The shocking truth behind the plans to sack Emery as manager

By Tony Attwood

Take a look at the blogs and newspapers and you will find article after article about how Arsenal’s performance has declined this year and how vital it is for the manager to be changed.

What these self-same blogs and newspaper journalists are not writing about is how two years ago many of them were writing the same thing.  And they got what they wanted.  The manager changed.   Arsenal were sixth when Mr Wenger left and are sixth now with Mr Emery, so the strategy has not worked.

Which raises some very simple questions such as why is a managerial change now, or indeed at the end of the season, likely to work when the last managerial change didn’t work – at least not in their eyes?

Or is it just Arsenal that gets it wrong

I haven’t seen any answers to this one, but I really would like to be offered a few.  Particularly if the answer is nothing more than “we got the wrong guy last time, we need…”   Because as recent statistics show, there never is a guarantee that the right manager will be chosen and that when he is chosen that manager will be able to put things right.   In fact most of the time new managerial appointments don’t make it work.

Indeed the decline rate is over three quarters.   That is to say over three quarters of new managerial appointments in the Premier League, since the time Mr Wenger left, lead the club to LOWER achievements than they had under the manager who was sacked, or at very best, the same league position.

And the same is bad news, not just because the fans will continue to moan and bitch about the new man, the directors and everything else, but because they will demand another change, leading to even more insecurity.

In sh0rt, the risk of sacking the manager or letting him go is enormous, and the odds are the next manager will do worse or just the same, as the last man.

Let’s have a look at the most recent managerial changes for Premier League clubs.  This table shows all the managerial changes from Mr Wenger onwards.  There have been ten in all.   Of these 80% of the clubs are worse off, or in the same position, when compared to the time when the previous manager leaves.

In short, sacking the manager has only a 20% chance of success

Team Outgoing manager Date of vacancy Position in table Incoming manager Position now
Arsenal Arsène Wenger 13 May 2018 6 Unai Emery 6
Everton Sam Allardyce 16 May 2018 8 Marco Silva 15
West Ham United David Moyes 16 May 2018 13 Manuel Pellegrini 16
Chelsea Antonio Conte 13 July 2018 5 Maurizio Sarri 3
Fulham Slaviša Jokanović 14 November 2018 20 Claudio Ranieri 7 (Championship)
Southampton Mark Hughes 3 December 2018 18 Ralph Hasenhüttl 19
Manchester United José Mourinho 18 December 2018 6 Ole Gunnar Solskjær 7
Huddersfield Town David Wagner 14 January 2019 20 Jan Siewert 19 (Championship)
Leicester City Claude Puel 24 February 2019 12 Brendan Rodgers 2
Fulham Claudio Ranieri 28 February 2019 19 Scott Parker[b] 7 (Championship)

And even if they do make things better, most managers don’t manage to make it work repeatedly in the way that Ferguson did at Manchester United.

So the chances are very strongly in favour of Mr Emery doing worse than Mr Wenger, and if Mr Emery is pushed out, the next man will do worse again.

So supposing Arsenal gets rid of the current manager, and replaces him with another who again fails.   How long should he be given?  And how many times should this approach of getting rid of a manager and then bringing in another one who fails be used?

For ever? For as long as it takes?   And how much money should each new man be given?  People regularly say we need to get rid of the low quality players Mr Wenger bought, and then when Mr Emery goes, the point will be that we have to get rid of the players Mr Emery bought.  And how long with the owners allow that to go on?

The fact that few people, if any, are facing this question, is not really very surprising because the people who are running the “it failed last time so let’s do it again” campaign are the same people who ran the “We Care Do You” campaign which also took us nowhere.

“It feels as though Arsenal is at the crossroads” that campaign said.  “Things need to change”.  And “as signatories to this statement [we] want to see meaningful action by Stan Kroenke to reinvigorate out (sic) football club. ”

So they would probably now argue that things have not changed, and that the strategy of Arsenal Supporters Trust, Red Action, Arseblog and others in signing up to this document has failed.  So it seems to me to be a valid question, what is their strategy now?

If it were to be more of the same, given the statistics above showing that 80% of new managers fail to improve on the position of the last manager, we have to ask why keep on replicating the same failing strategy over and over.

Now I don’t think all of the people who argued for Mr Wenger to be replaced, and who are now arguing for Mr Emery to be replaced, are utter fools.  They can see statistics like this as well as I can and I am sure they know these stats as well as I do.   They know another managerial replacement is more likely to take the club down further than to get it to rise up the league and stay there.

So why are they demanding another managerial change when they know it will lead to more and more failure?

That is not a question many blogs and newspapers are asking, and I’ll go into this more in future articles.

14 Replies to “The shocking truth behind the plans to sack Emery as manager”

  1. Agree that any change is a risk and it isn’t always a panacea for success.
    However, Emery is very out of his depth at Arsenal and the hope must be that we alight, as we did on Wenger or Liverpool did with Klopp on a great manager. One could argue that Chelsea have achieved a lot of success precisely by continually changing the manager. I don’t think any Gooners want to see our club become a hire and fire outfit but Emery has not got the ability we need to restore our success. We will lose our better players if he remains and the atmosphere at the stadium will deteriorate

  2. It is not just a matter of ladder position. Sometimes a new manager turns over a number of players or brings in different tactics and need some time for the new approach to be given a chance to bed in. There is a clear plan and supporters are more patient and forgiving. In Emery’s case neither the supporters or the players can see a clear plan and a path to improvement. The only clear thing we see is play out from the back even when it is inappropriate.

  3. So what is the solution? Keep the failing manager? Should we have kept Wenger?
    I think it’s stating the obvious that every incoming, whether it’s playing staff, managerial staff or BOH staff, represents a level of risk. What we as fans should hope (hate the word but it is all we have to go by supporting our clubs) is that those in charge do their due diligence and really assess who they bring to the club. We have football men at the helm unlike the previous group of decision makers so I am optimistic. In any case sitting on your hands whilst the club move backwards will not help, effort must be made and action must be taken, specifically in Emery’s case where he has failed to do much else other than instill a fighting spirit. Not point sacking mid-season unless the man they want is available…it’s bad but not yet that bad!

  4. “In fact most of the time new managerial appointments don’t make it work.”

    And that is why we need to try again. We clearly got the wrong manager. I’d try Leonardo Jardim next. He beat Emery in a one team race with Monaco few years back and has been able to get them playing year after year of being sold his best players.

  5. Liverpool tried until they got Klopp. City tried until they got Guardiola. Same story for many clubs. The answer is no to keep using the same guy who obviously has no idea what he is doing. How that is beneficial in any logical form is just nonsense.

  6. Most managerial won’t work because of the high turnover of managers each season in general. They all can’t win/improve their league standing all at once.

    But to suggest keeping hold of a failing manager on the provision that any new manager MIGHT not workout is not only wrong but somewhat cowardly in my humble opinion.
    You don’t stay in a unhappy relationship just incase a new partner might be worse.

    I wanted Arsene gone because his magical powers waned to the point he became impotent. The lack of top teams in for him proves this.
    I want Emery gone because he seems incapable of pulling us out of a rut that started in spring and thus far has resulted in 6 league wins in the last 19. That and the indiscipline of so many of our players.

    Plus the hideous, hideous football.

  7. Once again your argument is invalid. I really do not know why your blog is defending Emery this much. I understood why you stood behind Wenger, he was an amazing coach and surely he would have turned things around again. But Emery is nowhere near his class. You suggest to stick to a bad manager because the next one may be worse? Well I don’t think anybody can do worse. If we have the worst solution already there is only room for improvement. Sticking with this clown of a coach just for the sake of it is just not the solution. And if the team suddenly plays breathtaking football and finds back to their game after the international break – perfect. In this case Emery should stay. But this won’t happen. Keeping him will make us decline further and further.

  8. The reason why i want Emery out personally is that the brand of football is bland and without any distinct feature. Every football club aspires to have a distinct playing style which becomes its USP among global viewer. I love this football club from 90s when i started following premier league. I fell in love with the brand of football that Arsenal played. Along with a particular style there is also this spirit and fight that a London club aspiring for greatness should aspire for. The problem today is that on all these counts we are failing. There needs to be accountability for this fall in standards on these basic parameter.
    I am greatly disappointed at the football that is being played. Forget the playing from back, forget the atrocious defense, we are not even attractive anymore despite possessing some of the finest players playing upfront. The only thing we seem to be doing is play from the flanks and try to cross. we seemed to have forgotten the are of playing through the middle, shooting from distance, and mixing up with our wing play. Its a turgid style or playing with the proverbial handbrake on style that is frustrating and painful. I often go to youtube video to see the old arsenal playing. Its depressing to say the least.
    We need to get a distinct style back and i cannot see that happening with Emery.

  9. @Tony

    Yes, I get the basis of your argument but money will be the deciding factor in the form of Champions League revenues. If we are in a similar League position or indeed a worse position come January then I think Emery will go then. If he sees the season out and doesn’t qualify for the Champions League then Emery will go. Arsenal have made it clear that Champions League qualification is the priority.

    I’m certainly not going to get on any bandwagon to oust Emery but performances are poor at present. Let’s hope that they pick up.

  10. Minenis not a reply but a question.
    Would Liverpool and Manchester City be where they are if they had not brought their current managers????
    Demanding that a manager be replaced, does not meanyou can and grab anybody. Failing to land the right and effective manager is a result of poor recruitment and nothing else. The recruitment process needs serious improvement.

    We should not fear change. We shoul instead seek and learn better ways of managing change.W.

  11. My Finance Director of 15 years retired last year. He was a solid bloke and very reliable and everyone was sad to see him go. His replacement came in with fresh ideas and clearly had a lot to offer including new ideas and more efficiencies. Unfortunately, for quite some time several of the staff in her department were resistant to change, were quite vocal about it and blamed her for any failings in her department as their effectiveness and productivity dropped.

    The new FD persevered and bit by bit convinced people to give her ideas a try and see how things turned out. To cut a long story short, the changes worked and people admitted that they had misjudged the new FD. We are now a more efficient outfit having weathered a, not inconsiderable, storm.

    There is s downside, however. The new FD became so frustrated by the lack of support and unwillingness to help her through the changes, she decided to look for another position. She left last week to go to a bigger company for more pay. Ironically, when she announced she was leaving, everyone was disappointed to see her go and now we’ll, no doubt have to go through the same again.

    If anyone still doesn’t get the moral of this story; the FD was not the problem, the people who failed to support her were the problem and had they done so and curtailed their constant gripes and complaining, things would undoubtedly have turned out better for everyone. In fact, it was those that raised the most objections and created the most negativity were the ones who had the least understanding of what was actually needed and why.

  12. Points to consider:

    Any manager coming in mid-season will not have the benefit of training camp to choose his players nor train them on the tactics/formation that he wishes to use.

    Every manager needs time to get to know his players, the club, its supporters, administration and its culture/expectations and vice versa.

    PGMO and/or corruption


    $$$$$$ (both the depth of the owner’s pockets and the amount of times he is willing to delve therein)

    I am not against changing manners per se but with the exception of egregious circumstances, I suggest that these moves should be done at the end of the season and every new manager needs time to make his mark. Pep Guardiola took 2 seasons to get results at Man City and that was with an already expensive squad and an unlimited budget. Klopp has finished 8,4,4,and 2 before this years successes. And, we know that Pochettino has finished 5,3,2,3,4 before this years results.

    The one thing that is very difficult to quantify is how the team’s play makes us FEEL. At its core that is the most important thing. Right now, and I can only speak for myself, I feel apprehensive when we play because it seems that we don’t have the initiative on the pitch. I feel that our tactics concede the flow of the matches to the control of the other team. I am uncomfortable and acknowledge that I have been spoiled over the last 20 years by our previous manager’s style of play.

  13. I disagree W Chidakwa. The very top managers have a choice of which club to go to and they might well look at Arsenal and think “no thanks” because of the owner’s history with failing clubs, or the supporters history of turning against their manager. Although Mr Wenger hit the ground running, Alex Ferguson had a lot of difficulty at the start of his time at Man U and the club was on the very edge of sacking him when he started to get a run of good results.

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