Arsenal 2-2 Crystal Palace: ‘The Unnecessary Self Destruction of Unai Emery’


‘The Unnecessary Self Destruction of Unai Emery’

I wonder if anyone in Unai Emery’s circle will ever sit him down and tell him the truth.

As and when he leaves Arsenal somebody needs to tell him that he blew up his own birthday party.

Last Spring many wanted a rest from Arsenal.
In a short period of time Emery managed to make a dogs dinner out of the seasons end.
The unexpected thing that happened in the summer however was that the club decided to not just stick with him but throw the man a birthday party.

They gave him a right hand man that the players love. They gave him Edu who has offered nothing but positivity.
They gave him a transfer window that fixed almost every need in one month.
‘There you go, Unai. We have decided to not only not fire you after the shocking end to the season but here is a cluster of lovely birthday presents. Happy Birthday!’

These presents, especially the signing of Pepe with bigger clubs interested, put Arsenal in a new position. The negative perception was changing and maybe it had changed.
I saw days ahead where even bigger players and managers would look at us with stars in their eyes.

What did Unai Emery do with this?

Firstly, he decided to start the mixed messages.
The club were trying to sell Ozil yet Emery looked like he wanted to start the season using him as his playmaker. Ozil impresses in pre season and then vanishes.
After he vanishes he gets made captain. Then he vanishes again. Completely.

Emery also chooses to make the most mistake-ridden, immobile and unpopular-with-the-fans member of his team the main captain.
A decision that I’m sure speaks loudly to the other players. I can only imagine the weak link being the one motivating me and then shouting at me post game. I slowly start to dislike him but bigger than that I look at my coach and wonder ….. why?


As the games start we see Arsenal play the first ten games as a mirror of their opponent. If the opponent is weak, we play poorly. If they are mediocre then so are we. If they are good then we step up yet are clearly hindered by our coach who gives HIS team a brand new idea each week that they have to overcome before they can even contemplate overcoming the opponent.

We continue finding new ways of making games look very complicated as our over-cautious, nervous coach sends us out with what seems like the instruction, ‘make sure that whatever happens, you play to their level.’
After yesterday’s game he somehow manages to make himself even more unpopular by yet again hitting the self destruct button and telling the TV cameras that this result was better than last years!
Does he know who Arsenal are?!?!?

We occasionally, like yesterday and Watford, find ourselves in comfortable leads but our coach – who is sitting in the drivers seat debating whether to press the accelerator or the brake – looks at our demoralized opponents and decides we need to lay off, so presses the brake and therefore encourages them to comeback. And so they do.

Even the instruction given to Emery to include the younger players starts to blow up as his only half time substitutions feature the removal of the youth only. Players whose careers looked on the rise start to look mismanaged.

His team selections have hopped around depending on what genius formation and strategy he has come up with. Forgetting the fact that your playmaker is immobile and needs bodyguards or we get exposed.
Also, forgetting that his strength is his forward line yet we play without a creator so they often go home starving.
Meanwhile, the guy purchased to shut the back door isn’t even allowed in the front door and just sits on the bench and waits for us to play Nottingham Forest.

In just 3 months, Unai Emery has managed to make far too many bad choices.
I sometimes wonder if Emery likes the games to be close so he can be seen as the reason we won. A fixer. A hero.
Like his website says, “ Amaze the opposition with your approach to the game.” That sentence stinks of self importance to me.

Thankfully Josh Kroenke was there yesterday to see the unnecessary self-destruction of Unai Emery.
He will have seen a low attendance, a captain disrespecting the jersey, the crowd loudly singing for the one who has vanished and then a chorus of boos.

Unai Emery has been set up to succeed.
He is the one who decided to walk into the birthday party he was thrown and hide his own presents, play ‘pin the tail on the agitated gazelle’ and sit on his birthday cake.



* Credit to whoever decided to work on set plays recently. We were dangerous on every set play which is impressive. Bodes well for the future.

* Guendouzi’s pass to Auba in the first half was very intelligent.
Auba was initially running left but the gap was behind him.
Always smarter to pass to the space and force the player to adjust. Especially over a long distance when he has time to do so.

* Tierney is successful at crossing because he understands the areas where defenders vacate. He also looks like he practices them. Just a thought for the others who struggle in this areas. A bit of a wonder why we used Chambers more than Tierney?

* One of Sokratis’ best games for Arsenal. The goal(s) aside he was more intelligent with his defensive decision making than usual. Gave second thought to diving in and being overly aggressive.


* The mess behind the scenes and the message of confusion to the players was clearly seen in the individual pressing.
This is when pressing can be a negative tactic. You become like a cone and easily passed around. Palace weren’t good enough to do this but Leicester and others may rip us apart if this continues.

* Back to Tierney.
A simple but effective tactic when you have someone who can cross is to empty the wing. Too often Ceballos and Auba were with Tierney therefore crowding the wing.


* Again, Dani Ceballos excelled in maintaining possession but played risk averse in the final third.
With a player of such talent it simply needs a teachable spirit and an observant coach.
Off the ball, it looks to me that he just does what he wants. Not good.

* Not sure how our midfield and forward line improve at winning first balls when they are so lightweight but attention needs to be paid to the second balls as we do have much quickness and ability to anticipate.

* The lack of an available player between the lines is forcing us to play square. Playing square allows opposing midfielders to regain shape.

* Perhaps it’s time for a penalty kick coach. Since 2014, Arsenal have the lowest % pk’s saved in the PL with 30/31 scored. That means you have over 9.5/10 chance when facing us from the spot!

* This may be the biggest of all the on field problems… we hardly create anything from open play.

If Chambers (who I’m fine with playing) is your main source then you need to change strategy.
The lack of creator is a big part as is the midfielders lack of desire to attempt to create anything from anything apart from long Hollywood balls. Match that with the fact that we don’t press together or win anything up top on the first ball or second so we are limiting our possibilities.
I still maintain that if Pepe would run behind and not always receive to feet and cut back this would be a big help.



* ‘Behind the scenes Arsenal’ seem to understand perception.
They showed this summer that they can swiftly change the clubs image from ‘here we go again’ to an excited fanbase.
I’m throwing a guess out that they will move on from Emery swiftly.
The only evidence I have is the above and I think Ljungberg being put in place wasn’t just to assist with the youngsters transition.

If they do put Freddie in charge at least temporarily they will instantly change the mood, much like they did in the summer.
If it’s Jose then the fanbase will stay split.

I hope Freddie Ljungberg is going to be the new coach. There is no smarter initial move even if it is temporary.


Will Xhaka’s decision to stick two fingers up at the club be the catalyst for Arsenal’s turnabout?

I’d imagine he will lose the captaincy and I’d imagine that the dressing room will get a lift from this.
I’d imagine he will lose his place in the team which could lead to us having a balanced midfield with increased athleticism.
It may also lead to a DM purchase in January.


Emery could tell his adopted son to not do it again and play him against Wolves.


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