Watford 2-2 Arsenal – Emery Left Naked as abject Gunners make Watford look mighty. [Positive Needs & Hopes]



I’m jumping straight into this one….

Holding, Tierney and Bellerin should make us better but we didn’t capitulate in the second half because those three weren’t playing.

When you’ve allowed more shots (96) than any team in any of the top 5 leagues in Europe this season, it’s the coach.
Just FYI… that’s worse than these 5 teams that are currently bottom of their respective leagues…Watford, Dijon, Paderborn, Leganes and Lecce.
That’s 98th out of 98 teams.

Some coaches see the game well during play, some after, some both, some neither.

My concern is that Unai Emery is too emotionally involved to see it during play and too often over coaches afterwards to make the difference either during or after.

If I step back and re-read that last thought I can’t be unconcerned.

Ever since Unai Emery came to Arsenal I think he initially had to fix way more than people think. I also think he is over-fixing.

Sometimes sport is simple if you remember that it’s about people.
For as many systems as Emery can coach and as many modern strategies as he is able to teach, he is overlooking the fundamental issues that his people need.

  • They need to learn one system well rather than be confused by four.
  • They need him to be fluent in English as if they are as confused as us fans are when he talks, no wonder!
  • They need to be allowed to play with far less risk until their confidence is at the point where they can take risks.
  • They need to develop ‘automatic’ by knowing where their players will be both attacking and defending. This is seen clearly in the example of Ceballos and Guendouzi who keep having a great game, then a poor game.

It’s all too clever therefore for his people, it’s too confusing.


Sometimes I’ve had to admit that as a coach I’ve been more of a hindrance than a help. It actually would have been better if I wasn’t there.
That sounds extreme but it’s not. If I am going to be so belligerent as to allow my players to play out of the back when it hasn’t worked even once, yet created four clear chances for the other team, then I have just given them their half time team talk (“press high, they are making mistakes”) for them!

Under Wenger I lost hope as I didn’t believe he knew how to get out of the hole we were in. I think Emery has the skills but is making the wrong decisions far too often.

His board have backed him and given him almost everything we need and probably quicker than we thought we’d get it.

So I look at this Watford game and see that it left Emery naked. Without excuse.
A coach should have fixed that. He didn’t and we conceded 31 shots to a team that remains at the bottom of the league.

It’s not hopeless as he has very good players and lots of them.
Maybe the embarrassment from being stripped bare will lead to Emery being introspective and wondering if actually he is starting to be the problem? Most coaches aren’t humble enough to ever go there. He doesn’t seem to be an arrogant man so I hold out hope.
It’s just scary when you have the thought that the coach’s influence is causing confusion and making it worse simply by showing up 😳



* Kolasinac regained his front foot anticipation and created much of what was good

* Ceballos has set up two goals by nicking the ball in midfield. He takes defensive responsibility well too.

* Leno had to be very good and clean and he was.

* AMN fixed his defensive positioning from the last time we played a diamond (vs Liverpool). He played wider and closer to Deulofeu.

* Auba defended with more determination, covering for his midfielders.

* I like that Nelson kept trying to make the difference. Much like Nketiah, I think Reiss has the potential to explode when he gains full confidence.


* Playing out from the back is not hard to evaluate.
It may be too early to evaluate as it’s a big and nervy change.

It’s risk vs reward.

For me I’d say that if you are creating multiple goal scoring opportunities from it then it will be worth the one scare per game at the other end.
If not, then why would you bother if you are risking giving your opponent multiple clear goal scoring opportunities?

* I see that the midfield diamond suits the midfielders that we have.
The way Emery organizes it defensively is not working.
When the ball is on one side the diamond becomes compact, leaving the switch pass wide open. This would work if the player closest to the ball would get tighter. He isn’t so they play over the top or through a gap and attack 2 vs 1 on the other side.
It’s like watching a rondo when the defenders in the middle don’t ever press tightly. The modern day footballer does small space rondos every single day and so isn’t flustered unless you get close.


* Did Ozil floating disorganize the defensive shape?

* What’s up with Torreira? Looks like he doesn’t care as much. Worrying as I’d empower him to fix the leak in midfield and I believe he is capable.

* Is it a positive or a concern that Xhaka controlled himself well today, played well yet still didn’t make much of a difference?

* Ceballos and Guendouzi need to be shown the clips of the huge risks that they took in our defensive third and told to stop. Coaching, again.


* I hope that David Luiz cares enough about Arsenal to change his body shape.
He may feel like he’s done enough in the game and improvement is over.
If you watch his recent mistakes, most have been down to him getting his body shape twisted.

* Having said that, I’m wondering if Luiz or Chambers might be the solution in front of the back four?
Both have played there and both are more agile or have better posture than Xhaka.

* I don’t disagree with Emi Martinez’s comments about him being Leno’s equal or better. Surprised he said it out loud but there you go.
In the upcoming non-PL games he may make it very interesting for Emery.

* As may Chambers and Holding as a duo. Hope so!

* An in form, fully confident Doucoure would possibly be an addition that AFC should look at. He was highly impressive in the second half.
Deulofeu is another that we may look at. Plays with the confidence that I wish Reiss Nelson had. There’s time.



Concerned but secure.

Yesterday was a bit of a tipping point for me with Emery.
He concerns me.
When Alan Smith, who has never been an extremist, states that his players are confused I wonder if he is starting to lose them. My eyes tell me there is much confusion.

I am, however, far more confident in Raul Sanllehi. He seems unsatisfied until we reach the top again which makes me feel secure in the future.

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6 Responses to Watford 2-2 Arsenal – Emery Left Naked as abject Gunners make Watford look mighty. [Positive Needs & Hopes]

  1. Nazeem September 16, 2019 at 8:47 am #

    Exactly what i feel. The coach does not have an identity. Every game he plays a different system., which surely confuses the players. We should be playing to our strengths and not trying to counter the opposition. PLEASE CHANGE THE COACH. Not good enough for OUR ARSENAL.

  2. Madhu September 16, 2019 at 9:39 am #

    Extremely upset with the match yesterday, felt disgusted. I mean professional players, earning more salary per week than 90% of world population, being paid only to play cannot figure out problems themselves is absolute shit.I sitting in India who doesnt have great football tradition, with my TV mute was shouting to stop playing from back and mix it, but professional cant figure out themselves coach not bothered to address it cannot understand. Its abdicating responsibility. Players cannot depend on coach always, they are in the game professional enough to fix thier problems. Finally i would like to see
    1. Martin Keown hired to fix the defense
    2. Calum Chambers should play in defense. Why should Sokratis and Luiz be given oppty’s when they make mistake, while chambers who figured in the only clean sheet is left behind. Cant understand the bias.

  3. Andy September 16, 2019 at 9:42 am #

    An observation on the amount of shots the opposition are having: it appears to me that teams feel like they are getting a 2 for 1 deal. I never felt worried with 90% of the shots as they came out side the area and for the most didn’t go near Leno. The thing is it seems they have been told to shoot on sight and don’t worry about accuracy because we have a better chance of scoring from a goal kick than a corner. If this is the case then we have a fundamental flaw to our game which will prevent us from progressing.

  4. Mike Walsh September 16, 2019 at 11:15 am #

    The most successful defensive coach in the history of our club was Martin Keown who organised a defence that took us to within minutes of a Champions League trophy, conceding the fewest goals on record as we qualified.
    Martin fell out with Arsene Wenger and is now a respected pundit who we must somehow entice away from the studio and back to the club.
    I’m confident he could work with the players already at the club to sort out players not taking accountability and discipline seriously and to create a solid defensive unit. With the financial rewards at stake surely this investment in a ex player makes sense

  5. Mike McDonald September 16, 2019 at 4:03 pm #

    Support for Emery is slim and the tide has turned quickly.
    I’d say over 70% were happy to let this season evolve. I’d say 40 of that 70% have flipped

  6. Omar El-kilany September 17, 2019 at 7:37 am #

    Making a lot of sense Mike, and I agree with you I too feel the game was at the tipping point, he doesn’t seem to be learning from his mistakes, yes you can’t as a manager do anything about players making silly errors, but it’s the manager’s fault if we looked lost and unorganised.

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