Vitoria Review & Unai On The Future

Vitoria 1 – 1 Arsenal

I decided I wasn’t going to write anything until I could a positive from yesterday’s draw in Portugal. However, I succumbed when the best thing I could say was that we didn’t lose.

And I feel some relief for Shkodran Mustafi. How often has he been labelled Arsenal’s saviour? That said, it was the woodwork and Emi Martinez who kept us in what was another drab game.

Where was the joie d’vivre of last week’s 5 – 5 draw on Merseyside? The Europa League was ours to enjoy, to distract us from the sheer mundanity of the domestic league. But Emery couldn’t leave well alone. He sent us out with a game plan of not conceding and then nicking a win.

One goal is never enough with any Arsenal side of this era and yesterday continued that theme. Guileless, we didn’t manage a shot on target until Mustafi’s header with ten minutes to go. That ended a run of about 135 minutes without a shot on target.

One hundred and thirty-five minutes. Not evening in the darkest days of George Graham’s final campaign in charge can I remember us peddling such poor football.

Emery bottled answering a question about the lack of shots on target. Vitoria, he said, were well-organised defensively and in any case, it doesn’t matter because we achieved our objective of being top of the group.

Consider this, however. Vitoria scored three goals in this group and taken one point; all against Arsenal. Our record of conceding shots is worse than everyone else bar Astana, Dudelange and Krasnodar.

Mediocrity has become a byword associated with the club under Emery who is proving less adept with every passing game.

May God have mercy on our souls on Saturday at Leicester. Recent weeks suggest we could lose badly.

A Chink of Light

Most disturbing is the damage wrought on the players’ confidence. Emery shears a little off on a weekly basis.

Dani Ceballos, for example, looked every inch the outstanding player his reputation suggested against Burnley. Since then, he’s drifted aimlessly through the midfield. Questions are rightly asked about him and with every passing week, his valuation of €35m looks €20m too high.

Like others – Saka and Willock are the prime examples – playing in a system which has no discernible style nor attacking flair is damaging their self-belief. Emery is not a coach, it seems, who is able to lift spirits. He isn’t in my view a coach who can recover a nine-point gap to the top four which will emerge if we lose at the King Power.

We prayed that the returning defenders would shore us up at the back. That’s not happening. Tierney played well yesterday – or should that be less badly than the others? – but to pin our hopes on the Scot, Bellerin and Rob Holding is folly.

They can, and I’m sure, will improve our first-team defence. But we’re so fey in midfield and attack that it’s a short-term fix. The supply lines to Aubameyang and Lacazette aren’t there. Nicolas Pepe, meanwhile, is a £72m record-signing being turned into a Europa League player.

By the time Emery has finished with him, Pepe will be lucky to get a game on Hackney Marshes.

The players, however, bear responsibility for the performances as well. They are talented enough to rise about Emery’s flippancy. They are strong enough to affect change from within. If the dressing room can down tools on the pitch, the senior pros should be telling the Spaniard it isn’t working.

But that, I’m afraid, isn’t going to happen.

Over To Raul, Edu and Junior

Staggeringly, no vote of confidence has yet emerged. Despite the clownish performances and the obvious failings of the XIs in every competition, it’s claimed he still holds their confidence.

Maybe they are lining up a replacement? Ralf Rangnick signalled his availability by turning down Bayern and claiming his next job will in England. Scared it will cost money, boys? Missing out on the Champions League will cost more.

Decisive leadership is what the club needs. From the outside looking in, it isn’t getting it. Maybe the behind-the-scenes machinations are heading in that direction. I doubt it, somehow.

’til Tomorrow

23 thoughts on “Vitoria Review & Unai On The Future

  1. Damon says:

    I’d say he’s got two games to save his job, for now

    Looking at the run we’ve got coming up, it’s frightening. And we shouldn’t be frightened of Norwich or Brighton, but right now I am.

    We’re in this position where everyone will have a go at us. We’re a free hit for teams like that. If they get done 3:0, it’s Arsenal and what great talent we have available. And we’re just papering over the cracks in doing that too.

    Alternatively, one of two of those teams are going to rinse us at the moment, if the front three don’t save us during the 90.

    Terrible times

  2. C says:

    I do wonder if part of it is the constant tinkering with the XI’s in the midfield and attack instead of tinkering with the defense. Could it be that our attackers are dropping so deep because of our midfield isn’t providing a supply line.

    Against Leicester, since we can’t defend anyways, lets attack them. Play Mustafi instead of Sokaritis, in midfield go Torriera, Guendouzi and Ozil with Pepe, Aubameyang and Lacazette ahead of them. Back 4, Bellerin, Mustafi, Chambers or Luiz with Sead.

  3. Welsh Corgi Cardigan says:

    Great write up in whats hopefully the twilight in Emerys tenure. Dear lord we`re boring to watch. Is he so afraid of losing that he doesn´t dare try to win the game or what?

  4. Woolwich Freddie says:

    Emery, like Wenger, does not appear tp be much of a motivator. The players have a responsibility too but I fear how much the battling mentality has left the culture of the club. This is why I was so keen on Lacazette being captain before he gets demotivated and loses it too. I know he’s one of the “group” now and at least Aubameyang should actually start every game but it feels like yet another missed opportunity.

  5. SUGA3 says:

    Good post YW 😉

    Shame that despite the massive reshuffle of the top brass at the club, we are still as indecisive as ever. This clearly is not working and there is about 10% chance Emery can somehow miraculously turn it around.

    Remember, last season we were cruising right til the end, where we needed a lousy point to make it to the CL. We could not deliver against sides we should be dispatching routinely. We all know what happened. Emery does not handle the pressure at the top and star players. And I thought Wenger was bad in this department. Shocking.

  6. Steve says:

    I chose not to buy into the continuous bashing of Arsenal. For upward of four years, we drained the energy of Arsene Wenger and his squad. We ridiculed the yearly top four we made for 19 unbroken years. We derided it.
    Now we crave it with all our heart after being out a few years. We simply don’t know what we want.
    Now Emery is here. Last season he went unbeaten for about 22games. Our conclusion? He was playing teams we should normally beat. We demotivate the coach and the squad by our outright negativity.
    We are the problem. Real time we are. We speak with such authority as if we are a football coach by training.
    We are an attacking team wanting to outscore opponent. Every day, the write up is our poor defence. The guy tries to improve things in the defence, we claim we are not entertaining enough. Now we don’t lose scandalously like we used to do. What is trending is that Emery has not improved anything. We want Mourinho. Anyone who propose Mouribho who do hated arsenal but is now a darling because he is out of job or Rodger’s who frustrated us in the acquisition of Suarez and another key player later is the coach people are proposing. May that day never come.
    Already some believe we will lose against Leicester. If we lose on Saturday. We are washed up. If we win, it is that Leicester did not come to the game. No positive words when we win. It is explained away.
    Let’s get something else to do. We are not Arsenal supporters. Arsenal supporters will support arsenal just like thousands go to Old Trafford on Saturday’s including Sir Alex even when Man United is not playing well.
    The coach and the squad needs us. Away with this negativity.

  7. Welsh corgi says:


    Are you for real? ”we simply don’t know what we want”.

    Ahm, I’m quite sure what I want, thank you. I want us to be competitive. To compete for the league, for the big prices, not losing 10-2 vs Bayern times 2 etc.

  8. consolsbob says:


    Read the posts before you comment. Don’t just cut and paste on every Arsenal blog.

    Just a thought.

  9. Blue Yonder says:



    I agree that we (many, not all) ridiculed Arsenal’s “just” making the top four year after year and are (now) pining for those days.
    However, the current negativity is not the fans’ responsibility. It has come about because of the dismal performances and results that have been served up for the last few years but this year in particular. Depending on one’s viewpoint, it is either the fault of the manager, the players, the executive, or all of the above. The fans are just the recipients of what’s being presented.
    Is it any wonder people are dissatisfied?

  10. Spike says:

    The owners, board and so called hierarchy are gutless. Too s are to make a decisive call.

    Easier to let Emery take all the blame.

    Fucking pathetic all round.

    Oh and great post Yogi!!

  11. Spike says:


    I thought we looked solid, in the first TWO games of the season.
    Then he shoe horned Xhaka and Lyiz in and he never looked back! 🙂

  12. Ferkov says:


    That’s the same loyal Scum fans that hounded out Moyes, then Val Gaal and then Mourinho is it? Fishy old post that.

  13. Blue Yonder says:

    Interesting article, YW, especially as regards next steps. Have to wonder what is the magic number, like points out of fourth, that will cause Raul to pull the trigger. Or will they let Emery play out the string and wait til spring?
    Arsenal have way too much talent to produce such poor results.

  14. Tony Ikpo says:

    Thanks Steve at 6.43pm for telling it straight and direct. We had become so used to accomplishing things that we developed an irrational sense of entitlement. We envy Liverpool today while mocking their lack of recent trophies for 20 years. Do we ever stop to wonder how their fans have supported them throughout the barren years?
    People! Support your team! Through thick and thin, SUPPORT YOUR TEAM!! That’s how to be a supporter. COYG!

  15. consolsbob says:

    Oh, ffs. They crawl out of the woodwork. Where have they been for the past 5 years?


  16. Bufallo says:

    Haha Consol, Arsenal PR bots on the loose…
    There is no sense of optimism at the club, he may yet of course turn it around but i’m not optimistic about that at all.
    Best case club have someone lined up for next summer already and are hoping he can limp through this season rather than having to install a
    caretaker. Emery is clearly not up to it and does not have the demeanour of a man who has the confidence of the club, players or supporters.

  17. Adam Singh says:

    Big hairy balls we are awful.

  18. andy1886 says:

    Thanks for the comedy input guys. Ra Ra Ra! Go Gunners! Shut up, pay some of the highest prices in the game and take whatever shit they dole out. While we’re at it why not go the whole hog and redefine ourselves as sheep rather than gunners? Back to your day jobs, probably working on the ‘bend over for Boris’ campaign….

  19. Jonnygunner says:

    Tony Ikpo,

    How can recent and twenty years be in the same sentence?Surely it’s one or the other?
    They were champions league winners in 2005.
    I’d take that.
    Your pontificating seems to be getting up people’s noses on here(except for your mate Steve).
    No one likes to be told how they should support their club-for your part it’s embarrassing.

  20. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Loyalty, my arse. Football is about having a moan FFS.

    So, here I go.

    Yogi is correct. Emery (at Arsenal) appears to have a knack of draining players of confidence , rather than inspiring them. He’s certainly caught between two stools. If he attacks our defensive issues are exposed , if he gets cautious our attack is blunted. There is no blueprint & because he seems to be unsure of his best XI he cannot create any pattern of play.

    He did OK last season IMO & I was hopeful we might kick on but we’re regressing rapidly & once the fans turn his days are numbered.

  21. Damon says:

    Paulie Walnuts,

    Good point mate, he doesn’t seem to know what his best eleven is, if everyone is fit.

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