BATE Review: What An Utter Shower

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.

’til Tomorrow.

63 thoughts on “BATE Review: What An Utter Shower

  1. Jonnygunner says:

    I think you’ll find thats called a clean sweep my friends 🙋🏼‍♂️

  2. Pete the Thirst says:

    Well that was rather sh!te last night.

    We’re in a strange place right now. Last season Wenger got away with a lot because ‘the players need to take the blame’. Right now Emery is getting a lot of criticism because ‘the players aren’t being coached’. The truth as ever is somewhere in between. Some players appear to have downed tools, while some of Emery’s tactics seem odd.

    On the positive side the return leg has sold out so a lot of fans will be able to watch a 5-0 thumping live!

  3. Pete the Thirst says:

    The enigma that is Kolasinac appeared again last night. Very dangerous on the wing, but useless in defence. His effort to get to the ball for the BATE headed goal was woeful.

    The solution is to play him as a winger, with Nacho behind. He causes problems in a John Robertson sort of way: ugly but effective.

  4. HenryNorrisDialSquare says:

    Completely agree with your sentiments Yogi. But will he be given the time to do so? Will they actually back him in the summer with serious intent!? It’s been far to comfortable at Arsenal for sometime now. They are comfortable taking the fan’s money and providing them with a sub standard product. “Don’t worry” they cry to each other in the board room. Proclaiming that “there’s plenty more where that came from!”

    Wealth has seen the suits grow fat and directionless. The players and defensive coaches incompetent. The owner embezzling funds to finance his delusions outside of the Emirates.

    Whilst at the bottom of the rung, us fan’s continue to wade through the mire in complete

    The Arsenal let us down on Valentines Day.

    It’s like treating the Mrs to all these gifts and then she tells you she’s on her period.

    We lost to a team that looks like a Wi-Fi password!

    Sum’s it up!!!

  5. George Graham says:


    I think you are all being harsh on the boys.The conditions were rough and it was very cold for them.

    Problem is with the fans. Fickle Fickle Fickle.

    As ArsenalFanTV shows, the fans are the worst, so quick to moan and groan and not show support. They complain about an owner all the time, but he has spent a fortune – just badly – on Lacazette, aubameyang, wages for mikatarian and Ozil and got rid of that pint sized waster to Utd.

    Chins up, support your team. Only one point off top 4 and can still win the Europa Cup

  6. Mattack says:

    Spot on YW!

    I would humbly suggest that shower could be replaced with shit shower…

  7. YW says:

    > They complain about an owner all the time, but he has spent a fortune – just badly –
    > on Lacazette, aubameyang, wages for mikatarian and Ozil and got rid of that
    > pint sized waster to Utd.

    Just a couple of pointers, GG. Grammar matters; capitalise names. Hyphens help. So does spellcheck.

    Oh, and engaging brain before typing. Stops me looking at a raft of red lines where the grammar software picks up all the errors. Just makes my life easier, that’s all.

    Other than that, welcome to the club…

  8. C says:

    Here’s a question I have pondered: Would I be comfortable and okay with Emery saying, ‘we are going all out attack and defense do what you can to do what you can!’?

    I actually think I would, I mean Aubameyang and Lacazette are as good a strike force as you can find when they get chances and if the problem with Ozil is tracking back and defending, outside of Torriera NOBODY defends. Fuck lets attack and then in the summer let Emery get a couple in, get Bellerin and Holding back and figure out the defense over the summer.

  9. HenryNorrisDialSquare says:

    Has the club employed a new spin doctor i.e. GG!?

    According to GG the fans are the worst and the club is run impeccably!

    I tell you what GG, come back and comment at the end of the season, when we’ve solidified a top four spot and won the Europa league and I’ll happily apologise profusely to you.

    Otherwise your comment’s have been noted and duly filed in the tray marked “bin”.

  10. C says:

    Ospina, Mert, Holding, Mustafi, Elneny, Maitland-Niles, Nelson, Giroud, Theo, Jack Willock.

    That XI beat BATE 4-2.

  11. Stone says:


    Very funny to hear you ctiticise other people’s grammar when you yourself still don’t know the difference between it’s and its (and sometimes even write it’s…..

  12. MikeSA says:

    I’ll be very surprised if we see Ozil on the pitch in the next leg.

    This is starting to reek of Wenger, do the same thing over and over to prove himself right.

    Fuck up 10 times but hit one pearler and he’ll claim he was right all along.

  13. HenryNorrisDialSquare says:

    So true C

    He may have had a point about the conditions though. However that said, are they really that pampered that a cold night in Borisov Arena, was too much to put in a performance!? Desire and lack of springs to mind.

    Hey ho, a 3-1 (that’s my prediction, with a squeaky bum finish on whether we concede a late one or not!) in the return leg and I suppose everything’s Rosie in the garden again! Season’s back on track, Spurs and Utd will be distracted by the CL and Chelsea with the EL and we sneak fourth and beat Chelsea in the final of the EL! (You never know it could happen!).

    Oh I forgot to mention, the Spuds completely capitulate and we finish above them in 3rd. (I can dream can’t I?)

  14. George Graham says:


    You are like Trump, trying to smear people by diverting attention.
    I bet you love ArsenalFanTV? Complaints and moaners alike.
    The team is not where it once was, searching for top4 place in Prem League.
    Be realistic in your judgements.

  15. Bill says:

    Great review Yogi. I did not watch the game so I can’t really comment other then to say it must have been pretty bad

    I understand why the expectations for Emery were over blown. However, no manager can reverse a whole decade of Wengerian stagnation and bad decisions in one fell swoop. The idea that he could coach up the team and improve all of the players was never realistic. We watched literally dozens of games like yesterday last year and to expect that any manager could completely expunge that type of performance with this group of players is just not realistic. We can’t expect miracles given the lack of top of table talent in our squad. If we actually step back and look at where we are there has clearly been improvement albeit less then we had hoped for. We are on pace to collect 11 more points then last season and we are only 1 point outside of 4th place and no matter how you slice it that represents progress. Last season we collected the fewest points in this century with no hope of 4th place by February. The only truly disappointing thing about this season is the goals conceded. I certainly expected that to improve. If we can somehow get back into the CL with this squad by either 4th place of Europa league then this season will be a huge success. It feels a bit disconcerting to be more optimistic then most everyone else of the blog but I accept that rebuilding this squad is going to take time.

  16. George Graham says:


    It will be a massive win at the Emirates.
    Last night was just one of those horrible away matches, that went wrong.

  17. HenryNorrisDialSquare says:

    GG I see you’re rescinding on you’re earlier statement of top 4 and EL winners, to just a BIG win in the return leg…!

    I also believe YW was merely stating facts and not trying to divert attention as you put it. Given the drivel we’ve been served up at the Emirates over the last decade (F.A. cup’s asides). Do you not think we’re not entitled to complain?

    Do you know how much we pay in season ticket prices, compared to other London clubs (Not including Liverpool, Man City or Utd where the punter is getting a better class of product on the pitch because of the cost of match day travel to those grounds from the South East). I’d say even Palace and Brentford are getting better bang for their buck than us (with the exception of West Ham!). Wolves have been an absolute joy to watch this season! Now that’s a real bargain at £429.

    As for realism, there isn’t a more realistic fan in the Premier league than a Gooner. It’s you who is the optimist (or possibly fantasist!) believing in a top 4 finish and EL trophy win!

  18. Waz says:

    Bar spurs and maybe chavski Emery seems to have no idea how to attack teams, I don’t know what all his analysis is for, he’s either not ruthless enough, his analysis is wrong or he’s just not got the charisma to get he players arrogant and attacking.

  19. gee says:

    “Wengerball – RIP 2011 – didn’t exist in 2017/18; stop trying to make out it did.”

    Revising history there a bit.

    We played quite a bit of Wengerball with little Carzola in the middle of the park and at times with Sanchez and Ozil in the team. Oh and we won 3 trohies and the game against Villa sticks in my mind than anythin Emery has produced. Even when we lost 2-1 away to United the football was good to watch. and losing the Europa Lg semi @ home we gave them a good game. Stop trying to make out that Wenger was shit for the last 7 yrs!!!.

  20. thrillbo says:

    Thanks for the post YW and thank you all for the chatter. The ghost of graham has suddenly graced ACLF, praise the sun. IMO , I do think i’ve seen progress from this team under Emery in certain regards. I heard last weekend we’ve only conceded 1 goal from corner kicks in EPL, maybe just a coincidence but we used to get bullied there. Pulled off a couple decent matches against the big teams this year as well…

    However the recent 5 at the back thing has to stop and it does reek of ye ole Wenger stubbornness. We are short on defenders yet we insist on playing 5 of them each match?? In matches against lower quality teams. As someone else mentioned, if we really need Kolasinac to provide thrust down the left, put him at LW and put Nacho as LB proper.

    Anyhoo i’m not saying I know the answer, we are all looking for the answer. Emery cant pull things around in 1 year though. Are we going to turn on our manager as quickly as the rest of the shite these days? Lets try to stay the ship instead of panicking like manure/chelski and the like. Hiring a manager for 1 year and then dumping them is a disaster…

    Imagine hiring someone to design a new car. After a year has passed, and hundreds of millions spent, the car is 1/4 done… The suits dont like it, people think it sucks. Trash it, start over again. Now we are back at the start instead of continuing the training. Emery has these guys at 101 level. City is a 5th phD grad student getting perfect marks in 505 level classes…

    (i stole the education analogy from my beloved chicago bears coach Matt Nagy)

  21. Bill says:

    2 years ago we collected 75 points and finished 1 point out of 4th place. Last season we collected 63 points and finished 12 points out of 4th. If Arsene was still manager we might well be on pace to collect less then 60 points and perhaps even finsish below 6th place

  22. thrillbo says:


    Most fans here wont tell you that the last 7 years of Wenger were ‘shite’. They will probably tell you that it was frustrating being stuck in the 2nd level of the premier league, without addressing seemingly clear-as-day issues in the squad. That is how i feel about the late Wenger era (post 2010 basically). We had brilliant days, moments to never forget, artful football… But in truth the team was never good enough to actually threaten the big boys, they didnt fear us. Most of the good players in EPL (like patrice Evra) actually enjoyed playing against the little boys at Arsenal because they knew exactly how to handle us.

    We want to be a fearsome team, ruthless and professional. If we cloned Lacazette in all our positions our squad would at least have the proper attitude, work rate, professionalism, technique, etc… Nobody in the EPL fears us right now sadly. I think all of us here just want to get back to that level of reputation in the EPL and honestly Europe. We are 2nd tier in England right now and 2nd tier in Europe =(. 2nd tier team playing players 1st rate dollar (turkish / german wunderkid please stand up!)

  23. Bill says:

    This season we are on pace to collect 74 points and we have a realistic chance to finish 4th. No matter how you slice it we are better off then we were.

  24. thrillbo says:


    I think 75 points would be brilliant this year, not sure we will get there though. We are sitting at 50 points with 12 games left. Need to win 8 games, draw 1, and lose 3. Do you Mr. Bill feel confident in us winning 8 more matches? Next one is against Southampton who always show us up. Shane long is licking his chops hoping to see Mustafi out there, Shane is hungry and wants to eat. Is Shane still on the saints??

  25. consolsbob says:

    So, fan wars reprise.

    It is like some people can’t wait to start a war with their own club’s fans. Does it make them feel big?

    It’s football, stupid.

  26. thrillbo says:

    Cbob – I think it is just the wintertime depression, seasonal depression. Every year in the winter the squad gets decimated, defenders dropping like flies, and we drop out of all cup competitions. Then hope is renewed when spring brings sunshine and showers, the gunners make a late push to move up the league table!

    This is also when our ‘like a new signing’ injured players return to the squad. We have any of those this year?

  27. gee says:


    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but i took exception to that quote as it is in my opinion false.

  28. YW says:


    > Stop trying to make out that Wenger was shit for the last 7 yrs!!!.

    You missed the point, which was two-fold. The first is that we only produced Wengerball sporadically, it wasn’t every week as is now being claimed. Secondly, it was deliberately provocative because people are willfully forgetting how shit we were last season. Which isn’t right at all.

    BTW, I bet for every game of Wengerball which is held up as proof it didn’t die, an example can be found to prove it did. That’s the nature of a non-title-winning side. Also, I’ll point to two losing finals in the League Cup to partially counter the three trophies in terms of the football on display. As for the first leg of last season’s UEL, Oestersunds at home or Atletico away. Dare I mention the Bayern fiascos – plural – home and away some of which didn’t end up 5 – 1 but still saw us outplayed?

    The point is, stop trying to make out Wenger was God. He was a great manager who became merely good before staying too long in one place.

  29. Alex Ice Cream says:


    I hate to break it to you but we won’t be winning anything. I doubt we will get top 4 either but maybe United will impload. Its our best hope.

    You blame the fans for losing to a non-league team? Really. Do you think the real GG would use this an excuse?

  30. YW says:


    Trump? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Man, don’t get me on politics; I upset a lot of people when I start on that.

    As for what I do and don’t like, try reading the blog before making yourself look stupid with a comment such as your 2.26.

    To respond to the earlier point:

    > I think you are all being harsh on the boys. The conditions were rough and it was very cold for them.

    Awww, bless. Poor little boys in the cold. They are supposed to be professionals; the weather is a fact of life. It was just cold. Not windy, not a hurricane nor sleeting rain. Just cold. Wouldn’t have been a factor if we’d won so it isn’t one when we lose.

    > Problem is with the fans. Fickle Fickle Fickle.

    For those of us that saw the desperate times of the late 70s/early 80s, well, being called “fickle” is quite funny. If any of us were fickle, we wouldn’t be here now writing about Arsenal.

  31. Blue Yonder says:

    In retrospect, the 22 game run that raised hopes was a false spring in that the transition from Wenger might be easier than we thought. The reality was and is that stagnation over so long a period can’t be over-turned that easily. If it could, it wouldn’t be an issue. We need a few windows – we all know that. And, next year, Emery will have this season under his belt (however indigestible that might be) and with a few squad changes we’ll have an opportunity to better assess our chances.

  32. Blue Yonder says:


    Good point about fans. I’m only watching on TV and I get cranky. Can’t imagine how fans who pay to attend (and travel to) Arsenal games must feel.

  33. Blue Yonder says:


    YW: The point is, stop trying to make out Wenger was God. He was a great manager who became merely good before staying too long in one place.

    That is it in a nutshell.

  34. thebigM says:

    Unsurprising to see a few of the Wenger die-hards raising their heads above the parapet.
    Some of these people seem to have very short memories – We are going through quite a dodgy spell at the moment – but the football this season has been an improvement on the some of the turgid crap served that was served up by Wenger over the last three years.
    How many away league away games did we win last year?

  35. thrillbo says:

    I wonder if GG is really just ol George from Blackburn coming back to say hello to his friends.

  36. Dukey says:

    We are in a mess, It’s clear we have an un settled camp. I think the whole erzil affair is causing our problems and Emery has to win it and produce his own team before we can write him off. The midfield v borisoff was the same away v the spammers, poor and lacking experience , xhaka, guendozi, mn, kolasinac. It’s nowhere near good enough. It’s annoying that the two best midfielders we currently have at the club are not playing but we have to now wait untill they are replaced with quality before we can call for emerys head.

  37. thrillbo says:


    I am bored at work here (3pm, so close to ice cold beer) and looking up some stats. We are getting good goal production from a number of areas. Laca & Auba are on pace to create 20 a piece (Goals & assists). That is 40 goals , a pretty hefty total. So we need that next tier of players , the theo tier lets call it. They should generate 10-15 goals a season. Rambo was on pace for that. Hector maybe too (5 assists in his shortened time this season), Iwobi is close (3 goal 4 assist). Ozil probably would have gotten there with full time.

    It seems like the offensive really has been there this year, if you ignore the offensive masterclass that is City. We are 53 Goals For, which is -6 from liverpool, -1 from spuds, and +1 from manure. Our D however is what separates us. Goals allowed 37, pool at 15, spuds 25, city at 20. We are talking 20 goals difference, pretty embarrassing really.

    Let me list off the teams with better defensive records…

    Newcastle , Crystal Palace, Leicester city, Watford, Wolves. We are nearly top tier offensive but quite average defensively. You would have to think that if we sorted out some of the defensive woes, the offensive output increases too. We can have some confidence going forwarding knowing you have a solid base behind you. Right now if one of our attacking players loses the ball we are 100% exposed and look vulnerable. Cant that big headed ugly bastard Steve Bould assert some influence? Use that beautiful bald head to produce some knowledge for these so-called defenders.

  38. Bill says:


    I don’t know if we will actually make it to 74 points but the point is that we are clearly in a better position then we were in mid Feb last season. If memory serves last season we had the worst away record since before George Graham and we were playing slow boring unimaginative football and our arrow was clearly pointed straight down. Arsene and Ivan were in save their job modes and that desperation is probably the reason for the new Ozil contract and trading Sanchez for Mkhitaryan rather then taking a transfer fee and those 2 poor decisions certainly have hamstrung us financially for this season and probably for several seasons. To suggest that we are worse off then last season seems hard to imagine.

  39. MikeSA says:

    I suspect the fun bus is in for repairs or maybe a service.

  40. Bill says:


    Ozil and Ramsey were playing last season and we were terrible. The idea that either of them are potentially difference making players seems hard to accept from anyone who has actually watched us play.

  41. thrillbo says:

    I actually went and dug up some more history here. It wasnt too long ago we were top 4 in both goals & defense. Our best in year recent times was the Leicester City year, gave up 36. However lately in the past 5 years we have been closer to 45-50 goals allowed rather then 35-40. That is the difference between top four and not top four yall.

  42. Bill says:

    I like Ramsey but I certainly would expect his primary focus to be on staying healthy and being ready for next season. He is going to have a lot of pressure to justify his wages

  43. Jonnygunner says:

    I like Ramsey but I certainly would expect his primary focus to be on staying healthy and being ready for next season. He is going to have a lot of pressure to justify his wages

    Sod next season Bill….he’s paid handsomely to play now for us.

  44. thrillbo says:

    I am waiting to see the look on C Ronaldo’s face when Ramsey gets the ball and spends 5 seconds turning left and right before passing him the ball =) However I do wish Ramsey the best, hope to see him flourish over there!

  45. Dukey says:

    Yeah, Rambo and ozil were playing last season but we had Wenger in charge. We upgraded the manager and downgraded the midfield.( albeit coz of the manager?). The article posted above about Raul is interesting. Could the erzil affair be coming from higher up? Is Emery being told not to play him to force him out? Seems very plausible. One thing is clear, both Rambo and ozil have been ostracized and both have had contract issues.

  46. Dukey says:

    They should both still be playing though untill we have suitable replacements.

  47. C says:


    I agree, I think a midfield and attack of:


    Would be brilliant. Mine as well attack since we can’t defend even when set up too!

  48. C says:

    On the bright side, our U23’s with help from a brace by Willock destroyed Spuds.

  49. Bill says:

    Jonnygunner: Sod next season Bill….he’s paid handsomely to play now for us.

    That is true but the manager has to use the players he feels are motivated to help the team win no matter what their reputation or how much they are paid. The one thing that made Ramsey different is his energy and now he has lost the reason to be motivated.

  50. Bill says:


    I agree, I think a midfield and attack of:


    Would be brilliant.Mine as well attack since we can’t defend even when set up too!


    You have spent the last 2 years criticizing Ramsey and trying to convince everyone he is useless. Now that he has a reason to be much less motivated and you decide its time to put him in the starting 11??? You can’t have it both ways.


    Ozil has lost his spot because he is no longer effective. If you watch the second half of the ManU game when he came on and the Cardiff game which are representative of the way he has played for the last 2 years then there is no reason to search for some obscure conspiracy to explain why he is no longer playing.

  51. Bill says:

    How long does a manager ignore what he actually sees on the pitch and continue to give a player the benefit of the doubt based on his reputation?

  52. LSG says:


    I like that midfield and attack. Can rotate Xhaka for Guendouzi also as needed.

  53. LSG says:


    In fact, I don’t think we will see Ramsey playing as much. He already had a knee problem the last week…

  54. Bill says:


    I am fan of Ramsey but I don’t really think he is a true difference making player even at his best. Now that he has signed a huge money contract at Juve I strongly doubt he will be playing at his best. May be I am wrong but Ramsey has every reason to be careful and if I were him I woukdnt want to take the risk of playing at full speed. In this scenario you can’t blame Emery for not using him.

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