Saints Preview: Who Will Rein In The Tinkerman?

The last Saturday 3pm kick-off at the Emirates until kingdom come sees a relegation six-pointer in the Premier League form book.

Ordinarily, I’d be looking at this with a comfortable two or three-goal margin in mind. These days, who knows? I genuinely can’t remember when we put together a pulsating performance in the match after an international break.

That’s what Emery needs and he knows it. His Arsenal is riven with self-doubt and indecision, a reflection of the coach himself. Unai is struggling to get the best of his squad, his tactics and himself. Our season is the manifestation of that.

Yesterday, he took time to rip the carpet from under Lucas Torreira’s feet, only to help him up with a cheesy grin. The international break featured stories of the Uruguayan’s unhappiness, building on the pre-season tales of failing to settle in this country.

He was, the stories went, seeking talks with Emery over his role in the team. Emery began by talking about himself, telling the world “he needs to improve”.

Sorry, that’s me misunderstanding Unai. Torreira, he said, “has a very big future here, but he needs to improve.” Unlike Emery who has a very limited future at the club.

Anyway, Emery believes Torreira “has to learn in some situations to help us and do better.”

There’s little wonder the Uruguayan doesn’t know whether he wants to stay or go. Emery doesn’t know whether he is coming or going either. One minute he sees Torreira as a defensive midfielder, the next he’s a trequartista.

Quite who acts as the ‘invisible wall’, playing the Gilberto Silva role we desperately need to protect a shaky back-four is unclear in Emery’s vision. Presumably, he wants a defensive midfielder who attacks and defends at the same time.

Clear as Mud

Today, however, is another chance for Torreira to shine. The question is whether the cobwebs which engulfed the whole squad have been shaken off by turning out for the country?

Granit Xhaka is back in Emery’s favour – if he ever fell from that Grace – with the Spaniard looking to build bridges. As far as I am concerned, he won’t improve us thus he stays canned. Were he an integral part of the team, then forgiveness would be quicker but he isn’t. Departing in January would, I think, be best for club and player.

There are some many questions to be answered in Emery’s team selection that it makes your brain spin. Is this the time for Chambers and Holding to form the central defensive partnership or do we stick with the back-three? Sokratis and Luiz are not the protective barrier their experience suggests they ought to be.

As harsh as it might seem, the time has come for something new, especially with a relatively benevolent fixture list. Will Emery, the ultimate Tinkerman, be brave enough to make that change?

Somehow, I doubt it. The Spaniard is a timid tinkerer. Nothing in his selections suggest bravery in his choices, of throwing down the gauntlet. Instead, it’s all about neutering opponents, focussing on their strengths. We used to criticise Wenger for ignoring the opposition but Emery is the polar opposite; too obsessed.

I wonder how he sees Southampton, a team he rightly pointed out who are better away from home and more durable than their results suggest. Indeed, I’d venture they will set up with a mind to defend; the type of opponent who always causes us problems.

Will Emery be brave in his team selection or settle doggedly into attacking with big ladders in his defensive nylons?

Tinker, You Little Stinker!

The biggest question I think he must answer is Alexandre Lacazette. Like the rest of the team, he is struggling for form but I wonder if he is even fully fit?

His presence with Aubameyang, unless it’s a 3 – 5 – 2 variant, feels counterproductive. Indeed, if he had four years left on his contract, would he be in the side? I’d venture probably not. Let’s face it, Auba doesn’t offer the team much beyond scoring goals while Laca does plenty of hard work without necessarily getting the rewards he deserves.

But for today, against a defence which will be crowded and stifling, you need a predator in the penalty area and one who will get good service.

Özil was ineffective at Leicester but this is a match in which he will surely thrive? Give him the creative role he craves and free reign. Martinelli on the left offers plenty of goal threat and decent delivery; it’s time to let him step up while Pepe on the right needs top-flight football to thrive.

It leaves the line-up as:

Leno; Bellerin, Chambers, Holding, Tierney; Torreira, Guendouzi; Pepe, Özil, Martinelli; Aubameyang

Will Emery be that brave? No. We know he won’t but he must be.

I expect Laca to start with Willock thrown into the Lion’s Den as well. Pepe and Özil probably make way. Just to throw everyone off, Xhaka will play on the right. That’s the kind of tinkering we’re up against.

But no matter what, enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

75 thoughts on “Saints Preview: Who Will Rein In The Tinkerman?

  1. Welsh Corgi says:

    Well said sure and I hop for your lineup😉.

  2. YW says:

    You hop for my line-up? I like that. Everyone should hop more frequently.


  3. Randy Thomsett says:

    Thanks for the excellent preview.

    I hope that Chambers retains his place in the team but, based on recent performances, Holding shouldn’t be anywhere near it. Luiz will be the permanent fixture in our central defence this season.

    Lacazette doesn’t score enough. I don’t see him as an upgrade on Giroud. He tries hard and shows desire but our gauge has to be higher than that.

    I don’t think that Emery has been given the ‘invisible wall’ that he wanted and has been trying to work around that since his appointment. Hence the continued inclusion of Xhaka.

    We have to win today, preferably with a performance.

  4. Welsh Corgi says:


    Sorry, I forgot an e but will certainly hop more😉.

  5. C says:


  6. Noon Gunner says:


    In any normal universe that 11 ought to do the job…

  7. Slarien says:

    In a normal universe we wouldn’t be playing 3-5-2 against relegation fodder, who’s so scary in the Southampton lineup that we need an extra centre back rather than an extra midfielder, we are the home team.

  8. Welsh Corgi says:

    Well, that line up looks hopeful. 3-4-3, maybe the way forward?

    Good to see torreira and Ozil in the same team as it implies that Ozil is nr 10 and torreira DM.

  9. Bill says:

    Great preview yogi

    Auba has been awesome and he has definitely been our best Individual and most influential player during the Emery era. However he can’t carry the team by himself. Lacazette has struggled this season even when healthy and he is not a prolific scorer but he is the only player on the roster not named Auba who is a threat to score in double figures and we need that second goal threat. Hopefully he scores today.

  10. G4E says:

    Worst Referees in the world, even worse than 3rd world African Referees.

  11. JonJon says:

    isnt this inspiring

    trying not to get outshot at home to a relegation threatened team….

    and failing spectacularly.

    maybe if we pull our goalposts down and hide them somewhere then maybe we might be able to snatch a draw against this world class outfit….

  12. Spike says:


    Its embarrassing isnt it?

    Nothing on show so far suggests Emery is “turning things around” as the twats on the board had stated.

    Quite the opposite in fact. I hope we scrape a win somehow, but if we do, that should not detract from what this coach is serving up, week in, week out:

    A load of insipid, inept rubbish.

  13. Andy says:

    I don’t get it. I thought Emery’s genius revelation to start playing better would work? And yet we’re still playing the same boring, uninspiring, dreadful relegation form ‘respectball’ that we have been all season.

    Get this Dracula looking clown out. Enos as well ideally.

  14. phil says:

    Strange starting lineup,
    Poor performance so far

  15. Spike says:


    We had 3 attempts compared to 10 for the visitors!! Appaling.

    And he takes off Chambers? Clueless again.

    And no VAR penalty Corrupt cunts.

  16. Andy says:

    Will one of our strikers just grow a pair and shoot?!?

  17. Delano says:

    There’s no any imagination or sense of urgency in this team. This team conceeded 9 goals at Leicester. They take the lead at Emirates and we are struggling to create any clear chances. Unai may be the problem.

  18. Andy says:

    Sokratis seriously needs to stop that shit. Cost us the win against Watford and thus top 4. Nearly cost us here.

  19. phil says:

    Even if we happen to fluke a victory, we are just a mediocre team at the moment .

  20. phil says:

    Mind you think Var couldn’t overrule the shit ref

  21. Delano says:

    Penalty. Unai must Go. Nothing more. The players are simplynot up to it. No arsenal player to even save a penalty rebound. The coach has lost the players trust.

  22. Welsh corgi says:

    Are we really gonna lose this. And now Shane Long is on.

  23. Delano says:

    The best we can get is a draw if we are so Lucky. A defeat Emirates is a few minutes away now.

  24. Bufallo says:

    Team of losers with a loser manager

  25. G4E says:

    Fighting for a draw at the Emirates 🙂

  26. Bufallo says:

    Absolute disgrace if he isn’t fired doesn’t matter if we draw now. Southampton are appalling and we setup at home to defend. Guys a loser

  27. Welsh corgi says:


    I’m flabbergasted. Didn’t think we could make new lows😳.

  28. Welsh corgi says:

    I’d rather we not lose. But surely this result ( if it stands) is telling tale for the board and owners. It’s relegation form for crying out loud😖.

  29. Andy says:

    sacked tonight

    has to be

    Na don’t worry he’s the man to turn it around apparently…..

  30. Andy says:

    Absolute daylight robbery. I’m actually fuming for them.

  31. Bufallo says:

    Oh ffs has he just saved his job…. God how depressing.

  32. Paulie Walnuts says:

    The equaliser is irrelevant. Emery is sucking the life out of the club.

  33. Bufallo says:

    How can they not fire him regardless. Shocking mentality hes inflicting on the club

  34. Ras says:

    Good Evening.

    How much worse can it get?

    In truth the quality of football played today has been nothing short of abysmal.

    When you have Luiz and Sokratis as your central pairing then you are doubling your chances of a mistake an error happening. Both are error prone .
    We should have been buried unequivocally c soir.

    The Club needs to get rid of them both . The lack of leadership on and off the pitch is glaringly obvious. Nothing against PEA. This confidence mantra trottée out by the Players is a load of merde.

    Emery skulked off the pitch like a dead man walking

  35. Alex Ice Cream says:

    Emery should have been sacked at half-time.

    Emery out. Poch in. Now.

  36. Delano says:

    Fucking Disgrace. A draw is an insult to Southampton. They deserves 3 points. An expensively assembled team cant struggle for a draw at Emirates against relegation bound fodder. Assistant coach should take over now as a substantive manager is appointed next season.

  37. consolsbob says:

    I expected us to lose today.

    My expectations of the club are at an all time low.

    I do not recognise this football team. Arsenal? Really?

  38. JonJon says:

    expecting the breaking news tonight that hes gone


  39. Alex Ice Cream says:

    A bright note(!) is Martinelli who set up the equaliser.

    This kid is amazing, the real deal. I doubt we will be able to keep him for long at this rate but he looks like a special, special talent.

    Can play anywhere along the front line, can pass and shoot with either foot, come off either flank and can head the ball as well. Pace, close control and crazy composure in the box. Oh and he’s 18…

    What a bargain at £6m.

  40. JonJon says:

    southampton had nearly double the shots we had..
    at our place.

    when is this shit going to stop?

    we go into a home game against a relegation fodder team and play 3 at the back with 2 wb’s a and 2 cms

    we basically started with just 3 attackers to stop southampton?

    and still only managed to snatch a last minute 2-2


    fucking joke

    game after game after game we cant defend and we cant control a game.

    im done with blaming emery he should have gone already.

    if they dont sack him now the blame entirely lies at the doors of josh, edu and raul..

    sort it out you set of pricks because we’re shit and we aint getting better.

  41. Michael says:

    I wonder how many players will talk to their agents this evening, to find them a new club. You could hardly blame them, they are being made to look crap.

  42. Spike says:


    It was gutless of them to publicly back him. He should’ve gone already, after today, will they change their position and act finally???

  43. Paulie Walnuts says:


    Well, there will be more ‘ noise ‘ at every home game until he goes or miraculously turns things around.

  44. consolsbob says:

    Emery’s behaviour is reminiscent of Xhaka’s.

    He hasn’t told us all to ‘fuck off’ yet but his sulky demeanour tells it’s tale.

  45. Conan says:

    Anybody else feel that guendouzi should be dropped?
    Not sure who else goes in there, but feels like he has really dropped off. I dont remeber any interceptions and maybe a tackle? I do remeber some poor passes and an in ability to combine with tierney.

    Toreria I thought had a decent game. Some interceptions, a tackle and some breaking up of play. Hampered by the early yellow.


  46. The Totteridge man says:

    Emery was never an improvement over Wenger. In to the second season Emery cannot communicate in English. He is protected by the fellow Spaniard Raul.In my opinion both Raul and Emery should go. Sack Emery first and pay asking salary for Poch and bring him in quickly.

  47. Woolwich Freddie says:

    No evidence of improvement again. Stop wasting time and sack him. I’m not a knee-jerk guy but anyone can see where this is going.
    The central defense takes some shit but the wing backs did really badly today. No resistance through the centre of midfield, as has been the case since late Wenger, really.
    Laca’s still in there fighting and can at least read the mood well enough not to celebrate. We need a couple more of him around the pitch.
    We really did look a team around Southampton’s level today, not like a big team having a bad day. The club needs to think about where that situation gets you if it isn’t turned around.

  48. Bill says:

    I don’t think anyone can doubt that we need a new manager and several new players. We have 2 good forwards but not much else. Our midfield is poor defensively and offers no real creativity or goal threat. Its been obvious that his skill has been fading for a few years but can anyone still doubt that Ozil is long past his prime and is no longer a player who is capable of consistently influencing games anymore. He had a great career but Father Time catches up with all players. Guendouzi gives us energy but he isn’t very good at linking defense to attack or defending and he struggles in possession when the opposition presses him and he gives us zero end product. The best thing we can can say about Torriera, he is probably not a downgrade compared with Xhaka. Our CB’s are mid table quality at best and the Gk is probably at that same level as the CB’s. 4th place seems out of reach right now.

  49. Bufallo says:

    Marcello gallardo interview him now.
    That would be a signing and a half.

  50. Bufallo says:

    That’s the chap. Doing an unbelievable job there.

  51. Bufallo says:

    He’s perfect for us, river have just blown a 1 goal lead in extra time haha

  52. Spike says:


    I was watching cant believe Flamengo won!

    I’m sure we almost signed Gallardo as a player!

  53. Bufallo says:

    Yeah Spike, football bloody hell.
    Barbosas disciplinary record this season is hilarious something like 23 yellows and 2 reds.

  54. Blue Yonder says:

    A draw against Southampton, at home, is the same as a loss, really. I actually expected much better today. One review I read described the Saints as well-organized and that’s exactly what Arsenal are not and haven’t been for a long time. A well-organized Arsenal team would win hands-down.
    That’s one of the chief reasons Emery has to go. Soon.

  55. Blue Yonder says:

    If whoever makes such calls does not end Emery’s reign immediately, they are effectively writing off the season. That will cost the club in both good will and money and with good players leaving and good ones not arriving.
    The only manager I could see coming in immediately would be Pochettino. If not him, then a caretaker to see out the season is the best way forward. That would give the club the time to find the right replacement – not the hurried job they did in replacing 22 yrs in a month or two that has put us where we are.

Comments are closed.

Scroll Up
%d bloggers like this: