Brendon Rodgers for Arsenal? Why go for someone worse than we’ve got?

By Tony Attwood

One of my arguments against changing managers over and over is that there is never any certainty that the next manager will be any better than the last one.

The focus is always on “get him out now” – as we have seen with both Mr Emery and before him Mr Wenger.

Obviously many of those who were howling against Mr Wenger and are now howling against Mr Emery haven’t quite got the gist of all this – they got what they wanted but then found they didn’t want it and now want it again.   Presumably, because that is what the media tell them.

Anyway having looked at Mourinho’s record I thought we might have a look at the record of another one of the men being tipped for the next man at the helm for Arsenal and try and work out if he is any good.

Brendon Rodgers record is below, and below that in red is Mr Emery’s record with Arsenal by way of comparison:

Team From To Record
P W D L Win %
Watford 24 November 2008 5 June 2009 31 13 6 12 41.9
Reading 5 June 2009 16 December 2009 23 6 6 11 26.1
Swansea City 16 July 2010 1 June 2012 96 43 20 33 44.8
Liverpool 1 June 2012 4 October 2015 166 83 41 42 50.0
Celtic 20 May 2016 26 February 2019 169 118 25 26 69.8
Leicester City 26 February 2019 24 14 5 5 58.3
Unai Emery 23 May 2018 73
Total 509 277 103 129 54.4

What we can see is that Brendon Rodgers’ record has been pushed up overall because he managed 169 games in the Scottish top division where he got a win percentage of 69.8%.  But other than that he has never exceeded Mr Emery’s current record of 58.9% with Arsenal.

To consider this further, here is the top of the league table for 2016/17 – his first season in Scotland…  And in looking at this you may think that the man was an utter genius having an unbeaten season, scoring over 100 goals and a goal difference of +81 and a 30 point gap between themselves and the next club.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Celtic 38 34 4 0 106 25 +81 106
2 Aberdeen 38 24 4 10 74 35 +39 76
3 Rangers 38 19 10 9 56 44 +12 67

In fact Rangers in third were closer to the bottom of the league than they were to Celtic.  And to show the sort of competition there is in Scotland, Ross County who came 7th have a ground capacity of 6500.

So not the most balanced league, and one may think that in winning all the Scottish trophies year after year that Rodgers was a supreme leader of men.   In which case let us have a look at what he did at Liverpool, with, you may recall 30 goal man Luis Suárez in the side…

Season P W D L F A Pts Pos
2012/13 38 16 13 9 71 43 61 7th
2013/14 38 26 6 6 101 50 84 2nd
2014/15 38 18 8 12 52 48 62 6th
2015/16* 38 16 12 10 63 50 60 8th

*Rodgers left Liverpool! on 4 October 2015 and thus was only responsible for the start of that season.  When the manager left, Liverpool! were 10th in the league with 12 points.

This season Arsenal under the apparently awful (or so I am told by bloggers, journalists and commentators) Mr Emery, were third in the league with 15 points.   And yet there are people who want to get rid of Mr Emery and replace him with the Leicester manager.

As we know Arsenal were regularly in the top four under Mr Wenger, but this was not good enough for many supporters, so it is interesting to see what Liverpool! did under Mr Rodgers.   They came 7th, 2nd, 6th, 8th.

Now, of course, this season the current Leicester manager is doing better, but we have been taught by the “fourth is not a trophy” gathering, that now is all that matters, not things in the past, like two doubles and an unbeaten season (that is Mr Wenger in the Premier League not the current Leicester manager in the Premier League).

“Ah” but some people say, “you can prove anything with statistics”.   Which actually isn’t true.  You can prove quite a few things by misusing and misquoting statistics however but you can’t prove anything with stats used fully and properly.

Mr Rodgers did well at Celtic, but in a league of just two or at a stretch three teams.   He’s doing quite well this season at Leicester, but with a lower win percentage than our manager overall in the PL.

So the question for those people who are suggesting that this man ought to be the Arsenal manager in place of Mr Emery I only have one question: why would you replace Mr Emery with someone who is doing worse than he is?  And if you answer that by saying, well, he has fewer resources at Leicester, and if you ignore the unproven allegations on Football is Fixed concerning Leicester’s match fixing antics, the question is, “why didn’t he do better at Liverpool?”

I’ll let you ponder that.

24 Replies to “Brendon Rodgers for Arsenal? Why go for someone worse than we’ve got?”

  1. he is playing nice football with average players. he knows how to bring out the best from average players…. he is attack minded manager…he is so much UE is not. UE has been at Arsenal for the last 18 months and the players. what is his football philosophy? you tell me. i can even do better with such kind of players we have!

  2. Brendan Rogers always does well in a less tense environment. I’m deeply impressed with Leicester players this season and it shows they are enjoying Rogers’s style in game and in training. Especially the young and normally fringe players are full of confidence as they know the fans are behind them.

  3. The quality of your articles is declining like the quality of our performances under Emery. The first thing I recognized in many of your latest articles is that you assume without any kind of proof, that the people calling for Wenger to vet sacked are the same who are calling for Emery’s head now. Of course, there will be many of them, who are just negative towards everything. Those are the “fans” who attack players after the games, boo Xhaka, insult them on social media and attack the board, the managers and maybe the people who clean the Emirates. And you are right with your argument, that these idiots probably wanted Wenger gone, when the performances declined and now want Emery gone, because we are worse. BUT I think many of the Emeryout people never wanted Wenger to leave, or never wanted Emery to take over in the first place. I was always pro Wenger. There are interessting polls on different blogs, that may back my argument (I know that is not valid data or proven statistics). While 70-75 % of the voters wanted Wenger out in some big polls at the end of his era, right now some big polls from the same blogs had more than 90 % of the voters wanting Emery out. That was before the Leicester game. So don’t assume that those are completely the same peopele in the same circumstances. Emery is a different case.

    And while your comparison of Rodgers and Emery seems interessting on first glance, it is utter nonsense. If you wantto compare two coaches and you take the whole coaching career from one coach and compare it to a one club stint from another, this really is not representative. 😉 If you then take into consideration how the squads, the facilities and the stadiums were and compare them to waht Unai has on it’s hand at Arsenal, your comparison gets even more sensless. Unai had a lot of weak spells in his coaching career as well. Just take a look at Rodgers at Liverpool. Yes of course he had mixed seasons and a great squad there, but 84 points and 2nd place in his second season are not bad. But the squad Rodgers had was nowhere near the squad they have now. It took Liverpool some time to get where they are now. Then he went to Celtic because he failed at a big club. Most careers die after coaches fail at big clubs. They move to a smaller club, there it is not easy and sometimes later they end up in China or even worse. But Rodgers also built something there. He worked harder than ever and got back into the prem. Where he lead Leicester to the second place with a weaker squad, in a smaller stadium in half the time Emery already had.

    Look, I do not want to attack your believes, but the way you portrait things here are just not right. And if Emery suddenly starts to play breathtaking football after the international break and we are getting back to the top, fine, that would be perfect. But I think he really is not the man for this and so this won’t happen. Sevilla and PSG fans were over the moon when he left, because he plays ugly and boring football and does not know how to coach his players. So for me, he justneeds to get sacked because he nevee was the rightman in the first place. Rodgers in contrast is an amazing coach who is never satisfied and would thrive at Arsenal.

  4. The difference i see with Emery and Rodgers here is that Rodgers is very pragmatic and proactive. And he sticks with his plans,formations and and tactics while the reverse is the case with Emery.

  5. i like mike’s answer a lot, and i thank him for speaking in the names of those – like me – who wanted arsène to stay, but who can’t stand the accountant football way we play under emery, nor can figure out what the rationale of his man-management might be.
    i’m convinced we’d be much better off with someone like arteta, or freddie – the ideal fit for me would be (barring arsène’s return) Erik ten Hag , for the way ajax plays, and for his knowhow with youngsters (i’m afraid ue, among other things, might be ruining our best generation in ages (eddie/joe/reiss/emil/ainsley, even bukayo – i’m fed up with his preference for matteo over joe, for instance))
    having said that, and to highlight one of mike’s last points (“if emery starts to play … would be perfect”); ue’s latest lineup (3-4-1-2) made sense to me, and with granit instead of matteo, as well as kieran instead of sead, it would have been nigh perfect to me. i also find it unfair not to mention the gap in cohesion (so dear to arsène) between the 2 teams. here are the numbers of minutes played in PL so far:
    bellerin 90 – pereira 1080; chambers 90 (in CB position) – evans 1080; holding 77 – söyüncü 1080; torreira (never in his favoured position) 355 – tielemans 1076; (bullied) özil 251 – maddison 964; (never fit) lacazette 408 – vardy 1080; …
    so, i’m ready to wait for the six games following the international break; we’ll grab a few positive results from this run, of that i’m sure, but if ue keeps shifting team selections around again, and if the way we play keeps being that depressing, he has to go.

  6. This is an awful comparison. I think even you realize this, based on the caveat you make in you post.

    You’ve looked at Brendan Rodgers entire career, and then specifically pointed to his time at the one of the two ‘big’ clubs in the SPL, mentioning that this win-friendly environment pushed his career totals up. For Emery, though, you only point out his time at one of Europe’s giants, totally ignoring his previous body of work. I’d imagine that has to do with his first 4 stops having win percentages of 48.6% or below. If we’re using caveats to discredit one, we should probably apply those same caveats to both managers.

  7. OK Amo, that is quite a claim, and I can’t possibly contradict you as I have no evidence. But if you can do better than Emery, you can do better that Rogers too. good for you.

  8. Johnmike – quite possibly so. The only problem is that it doesn’t bring him better results consistently. At least not once he is outside of the non-competive Scottish league.

  9. I don’t think Emery needs to be sacked. It would be nice if the team was doing better, but I don’t think a sacking is in order.

    Or at least not a sacking of the Arsenal manager. Who needs to be sacked is 😈 Mike Riley. Or maybe everybody employed by PGMOL?


    OT: Swarbrick gives VAR 7-ish out of 10

    Swarbrick, that ex-PGMO Select Group recipe^H^H^H^Hferee has apparently been to the Toppled Ballard and told all the drunken bums^H^H^H^Hjournalists there, that VAR is good and that he rates them 7-ish out of 10.

    Well, I take that rating as something like the “correlation coefficient” in fitting a linear model to data. And if it is, the value of that correlation, squared, gives us an estimate as to how much of the variance observed is explained by the model.

    Squaring 10 is easy, it is 100. Squaring 7-sh gives us something between 42.25 and 56.25.

    Might as well flip a coin as to use something that only explains half of what we see.

  10. For me the football we are playing is poor. He doesn’t seem to know his best team or formation. I go to all home games and watch away games (on TV) and bar the first few Europa League games our football appears laboured, timid, poorly organised and boring to watch (even when we occasionally win). He has had 18 months and significant investment in the team (often now on the bench in league games) and frankly I see no progress at best. Of course sacking a manager is easy to say and hard to successfully effect (look at Manchester Utd). However, fans see no method in his tactics, selections or philosophy, we are 9 points off 4th place after only 11 games and the end to last season was surely a lost opportunity for top 4. How bad does it have to get before the possibility of changing a manager is considered – relegation zone?

  11. Chris, I would say it has to get worse than the results achieved by other managers who would be willing to come to Arsenal. The men who are willing to come to Arsenal is small in number, because of the attacks that Arsenal – so we don’t really have a big choice.
    It’s an interesting point and I’ll see if I can write a little article about it.

  12. The AFC hierarchy has openly come out in support of Unai Emery, this is a significant step in steadying the ship and correcting the course of our progress upwards. Advantage, Unai, now ‘carpe diem’ and shame all detractors. You still have my support until your employer thinks ‘enough is enough’! Bon chance.

  13. Mike, I agree with you and many others today entirely.

    It is sad to say that after 18 months of his being in charge, there is absolutely nothing that endears UE to many if not most fans, certainly in respect of the way his team plays.

    The argument that he should not be asked to leave because there is no stellar manager ready to come in does not wash, as we continue to drift down the league from one awful display to another.

    How can anyone be satisfied with 2 shots on target in more than 2 games?

    Removing a manager is not pleasant, but the powers that be having removed AW without ensuring an adequate succession must now fight fire with fire in order to stop the rot.

    Whilst we all hope against hope that UE will turn this around after the interlull, I doubt if there are many, even you, Tony, who really believe that it will happen.

  14. Can I just confirm that I am not Mike.

    A quote like, “Sevilla and PSG fans were over the moon when he left” is so far removed from the principle of objectivity and evidence based debate I would prefer to subscribe to.

    I’d also just like to throw in a consideration for those who are advocating Arteta and/or Freddie taking over managing the club.

    Why? What track record do they have? Arteta became assistant manager at Man City a little over two years ago. Freddie became assistant manager at Wolfsburg about 18 months ago. This is a deadly serious question in that I cannot fathom for one moment why people are so keen on the appointment of such inexperienced people. If neither had played for the club but were being touted as potential manager, would you still think such inexperienced appointments would be so good. At the end of the day, Ole G Solskjaer had more management experience than the two of them put together when Man U appointed him.

  15. I dislike comparing managers as the teams, squads and opponents vary so much. The analysis of UE has to be against what the team appears to be doing (rather than what anyone else does) and what would be optimum if the passage of play was successful.
    The ball from the GK must be to a player that can move the teams momentum forward. If the ball is played back, the initial pass was incorrect and should result in a pass forward over the top of the opponents offence to a player that might take momentum forward. If the GK cannot pass forward then a clearance for a throw nearest the center. This should now ensure that the next start will be a long ball forward. The defence must move forward quickly/intelligently as soon as the ball is kicked forward to put offence in offside positions.

    The above is the major bug bear of most of the supporters. Once the ball has reached the opponents half we all hope it remains there until a goal scoring chance is created.

    My criticism of officials and PGMOL is based on having studied & understood the Laws & the advice to officials on the FIFA web site. Where the issue gets annoying is the inconsistency of interpretation by PGMOL. The selective vision of the official in the middle and the total blindness of the assistants.

    Guardiola was incensed with the PGMOL decision making in the match against Liverpool but left knowing that common courtesy is to thank the opponents and the officials ……. and to not comment to the media who will bend anything to sell copy.

    Whilst I’m on the subject of Liverpool & City, Sterling was seething because of an incident in the match, when he met Gomez and things happened. The punishment was one sided and in my mind poor diplomacy on the part of Southgate.

    One thing that the PGMOL officials do very often is book both protagonists when a foul occured and the innocent gets irate. It may be unfair but happens to Arsenal players more often than to our opponents.

  16. @Tony, I’m curious to know why you are selective in responding? There are a few commenters who have asked why you have decided to compare Rodgers entire coaching career with Emery’s few games at arsenal, however you have strangely avoided those comments. It’s feeling like an elephant in the room

  17. Tony
    Sorry to say your stats are wrong
    Emery has been in charge of 76 games
    =Win% 56.6 which is worst than Rogers

  18. I am selective in responding for two reasons Yilch. One is a matter of time – I have other matters to attend to, as for yesterday when I was at a meeting which involved a round trip of just under 200 miles and being away from the computer for 10 hours. The other is that if I respond all the time then the comments column just becomes my voice all the time. I write a lot of the articles, and people can decide what they like about them. I had the win rate at 58.9% and in fact had mistakenly used stats slightly out of date the correct rate being a couple of percent lower. Of course I should not have made the mistake, but I did, and as with virtually all of my mistakes it is corrected by others. So I could have asked why change for a manager with only a slightly better win rate. I am not sure it makes that much difference, but others obviously do, and have corrected it. It would perhaps be much more interesting if someone wrote in and explained why this makes such a difference to the essence of the argument.

  19. @Tony, and still you have refused to address the elephant in the room. Despite responding to comments which have come after. The question is why have you decided to compare Rodgers entire coaching career to Emery’s few games at arsenal? Seems like comparing apples to oranges

  20. @Tony, you said “the men willing to come to arsenal is small because of the attacks..” Could you provide any piece of evidence for that statement? Since you have made it as a statement of fact

  21. I have made it clear in articles, and it is of course self-evident, that I do not have contact with players. But beyond that the notion that I might not only have contact with players and get them to reveal their inner most thoughts and then get their ok to use what is revealed in a set of statistics is so bonkers I don’t know where to begin.

  22. According to Wikipedia the total win percentage for the managers are:
    UE: 53.8%
    BR: 54.5%

    Some wanted Allegri, and his total win percentage is 53.87%

    Not much difference between the managers. So why would you change one manager for the other?

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