The Football Association welcomed Unai Emery to English football last night with a charge of improper conduct for kicking a water bottle. A one-match ban is likely given the FA’s history. It’s no surprise and so long as Arsenal play the game to its’ fullest extent, will see him absent from the touchline at Blackpool.
Is there a “threshold for deception” equivalent in this case? Should the Spaniard be worried the bottle hit a member of the crowd? I suspect this has more to do with it. Bufton-Tufton of the FA doesn’t appreciate these foreign Johnnies coming over here with their fancy passes with the outside of the boot. No! A firm English size 10 through the ball to the head of the centre-forward. That’s what we demand and that’s what we will get!
A threshold for deception? What the hell is that? Salah hit the turf in a deliberate attempt to deceive the referee and succeeded. Anywhere else on the pitch, Salah isn’t even getting a free-kick. Arsenal’s back three / four are forewarned; it’s going to be Das Boot on Saturday evening.
The visit to Anfield is a timely reminder that progress doesn’t come quickly. Klopp took charge in October 2015; three years later and net transfer dealings of approximately £112m, he sees his team six points clear at the top. With Tottenham in second place, welcome to the tenth circle of footballing hell.
Liverpool’s rate of progress is the same we’re looking at with Arsenal under Emery. Gradually rising up the league and frankly, if the Spaniard gets us to a Champions League final in a couple of years, I for one will be mightily impressed. I’d rather he went one better and guided the team to victory, however.
Yardsticks, Benchmarks and Rules of Thumb
Social media is a barometer for lunacy and nothing else. Calls for Unai Emery’s head at this stage of the season is attention-seeking. Or demanding failure to protect a legacy. Bear in mind, however, that names were ‘made’ as the cacophony for Wenger’s head reached its’ crescendo. It worked once, etc.
Inevitably, talk at yesterday’s press conference brought up Liverpool’s 19-match unbeaten run. They are halfway invincible. It’s one-up of Guardiola’s pseudo-Invincibles of last season and the second longest in Premier League history. And still a long way to go. The minute talk of remaining unbeaten hits the back pages runs of this magnitude tend to end. They did with City and Chelsea beforehand, why should this be any different?
Yet it could be and we have to face the fact that going unbeaten is something another club will achieve. We were the second club in English professional football to achieve the feat, it’s unlikely there won’t be a third. Nor, I suspect, will we wait over a century for it to happen. All we can do is hope the players end Liverpool’s run this weekend.
Unai Emery wants more than that with the trip to Anfield a yardstick. After blitzing Liverpool in the 2016 Europa League final, Emery is seeking to emulate their progress:
This progress is also one example for us, now, in our moment. But we need to be very, very demanding of ourselves to do this step quickly in our way. But we need also time, and sometimes the
patienceis very importantfor us.
Rome wasn’t built in a day but football expects that to happen. I don’t know that it is necessarily a new concept. It’s more intense now with the immediacy of news and opinion but football supporters aren’t the most patient bunch.
Points to Prove This Winter
The reality is that we need a new back four and to overhaul the midfield. Ever Banega’s name is mentioned once again as a transfer target this winter but the defence is a more immediate concern. Yes, defending from the front is the mantra and we shouldn’t overlook one area of the team just to sate our desire in another.
With the purse strings tightened, this is a genuine test of Raul and Sven’s abilities. The latter’s diamond eye needs focusing while the former’s negotiating skills are firmly in the spotlight. It would be nice if we got a deal or two completed before the cup tie at Blackpool so that player(s) are bedded in for the trip to West Ham.
But this is Arsenal and expecting quick action is too much…