Feeling Invincible: Emery’s Feelgood Factor

Unai Emery is rightly being lauded for being pro-active during the half-time break on Sunday.

Having gesticulated his way through the first half, he slumped in his seat a few minutes before the interval contemplating his actions. From 1 – 0 up and dominating, we were 2 – 1 down and reeling. Removing Mkhitaryan and Iwobi came as no surprise. The former did little throughout the first half and the latter faded after being integral to our early ‘success’.

Match of the Day 2 produced a graphic which showed substitutes scored eight and assisted in seven goals for us this season. The manager’s direct intervention impacted on every game bar the opening two in the Premier League. We’ve taken more points in the second half than any other team. In the league table based on half-time results, we’d be 18th.

It’s glib to suggest that if he got the team selection right in the first place…

And entirely wrong. This is a manager whose Plan A has a genuine Plan B. Sunday is an excellent example of how we played differently. There were no wingers with Lacazette and Aubameyang providing the width, stretching the defence and creating space for Aaron Ramsey to exploit. Who would have thought the Welshman would be so effective in his favoured role.

It’s different to the way Mesut Özil plays. It’s not as creative although Ramsey ended the derby with two assists. Which by curious coincidence is the number of league titles won by Tottenham. Ramsey interprets the role as augmenting the strikers; being there with to link the ‘creatives’ to the finishers and providing goals himself.

Both types of #10 have reaped rewards for us this season. Against Leicester, the German was unplayable for a spell which brought us three points. Ramsey similarly so yesterday.

All Aboard The Pork Chop Express

The obvious question is which suits Emery better? The energy and application of Ramsey or the fleeting genius of Özil? Both are capable of outstanding games and of being anonymous. I am loathe to criticise Ramsey after Sunday but one match a season does not make. He played very well but like Özil, shows little of the consistency which justifies an enormous pay packet.

Inevitably, there were suggestions that selling the German in January and giving his money to Ramsey was the best solution for the club. If the rumours of Özil’s strop are true, it’s certainly worth considering.

And gets away from the point of today’s post. Namely, the inspiring work of the boss at any time during the game. We’re not rigidly stuck in a 60-minute cycle before substitutions.

Emery observed afterwards that the changes were one of the scenarios planned before the game. His thinking wasn’t the proverbial moment of inspiration on the touchline, the outcome was considered possible. We might be chasing the game and this is how to react. There were, by inference, more options; this was the one he and his coaches deemed the best solution.

And it is collaborative. Coaches are up and down off the bench at varying points, not sitting quietly and watching. It’s modern football management; Pep relies heavily on his backroom staff, Klopp likewise.

Compared to what we became accustomed to, it’s a fundamental shift in thinking. Arsène’s impact on English football was similarly dynamic; it’s cyclical and there more evolutions in managerial style to come.

There’s no doubt, however, that it feels good to have an interventionist at the helm. The squad need it and feed off it. As a result, we see vastly improved performances and points taken which seemed destined to elude us.

The Pillars Of Heaven Are Quaking

There’s a genuine ‘feelgood factor’ from the performance as much as the result. Where previously there were questions about slow starts and unconvincing draws, belief surged. A repeat of that tomorrow wouldn’t go amiss.

What happens though, if the unthinkable occurs? The unmentionable where a dire Manchester United side – should they be called ‘Eric’s’? – ends the unbeaten run. Defeat is coming – probably – between now and the end of the season; how deep will it puncture the good feelings around the place?

Not much, I hope; this is the start of a new era and with the fight displayed at the weekend, we know what the squad is capable of. Imagine what it might be like when it’s filled with players hungry for success?

If the worst happens, it’s worth remembering what ol’ Jack Burton says at moments like this.

Elsewhere, the FA charged Arsenal and Spurs for failing to control their players. They already gave Tottenham a refund by not charging Son; hiding behind ‘the referee saw it’ isn’t an excuse and nor is Keith Hackett’s wilful misinterpretation of the Laws of the Game as I observed in yesterday’s comments section.

Finally, the FA Cup sees us travel to Blackpool or Solihull Moors in the third round. Blackpool are favourites with the second round replay at their gaff but you never know. If Solihull win, I believe that the FA changed the rules a few years back so that the tie can’t be switched to the Emirates. A tie at a non-league ground? Bit of a culture shock for most of the squad, that’s for sure.

’til Tomrrow.

46 thoughts on “Feeling Invincible: Emery’s Feelgood Factor

  1. “We’re not rigidly stuck in a 60 minute cycle before substitutions”.
    Take a bow Yogi, for never was a truer word said. 😉

  2. Could be a culture shock for the newer players YW but we did play at Lincoln back in 2017.

    You could well be right to suggest that a dynamic runner from midfield works better with Emery’s system than a play making #10, and that’s regardless of if we’re talking about Ramsey and Ozil or two completely different players.

    And while Ramsey does only have one PL goal to his name he is joint top of the assist charts with six this season.

  3. The rampaging cup run past Lincoln City in the quarter finals and Sutton United in the 5th round. Walcott and Perez showing their calibre (where are they now?)

    andy1886:
    Could be a culture shock for the newer players YW but we did play at Lincoln back in 2017.

  4. In depth analysis from Sunday:

    The Good: Unai Emery; Toreirra; PEA; Laca; Ramsey; Bellerin
    The Bad: Leno (poor keeping for Dier’s header), Iwobi
    The Ugly: Mkhitaryan (looks a shadow of his Dortmund self)
    Subplot: The Big O

  5. I can’t see Mkhitaryan lasting, i would almost accept his being sold and keeping Ramsey but adding in another attacking midfielder in Jan.

    For tomorrows game, i’m not so confident, i was slightly worried about Spurs but since it was at the Emirates i was more anxious about Man u away at OT and the odd timing of the fixture. Given most teams have only had 2/3 days rest and prep, it’s staggering that the premier league didn’t give a weeks break.

    Regardless of form, where they are in the league, who their current manager is and whatever injury crisis they have Man u ALWAYS turn up against us at OT. Jose has broken many trends in recent years so let’s hope that is also one of them.

  6. I went and basked in the full 90 again last night. I thought Iwobi and Mkhitaryan were good. Iwobi combined well with Kolasinac, but Mkhitaryan pressed relentlessly as well. Both were at the core of that blistering start, when we should have been two or three up before Spurs could even into our half.

    The two goals were out of the blue, and dodgy – the first one most of all.

    But once we were down, we clearly needed a lift from somewhere and Emery isn’t the kind to wait and see. I don’t think either player has anything to be ashamed of, which is what you’d usually expect if you’re hooked at half time.

  7. Birdkamp,

    Yeah, i watched the full game last night. Saw MOTD where Shearer said they were ineffective, i don’t think Iwobi was ineffective, his running and pace was causing them huge problems. The changes came because Laca has more of a goal threat than Mkhitaryan and Iwobi towards the end was getting a bit predictable, throwing in Ramsey was a game changer, i fully agree with MOTD analysis that Ramsey addition further behind Laca and Auba threw tottenham for six, they didn’t know who to mark, Auba was popping up on left, right, middle whilst Ramsey expoited any space that it made.

    Mkhitaryan though, i still can’t see him lasting…..

  8. So, if Ozil doesn’t feature tomorrow night, considering the way Emery has made it play out like there is a fallout. In public, no less. Is that it at Arsenal for Mesut?

    If so, how does it play out?

    I can only really see it being a loan deal with us subsidising the wages. He’s not going to let that contract go, and no one in their right mind is going to pick that weekly wage up at this stage. Surely?

  9. MesutsLeftFoot,

    Yeah, hard to say. I can see why HM’s getting picked. He knows what he’s doing off the ball, which is obvs a big consideration for UE, but maybe isn’t producing on the ball at the moment. You’d probably want someone a bit more dynamic in that role as well. But I’m inclined to think there’s more to come. It’s still pretty early for him all told.

    Given what we’re used to, it’s hard for me to conceive of such a sweeping change at HT! That formation and gameplan just wouldn’t have worked with the personnel that started the first half. And it has little to do with performance or quality.

    As these dramatic HT changes are made with a system in mind I’m sure the players don’t take it personally. Also, if ever there were a plan tailor-made for Ramsey, that was it; a solid two behind him and two strikers ahead.

  10. Last thing – Kolasinac and Bellerin are clearly the players who benefit most in a 3-4-3, but I think the midfield two are close behind. Xhaka can drop a bit deeper for the ball, knowing that he doesn’t have to pick up attackers as much, while Torreira can push up and win it earlier, which suits him too. And the team, because without an obvious playmaker it helps to win the ball high – from what I can tell.

  11. It is about the manager and how he has impacted not just the squad but the club as a whole…even Freddie and Mert have stated the impact Emery has had and wants to instill at the club.

    As far as #10’s under Emery, well he has actually won with different types. Emery has won with all types of 10’s, rather its Silva, Mata, Banega, or even Raktik; we know he is adaptable with players and how he plays. For the talk of Ozil not showing up for the NLD, people forget he played well for the full 90 against Liverpool. I think Ramsey is a good player who has flashes but lacks consistency. The one thing we know for sure, based on Emery’s presser is that the Ramsey contract situation is closed.

  12. Damon,

    On the opposite end, what if he plays and puts in a performance, do people remember the parts he played during thus unbeaten run including at Liverpool or do they hold onto Bournemouth and the NLD?

  13. I honestly think that if Jose stays as manager, he’ll try and sign Ozil in Jan…If they really want him, i say make sure we fleece them for at least 40m

  14. A great win on Sunday.

    The Club – Manager faces a gigantic decision. Ozil had two and a half years left on his contract. That is nigh on 40 million in wages. Is Ozil the type of Player that Emery wants?

    Ozil was not missed at the weekend. He Ozil has shied away with a bad Back syndrome in more than one occasion.

    The short thrift answers by Emery re the whereabouts of Ozil demonstrate the “froid guerre” between the Player and the Club.
    Ramsey played well but in my opinion this does not mean he should be given a reprieve.

    For those wages We could bring in at least 2-3 Players.

  15. Ras, there is a good deal of sense in your opinion. However, I need to mention that I am an Ozil fan. When he is fit, Ozil contributes a play making ability unrivaled on the team.

  16. Hello all, good chatter this morning and thanks for the post. Why has Ramsey been so effective as a super sub? I seem to recall him being relatively ineffective when playing the full 90 this season. Maybe his whole shtick of ‘make runs from deep’ is more effective later in the match. Hell those CBs have been chasing Auba around all game so they must be tired.

    On ozil, i have an interesting thought that plays into Unai’s theory. It feels like more of a team system, where the schemes, attack patterns, formations actually help us to create goals. In the past we would rely on the magic moment, Cesc would see the glimpse in RVPs eyes and hit him with the perfect throughball. Now it’s blatantly obvious what we are trying to do in attack (low crosses from wing backs) but it is working well. It just seems like Unai makes it easier on the squad.

    Not to rant too much but there are similarities to my Chicago Bears in the NFL. For over a decade they had been in this rut, same style of play with short safe plays, emphasis on defense. Watching the team you could see how _hard_ we hard to work to advance the ball. Other teams would come to town and it would be like something from a new era, offense looked _easy_, it was fast, modern looking.

    This year the bears have a new coach, new ideas, breaking the mold of past managers. Now the offense is more potent and the SYSTEM helps the players, and gets the best out of the players we have. The formation makes it easy to get open and take up good positions and the offense is scoring. We are winning the big games where we used to crumble… Lets hope the boys keep it up , agree touch match coming tomorrow but we need to just show up and compete. As long as we dont get steamrolled (i dont think we will) i think our confidence stays high

  17. Great post again Yogi

    It would be great if we can consolidate our run win against spurs with another 3 points at Old Trafford. I am confident we can find a way to get a result.

    Regarding Ozil my thoughts are well documented. Motivation and work ethic have never been his strong suit and he has always been somewhat of a liability in the defensive part of the game. Patrick Vierra said about Bobby Pires that a team will compensate for a purely flair player who does not contribute to the total game if he brings enough consistent positive influence on the attacking end to make that compensation worthwhile. Unfortunately its clear for whatever reason Ozil’s ability to provide a consistent positive influence on the attacking end has severely faded in the last 2 1/2 years. The excuses we have been hearing about Arsene’s tactics and lack of finishing talent on the squad don’t apply anymore and his play and consistency this season has not improved. I think its a combination of the early appearance of Father Time in a player who does not have the energy to fight thru it. No manager can turn back Father Time and a player like Ozil has to motivate himself. I think Emery felt he had to give Ozil some time to reengergize himself but it has not worked and dropping him is the last thing he can do other then selling. Unfortunately I can’t imagine any team taking his wages off our hands so it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

  18. The start of the downward arc for different players comes at variable ages but when a player hits a certain point the magical moments that just seemed to happen and the things that used to come easy stop being automatic. If the player is motivated enough he can make a concerted effort to change his game to compensate and work harder to contribute more intangibles. I would not be shocked if dropping him for a few games lights a short lived fire under Mesut. Hopefully I am wrong but its been 2 1/2 years now and I don’t really see Mesut as the type of player who has the energy to fight thru this to make himself consistently effective again.

  19. Bill,

    Good points about our previous excuses… We have two of the most potent strikers upfront and Ozil should be delighted to choose how to play. Want willing runners behind? Feed Auba or our wingbacks. Slower build up with Laca? Close control, movement, concise short passes thru midfield etc. You’ve got a midfield monster behind you shoring things up and wing backs that are always getting forward. It seems like a great spot for Ozil but something is not there and it HAS to be the work ethic. Shame really. Hard work is the great equalizer. It is what lets someone like Jamie Vardy rise to the top and win the EPL. Ozil has world class talent but it is getting wasted. It is really embarrassing actually to me as a viewer, Unai just wants him to care, to battle, to fight and play hard and Ozil isnt up to it.

  20. These players have had their whole lives to train, lift weights, become stronger. It’s up to them to go the extra mile and work hard, pushing themselves to the limit. No excuses if your opponent is more fit, more physical, and more willing to run. The team against spurs was full of fighters , up to the pace and physicality required in the derby match! Hell we SET the pace early on which was brilliant. Come out of the gates blitzing , on the front foot, imposing our will on the poor spuds.

  21. Two Owls,

    Two Owls I never said I was not an Ozil admirer. It’s really about what Emery wants and requires.

    There is no doubting the quality of Ozil. Under AW Ozil was given special treatment. Under Wenger Ozil went AWOL a number of times.

    Emery is not harbouring any Divas within the squad. The World can see that the Team is more than functionable without Ozil.

    The profligacy under the AW reign is over. The indulgence of certain Players i is over.

    If you look at the Players signed under AW I’m sure that Torreira would never have been signed under Wenger.
    He rarely went prospecting in Série A.

  22. Birdkamp,

    On the Iwobi / Micki interpretation, I’m with you. I thought they were integral to our fast start, and by not giving their oppo a rest, they paved the way for the second half changes to bear fruit. They’ve both still got plenty to offer this squad. Wot is it with us lot? Its not a ferkin stockmarket.

  23. the thing is, is Mkhi worth 200k a week whilst Ramsey isn’t? For me, Mkhi has been consistently average all this season, even the games he scored in he’s not looked the player we know he’s capable of being.

    Ozil, i don’t know, i’m so lost. On his day, get’s into any team in the league, but without him, we’ve got someone in the same position who’s running more, closing down as part of the team, we’re not losing creativity or goal threat in his absence….But when he brings his A game he just offers so much.But is it worth 350k a week……I just don’t know.

    As a Scot who grew up in a tiny french town i’ve always followed french football, the interest in Pepe is warranted. He’s very similar to Zaha, but younger, he’s strong, creative, very fast and tricky to play against, but not sure we’ll get him as a LOT of big teams are looking at him now and i believe his buy out is 50million euros. Not sure if we’ll be willing to pay that.

    What is interesting is Raboit, refused the contract, i really wonder if we can try and get a cut price deal in Jan using Emery as apparently the two got along very well. He’d be a great addition especially beside Torriera

  24. Thrillbo

    Work ethic and motivation has never been Ozils strong suit but it didn’t matter because he was talented enough that he could be influential. I suspect the biggest difference now is Father Time has caught up with him a little early and the magical moments that just used to materialize with the ball on his left foot and the things that used to come very easy to him no longer happen automatically.

    The great thing about this year is even though we have gotten very little consistent positive influence from any of our 3 top “technical creative midfielders” and yet we can see first hand how effective we can be as long as we play solid team defense and move the ball forward into the attacking zones quickly and have a couple of top goal scorers to finish the moves.

  25. We have been conditioned by years of Wenger ball to believe you need a creative genius in the attacking midfield spot. Having that “technical creative flair player” in the #10 role is not a bad thing as long as he does not slow down the team. However again we have seen first hand that you can thrive without the influence from that sort of player.

  26. Bill,

    Mate, you don’t become a success at Madrid, win German Player of the Year, become a key cog in a World Cul winning side and get to where he and is if you lack motivation and/or work ethic.

  27. Ozil is this generations Riquelme. So supremely talented with a languid style that doesn’t always look like he is working but all his teammates and coachessee the talent and the things that us supporters don’t or are incapable of such as making a run that seems like its just because when in reality jts creating space.

    I will say this, 2 matches without Ozil and one would think he has been absolute pants all season. 1 performance and that Fulham goal from Ramsey and one would think Ramsey has been brilliant all season. Just some food for thought.

  28. C

    We have not gotten consistent positive influence from any of our 3 highly rated creative midfield players. Ozil, Mkhitaryan and Ramsey have all had a good game here or there but the reality is they have all been mostly underwhelming.

  29. Bill,

    Micki , Iwobi, and Rambo all had better games than the much lauded Erickson and Alli. Even Ozil gave them a run.
    I’m mindful that we are talking our joy away. 19 games. We haven’t got a smooth running machine in which Messi, Silva, deBruyne, get to thrive. Yet.
    There are very few playmakers in the league that have had the highs our boys have reached , even fleetingly, this year. Let it grow

  30. Careful what you wish for!!! We got our Arsenal back that’s what. We all love Wenger but even the divas now know and have quietly begrudgingly in their own heads accepted he had to step aside for a young hungry fresh manager.

  31. Emery has put the enthusiasm back into the club, so much so folk can even go back onto a blog and read c and bill bang on back n forth all day about a load of old bollocks!!

  32. I see Kosh is getting another run out with the kids tonite. 1-0 down at Pompey at HT. but he didn’t score it.

  33. ferkov,

    Its cause my best mate Bill hates creative players…..you either defend or score goals, nothing unless in the middle for him with the exceptions of Gilberto Silva, Torriera and Vieira.

  34. C – I have to argue against Ozils ethic. How come the 40 year old Lichtensteiner is still rampaging up and down the flanks but ozil can’t even play in a run of the mill league match against lower tier opposition? Who cares if the game is too ‘physical’ , the gifted midfield magicians find ways to negative the oppositions physicality and literally dance circles around them while they try to tackle and press, making them look a fool. The best creators know how to take advantage of the oppositions aggression. I mean hell for years we complained that teams always parked the bus and negated space behind. Now we have teams pressing us all the way up to our goalkeeper, ACRES of space, yet no Ozil playing in those passes behind!

  35. Haha so my coworker whose a Spuds supporter echoed what Poch said, only celebrate wins on social media after trophies which is ironic since they have won fuck all..

  36. thrillbo,

    Your paying attention to Bournemouth and the NLD but he was ever present against Liverpool, played a physical Leicester side off the pitch and in our unbeaten run has played his role. For all the talk of Ramzey, and rightfully so, in the FA Cup Final, it was Ozil who was head and shoulders abover EVERY SINGLE PLAYER in the semi’s against Citeh and in that same Final he was magical. I think all to often he gets tagged as lazy or lacks work ethic and when he gets dropped its because of rhat yet I’m pretty sure playing against Liverpool and Citeh are more demanding than Bournemouth and there he was. Are there matches wwre you and I want morw from Ozil, absolutely but there ua NO WAY IN HELL that he has had the career that he has had if he didn’t have a tremendous work ethic to go along with his world class talent.

    Again, I think both Ramsey and Ozil are quality players but as suppprters most run with the narratives of the two players no matter their impact…Ramsey the enegizer bunny and Ozil the languid creator.

  37. Well posters you have absolutely been worth the non-admission fee (thank you YW)

    From astute comments to very funny put downs. Excellent work thank you all. There are no winners or losers here.

    I was just about to comment on bill and c show returns when Dukey waded in. LOL

    The whole debate is fascinating though. The reality is that UI is just ploughing on with his own work and it is paying dividends.

    7am kick off here and I am so greedy for another big performance. COYG

  38. Dukey:
    Emery has put the enthusiasm back into the club,so much so folk can even go back onto a blog and read c and bill bang on back n forth all day about a load of oldbollocks!!

    Glad to see you back Dukey👍

Comments are closed.