‘Someone dropped a ladder in the deep dark hole’
By the time you read this surely he’s been sacked!
If he hasn’t then these thoughts will need to be delayed.
I had multiple negative titles and thoughts for this blog but I’m quite honestly bored of writing about Unai Emery.
I want to be happy again.
When teams change coaches they get the ‘bounce’ but Arsenal may get more.
Well, often when coaches are sacked the players aren’t capable of more than a ‘bounce.’
I remember saying with much confidence at the beginning of the season (and I believe there were many), that we have the third best squad in the PL. This is of course based on potential.
I’d say the average first team player is playing at 40% of their potential, right now.
I think that the ‘bounce’ is bigger at Arsenal than most not just because of potential but based on how the players will feel when the change comes.
Some teams have players who are upset by their coach leaving. Arsenal won’t. The bounce comes mainly because the players have to re-impress a new coach.
Arsenal will do that for sure but the players and fans will feel thrilled to be free from a coach who wasn’t capable.
The ‘re-impress bounce’ adds about 30% more as players will instantly up their game.
If our new coach picks one formation for the majority of games and finds a core of between 9-11 players that play regularly, then I’d say you add another 10%.
If he can get us playing for two halves rather than the one that we’ve done all season, then you get another 10%.
The final 10% will come with wins and confidence.
I think that this is a likely scenario.
Notice also that none of the above has even touched on coaching.
I strongly believe that the need for better coaching will be secondary to a coach who makes the right decisions. At least in the short term.
I’m in a positive mood now so let me have a go. Fantasy Arsenal coach time…
Emery leaves… 40% to 70%.
Play 4-2-3-1 for next 4 games vs Norwich, BHA, WHU and Liege.
We get our balance from playing Torreira and Guendouzi/Willock as two DM’s behind the ball and attack with full backs and the front four…..10%
Tell players that we are going to have one simple strategy. We play to control the game from the beginning. We are going to impress our game on them and play as if we are Arsenal not Sunderland. We play this way for both halves, no excuses….10%
We win because our players feel happy and structured and confident that the coach is not going to waiver and that he not only believes in playing Ozil, Pepe, Lacazette and Auba vs weaker teams but also trusts that the back door has been shut. We gain our confidence back and are mentally ready to play City….10%
We are at our potential. A starting point, and the coach hasn’t even started coaching yet.
Just freed the player’s minds.
If Emery has been sacked, free your mind and consider the above.
It’s very possible that the deep, dark hole we’ve been in, is the past.
It feels like someone is about to/has dropped a ladder and we can get out quicker than we thought.
* During the first half I saw a motivated team who (in my opinion) have been told that Emery’s gone. Either that or they are convinced that he’s going.
The energy was high which was weird because it didn’t match the atmosphere or the situation.
The biggest difference was that we weren’t playing a basketball game in constant transition and EF had nothing going forward.
* The above was in no small part down to David Luiz. It looked like he was playing as a DM. He’s an experienced, vocal player with top quality positional sense. He was organizing Xhaka and Willock and they were frequently snuffing out potential transitions.
Luiz is similar to Xhaka for me.
Got some obvious strengths but surrounded by the wrong teammates or in the wrong position he looks weak.
Our defence has backed off all season due to Luiz’s presence, allowing teams to advance to the top of our box. This has led to multitudes of shots, as we all know.
As a DM Luiz can still use his aerial ability, warrior like play, positional sense, passing and leadership and not be the main reason why we concede 21 shots to the 19th placed team in the PL.
Maybe Emery should’ve figured this out in pre-season!
* Willock is putting himself back in the running to start again. An energetic all action, box to box display.
Honestly though, he is catching my eye as he is the only player in the squad with this profile.
* Saka needs to find himself 1 on 1 more. He has the change of pace and skill to frequently beat his man but the main piece that will take him to levels that an Iwobi couldn’t, is his composure when finishing and crossing in particular.
* See Tierney, see Emery.
Tierney has become a reflection of Emery’s methods.
Do you remember his first game?
He was playing to his strengths. Constantly intercepting, overlapping and putting in inch perfect crosses.
Well that vanished.
Game by game he’s done it less and less. All he did offensively last night was dribble inside and refuse to use the outside of his foot and so dribbled in a circle.
Not his game.
If I was Raul I’d say, ‘we have you one of Europe’s best attacking full backs with an unbelievable accuracy in the final third. You’ve stifled him with your over coaching and made him negative.”
See Tierney, see Emery.
* Whether you are playing with 2 centre backs or 3 there is never an excuse to allow an attacking mid or striker the opportunity to turn.
This is another hallmark of ‘Emery’s Arsenal.’
* Auba’s touch was off and ruined many promising situations.
* Sokratis didn’t learn from the weekend and continued to take risks. If we had another CB with pace I’d say his days would be numbered.
* I’ve been wanting Freddie to temporarily take over from Emery for about 2 months.
I do wonder why they haven’t been quick to let him have the reins?
I also wonder why Emery treats Freddie much like Wenger treated Bould?
One of Emery’s big weaknesses is the game itself. Maybe he should sit down, realize that constant coaching is just white noise and listen to his assistant.
Unfortunately for Unai, this will be a reflection for him when back in Spain or more likely, he’ll never figure it out.
* One of my favorite things to do on social media is read the wisdom of those that know about players and coaches that I know little about.
I knew Emery was an over coacher. A cautious, overly pragmatic coach who struggled to motivate and deal with players.
Not because I’m smart but because I read it in quite a few places.
I didn’t want to believe it as I was over the moon that we had a new coach.
I also put stock in the hope that he wasn’t stubborn and could learn from his mistakes.
I say all this because I hope that our board don’t just look at records and job interview.
I’m a big fan of reading about a coaches weaknesses.
All of them have them.
If the weakness is a deal breaker, like inability to speak English fluently then I’d delete.
If I know about the world’s 25 most appealing coaches simply because I researched, then our board MUST do this too.
* Through the fog of anger or apathy, was your eye drawn to Frankfurt’s #13?
His name is Martin Hinteregger and he was the best player on the field.
Left footed, left sided centre back with speed, aggression and good decision making skills. Oh, and Arsenal are linked with him.
* My only major concerns for Arsenal’s short term future are…
1) That some of our players are thinking about January moves
2) That if Freddie takes over the fanbase will instantly fall back down the hole if we don’t beat Norwich
3) If Emery is in charge vs Norwich
If I was choosing the new coach perhaps the main quality I’d look for is a motivator.
Wenger didn’t have this strength and Emery certainly hasn’t had it.
These players have been left to self-motivate for a long time.
This is why we only play one good half. It’s why we crumble in adversity. It’s why they’ve not valued the captaincy or brought in a true leader.
We have good players.
We have good players who frequently under perform.
Good players will win you 2/3rds of the PL games if you just give them the structure they need and if you motivate them.
I’m hoping for Mikel Arteta.
Would love to hear who you want and why @mike_mmcdonald
Former Highbury regular. Moved to TN, USA in ’99. Married with 3 kids. Coached in UK and US for 27 years.
Mike McDonald Soccer Academy in Morristown TN, Olympic Development coach, Regional Premier League Champion.