The figures show exactly the sort of manager Arsenal need at this time.

By Tony Attwood

We live in a world in which we are encouraged to think that to all complex problems there is a simple solution.   If the team is not performing well, get rid of the manager, the new man will surely do better.

And who knows, maybe if we go on getting managers and getting rid of them we might eventually find ourselves a manager who can take Arsenal back to the top.   After all it has worked in the past.

For if you recall, after George Graham’s disgrace for taking money that he shouldn’t have taken, we appointed Bruce Rioch, and then got rid of him after one year to bring in Arsene Wenger who took us to third in his first season, and then on to being champions.   Perhaps such ruthlessness is needed again.

And yet it is a risky strategy.   Arsene Wenger was not just a supremely talented manager and spotter of talent before anyone else, he was brilliant at handling the media and came in with revolutionary ideas about how a club should be run.   Such people are not ten a penny.

Let’s see how Emery compares to other managers.

Manager From  To Games Wins  % Win
Herbert Chapman 11 June 1925 6 January 1934 411 204 49.64
George Allison 28 May 1934 31 May 1947 279 129 46.24
Tom Whittaker 2 June 1947 24 October 1956 430 203 47.21
Jack Crayston 24 October 1956 19 May 1958 81 34 41.98
George Swindin 21 June 1958 1 May 1962 186 76 40.86
Billy Wright 1 May 1962 13 June 1966 182 70 38.46
Bertie Mee 20 June 1966 4 May 1976 539 241 44.71
Terry Neill 9 July 1976 16 December 1983 416 187 44.95
Don Howe 16 December 1983 22 March 1986 117 54 46.15
George Graham 14 May 1986 21 February 1995 460 225 48.91
Bruce Rioch 15 June 1995 12 August 1996 47 22 46.81
Arsene Wenger 1 October 1996 13 May 2018 1,235 707 57.25
Unai Emery 23 May 2018 64 38 59.38

So here is a simple fact: in terms of the percentage of games won, Unai Emery is at this moment the most successful manager we have ever had.

Of course he has only managed 64 games, and most of the other managers on the list managed many more games than that, but that figure does reveal a key point.  If we get rid of Emery because he is not good enough at winning games, we need to be clear: we are looking for a manager who from the off is going to be the most successful manager ever in the history of the club.

And if we believe that Emery is leaving the club in a bad state when he leaves, we are going to need a miracle worker of the scale of Wenger who did indeed turn the club that Rioch left into champions within two seasons.

Looking at the other end of Wenger’s career however we must also remember that the getting rid of Wenger didn’t solve our problems which include having a fan base and media base which is very much anti-Arsenal and which I suspect (but of course can’t prove) has an effect on some players.

Indeed calling for a new manager rarely if ever improves the current state of the team – I’ve not done the figures to calculate it, but my memory suggests that each time a “xxxx out” campaign is run (where xxx is the name of the current manager) results decline.  When the manager finally goes results may improve for a moment, but then decline again – except in the case of Wenger, who kept our trophy count and win percentage at all time record levels.

Obviously there are many other questions to be asked such as

  • Will the owner sanction another manager and another expenditure of money?
  • Can we find a manager who can play with these players the club has and bring in a few cheap options as Wenger did?
  • Will the fans and media give the next manager who might have an even higher win ratio a bit longer?

Of course we can bring in Freddie as a breath of fresh air.  But in doing that we should remember that although Wenger was unknown to the utterly insular British media, before coming to Arsenal he had years of experience with Monaco where he had won the French league, and knew all the top players who were available such as Vieira and Henry.  Thus he was able to exploit the European market in a way no other club was doing at the time.

So if we do get a new manager we need one who will bring in that type of surprise.  A manager who knows about amazing players waiting to be discovered.  Players like Martinelli perhaps.  And he needs a crowd who are willing to allow new players to come in and develop over time, as happened with Bergkamp, Henry, Pires and the like.  Players like Pepe perhaps.

Except we already have Martinelli and Pepe.

And that’s the problem.  Changing the manager is simple, but what is demanded now more than that.  It is the sort of instant success of the type Arsene Wenger gave Arsenal.

In fact what is being demanded is another Arsene Wenger.  Which is a bit ironic really.

23 Replies to “The figures show exactly the sort of manager Arsenal need at this time.”

  1. No doubt about , changing managers is risky, often expensive if it is to work, and there aren’t many Wengers out there if they are the solution.
    But what we are seeing is not great. Yes, mike dean helped that one, as he always does, I am sure Riley will let him ref until he is 70 if he keeps this up. Let’s not forget the latter Wenger was vulnerable to exactly the same results, at similar places to Emery.
    Yes, there may be mitigating factors. Injuries, new players to come in, a new culture and way of playing taking time to bed in, like a golfer changing a swing, things could get worse before they get better. Emery may be carrying out some high level plan, though Raul recently put pressure on him, saying pretty much he is expected to finish in the top four with this squad, neglecting to mention Europe, that sounded a threat to me at least.
    But, cannot get over the impression these excellent players are being stifled, like caged birds longing to be released. The lack of creativity is bizarre…..Ozil??? The differences in games in Europe, perhaps indicating Emerys true passion and strong point?
    I don’t want us to become a manager merry go round club, for lots of reasons, but emery really needs to improve a few things for a difficult Xmas fixture list. Players coming in may help, but if they don’t, I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see Freddie bought in, with the hope of a new manager bounce propelling us into the top four

  2. I accept the points of Tony’s analysis.

    However, there is only one Arsenal team turning up to play when the TV is turned on (minus the sound & the pundits) and that is the team managed by Unai Emery, and that team has nothing to do with the banner at the top of this page “I believe the target of anything in life should be to do it so well that it becomes an art.”

    That team has also nothing to do with surprising defenders.

  3. I understand the reluctance to jettison the pilot when the waters get choppy in the hope that a better captain can be found. I also recognise that replacing Arsene Wenger was always going to be difficult. Tony makes a very useful point in showing – with statistics – that Unai Emery is actually doing pretty well, results wise. However, I’ sure he can see as many of us can all see, that this team is not playing to its strengths. I agree with Mandy that it feels shackled and sending teams out against first Manchester united then Sheffield united which start the game on the back foot – with no clear sense of where the creativity is coming from – is not how to get the best out of this squad. I can accept that Oil should be left out if better options (like Ceballos for example) are being deployed but, until HT at least, they were’nt last night. We then saw a bizarre use of Saka late on and the removal of Pepe who was playing perhaps his best game for us. We have an attacking and defensive left back who is fit and sat on the bench. When we saw Bellerin and Tierney play together the team had real attacking verve, sadly lacking last night (despite Chambers doing his best). In midfield Xhaka is not a bad player but he is not the best midfielder we have. He always has a mistake in him (giving away another silly foul in a dangerous position last night). Emery trusts him, he doesn’t trust Torreira it seems. He doesn’t trust Ozil either but not to use him last night seems daft.
    I don’t know what the answer is but I don’t enjoy watching this Arsenal team that Emery has created. It is not better defensively than it was under AW, it is much less exciting to watch, and yet I think we have a very good squad of players. I listened to Raul talk about the summer window and he believes that UE now has the tools to get us top 4 and make us competitive. I don’t accept then that we haven’t got the money to compete for that. We have more money than Sp*rs or Leicester for example, not as much as Citeh, Utd or Liverpool!, and Chelsea have a transfer ban anyway. We should be third and we are not. We may end up there and we may not. There comes a point when Raul has to decide whether his faith Emery is well placed. I’m not calling for his head and I agree that a public campaign by Arsenal supporters to get rid of the manager is not helpful. But if this sort of poor football with poor results like last night continues then I am going to be putting my ST onto ticket exchange more often this season.

  4. Never mind the bollocks football, Here’s Arsenal Belgium.
    We will be coming to the Emirates next Sunday. Expect a great attacking display and a big win….. 😉
    Well that was how it used to be. Lets hope this will continue.

  5. To be honest even in the worst Wenger years I woke up on matchday full of hope and anticipation of a great performance from our club. Now I wake up and only halfway through the day I start thinking of the match as before it was the first thing on my mind usually. And now when I start thinking of the match I just think: oh if we could just win it. No matter how. Just win it.
    My expectation level and enjoyement has gone down a lot. And that with what on paper looks to be the strongest squad we had for many years.
    Do I want Emery out? No, I just want him to start playing a team that will attack other teams instead of playing the ball in and around our own penalty area for half an hour each match making me sit on the edge of my seat in fear of another cock up close to our goal.
    I want him to use the attacking and creative players we have from the start of the match. Not when we are a goal down and then we only start to attack.
    I want him to send his team out with the message: We are the Arsenal and we will eat them alive. Now it looks as if he sends his team out with the message: don’t get eaten by them…..
    Oh well maybe he is waiting for me to come to the Emirates to do that….

  6. Pepe missed a sitter, hardly pardonable but it happens. Even Aubameyang has missed sitters in the past, but this time around he hardly could get a sniff at goal. When such undeniable talents, such as we have now in AFC, are available to a Manager but fail to put in a performance that will make the opposition quake in their boots then you look no where else but at the Manager.

    Unai has, so far, been unable to craft a recognizable identity for AFC to the effect that each time our team goes on the field to play you wonder which one will turn up – the highly entertaining AFC or the belaboring one that gifts goals to the opponents or the one that lacks any passion or drive to win a football game come rain or shine. We have had more of the latter 2 since Unai came on board.

    Surely it can’t be because AFC lacks the required personnel to deliver a consistent performance from week to week. ‘Wengerball’ was a joy to behold – even opposing managers admitted as much. I remember Fat Sam conceding as much when one of the teams he coached was blown away in a blitzkrieg of attacking football that recorded 3 unreplied goals in 15 minutes of play.

    Sorry to say all attention may now be focusing on Unai in spite of his near 60% win ratio since joining us. We need an identifiable style of play that delivers consistently over time. His chopping and changing according to the opposing team will end up confusing AFC players. In the last 15 to 20 minutes of the match against Sheffield we had Martinelli, Aubameyang, Saka, Lacazette and Ceballos, all attack minded players on the field but nothing changed. The team still labored in creating any clear cut or even half chances.

    Our Manager still has a lot to do to win the AFC fan base to his side but his time is fast running out if by Christmas this side is still struggling with keeping a decent form and is unable to stay in the top 4 range for a while.

  7. I understand people’s frustration, however it’s only the beginning of the season so let be patience and give him time. Klopp took a while to get going, look at his team at the moment. It takes time to change a style of play that has been around for over 2 decades. Give him the support until is contract with the club ends. I feel some of us here are losing touch with the banner on top. We gave AW our full support so let give UE the same please.

  8. I agree with about 50% of the criticism I hear about Emery. The lack of a cohesion in attack any players looking unmotivated, I would point at Emery and say he needs to do better.

    What I don’t like is fans essentially trying to make his position untenable and complaining about every single decision like they; know more about football tactics than Emery, know more about the players, their form and how they’re training, know more about the opposition and the threats they pose, etc., etc., etc.

    It’s almost like going in for surgery and telling the surgeon he’s and idiot and you know how to do it better after watching Casualty. Are some surgeons better than others? Yes. Do you know more than a surgeon to question what they’re doing? No.

    Arsenal fan – “Why’s he starting him and not him?” “Why’s he subbing him on?”

    Maybe, just maybe, he is thinking of something you’re not. Maybe the winner of the domestic treble in France two seasons ago, might know more about being a football manager than you do? It’s worth considering that possibility surely?

    These fans seem to have absolutely zero respect for all teams outside of the top 6, and completely ignore the fact that most teams in the league now are ready to press us as a cohesive unit. This wasn’t happening a few years ago, and ignoring that times have changed, and the league has got better, is only getting these fans more and more stressed.

    I’ve lost all respect for people like Arseblog that are using their platform to build a hostile feeling around the fanbase. Something that’s ultimately picked up by the players either through the atmosphere at games, social media or online news.

    Do I think there are better managers than Emery? Yep, but give it a rest.

  9. Polo

    I’m with you.

    I’m hopeful Emri will get it right.

    Far too early to be writing his obituary.

  10. There is “pressure” which is people breathing down the neck of the manager who in-turn breathes down the neck of the players in the hope of conjuring error free performances.

    And there is the “intrinsic pressure” to succeed which requires the manager to…

    Prepare the team physically and tactically and also Inspire and instill belief in the players, build their confidence, show them how to apply their skills more effectively, nurture the “team” as well as the “individual”. And keep the them focused and determined after a bad game or even a run of poor results. It is a slow sometimes nerve racking process. Even coaches with “state resources” and an abundance of talent still need to inspire their players.

    A short while ago I read in a blog..etta an ex-Arsenal “hero” talking about how a recently sacked EPL coach was just right for Arsenal at this time. Its no different from wishing….If only we could have so and so currently available former Serie A coach, or if only we had got that smiling, bespectacled, air punching “running onto the pitch to chest bump my keeper” coach before the other team got him…. I could go on and on but i think you catch my drift.

    Emery is an experienced coach with a track record few EPL coaches can match and I believe he will have no shortage of offers if we decide not to renew. The Sheffield game was always going to be a difficult one. Football is psychological as much as it is physical, it is about belief as much as it is about confidence.

    How does a demoralized Man United become the first team to take points off a swaggering Liverpool this season? how does a newly promoted Norwich upset the confident champs? How does a relegation placed Wolves put two unanswered goals into man City’s onion bag?

    …And errr…. how did a 19 yr old Wilshere dominate Xavi and Iniesta at the Emirates? and how did Coach David Moyes of Real Sociedad mastermind a 1-0 defeat of Bracelona? How?

    If we can rationalize these results then why are we surprised that Sheffield Ironed out Arsenal last Night? (sorry I couldn’t resist it) Of course there is a lot of work to be done and brushing aside this setback is just one of them.

  11. You are reminiscing about an era when:

    – AW was young
    – Information about players wasn’t so readily available
    – State & Billionaire sponsored clubs weren’t around
    – There was only one team to overcome, and that was ManU (as opposed to these days when 7 or more teams are fighting for top 4)
    – TV money had not enriched the smaller clubs

    Today’s reality is what you see. Let’s all get over it and support the team instead of repeating the same “We told you so…” support of AW. The great man is gone, and the times have changed.

  12. I’m certainly not writing Emery off. I also know times have changed, they always do and they had long before Wenger left.

    But what I don’t get is why anyone who has the audacity to reminisce about the ‘old times’ or God forbid Wenger, they get the usual get over it move on comments.

    People remember with fondness past players, past music, past films, it’s what people do.

    Please tell me why it’s such a crime to even mention Wengers name.

    As I say, I don’t get it.

  13. Was never a WOB, and was gutted when Wenger left. But now Emery is the manager, and surprise surprise I’m still not on the Emery out brigade.

    That’s what a supporter should do; supporting the club all the time. I also don’t get fans who are always on our own players’ backs, bet it’s the same set who were WOBs.

    Anyway I hope people appreciate Arsene a little more now. We are still getting shafted the way we used to during Arsene’s reign, but this time I think we are having less likelihood of overcoming those injustices and go on to win. I can only imagine a lot of it was down to Wenger, who, when faced with such adversity, would turn things around. Who could ever forget how we turned matches we had no business to win, like the FA cup final v Wigan? Granted, not every manager has that ability.

    My unpopular opinion, while I agree with Tony 100% that getting rid of the manager isn’t the solution, is should we ever find ourselves in such a situation, then getting an English manager, a media darling, such as Brendan Rodgers, might be our only hope of ever getting a fair shake from the media and referees. Other than we will be in the doldrums for a while.

  14. I know that feeling bro, exactly how I used to feel in the latter part of the Wenger years.
    Now that Walter and blacksheep have given Emery the thumbs down, I guess it’s time for Tony to produce the article that says untold no longer believes in “supporting the manager and players” that that was reserved for Lord Wenger ala last season style.
    The rise of the new AAA

  15. UE is the coach not the manager. He selects the team and decides the tactics but the management is done by the two non football people.

    I support UE but don’t feel confident that he really understands the EPL. The media are an unwritten backboard for how football is manipulated. UE has good footballing ethos but needs some advice on how important impressions of team confidence are and how to manipulate the media.

  16. I still have faith that EU will deliver . He has my support , as did all the previous managers . I am patient enough to allow him the time to set it right.

    But I would be grateful if we could not pass the ball to death inside our box and inside our half. While I really don’t like to see us losing , but to lose without any resistance or heart is not a nice feeling.

    We have a great set of classy players , who are not delivering at present . We have the speed to counter attack from the flanks and through the middle , but its not happening.

    I would love to see these players be permitted to express themselves and play the expansive brand of football that we are all used to. Come on guys , get your stuff together , and makes us proud again.

    Up the Gunners !

  17. And this weekend we should get the usual 3-1 win scoreline as Walter and the Belgian Brigade will be present !

  18. And that’s the irony. Emery is supposed to know how to manage as compared to the public. But here, I see a person who does not have any common sense and is pretty stupid. The thing is, we trust surgeons because obviously they know their job by their knowledge but then we can already see Emery making mistakes here and there.

    You obviously have no clue if you think winning a treble with PSG is an achievement. Not very smart are you?

  19. It is no fair comparision. AW played in CL almost all his years as a Arsenal coach. UE has brilliant record in EL except for last year final. Yuo bet he did would not have such record in CL.Arsenal lat match playing in EPL was painful to the eyes and to the heart.

  20. I was gutted when Wenger left even though a part of me felt that the team may benefit from a change. I welcomed Emery with an open heart and was willing to give him time. But I wonder if giving him more time is going to make things better or even worse! Slowly he seems to have sucked the joy out of watching Arsenal for me. He started 3 defensive midfielders against a Man United team which was there for taking. He leaves Ozil out and doesn’t start Ceballos in a team which struggles with creativity. He has one of the best talents in the world in Pepe but doesn’t use him properly. I feel he is destroying the players confidence slowly. Sometimes it’s better to just take your losses.

    One more thing, though just mentioning this and not the reason for asking for his head – I used to love hear Wenger speak. I wouldn’t miss his TV or print interviews. He was always full of insights which applied to not only football but life in general as well. In contrast, Emery’s interviews are so insipid and uninspiring, I honestly haven’t mustered the courage to watch a single complete one since his first interview when we was signed by us. I have read tidbits in press and saw glimpses on TV and they all sound like hearing a bad record on repeat that just makes me reach out for the remote and switch channels. And I honestly felt like this from very early in his tenure when he had that successful run after defeat to Chelsea and I hadn’t lost faith in him. I’m honestly not saying this as an excuse to justify getting rid of him but I wonder how the players who have to listen to him for hours everyday feel about it!

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