Leicester Preview: Reality Check For Emery?

For most of us, this evening’s trip to Leicester is a tipping point in the season. Defeat leaves, most likely, nine points away, with little sign that we are going to find the form to overcome that kind of deficit.

Even a draw, probably the best outcome we’ll get this evening, leaves a six-point gap. Still a tall order on current form and certainly not impossible as anyone who has watched football for more than five minutes knows.

Of course, it could all be academic when we pull off an unexpected win.

Unai Emery gave a defensive performance in a Sky interview. His ‘public’ view of the team is that we’re “still in construction, trying to be competitive”. One minute we’re an attacking tour de force, cultivating football from the back. The next we’re a pressing machine, turning over possession and countering opponents with pace.

At least we know what he’s after. Indeed, Emery gave an example of each: the first half at Watford and then in Frankfurt. Noticeably, neither were home games. But the counterpoint to the first half in Hertfordshire was the second-half collapse, a performance which has been repeated ad nauseum since.

The King Power used to be a happy hunting ground but in the past two seasons, the ten-man Arsenal sides capitulated. Those are the sorts of performances more akin with those seen in recent weeks. According to Emery, it’s because we haven’t found our “emotional stability”. I sympathise with that view. I’m quite stable most of the week but when Arsenal play, I tend to lose my sh*t quite easily.

His comments about the various incidents this season were red herrings. Koscielny rumbled on and was resolved before the season began; Kolasinac returned to training after only a week passed from that incident.

Unai Emery: Architect of his Own Downfall

The Xhaka incident ought not to affect the performances of the squad. If they are put out of their stride that easily, they are too weak mentally to be footballers; they can’t handle the pressure of playing for a big club.

Which really only leaves Mesut Ozil, to which most of his absence is directly laid at the door of the club who were – maybe still are – trying to force him out of the Emirates. The same Ozil who was all but accused of being lazy and demotivated has suddenly found his mojo in the eyes of the coach.

In no way should anyone believe that Emery’s desperation led him to backtrack very quickly to a previously discarded option.

A point Emery was keen to emphasise was that on Thursday we closed off counter-attacks quickly. Well, that was the second string. Against the Premier League, we’ve been vulnerable and a cast which suffers repeated outbreaks of first night nerves.

That is down to the lack of clarity in the coaching. If players don’t understand their roles they will not deliver. Either his instructions are too complex or they are delivered badly? It might be that the players are crap but that’s a different matter entirely.

Thursday night might give us a hint to what to expect today. That Bellerin didn’t feature puts him in the frame for a start which is harsh on Callum Chambers unless of course, he is featuring in a back-three.

Certainly, with Bellerin and Tierney as wing-backs, there is every opportunity to provide strong defensive cover in midfield and accommodate Ozil in a rare trip north of the capital.

Which Means The XI Is:

The youngsters are plateauing, it’s fair to say. The initial burst of enthusiasm from breaking into the team is mired in the lack of confidence of the collective. That impacts on new players settling in as well.

But for this afternoon, a more cautious approach will, I think, be evident:

Leno; Chambers, Luis, Sokratis; Bellerin, Torreira, Guendouzi, Tierney; Ozil; Lacazette, Aubameyang

Leicester are in a good run of form and a point is a good return. As difficult as it is too see it happening, a win would be even better…

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

177 thoughts on “Leicester Preview: Reality Check For Emery?

  1. Michael says:

    Morning all
    A very fair critique.

  2. Spike says:

    It’s sad listening to Emery. Making up bullshit excuses for his failings as a coach.

    I wish he would show some guts, hold his hands up and admit the jobs too big for him and just leave.

    We wont win tonight, in fact we will be lucky to lose by a goal or two.

    The only way we will improve with Emery in charge, is if the players and Freddie have secret team meetings and training sessions behind Emerys back! 🙂

  3. Bill says:

    Emery sacking feels inevitable and a loss today might hasten the process. I share the gloomy outlook that most of us feel about the long term prospects. Despite that I have a feeling we will find a way to win the game today

  4. andy1886 says:

    Spike,

    Remember when TA & the senior players did the same thing around Christmas in Wenger’s first full season? Similar situation today but we don’t have any actual leaders on the pitch because the likes of Wenger and Emery don’t believe in that sort of thing.

  5. NT says:

    The Arsenal Board are a disgrace! They have watched as we descended from being one point behind Man City to now eight points and overtaken by teams that were below us. The same board caused us fans emotional and nervous breakdown for more than 14 years under Arsene Wenger! They will continue to dillydally over Emery until we lose our star players to other clubs! By the time we’re getting a new manager, we’ll begin rebuilding afresh!

  6. Bill says:

    Yogi

    Our players are better then 75% of the league which is not bad but its not where we ultimately want to be. We are what we are. A 5th place/Europa league level team which should be good enough to compete for 4th place but is currently underperforming and dropping quickly.

  7. Pete says:

    Arsenal were the only team to beat Leicester home and away during their title winning year. COYG… We’re going to win tonight because the rollercoaster is what you get for being a gooner!!

  8. kenyan gunner says:

    Great men and women go through and emerge as winners.Time for Emery to show how deep he wants IT!

  9. Spike says:

    I’m pretty sure Emery will be sacked after tonight.

  10. Woolwich Freddie says:

    Not the biggest fan of 5-3-2 but it would make sense with those wingbacks and to help accommodate using Özil away from home. I do worry when Emery plays that formation that we become very one dimensional and opponents have only to shut down the wingbacks to blunt our attack and counter us. Leicester know how to counter.

  11. C says:

    Talk of Emery can be delayed for a day. Time to get behind him and the boys because we have the talent to beat Leicester but need the belief and tactics.

    Not the biggest fan, actually not a fan of the 352. Could see it being used though but prefer some variation of a 433 or even a 4141.

  12. Spike says:

    VAR is being used by the PGMO in the most dodgy and suspicious ways…

    Is Stockley Park in Manila???

  13. C says:

    VAR strikes again taking a goal away from Sheffield United after almost a 4 min review. If its clear and obvious it should not take 4 mins to review.

  14. C says:

    Spuds must have the PGMO on their books….

  15. C says:

    Leno
    Chambers—-Luiz—–Holding
    Bellerin——Torriera—–Guendouzi——Sead
    ——————Ozil————
    Lacazette———-Aubameyang

  16. C says:

    Subs: Martinez, Sokaritis, Tierney, Willock, Pepe, Saka, Gabriel

  17. SV says:

    Please, Ozil, prove me wrong.

    (Who am I kidding? He will not).

  18. SV says:

    This attack lacks pace. Easy to defend against.

  19. Woolwich Freddie says:

    Pretty close on the lineup, YW.

    Obviously couldn’t put both good fullbacks in the same team. Wouldn’t be fair on Leicester.

  20. C says:

    Futbol is a funny ol game….people killed Newcastle for hiring Steve Bruce and yet he has Newcastle sitting 11th and ahead of Everton and Spuds.

  21. C says:

    SV,

    Ozil is going to prove you wrong, I have faith in him to have some of those Ozil moments and create a couple of chancea for Lacazette and Aubameyang.

    Also, Aubameyang will be up for it with Vardy leading the PL in goals, we know Aubameyang will want to show everybody he is still top dog.

  22. Adam Singh says:

    Tony Adams on sky sports was just asked how he would defend against James Vardy: “well he’s quicker than me so I would stand off him and let him have the ball and then I’d smack him”.

    THIS is what we are missing.

  23. Spike says:

    C,

    Apart from Pepe and Tierney not being in, I like that line up

  24. C says:

    Spike,

    Agree but lets see how Sead plays, he can be a really good wingback when he is up for it.

  25. C says:

    That’s a good move there and Ozil just missed it and Lacazette was so close.

  26. Spike says:

    C,

    Oh, I like Sead, hes a good player that’s been wasted by Wenger n Emery. I’m just saying Tierney would be ahead of him for me.

  27. C says:

    That’s a brilliant move started and driven by Ozil.

    Handball and PENALTY!!!! Ndidi clearly handles the ball and VAR does nothing.

  28. Ras says:

    Guendouzi is a liability. It’s absolutely stupid what he did. He got away with it this time. Youthfulness? I don’t know but he is prone to do stupid unnecessary things that are detrimental to the team

  29. C says:

    Spike,

    Agree with all of that. Tierney does look a different class doesn’t he.

  30. Ras says:

    C,

    Agree C but not long before Guendouzi pulled fouled the CB for Leicester.

  31. Noon Gunner says:

    Excellent defending by Kolasinac.

  32. C says:

    So far, good shape.

    Sead really does have quite a turn of pace.

  33. Anderslilya says:

    C,

    Can there BE a more clear penalty?!

  34. Spike says:

    C,

    We are NEVER getting anything from VAR! Not while we have PGMOh so shite refs!

  35. C says:

    Leicester are looking for Ndidi, who starts their attack but Ozil is actually sitting on.

  36. Woolwich Freddie says:

    We look highly suspect at the back, even by our standards.
    I’m liking the way Lacazette and Özil are supporting each other, however.
    This could be Özil’s formation.

  37. Las says:

    Evening gents. YW you are just talking from my heart:
    “I’m quite stable most of the week but when Arsenal play, I tend to lose my sh*t quite easily.”
    Whatever the situation I want us to win badly. I don’t really care who is playing, who is the gaffe I just want us to give a good go fight and win.
    So against Leicester (to whom Arsenal already has given a whole PL Championship), I don’t want us to lose even if it would mean Emery is going out. Right now I feel we/he almost have the best eleven on the pitch and you know what it really could be a turning point for one way or another. But first and foremost I want us to win.

  38. Noon Gunner says:

    Holding needs dribbling lessons from Chalmers

  39. C says:

    If it wasn’t for us playing poor from the back and giving them chances, we have started well.

  40. Las says:

    Bellerin really needs some minutes on the pitch sharping his skills

  41. Woolwich Freddie says:

    Passing is shocking today.
    I find myself longing for the days of pointless possession football.

  42. Noon Gunner says:

    How often do you see Leicester passing back to their goalie? We make ourselves so vulnerable, particularly down our left.

  43. Noon Gunner says:

    Standard PL manager instruction to team: press Arsenal and they’ll cough up the ball.

  44. C says:

    A bit overhit by Lacazette and Bellerin scores.

    Ozil is making things happen in the final 3rd.

  45. C says:

    Bellerin is bombing forward and if he can find his touch, he can be so much kore effective. That will come with more match time.

  46. Woolwich Freddie says:

    Ndidi really should have gone in the book for that little tantrum. I really feel like assaults on Lacazette don’t seem to count as much, just because he’s one of the few players we have who gives it back.

  47. C says:

    Woolwich Freddie,

    Been saying the same thing about Lacazette since he arrived. Probably same goes for Torriera who takes quite a battering with his low center of gravity.

  48. Woolwich Freddie says:

    Bellerin getting into some good positions and Chambers with some important interventions. Could affect the choice of formation going forwards.
    Passing in our own half is probably going to cost us today but at least we look like scoring on the rare occasions we get it up there.

  49. SV says:

    Need to keep the ball more, to give the defence a break.

    Pepe on.

    Thierny on.

  50. Woolwich Freddie says:

    C,

    In fairness, Torreira goes down intelligently/easily but he does take some kicks, yes. It’s the feeling refs don’t apply the standard for a foul evenly between players/teams/pitch position which rankles, I think.

  51. Woolwich Freddie says:

    Spike,

    I agree but the inability of our players to make fairly routine passes in their own half goes beyond that. You need to be able to play a little from some deeper situations unless we’re just going to clear the ball every time we get it in our own half and I hope the Arsenal is more ambitious than that!

  52. Noon Gunner says:

    Spike,

    I can’t think of a single occasion in that half where playing out from the back gave us any advantage. I may be selective in my memory, but the pattern is clear.

  53. C says:

    Woolwich Freddie,

    True, but with his low center of gravity, players are more likely to kick him because he is moving the ball quicker in shorter spaces to somebody with longer legs. Refs, well most if not all are shit and jufge things quite differently and not in a good way.

  54. C says:

    Noon Gunner,

    Most of our good moves started from the back, but it was when Ozil, Lacazette and the FB’s got involved. Holding, be it rust or just lack of, has struggled either pasaing or carrying the ball out the back.

  55. Noon Gunner says:

    If this was a boxing match, we would have lost Round 1 heavily on points, and Round 2 is going the same way. Our only chance is a freak knock-out.

  56. C says:

    WHY THE FUCK DIDN’T LACAZETTE PLAY OZIL THROUGH, HE WAS CLEAN THROUGH!!!??????!?!!?!?!?!?

  57. C says:

    Lacazette gets hacked again by Maddison with no advantage and the ref gives nothing.

  58. Noon Gunner says:

    If Bellerin had passed to Laca on his right…?

  59. C says:

    Torriera gets done by Ndidi again and no foul.

    That’s so much better from Bellerin.

  60. Woolwich Freddie says:

    Leicester’s fouls on our strikers adding up with no yellows. I’m no fan of our deposed captain but, if Xhaka was Ndidi, he’d be off by now (he’d also be a better player but you know 🤷🏻‍♂️).

  61. C says:

    Ozil doing his this again, he is really making things click in the final third.

  62. Bufallo says:

    Thrilling to watch Emerys Arsenal it really is

  63. Woolwich Freddie says:

    C,

    Studs up. Xhaka would have walked.😉 Enjoyed Schmeichal’s dramatic protests. You could tell he grew up watching Fergie’s United.

  64. C says:

    Definitely been able to get our WB’s higher and its creating more spaces for our front 3.

  65. Welsh corgi says:

    Think we look up for it. Could get sucker punched. But we look up for it😉.

  66. C says:

    And just like that, they cut through us. Chambers switched off of Vardy for a moment but also nobody tracked the midfield runner

  67. Bufallo says:

    I mean will emery even try and win this game now? Get him out please

  68. C says:

    We look likely to score, just need that last touch.

  69. Woolwich Freddie says:

    Vardy had threatened a few times earlier but I really thought I could see the energy leave our players in the build up to that goal. We used to be the fittest side in the league and use it to take games in the dying minutes. Now it’s like we can’t go more than an hour. It’s like watching all our strengths fall away.

  70. consolsbob says:

    Bellerin went walkabout. Vardy was his man to cover.

  71. Ras says:

    It was just a matter of when they would score. I’m tired of seeing balls crossed in from the wings in the vain attempt something is going to happen .

    The passing and movement by Leicester for that goal shows everything we are not.

  72. C says:

    We are putting in balls that literally just need a touch.

    Who says Ozil lacks pace….

  73. C says:

    Am I missing something or have we not put quite a few balls and threatened them as well…..

  74. consolsbob says:

    Relly very tired of being ‘underdogs’.

    Can we have a management team that believe in The Arsenal, please.

  75. Spike says:

    Ras,

    Boom! That’s the owners pulling the trigger on the clueless one!

  76. Bufallo says:

    We are passive actors at the slaughterhouse.
    Please find a manager who won’t tolerate this.

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