BATE Borisov 1 – 0 Arsenal
You can use what expletive you want but we end up at the same place: last night was simply not good enough. The coach, the players; they failed in their respective roles. Unai Emery got his selection wrong and the players – without exception – failed to perform.
It might have been very different. Inside the first 10 minutes or so, we created four good opportunities to score. A landslide was on the cards; it never came. For the remaining 80 minutes, we barely created four presentable opportunities.
Inevitably, the coach came under scrutiny and rightly so. He chose the XI, decided BATE warranted a back-five with Kolasinac the sole attacking outlet for 75 minutes. It was far too conservative, leading to the wisdom of leaving Mesut Ozil at home. Would he have fared any better given the state of the pitch and the performance of the rest of the XI? Your assertion he would is as much speculation as mine that he wouldn’t; we’ll never know.
On the Emirates carpet next week, you can bet he starts because Emery is plum out of options. Alexandre Lacazette’s red card which means he misses next week. Given his dismissal was for violent conduct, UEFA are thankfully lenient.
Do you see what I did there? Assumed we’ll win the second leg which given the absolute sh*tshow last night is far from certain. Does the name Winterslag mean anything? PSV Eindhoven? PAOK Salonika?
Emery is under fire from every direction. The tactics, selection and romantic notion that we played anything like entertaining football last season. Wengerball – RIP 2011 – didn’t exist in 2017/18; stop trying to make out it did. That doesn’t relieve the Spaniard of any criticism for what has been largely uninspiring performances but does offer a little context.
Having It On Your Toes
Unai Emery’s reputation for thorough preparation of the players is being shredded by the current squad. He’s trying to make a silk purse from the sow’s ear of a squad he inherited. And yes, he did inherit it bar Leno, Torreira and Guendouzi. Denis Suarez, a strange signing even for a loan deal, surely sees the prospects of a permanent move in the summer grow remoter every time he fails to break into the first XI following poor performances?
That’s not to single the midfielder out for last night. He was as ineffective as a substitute as any of those who played for 90 minutes.
While the focus is on the players and Emery, the impact of poor leadership above them as well as the tepid ownership of Enos should not escape censure. These ingredients all create the current situation; lack of investment, mismanagement by Gazidis whose departure to Milan is looking more like a man running from the problems he created with every passing day.
The turmoil among the suits exacerbates the problems on the pitch. For a company with turnover of close to £400m to be able to complete only loan deals underlines the incompetence of the former regime. And the pain is felt by us.
Until this shower is ripped apart and replaced by players who want to play for the Arsenal, who have the courage to do so and the ambition we need. Too many of the squad remain in the comfort zone built for them and to some extent, enabled by the current regime. Emery is either unable or unwilling to force more from the players.
A One-Legged Man In An Arse-Kicking Competition
We give them the excuse that they are confused by his tactics and system but that just empowers the players further. It’s not their fault, it’s all the indecisive coach; billhooks. Half the problem is that Emery can’t rely on the defence to perform so has to try to accommodate a solution to that as well as feeding two prolific strikers. All in 11 players from a squad thin on the ground in motivation.
Emery suffers from poor PR; he relies on Arsenal, after all, leaving him in the same boat as Wenger. Hung out to dry by the suits lack of public support, he is hung, drawn and quartered on anti-social media by a mix of frustration and bitterness.
Maybe he is our Moyes but until we back in a couple of transfer windows with proper investment, he is always using a chocolate teapot to serve the heady brew of improvement. And nothing will change until he is given porcelain to work with.