Arsenal suffered one of the worst results in their European history by losing 1-0 in Borisov to Belarusian side BATE. Lacazette was sent off for violent conduct in a game that summed up the Arsenal performance.
The Wrong Man?
There’s no hiding that Unai Emery inherited a very weak and poor Arsenal side in comparison when he was appointed as Arsene Wenger’s successor but for me there has not been enough improvement for encouragement; of course we have to give him time, but we have just been beaten by a side who are their pre-season, whilst playing a near full-strength side, it is a f*ing embarrassment. The goal, the epitome of this Emery defence, no desire to win the ball and an easy header past Cech. It is yet another away defeat – which follows recent woes at Man City and West Ham – and again tonight Emery’s side showed no improvement. Even when we went 1-0 down, there was no Plan B, we kept trying to pass the ball into the net, sideaways, backwards and so many sloppy passes. We had many corners and nearly every single one of them hit the first man.
I’ve spent weeks wondering if the players are the problem at not being able to implement a potential sticky Emery system – but a pathetic, weak, insipid away display to a side who haven’t even started their season, really is a season low for me, and it really worries me for the future. Is Emery trying to force Mesut out of Arsenal? Because I tell you tonight we needed a bit of quality in the final third, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Iwobi and Mkhitaryan were all woeful on a night that Arsenal looked half-arsed and lost for ideas.
I often compare Emery to other managers and you can argue that all of them have their own styles and everyone knows what they are and how that team will play. Klopp– a high intensity pressing for example, Emery said at the beginning that Arsenal would be a team who plays on the front foot and presses relentlessly and tries to score as many goals as possible, but where the f* has that gone?
We don’t press anymore, we are slow and lethargic in attack and take far too long to transition the ball into attack, and we’ve actually got worse the longer the season has gone on, and I’m not sure any of the fans or even the players have got an idea of what Emery wants them to do. Even in Klopp’s first season, Liverpool finished 8th but reached League Cup and Europa League finals and lost both, but you knew that they were progressing, the style was met with excitement from the fans and you knew players would improve and understand the philosophy. We may still reach the final of the Europa League but we are going to have to reach levels which I don’t think we’ve seen often this season.
In conclusion, it is lucky that Arsenal have a second leg to repair this mess, because it will paper over the cracks that this performance showed, and there will have to be a change of system because this 3 at the back isn’t working. Emery needs an identity and I don’t know if I trust him to complete this transitional period in Arsenal’s history.
Occasional writer who follows the Arsenal home and away. Dennis is our greatest ever.