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Wenger / Emery / Arteta. Who has done best, who has done worst?

By Tony Attwood

The knives are out and the daily attacks are rising.   And really who can blame the Anti-Arsenal journalists and bloggers for turning on Arteta?  They had great success in removing both Wenger and Emery through their endless negative publicity, so why not have a go at Arteta?  If it works, do it again must be their motto.  And these attacks certainly bring in readership.

After all, if you’ve done something and it has worked, and it gives you a buzz, and makes you feel powerful why not do it again?

Most certainly the anti-Arsenal publicity is not being handed out for the good of the club – since clearly the club has been following the Anti-Arsenal-Arsenal’s desires by changing managers, and things have simply been getting worse.  (I could add, “as we predicted” but perhaps that would be too much like crowing).

And we can see why the knives are out (as shown by the endless anti-Arteta stories now doing the rounds) if we compare the last ten games of the managers:

For Wenger the last ten was four wins, two draws, four defeats.

For Emery the last ten was two wins, four draws, four defeats.

For Arteta the last ten was three wins, two draws and five defeats.

Of course they weren’t all league games, and it may be argued that Arteta’s three wins being in the Europa were all easy to win, but even so, the teams still have to do it.

Certainly comparing the last ten games of the three managers, things have been getting worse – which is unfortunate since the aim of the card wavers and aeroplane hirers was to get each manager out in order to improve things.  But each time it seems to have made it worse.

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I have heard it argued however that Mr Wenger had it easy because he took over a club in a much better shape than the one he and Mr Emery left behind for Mr Arteta.

I am not sure that was at all true and fortunately on the Arsenal History Society site we’ve looked into this already with a 71 part series called “Arsenal in the Summer” which traces what Arsenal did from the end of one season to the start of the next campaign.

The whole Rioch pre-season is told here  but if you can’t take the whole dire tale you might want to consider the results…

  • 19 July: St Albans City 0 Arsenal 6
  • 27 July 1996: Birmingham 1 Arsenal 0
  • 31 July 1995: Celtic 2 Arsenal 1
  • 3 August 1996: Rangers 3 Arsenal 0
  • 7 August 1996: Fiorentina 2 Arsenal 0; Benfica 3 Arsenal 1 (two 45 minute games)
  • 10 August 1996: Ipswich Town 1 Arsenal 1
  • 13 August 1996: Northampton Town 3 Arsenal 1

On 12 August just before the Northampton game, Rioch was sacked.

Mr Wenger’s impact was immediate – indeed it started even before he reached England as Patrick Vieira arrived from France on 14 August, while Mr Wenger wasn’t announced as manager until 22 September – having finished off the season in Japan.   He officially assumed the role on 1 October 1996.

Vieira came on as a substitute against Sheffield Wednesday on 16 September 1996 -his impact was immediate, even though Mr Wenger was directing the game on the phone from Japan.

On 22 September 1996, Wenger was unveiled as Arsenal manager and by that time Arsenal had won four, drawn two, and lost two.  By 1 October 1996, we had  won five, lost three and drawn two.

So how do the managers compare between their first ten and final ten games (although of course the last ten may well not be the final for Mr Arteta.)

In the table below Football League Trophy matches are excluded but games in the four major competitions are included including the Europa League.

Manager Won Drawn Lost Points* Pos at time of leaving 
Wenger first 10 games 5 2 3 17
Wenger last 10 games 4 2 4 14 6th
Emery first 10 games 8 0 2 24
Emery last 10 games 2 4 4 10 8th
Arteta first 10 games 4 5 1 17
Arteta last 10 games 3 2 5 11 (15th today)

*All games counted as three points for a win, one for a draw, including cup games.

The manager with the best record in opening games is Emery.  The manager with the worst opening record in the first ten is a tie between Wenger and Arteta.

The manager with the best record in his final ten games is Wenger, the manager with the worst record in his last ten games is was Emery.

The problem is, we can’t go on changing managers all the time.  Eventually we are going to have to keep someone for more than a season and a half – even though the regular change of managers does please the journalists, as it makes life so easy for them.

2 comments to Wenger / Emery / Arteta. Who has done best, who has done worst?

  • It seems one can use statistics to prove anything, provided you carefully chose the items you are counting and including in your “test”.

    Without confirming how many of the 10 games in each case was against weak opposition, eg Europa League teams or lower league League Cup opponents one cannot simply rely on any random group of 10 games. Why 10 games? Why not more?

    Could it be that 10 games fit into your pre-conclusion perfectly?

    Look, we all know how much you hate the sacking of managers. You have said it many times.

    The removal of Wenger was unconscionable.

    However, the appointment of Emery was a massive error, which was covered up by the initial 22 match run, but became clearer and clearer as time went on.

    It was clear that keeping him on would have resulted in disaster as we plummeted down the league.

    The appointment of Arteta looked perfect until he decided at the beginning of this season to implement his own personal vision as to how a team should play and we have seen that is an even bigger disaster.

    To suggest, that to be able to bring his vision into fruition, he needs to replace most of the players in the team, is beyond ridiculous.

    You have seen the way the team plays, the style that Arteta is insisting on and it simply stinks.

    With regret, it is only a matter of time before he is shown the door. The longer it takes to do that, the worse things are likely to get.

    Needs must.

  • Menace

    It is always the intelligent supporter that knows what is better than a losing team. That genius also knows why the coach is so damned wrong in employing a new system of play.

    Lets change everything and buy the best players and play winning football like the top teams in the leagues, that includes the foreign leagues.

    The system Arteta is trying to implement is a good system when it is interpreted correctly. The playing out from the back has benefits but not when consistently played poorly. The purpose is to pull the opponent into your half while creating opportunity to attack with less opponents in their own half.

    Playing a ball to midfield with your defence covering the opponents offensive strengths is probably an easier transition. Playing the ball into areas where your attacking players can win the ball and pressurise the opponents goal is probably better. Even if the ball is lost in the opponents half, it is not as threatening as losing it in your own goal keeping third.

    The biggest problem so far has been the poor goal keeping within this system as the keepers think that they do not have to handle the ball. Every high ball into the area is a goalkeepers call. The opponent should never be allowed freedom to get close enough to head in a cross. Goalkeepers must force their way to the high ball and be supported by their defenders clearing a path while covering the space left by the keeper.

    Arteta must change some of his ststems and be more aggressive in offence. Players must be given incentive to score from anywhere with powerful shooting. Too much passing to create clear openings end up in loss of possession.

    Possession of the ball is not as important as using possession to frustrate the opponent into mistakes. Passing the ball backwards rarely creates openings in the opponents defence. In fact many mistakes with back passes create chances for the opponents.

    The criteria has always been the officiating, so taking risks allow bias to manifest. Take the risks in the opponents goal area and force officiating into error.

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