal again during this winter season’s campaign. But nevertheless, if he is 100% physicaliy fit and not sick to cold or back spasm, against BATE at the Ems in the Europa next week and against Southampton in the PL, Emery could play him in any of these 2 matches or both. But I suspect it won’t be at the expense of his football philosophy and tactics.

    To me, Mustafi and Xhaka are all good Gunners at Arsenal. The only problem in the squad that faced the club which was left unsolved during the last January window was the failure of the club to sign a top quality senior striker player as cover or to give competition in the striker’s department of the squad since Welbeck will no longer be available to play for the club anymore this season. But notwithstanding, since the potentially could be dependable goal scorer Joe Willock at senior level is there, it will be nice if Emery will start selecting him to start playing at senior level for the to see.

  • Menace

    SAA – excellent comment.

  • I wish people would stop this “allowing players to run down their contacts” nonsense.

    It always comes down to the fact that players are entitled to choose who they sign a contact with.

    We have seen at other clubs as well that loyalty amongst players is limited to who is prepared to give them the most money.

    Look at Sanchez. He wanted more money and he has certainly got that and his career is now on a downward spiral as he does not play.

    I am sure that we can all provide a long list of players who decided to go elsewhere for more money and were flops. One even played against us on Thursday, Hleb.

    Indeed, the only one who seems to have succeeded properly was fabrecas, who9 left, not for money and did well.

    RVP went for the money and had one good year and now plays in Turkey.

    IT is the money and the agents that speak and there is little that the clubs can do.

    With Ozil, we chose to up the money and see what has happened? He cannot even get on the beach.

    The club and AW are not to blame for this.

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