By Tony Attwood
Inevitably Unai Emery has said that he “doesn’t know anything about rumoured interest from Newcastle” and that’s probably true, because the whole thing about Mr Emery heading to Newcastle is quite likely to be a load of old cobblers.
But it remains a fact that Mr Emery has a poor reputation among many Arsenal fans, largely I guess because of the final run of matches that he had.
However this table below gives a bit of perspective on these things by looking at our most successful managers in terms of the percentage of games won. Only managers with over 50 games in charge of Arsenal are included and I have taken Graham’s win percentage of 48.91% as the base point.
|George Graham||May 1986||Feb 1995||460||225||133||102||48.91|
|Herbert Chapman||June 1925||Jan 1934||411||204||97||110||49.64|
|Harry Bradshaw||June 1899||April 1904||235||118||44||73||50.21|
|Mikel Arteta||Dec 2019||Present||99||53||20||26||53.54|
|Unai Emery||May 2018||Nov 2019||78||43||16||19||55.13|
|Arsene Wenger||Oct 1996||May 2018||1,235||707||280||248||57.25|
So the three most successful managers we have ever had who have managed over 50 games, in terms of win percentage, are the last three men who have held the post! And the fact that Unai Emery is the second most successful manager we have had within these parameters (over 50 games and measured by win percentage) shows why Newcastle wanting him might not be as unlikely as some are suggesting.
Indeed, looking at our three most successful managers it is interesting that Pep Guardiola has long been an advocate of the managerial skills of Mikel Arteta, and when (in the first third of last season, and the first three matches of this season) the knives were out for him, Guardiola made a passionate defence of Arteta, insisting that with time his assistant would indeed come good – as he did in the last two thirds of last season.
Guardiola also pointed out what the media studiously ignored then and since, that Arsenal had to play those early games without a number of players who would normally expect to play. He stated that judging Arsenal on those first three games was “improper”, adding “I am a big fan of him [Arteta] and if they trust him they will do a good job in Arsenal.”
These days the Mirror calls Arteta “ruthless” rather than endlessly noting Mikel Arteta’s “failure to address growing Arsenal problem” which they claimed was the situation in the past concerning the forward line. They’ve also stopped calling out Edu, as the Express did with their headline Arsenal chief Edu has nowhere to hide with monumental transfer mistake now clear. Indeed the Mirror now notes, “Edu’s forward-thinking transfer policy”.
The Mirror also states that “Arsenal have been accused of having a soft underbelly for years,” another accusation with no merit. Last season Arsenal had the third best defence in the league which hardly seems to qualify as a “soft underbelly for years”.
Indeed t there has been a knock on effect from this solidity, for a more solid defence allows Bukayo Saka to push forward, which gets the whole forward line moving more effectively.
But there is still an oddity to be resolved in terms of last summer’s transfer business at Arsenal If we look at the league table for the last two thirds of last season we find that Arsenal were not just the second best team in the league, but also the second best in defence, conceding only one goal more than Manchester.
|4||West Ham United||24||13||5||6||41||28||13||44||1.83|
But if we were lacking somewhere it could have been said that we were lacking in attack, scoring 19 fewer goals across those 24 games than Manchester City.
So why has the attack not been improved, while the defence was ripped apart thus causing us to lose our first three games?
If we look at just the last six games – which is a period by which the team has settled down somewhat, we can see that the action in creating a new defence has worked – we have the second best defence in the league once again.
And when we look at the attack, we do indeed have the third best attack in the league. But… and there is quite a big “but” here… Liverpool on 20 goals and Chelsea on 17 are a long way ahead of us. 11 goals scored is the third best across these last six games, but we are still a long way behind those front runners.
Another attacker in the January window perhaps? Or will Martinelli and Balogun start to deliver?
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