On Emery’s Biggest Success and Homegrown changes

If Brexit provides us with one thing, it is the affirmation of Samuel Johnson’s view that “patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel”. And that politicians are chancers who write unnecessarily long resignation letters carrying words like “good conscience” which we know is something an MP doesn’t have. And that lying to Parliament is just ‘misinterpreting facts’ not a breach of the Ministerial Code. 

A recent pronouncement declared the FA aim of reducing the number of non-homegrown players in each Premier League squad from 17 to 12 after Brexit. It’s underpinned by the spurious logic that this will improve the standard of English players and thus the national team. But when the head coach of the national team relies on Luddite tactics…

For Arsenal, it’s not so much an issue with natural wastage solving the problem. That’s before Unai Emery tackles the question of who is surplus to requirements through ability.

Despite his words recently that January isn’t a transfer window he likes, Raul Sanllehi is, you feel, likely to have a busy month. Last year we were brassick yet found £50m down the back of Ivan’s sofa to buy Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. You sense that despite the AST’s ‘educated guess’ of £40m in the kitty, there’s a bit more cash swilling round if it’s needed. And it is.

Aaron Ramsey could lighten the load with a move that raised some funds, even if he’s not obliged to do anything like that. It’s weird how easily that flip spins so easily off the tongue. We know you don’t have to help us and it may cost you a few million quid, but do us a favour, eh?

Such are the fripperies of being a football supporter but when we have few saleable assets that we want to lose…

You Snooze, We Lose

It links to where we are now as well. Unai Emery’s squad is very much a work-in-progress. The strengths and weaknesses are well-documented: shoehorning Lacazette and Aubameyang into the attack, slow starts and wonky defending.

The introduction of Lucas Torreira solved a major problem. The midfield is much more solid. In keeping with the other members of the squad, the Uruguayan and Granit Xhaka are fitter than we’ve seen in previous squads. Not just physically but mentally. The sinking feeling following each goal conceded isn’t surfacing. It feels like the squad believe they can win, even if they go a goal down. Which is different from last year.

Last year, drawing three on the bounce in the Premier League was a crisis; now it’s a blip. What a difference a long unbeaten run makes. The next test for the squad is how they react to defeat. While the last defeat found salvation in the subsequent 16 games, the second-last defeat wasn’t met with such good fortune.

It’s not so much about losing because every team does. The question arises because it will happen in a big match. Even Bournemouth after the international break is a big match given our respective league positions. It’s followed by Vorskla (big because of winning EL group), Manchester United and Tottenham.

There’s no time for recovery in between those matches so we’ll get some indication of how deep the self-belief runs in the squad. The intangible in all this is that the manner of defeat plays a significant role. A thumping is easily dismissed as a ‘one-off’ while a close defeat is ‘one of those days’. But anything in between is harder to shake because it says ‘not good enough’. That is the issue to overcome.

Anyway, who says we are going to lose…

The Biggest Success Story

Emery biggest achievement isn’t on the playing side, however. It’s in winning over the majority of the fanbase. He’s come in with as difficult a start to his reign as you could imagine and come out the other side.

A change to the way we play without a huge turnover in playing staff. We feel closer to the top four than last season. I know we’re sitting closer to them but you know what I mean. Last year, we knew early on the season wasn’t ending well. Now, it feels like we have much more of a chance of achieving something.

We’ve become difficult to beat – downright impossible for sixteen teams – as Emery transitions us out of ‘Wengerball’ into a new era. All without resorting to ultra-defensive tactics.

But Unai knows there are issues to resolve and is setting about resolving them. He may not get it right first time, every time but he is getting it right eventually. And doing so without seeing belief he is the right man for the job evaporating like a mistimed Mustafi slide.

No small task given the febrile atmosphere surrounding the club last year. But he’s still got a big task ahead.

’til Tomorrow.

20 thoughts on “On Emery’s Biggest Success and Homegrown changes

  1. Good points -having said that I think there was always a free pass for the first couple of games and the Liverpuddle match will have done much to build on the credit. That we have scored some lovely goals too is a massive plus-along with winning ugly or clawing a point from the jaws of defeat….

  2. The 3 games you mention (Bournemouth, Spurs & United) will define our season and progress. If we get 6 points from those games I would be very happy. Recent results leaves me less hopeful. All 3 are hard games which will require the team to be ‘up for it’ with Monreal hopefully returning to left back.

  3. Howdy all, hope we get our killer LB Nacho Nacho Nachoooooo back sooner rather then later. He provides stability, but also some attacking threat with a good cross and eye for goal. Agree that figuring out the Auba/Laca situation is interesting. We have plenty of games to share, why not rotate them up top? If we really need some power, at the end of games bring on the other striker and go 4-4-2. We have done this a few times already this season and auba has got some late goals for us. Iwobi has done enough to warrant a starting spot right??? Laca/Iwobi/Ozil is 3 or our front 4 if you ask me. Not sure who plays out on the right wing but Unai needs to sort that out. Iwobi is dribbling past defenders like a mad man on the left, something we havent had for a while and we need that pace, speed to spark our attack!

    Have to say as the focal point of our attack, you can’t take out Laca right now he is on fire. In general his touch has been lazer sharp, he is playing defense, stealing the ball, creating, finishing (usually). I _think_ Auba is more about getting behind, in the box, scoring. Still i think he can grow in the CF role, linking play more, holding the ball strong etc. Hell just watch what Lacazette is doing and mimic him.

  4. I know it might sound crazy but drawing with Wolves isn’t that bad considering they did the same with Citeh and should of beaten them. The biggest thing for me is that the last couple of seasons, instead of drawing the matches, we foundways of losing them and most of the time in incredible fashion. The international break came at the perfect timw and the fact that Aubameyang, Lacazette and Ozil are in London resting is a great thing.

    January will be interesting because I could some business being done even if ita just a loan in or out. There is money to be spent and there will be even more in the aummer when you consider the wages of Ramsey, Cech, Ospina(Napoli want to buy him jn January) and possiblyWelbeck and Nacho coud come off the booka and players bought and their wages will be less than we could think.

  5. Yes, can’t help feeling that your political pronunciations if there must be any, would be better founded on sounder principles than continued pops at people’s legitimate views that you do not happen to agree with. The greed and unprincipled behaviour of those on football do not really belong in the same post and never in a fooball blog but we have been here before, YW.

    I hold no brief for ruthlessly ambitious, unprincipled, crooked or incompetent politicians of whatever political persuasion.

    I do object, however, to having millions of people’s views on such a deep issue simplified as ‘patriotism’, clearly a loaded word in this great liberal age. Don’t the BBC do that enough without reading it here? What fools we are.

    Shall we just stick to football? There is enough bollocks there for all of us.

  6. Well, just to point out, sir, that I never mentioned anyone’s views and it was entirely a dig at politicians.

    Such as Nigel Farage who still claims a salary as an MEP.

  7. Well, maybe it was. Did I miss something today with one of those politicians gave patriotism as a reason for their failure to deliver a coherent policy?

  8. No, but Nigel Farage did apply for German passports for his children. As is their birthright but curiously also giving them proof of the entitlement to freedom of movement which he is so keen to deny everyone else. That, and of course, not giving up his MEP job which any good ‘Brexiteer’ would have done, I’m sure.

  9. Well, at this moment, he is hardly the name on most people’s lips. He is not, nor has he ever been an MP, so has never lied to Parliament, whatever his failings.

    Surely you were refering to some other person more relevant? If it was Farage in your sights, although he has no role in the current ferrago of ‘decision making’, there are plenty on both sides of the argument who have much to gain from being an MEP. Some of them even members of the Labour Party who, curiously to some, prefer to stay fat on remaining as members of a body wholly subordinate to non elected apparatchiks of the EU Commission.

    I am sure that their intentions are entirely selfless.

  10. He was the one on the airwaves as I began typing this morning. Threatening in his gimpy manner to “return to frontline politics” as a result of the great and good resigning.

    And irrespective of how he repeatedly failed to become an MP, he arguably had more to do with winning the referendum than Tweedledum Johnson.

  11. Look, if Arsenal sell Ramsey to Bayern then so be it but if Ramsey is going to Bayern on a free, I think it would be a terrible move for his career because he isn’t getting in that team and at best he is used as a squad player. Think about who Bayern have in their midfield:

    James Rodriguez
    Leon Goretzka
    Thiago
    Kimmich(they have moved him there as has the national team)
    Javi Martinez(not same position but takes up on of the midfield spots)
    Gnabry(has been played as a winger and #10)
    Tolisso
    Renato Sanches(starting to refind his form)

    I’m sorry but Ramsey isn’t getting into ahead of any of those players and if many are honest, outsidr of Sanches, you wouldn’t buy Ramsey ahead of any of them.

  12. TBH C, it feels like Bayern are on the cusp of a big clearout. They’ve got a decision to make on James (€42m) so Ramsey is an attractive and comparatively inexpensive alternative. Coman observed there were too many players comfortable at the club and he expected changes to come.

  13. YW,

    I understand that but tbh, one would that James isn’t wanted at Madrid and Bayern both want and need him. The other problem I see if that Ramsey likes ti operate in the box and the problem he will face at Bayern is that Lewandowski is still one of the most all-around CF’s i world futbol and would possibly get in his way. Ramsey needs a striker like Giroud who doesn’t score goals and is an old fashion English big CF who looks to layoff instead if a pure goal scorer.

    I think, for Ramsey’s sake, he would be better off going to a top midtable side who will focus on what Ramsey does instead of Ramsey trying to fit into a big side. Imagine if Bayern sign Ramsey and then sign a player lime Fekir…it would mean Ramsey is again a squad player because, even you would take Fekir over Ramsey 10/10

  14. Guendouzi put on an absolute masterclass for the French U21’s with reporters, post match giving him glowing remark with most centering around him being only 19 but a true midfield boss and beast.

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