Arsenal Leadership Goes Missing In Crisis

It’s like an episode of Soap! without the humour. The situation at Arsenal is deteriorating with the most noticeable absentee being leadership. Off and on the pitch, we are a shambles.

Yesterday saw, I hope, the nadir reached although I fear we are currently crashing through the bottom of the barrel to dig into the earth below. Arsenal’s hierarchy held a staff event – long planned we’re told – at which Unai Emery received the dreaded ‘vote of confidence’.

It wasn’t a public event as such but the club decided to brief the content:

We are as disappointed as everyone else with both our results and performances at this stage of the season.

We share the frustration with our fans, Unai, players and all our staff as they are not at the level we want or expect.

Things need to improve to meet our objectives for the season, and we firmly believe Unai is the right man for the job, together with the backroom team we have in place.

We are all working intensively behind the scenes to turn things around and are confident we will.

We never take our fantastic support for granted and we hope we can all stick together and get behind the team in this challenging period, as together we are stronger.

Vinai and Raul give their backing to Unai

Pitchforks and torches can be cast aside, there isn’t going to be anyone burnt at the stake any time soon.

It was powder-puff PR that Hiss would be proud of.

Mind The Reality Gap

Without offering any shred of anything tangible, the twin-engined hierarchy are backing the head coach. It’s a twin-turbo ‘Vote of Confidence’, with fuel-injected ownership backing.

After a summer where they claimed to be ‘in tune’ with supporters, the hierarchy is playing hopelessly off-key.

It hasn’t been a good week for the leadership. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s friendship with the AFTV crew hasn’t gone down well to the extent that the club felt it necessary to brief against the striker to Ornstein. The dressing room isn’t, it is claimed, happy at having someone from AFTV in their midsts, which happened when PEA invited one of them into the ‘family and friends’ area recently.

So much for Granit Xhaka’s claim that the fans abusing him was damaging team spirit. From where I sit, the players are doing a good job of that all by themselves.

In isolation, neither Xhaka or PEA’s situations is particularly worth the effort of noting. However, added to Emery, they add more fuel to the fire that the club’s leadership is not dealing with the crisis which is developing.

Private media briefings are the coward’s way out. If Raul, Vinai or Junior has anything to say about the manager that they want fans to know, come out publicly and say it. Back him to the hilt and be the shield.

Instead, it’s the coach who is front and centre, protecting the hierarchy from fans. This time however he doesn’t have a decade of trophies as an invisible barrier.

What we’re left with is a fire burning fiercely around Unai and leadership fanning the flames.

When the football resumes, the fixture list is relatively kind. Southampton, Frankfurt at home; Norwich, Liege away followed by Brighton (h) and West Ham (a).

Bounce Then Deflation

Those are games which even with our wretched form, we should do well in. There will, I’m sure, be disappointments along the way and I’m looking at Norwich and West Ham with that in mind.

A new coach could build some early goodwill for the difficult games which follow those matches. The Arsenal hierarchy will portray eight out of 12 Premier League points as Emery turning things around. But it won’t be.

If he is turning things around, he’ll need to lose just one of the games between 15th December and 21st January. To save you the time, it’s City (h), Everton, Bournemouth (a), Chelsea, Man Utd (h), Palace (a), Sheffield Utd (h), finishing with a trip to Chelsea.

We’ll be lucky to get two wins out of those games; the board will point to it being a tough run and it is. However, if Arsenal are to finish in the top four, we can only afford to lose to City. Which we will, as well as at least once to Chelsea and Everton.

The reality is that Emery’s philosophy isn’t translating well which is a continuation of our form following the 20-odd-match unbeaten run last year. We aren’t confident, we embrace timidity; talking a good game on PowerPoint is keeping Emery in a job, not results on the pitch.

Weak leadership from Raul & co is damaging the club. We are stuck in a sea where mediocrity is us punching above our weight. Emery’s mindset is that of the underdog but we are The Arsenal are not the underdog. Until that is resolved, we will never rise out of this mire.

The question is at what point will the hierarchy see that?

’til Tomorrow.

22 thoughts on “Arsenal Leadership Goes Missing In Crisis

  1. Jonnygunner says:

    And you thought Auba was quick…..

  2. Jonnygunner says:

    I really hoped when Raul joined us that we had turned the corner….alas…nothing has changed.

  3. YW says:

    Because the owners are the same, placing the same constraints on him as before.

  4. Stu says:

    Interesting question to finish on today. I’m assuming, if I’ve read the preceding paragraph correctly, that the question is “when will the hierarchy realise that The Arsenal is not the underdog?”. If that is so, I would suggest that Kroenke will never realise that. He bought an underdog, a tired sleeping one, and at most only wants to transform it into an effective underdog that has its day, occasionally.

    We have not been anything other than underdog since 2006 at the latest, arguably earlier. We never consolidated our position of being one of two top dogs (with Man Utd) during Wenger’s golden years. We never did back to back PLs. We never won a European trophy. Even then we were arguably second best to Fergie’s Utd, who had greater success.

    We might not like it, but we have reverted to the second tier and are currently languishing near the bottom of that, despite having a top tier stadium.

    Changing manager may bring some success on the pitch, but we will still be an underdog. Until the ownership changes (personnel or mindset) we won’t ever be a top dog again. Just look at Leicester – recent PL winners, great culture, still an underdog. We have only had two periods of real dominance; the 1930s and the late 90/early 2000s. The latter raised the bar to a level most of us had never experienced before. It also set unrealistic expectations, which I don’t expect to be repeated under the current ownership.

    Saying that, I’d take sacking Emery, bringing in a new manager and having a short term taste of success again. Just not Mourinho….

  5. Pete the Thirst says:

    If he’s not going to get the boot what about bringing in a few Arsenal heads to help him out with coaching? Keown & Gilberto talked real sense after the Vitoria game. They’re at a loose end but know a thing or two about defending…and Arsenal.

    Was that a pig I saw flying past the window?

  6. Apangu Iddi Amin says:

    My wonder is always that why is it so difficult for the Arsenal so called hierarchy taking long to react when some thing is going wrong, They give too much room for managers and thats why any manager who joins Arsenal will always be reluctant because they take that advantage of club taking long to sack managers.

  7. Adam Singh says:

    Thanks Yogi. I read somewhere Emery has 6 games to save his job (not sure why 6?). If we lose against Southampton, unlikely but games are always even more unpredictable after the international break, surely he will then be fired?

  8. consolsbob says:


    I think that is a fair summary, Stu.

    That bloody Bergkamp penalty !

  9. Joel says:

    Given current form and Emery’s ridiculously timid approach we could even struggle to beat Southampton and then Norwich.At this point the Board would be forced to act …even if this was to be a short term fix…The primary problem with Arsenal ever since the days of David Dein is that they have absolutely no “forward plan” or contingency.As soon as they decided to appoint a coach with absolutely no direct experience of The Premier League nor any ability to speak English they should have made sure that they had back-ups lined up.. if Emery proved to be less than successful..Obviously not!!

  10. HenryNorrisDialSquare says:

    I’ve stated previously that UE won’t be sacked. He’ll walk away quietly in the summer by mutual consent and the charade’s will continue with a new manager who will be out of his depth.

    And so the cycle continues.

  11. HenryNorrisDialSquare says:

    So why can FSG get it right and Kronke’s have no clue?

  12. Blue Yonder says:

    The upcoming fixtures may appear kind to Emery and Arsenal, but they need to be won and won convincingly. However, I doubt they will all be won and a few scrambled, nail-biting victories interspersed with draws and/or defeats (all of which would mean “more of the same”) would effectively end Arsenal’s chances of top four – and whatever chance Emery has of staying on.

  13. G4E says:

    Arsenal Fans Vs Arsenal Consumers

    The Club should not make the mistake of treating Arsenal Fans as disgruntled Consumers.

    If Arsenal owners treat Arsenal fans as consumers, then they’re basically saying, if you don’t like our product, go somewhere else.

    They may -the owners- treat the club as just another company, we the fans have a greater connection and lots of “at stake” pride in this club.

    We have broken the Wenger barrier and no longer have any remorse sending Unai packing if he’s not doing the job.

    I personally do not watch any of his Conference Calls, I don’t understand it, don’t know what he says, but whatever it is he’s saying, it’s not working. As a supporter, a fan ……I have no connection whatsoever to this Man. At least Wenger’s drivel in his final years seemed like a nostalgic delusion, but at least he did something with this club, come to think of it….It was great reaching the CL Final in 2006, something I might never see again in my remaining time.

    Fans, have a right to voice their disapproval, and not because they’re paying money…..But because they have an u”Unavoidable Emotional Attachment to this club, and we can’t just turn it off……..It also has a bottom line, like your corporate drivel.

    ** Do something now, things need to improve fast…..We are a Joke! A visit from Arsenal or at trip to Hibury used to scare the shit out of big clubs, now they welcome it as a Joke!

  14. HenryNorrisDialSquare says:

    Factual assessment G4E.

    We will stumble in our up and coming fixtures, despite the level of opponent we’re facing. Nothing will change until the summer. It’s what I anticipate. Arsenal board, owner’s are frightened of change. They don’t understand it. Aren’t equipped to move with the pace of the modern game. In essence we’ve been behind the competition for over a decade. Ineptitude in abundance.

    So how many of you are opposed to Brendan Rodgers? I don’t think his time at Liverpool was a failure and he had to deal with a club in transition. Did a job at Celtic, but then again who couldn’t! Has brought an attacking brand of football to Leicester. I wouldn’t necessarily say that Leicester’s first eleven, man for man is better than ours. In fact I could only see one or two of their’s making it into our first eleven. So it’s down to how they are being coached, which is the difference between the two sides. So should we be going for Rodgers in the summer?

    How about NES. Brought Wolves up, has an attacking identity, built on defensive solidity. Struggling a bit with getting to grips with Europa league and PL, but it’s a learning curve and new. But they’re still pulling off giant slaying acts like last season and holding their own in Europa league. Would anyone be opposed to NES in the summer.

    I’m in favour of a manager who knows this league.

  15. HenryNorrisDialSquare says:

    G4E – If Arsenal owners treat Arsenal fans as consumers, then they’re basically saying, if you don’t like our product, go somewhere else.

    That’s precisely how they treat us and they’re right. Because some other mug will take our season ticket gleefully. Then their’s the football tourist’s. Unfortunately they have a product that’s in demand. Premier League football. However brand Arsenal is waning. Better off going to Fulham, Brentford or QPR, if any of them should return to the PL. Cheaper for one and at least expectations are set low. At Arsenal expectations are high but the product is poor quality.

  16. andy1886 says:


    Agreed, a manager who knows the league is vital. We keep hearing about the next greatest manager ever from the Bundesliga, Ligue Un, Eredivisie and so on but more often than not their success is temporary and doesn’t translate to the PL (although having sh*t loads of money to play with sometimes helps for a while).

    We had a chance to move for Klopp before ‘Pool did but the Wenger faithful said he was a busted flush. Then when he didn’t win the league after five minutes they said ‘told you so’. Not looking so clever now though are they?

  17. HenryNorrisDialSquare says:

    Liverpool always wanted Klopp and they were moving in the background to secure his services. I don’t think we would have got him had we even tried.

    Arsenal board, management, ownership, were still caught up with Arsene knows best. If there was a business mind amongst any of them. They would know that successful marketing and identity, breeds brand culture and continued growth. In football marketing means winning trophies. Is it any wonder that Liverpool are in a position to negotiate a new massive kit deal. The product they’ve got is of a high quality. I don’t think Primark or Burton’s would want to be seen on our shirt’s at the moment.

  18. G4E says:

    G4E – If Arsenal owners treat Arsenal fans as consumers, then they’re basically saying, if you don’t like our product, go somewhere else.

    That’s precisely how they treat us and they’re right. Because some other mug will take our season ticket gleefully. Then their’s the football tourist’s. Unfortunately they have a product that’s in demand. Premier League football. However brand Arsenal is waning. Better off going to Fulham, Brentford or QPR, if any of them should return to the PL. Cheaper for one and at least expectations are set low. At Arsenal expectations are high but the product is poor quality.

    The thing is, this mentality doesn’t work with football Clubs. We are fans of Arsenal and that’s not going to change….But we have the power to embarrass the Owners and the Manager to the point of having to take action.

    Unfortunately it might be too late for us to salvage anything from this season.

  19. HenryNorrisDialSquare says:

    I don’t think recruitment would hold me back from bringing NES in. Recruitment at Arsenal would be out of his hands any way and he clearly has the coaching ability. Any manager who can get Ryan Bennett to defend against world class striker’s of the likes of Aguero. When Ryan Bennett is a Championship player at best. Would have more success with the higher calibre of player’s that we already have at the club.

    He’d be the cheaper of the two manager’s to get. If Rodgers finishes in the top four with Leicester, which I suspect the current top four to be the top four at the end of the season. Then he will be nigh on impossible to prise away from Leicester and his negotiating position would be that much stronger.

    I’d prefer a manager who knew this league or had a proven track record of winning league titles (i.e. back to back league win’s, rather than one hit wonder’s) in Spain, Italy or Germany. I see these as strong league’s and of a similar standing to the Premier League.

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