Emery Sets Out His Thoughts On The Start Of His Era

There’s a freshness around the place which is attributed to Unai Emery and not weekly bath night. Not for the Spaniard a tin bath filled with scaldingly hot water and metal heated by the flames of the coal fire. So basically, if the metal didn’t get you, the water did. A generation of par-boiled children were ready for the week ahead.

Emery’s way, which sounds like a 1970s comedy pastiche of a period drama, is more sophisticated. No sugar, eat healthily and all good things come to those who work hard. And everyone says Emery works hard. Not for him a quick game of Bejewelled on a flight back from a Europa League match. No, he rewatches the game and analyses it, according to the Dynamic Duo. They are impressed with his work-rate.

But to Emery, this is normal. Preparation is the mother of necessity, especially for the Arsenal he inherited.

Before Wenger, Arsenal celebrated the 1-0 and it was based on defensive solidity. With Arsene the joy was in attack, with high quality players. The perfect combination was the Invincibles, but over time only technical quality and offensive freedom were taken care of, losing the defensive structure. What I want is to unite both essences and be more competitive. Arsenal was in decline, we had to stop it and start climbing.

Unai Emery on Arsenal as he saw them

That last sentence is a fairly damning assessment of the club. In fact, the whole answer is. And accurate. As he says later in the interview, although we are yet to beat one of the top six – although we have the opportunity for three such victories in the next month – we are now winning away from home.

Aesthetics and Pragmatism

I’m a-stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive

Emery makes a interesting comparison between himself and Arsène.

When I left Valencia I told the president I was more an analyst of coaches than an analyst of players. I don’t have time to watch players. I am more tactical. Wenger was, for example, someone who saw more pure football, much more of the player.

The idealist and the pragmatist. We all knew that because Arsène revelled in the aesthetics. Not for him winning ugly; as he famously said, not only do Arsenal have to win, we have to win the right way. Meanwhile, football progressed pragmatically.

I think Arsène tried to be pragmatic last season but by then it was too late. It wasn’t natural to him nor the players. He still, however, targetted training to our own strengths rather than that of the opposition and how to stop them. It’s a fundamental reason why we were undone so frequently by the same situations.

Emery is harder to please as a coach. Asked about the sixteen-match unbeaten run, he replied:

That we’ve got a lot left. We’ve had four draws in our last five games and we need to give the team a push now. I’ve spoken with my team during the international break. Our goal is finish in the top four but it’s not easy. It’s harder and harder to get there. Against Liverpool everyone was happy but we only drew. That’s not sufficient.

There’s no complacency. He could have celebrated what is a strong run but instead focused on four draws in five and not taking three points off Liverpool. Players may be off with their respective countries but there is no sense of Emery taking it easy during the past fortnight.

Where next though for the Emery journey?

Back To Reality

Vinai Venkatesham made it clear in a recent interview that financially, the Champions League absence is hurting the club. In a quickly corrected lapse of honesty, he admitted it was damaging the business model. Not sinking it completely but certainly making it tough to be self-sufficient and successful.

That is Unai Emery’s immediate target. Back into the top four as a stepping stone to pushing for the title. Whether the latter will happen, I don’t know. Unless significant funds are found, we’re relying on Diamond Eyes digging out more Guendouzis. That’s a tall order, it genuinely is. To consistently find young gems, especially in this ultra-competitive era for young players, is a tough job. And a lot tougher than just pitching up at Dortmund and taking out-of-favour midfielders.

Finally today, holiday greetings to those on the other side of the pond. Have a good Thanksgiving today and a great weekend.

’til Tomorrow.

21 thoughts on “Emery Sets Out His Thoughts On The Start Of His Era

  1. Happy days to everyone, thanksgiving and year end approaches. Football resumes in 2 days and transfer season will soon be upon us.

    I like the statement made by the gaffer but the point against Liverpool was just about right. If we had won which was quite optimistic, the draw against Wolves shows we still have to improve by purchasing players and exhibiting consistent levels of performance every 90 minutes which I think is very important for us, if we want to achieve our goals by the end of the season.

    The problem with our slow start is the ACM or CAM position. It’s a very dynamic and important position and we have no one to make the connections between midfield and attack sparkle early in the game.

  2. So to paraphrase, did he really say we were awful, be he liked us?? Can just imagine him coshing Ivan with his patent leather bag.

  3. lari03,

    It’s a fair observation, tho I’m not sure that the conclusion necessarily follows. Ozil most definitely has the capacity to link and create. How does Mr Emery direct his troops in order to get that happening every minute of every game? From where we were last year , he hasn’t produced the rabbit, but I feel there’s the impression of a hat in his hand.
    My impression is that over last many seasons we fail to move the ball quickly enough, at risk of losing possession. Sacred blue! We therefore don’t stretch defenders enough to create space for Ozil to operate in. ….. even now he has redeiscovered the benefits of short sprints.

  4. ferkov:
    lari03,

    It’s a fair observation, tho I’m not sure that the conclusion necessarily follows. Ozil most definitely has the capacity to link and create. How does Mr Emery direct his troops in order to get that happening every minute of every game? From where we were last year , he hasn’t produced the rabbit, but I feel there’s the impression of a hat in his hand.
    My impression is that over last many seasons we fail to move the ball quickly enough, at risk of losing possession. Sacred blue! We therefore don’t stretch defenders enough to create space for Ozil to operate in. ….. even now he has redeiscovered the benefits of short sprints.

    Yes Ozil can create, but the issue is that he does not add much defensively and in terms of organizing the press which is a major part of the way the CAM must play.

    In Emery’s system, I think the CAM is more like a tireless runner, pressing, hassling, tackling, and creating decisive moments for the team. The CAM is meant to be a protagonist dictating the pace of the game from the center with the energy levels of someone like Guendouzi, but with more tact, guile and finesse.

    We lack this quality in all 3 candidates for the CAM. Ramsey is the runner without intelligent tackling and slows down the forward play with more lateral passes instead of creating danger.

    Mhkitaryan is slow and considered behind Ozil because he does not have the vision to create as much as Ozil does and the consideration that he could do better from the flanks has stopped him from being prominent in the position or growing to fill the role.

    Ozil has the vision and passing skill but he cannot add the aggression needed to fill this role on a consistent basis. As a matter of fact all 3 of them are not aggressive with their pressing and it is a key missing ingredient in the midfield.

    Ramsey might have been a n option, but his inability to supply the necessary output probably added to the withdrawn contract situation.

    As things stand we need a LB, RWF, DM and RB in addition to the CAM. If I were boss I would rotate Sead and Iwobi for the LWF position, Lacazette and Aubameyang as rotational CF’s depending on the opposition and strategy, get Mhkitaryan stationed permanently out on the right.

    If you can do watch our games when we have Ozil and Mhkitaryan on at the same time, you would realize we seem weaker when we have them both playing at the same time.

  5. Thanks Yogi for another excellent piece and Happy Thanksgiving to all on this side of the pond.

    What’s enjoyable about Emery is that he is clear with what he says and whilr it might sometimes be too straightforward, its what is needed. I always enjoyed the purity of the futbol Arsene wanted to llay and Pep has played at every stop but Emery plays a very similar attacking style but just adds or wants to add that defensive solidarity.

    We will continue to push on and the more and more the players get used to Emery the better we will get but as will the continued unbeaten run. The players surely know and feel the fact that things have changed significantly.

  6. lari03,

    I don’t beleive in wishing my life away. The Arsenal I support isn’t a fantasy side. I cant swap players at will. As cannot the Bat pack.. I hope that Emery can get what he needs from Ozil ,and Mesut can prove to be more useful than his numerous detractors beleive he is capable of being. As I alluded to earlier, he not got a magic wand.

  7. lari03,

    I tend to disagree about Ozil, he actually does press and if you watch him, he presses the player not by first attacking the player but instead cutting out the first obvious pass. Then once he does that, then he presses the man which actually is a really good thing because with Lacazette pressing the CB, Ozil is generally cutting out the DM or pivot of the other team knowing he has Torriera and Xhaka pressing behind him.

    I think the problem you speak of is generally the ouput of Mhkitaryan who at times looks disinterested for stretches but then when he finally settles into the match will press with the team. The other difference is that Mhkitaryan doesn’t press like Iwobi who presses higher alongside Lacazette. The odd thing is that, some of our players seem to need to settle into the match with possession first before they seem to start the press whereas a player like Lacazette or even Iwobi seem to want to do it from the start.

  8. While the defence continues to be the focus, the dearth of goals in the last half-dozen games (all comps) needs to be examined. It may be a blip, of course, but a few more at crucial moments would have resulted in wins rather than draws and (in terms of the EPL) a current top four place.
    Emery will continue to press the players to up their games but I believe he will have a time limit in mind. At some point, the next level will have to be reached or replacements will be considered. No-one appears to have a guaranteed spot.
    A problem is that he needs finances to obtain players to get into the CL but he needs the CL to generate those funds.

  9. Noting the comments about magic wands er. – I think we can all agree to the one indisputable trueism

    Georgie graham is magic he wears a magic hat

  10. Blue Yonder,

    Yes I think we need to look at the draws, especially against Wolves and think we should have won that game. We all know Aubameyang is a pretty good striker, but he is human so he missed a few opportunities, but our second half lucky streak will fail against disciplined teams when we are playing with a handicap on our left flank.

    We need to get a replacement for Alexis Sanchez skill wise, which is why Nicholas Pepe should be a real transfer target for the summer, if he won’t come during the January transfer window.

  11. With news saying Nacho is out at least through the NLD, now is the time for Sead to either show Emery he has his LB or….

  12. So over the busy Christmas period, Emery has spoken specifically about Nketiah, Smith-Rowe, Willock and Maitland-Niles getting a chance to prove themselves in the big moments, meaning wr will see them more.

  13. I think Willock needs to show if he can make the cut, because AMN has shown he can deliver. We need confident displays and great skill to convince everyone our youth players deserve a place.

    I agree with C that Sead needs to step up as LB, but I think he’s really better with less rigorous defensive duties.

  14. lari03,

    The thing with Willock is that you have to remember that he just turned 19 in August and that he has a physicality about his play that most his age don’t have. He will come good just like his 2 older brothers but unlike them, we have to keep him. Maitland-Niles has shown he is ready to fill in behind Torriera and/or Xhaka.

    Sead has shown he has the ability and what a match he had against Liverpool only just coming back from injury. The thing with him is that he just needs to stay fit.

  15. Evening,

    Funny you should end on our diamond needs coupled with America.
    According to a poster that frequents on both here and 7, or at least use to, like myself. Arsenal apparently are at the forefront of stat based acquisitions, similar to certain sports in the land of the free*
    The aim being if I remember correctly, identifying special talent earlier for obvious reasons.

    *thanks giving huh, how ironic. For some…

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