Frankfurt Preview: Desperately Seeking Support

Eintracht Frankfurt arrive at the Emirates tonight ready to capitalise on Arsenal’s undisguised turmoil. No German fans will be admitted this evening, giving rise to expectations that this will be the lowest gate for a home first-team game in the history of the stadium.

I say no German fans will be admitted but obviously there will be around 20,000 of them in home seats…

Unai Emery faced the media yesterday in what can only be described as a ‘last meal’ press conference. His future, he declared, was “today and tomorrow.” A neat sidestep but also a brutal assessment of his predicament.

Shkodran Mustafi, accompanying Emery, accepted the players dropped the Spaniard in the cart. “If the coach is under pressure, the players are too.”

The German continued: “The coach is trying to organise the team and we, as players, try to put on the pitch what we do every day in training. We play together, we’re in the same boat and we will try to fight our way out of this.”

Except they are ham-fisted in their execution, leaving Emery on the footballing death row.

Emery was phlegmatic about his own circumstances, presumably knowing that it is a case of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ he gets sacked. Tonight is something of a free pass; no-one cares about the Europa League group stages with eyes firmly focussed on Sunday’s trip to Norwich.

Well, not quite. Lose tonight and the pressure intensifies as the group stage of the Europa League becomes the most important competition of the season.

Unai, though, has a cunning plan: get the supporters to back the team and breed confidence in the players.

Which I thought was his job and that of his backroom staff. Obviously not.

Et Tu, Brute?

Backing the team is, if you like, the role of supporters. However, the arguments begin when you’re told that it must be unconditional. It’s a grey area, at best.

Does the team lift supporters or vice versa? It’s a bit of both, to be honest. At the start of 90 minutes, the support backs the team but the performance on the pitch then influences the mood in the stands. If the players are completely off-key, that sucks enthusiasm out of the stands, requiring something on the pitch to reignite it.

Emery is playing a last desperate roll of the dice in calling on supporters to back the team:

My only focus is to show tomorrow a good performance and connect with our supporters. We know our supporters are disappointed but tomorrow we have the chance to come back with our supporters in the Emirates and show them that reaction.

I know some teams come here and are fearless against us and we need to be strong for our supporters but first we need to reconnect with them, but really, my wish is tomorrow that the supporters and every supporter helps the team because we need them.

Unai hopes for a double-six to land

How does a team which is so disjointed become reconnected with supporters? It’s hard to see that happening when it seems so few are genuinely popular. As I said yesterday, not many of this squad would be missed if they were sold.

Popularity in tough times carries a squad through because it is built on a belief in either the coach or the squad, or usually, a bit of both. That’s what carries a squad and supporters through adversity together. That’s what is missing and it is also what is too late to garner.

A Show of Strength

A show of support is not out of the question but it is built flimsily. Adversity during 90 minutes is likely to see it ebb away.

More importantly, my view is that the support in the stadium continues for a team beyond what it actually merits. Saturday may well prove to be the nadir, the worst this team can be but I think our performance levels show plenty of inclination to drop further. Still, they are backed at the start of and during the 90 minutes.

Discontent surfaces but given the fare on offer, is that any surprise? Is unwarranted? No, on both counts.

I can’t help but feel Emery is flailing around, out of ideas on how to inspire this team, and relying on others now. Tick tock, Raul. Tick tock.

Despite the temptation to field a strong side tonight, we’ll see a smattering of reserves as usual. Sacked in the morning? No; there’s too little time for a new face to prepare for Norwich. His P45 isn’t in the post just yet.

One man who will feature this evening is Granit Xhaka and I expect that from the start. It’s been building to this and the expected low crowd favours a return tonight. The only red rag to the bull will be if Emery names him captain.

So to tonight’s XI:

Martinez; Chambers, Mustafi, Holding, Tierney; Xhaka, Willock; Pepe, Özil, Nelson; Martinelli

(Updated, on reflection, to save Lacazette for Sunday)

Having wiped the floor with Bayern, Eintracht have lost two on the bounce in the league, as well as in Liege, making it four defeats in five. Two hopelessly out-of-form teams meet take to the pitch this evening so we’re not quite the underdogs we might believe. I’m not expecting a classic…

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

82 thoughts on “Frankfurt Preview: Desperately Seeking Support

  1. Jonnygunner says:

    Second boom….I was walking my dog

  2. Jonnygunner says:

    We’ve all said it before YW-quite how you manage to write anything worth reading…day after day,is beyond me.Especially given these dull times.’Tis no fun being a Gooner at the moment.
    Many thanks for your efforts -they are much appreciated.

  3. Noon Gunner says:

    Jonnygunner,

    Agreed, Jonny – YW’s Thought Bar offers storm-battered Gooners a very welcome refuge and an oasis of calm…and amazingly it’s open 24/7. What jurisdiction are we in, remind me?

  4. Randy Thomsett says:

    The problem now is that for a large section of the fanbase, the fallback option is vitriol and vitriolic abuse towards the team’s players, an option stoked by so- called fan sites and blogs fuelled by excess to get their required hits. Though thankfully not this one.

    We’ve always had a smattering of duds in the team but they were generally greeted with light hearted dismay or humour. Now it’s outright aggression and vitriol.

    No fanbase should be aggressively jeering its own players and we do it with alarming regularity.

    I don’t see other clubs doing the same or, if they do, certainly not to the same extent.

  5. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Home support is a two way street. Fans will forgive (up to a point) if they see effort.
    A player who plays a poor pass or is dispossessed has to do their utmost to recover possession, even if that means committing a foul.
    Recovery runs or running around a lot are other ways to show they’re engaged. Also , trying to rectify obvious faults like not trying to play out from the back EVERY time.
    If fans see the team giving their all but still struggling they can then justifiably criticise either tactics, team selection, transfer policy or club hierarchy. Or we just may be beaten by a better team.

  6. Pete the Thirst says:

    I’ll be one of the few there tonight Randy and I’m getting my booing lined up for Emery & Xhaka. Both are cooked.

    Back at Highbury the East Stand used to be the home of the jeering. I remember Parlour used to get it relentlessly and he would walk into this current side.

    In my experience other clubs are far more vocal. If Everton were ever having a tough time there was almost always an irate fan on the pitch having a go at players. I recall one fan tried to swap his jumper with a player his play was so poor.

    This isn’t new and to suggest otherwise is nonsense.

    Randy Thomsett:
    The problem now is that for a large section of the fanbase, the fallback option is vitriol and vitriolic abuse towards the team’s players, an option stoked by so- called fan sites and blogs fuelled by excess to get their required hits. Though thankfully not this one.

    We’ve always had a smattering of duds in the team but they were generally greeted with light hearted dismay or humour. Now it’s outright aggression and vitriol.

    No fanbase should be aggressively jeering its own players and we do it with alarming regularity.

    I don’t see other clubs doing the same or, if they do, certainly not to the same extent.

  7. potter says:

    Back in the 60’s the antics of Billy McCullough and Fumbling Jim Funell were the cause of much merriment on the terraces and going to Highbury for half a crown or was it 5 bob was a social event not taken too seriously because we knew our place. Then it got serious Jon Sammels became the butt of all criticism as we lifted the Inter Cities and then remarkably the double in 71. Since then despite falling back we have always managed to struggle to the top again like a yoyo and in our down sweeps players got hammered but on the ups it was all good.
    We are presently on a down sweep , it started about 6 years ago to get serious and it seems that it will last a few more years before the upswing comes again . As always there will be scapegoats but not with the humour associated in the 60’s . Football was fun in those days.

  8. Bufallo says:

    “The problem now is that for a large section of the fanbase, the fallback option is vitriol and vitriolic abuse towards the team’s players….. Now it’s outright aggression and vitriol……No fanbase should be aggressively jeering its own players and we do it with alarming regularity……I don’t see other clubs doing the same or, if they do, certainly not to the same extent.”

    so much wrong with all of this…..apart from anything else, why shouldn’t fans shout, jeer, hurl nonsense, it’s all part of the football fan experience, blowing off steam for some, calm enjoyment for others. always been the way football world-wide. and now potentially more than ever in europe with a huge financial gap between owners, players and fans, it all adds to the pantomime. everyone is free to support as they wish, within the bounds of the law. all these owners, players and managers are handsomely paid, it’s all part of the business. react through the football if you’re on the receiving end. ie. don’t do a xhaka

  9. consolsbob says:

    potter,

    Agree with all that.

    Not a lot of laughter on the terraces these days.

  10. andy1886 says:

    Xhaka starts. Can’t say that it’s a good decision. But then again Emery seems to struggle to make any good decisions any more.

  11. consolsbob says:

    andy1886,

    It’s a ridiculous decision, Andy. The man should never wear the shirt again, that is a personal opinion, of course.

    More pragmatically, the fans don’t like the player and it hardly helps Emery’s position and stated aim of bringing the fans onside. Doomed.

  12. consolsbob says:

    Another eccentric team selection, to boot.

  13. andy1886 says:

    consolsbob,

    Absolutely CB, he hasn’t even had the decency to apologise. Another egotist totally lacking in humility. Emery is asking for trouble, would have though that he has enough already.

  14. Noon Gunner says:

    We’re set up to play the game in our own half. I think we’ve managed to confuse even Frankfurt.

  15. Blue Yonder says:

    The subject of booing seems to be a touchy one these days. And it isn’t even just a football thing – it’s a reflection of how many people often behave these days. Booing in sports certainly isn’t new but the nature of it definitely is. As a callow youth, I admit to having uttered the occasional “boo” but very, very seldom and absolutely never towards a team I was supporting. Today, of course, anything goes, and we have the reality of “fans” venting their spleen at Granit Xhaka by wishing bad things to happen to him and his family.
    I don’t know how you change these things but it is ugly and money seems to play a large part in it.

  16. consolsbob says:

    Blue Yonder,

    It is ugly.

    How many players tell their fans to “fuck off”?

    That is ugly too.

    We have come a long way from Captains like Frank McLintock and Tony Adams.

  17. Spike says:

    Emery is clearly desperate win this game, to hang on to his job, if the line up is anything to go by. Obviously it wont happen given the inept confused tactics.

    He doesn’t care Ahba could get injured…

    That’ll be the next managers problem.

  18. G4E says:

    Huffing and Buffing but no real end product?

  19. Noon Gunner says:

    Martinelli continues to impress.

  20. consolsbob says:

    I just don’t see a strong performance here, despite our seeming ‘control’. One chance for them, one goal.

    It’s all a bit ‘business as usual’.

    Poor stuff.

  21. Andy says:

    When was the last time we had a clean sheet?

  22. G4E says:

    Oh Ozil too…..we are going all out!

  23. Bufallo says:

    soft as butter
    empty stadium
    can this go on ?

  24. Bufallo says:

    i’d take homer simpson right now, nevermind nuno e santo

  25. Noon Gunner says:

    There’s an air of a Greek tragedy about this now. Beyond fixing. Barely organised chaos.

  26. G4E says:

    For the love of God, get the man out of his misery.

    He has no clue what’s going on, and neither am I, or even the players.

  27. Noon Gunner says:

    That we’ve succeeded in giving the game to such an entirely dismal opposition is all the evidence our board needs, surely?

  28. andy1886 says:

    Crappy ‘clearing’ header from Xhaka straight to Kamada….

    Nothing changes.

  29. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Traditional black London taxi for Unai ?

  30. Bufallo says:

    team just waltz through our entire team under emery, never seen anything like it. please, please, please he’s got to go even if we some how draw/win
    players voting with the fans

  31. consolsbob says:

    I am not a fan of ‘Le Grove’ but his posts concerning the possibility of Nuno as manager raises issues that I was unaware of.

    Anyone know anything about this?

  32. G4E says:

    Still not time for Laca to salvage the point yet?

  33. Stu says:

    How crap must we be? Or rather, how crap is the coaching and motivation, when we played it best, against a out of form team, with 4 defenders and 2 defensive midfielders one of which was David Luiz? Since Sideshow went off, we have largely gone to pot, with the exception of the counter for Aubameyang’s goal.

    If we lose this, qualification goes down to the final game. Is that enough to force Josh’s hand and terminate Emery’s tenure?

  34. Spike says:

    G4E,

    Nope. Hes bringing on a DM. But he will probably played wide right or as a number 10.

  35. Bufallo says:

    Frankfurt seem confused by how bad we are. Haven’t even got any supporters and they’re still beating us

  36. Spike says:

    Bufallo,

    If the board sont act decisively after tonight, then they’re clearly as shit as Emery.

    Muddled, apathetic, rudderless….

    Zzzzzzz

  37. Dukey says:

    Bob,

    Apart from the obvious which is he isn’t qualified or big enough to get us back to where we want to be I wouldn’t know.

  38. andy1886 says:

    consolsbob,

    Looks worrying if half of it is true CB. Suggestion is that AFC would just be a vehicle for more corrupt agents and businessmen to make money, that on top of Stan milking his ‘asset’.

    Have never liked Raul the marketing man turned football administrator. Get these clowns out of our club and let’s see some genuine football people who care about the game and the club rather than just the money.

  39. G4E says:

    Guess no salvaging a point this time?

  40. G4E says:

    Spike:
    G4E,

    Nope. Hes bringing on a DM. But he will probably played wide right or as a number 10.

    Obviously not working anyways 🙂

  41. Stu says:

    According to BT, last time we went 7 games without a win was 1992.

    Simply not acceptable.

  42. Bufallo says:

    Only thing one can take pleasure from is that Stan is not making as much money as he could be by running the club so badly. Slim pickings.
    I don’t thing NES is the man either but seems he’s likely to be the one
    Nice man Emery, pity, seems too nice. Always looks and acts baffled. Never recovered from the CL debacle at PSG.

  43. Dalm says:

    Xhaka laughing and smiling with the oppo at the end. Dreadful.

  44. consolsbob says:

    Nice to see Xhaka with a smile on his face. Great job.

  45. Dukey says:

    Emery is done. Its over. We are a mess, a big horrible ugly mess. I was for giving him time but it’s clear it’s over.

    Get potch tonight. Piss those spurs fans off and give us a chance of getting top 4.

  46. Fell says:

    I know it’s only tv and I know it’s only a brief snapshot but as the cameras pan on Xaka smiling and hugging the opposition players after a loss as the rest of the team trudge off speaks volume about the values and intents

  47. G4E says:

    It seems and looks like everyone have had enough, even Emery himself….Except the board, maybe they’re enjoying this cup of cold shit?

  48. consolsbob says:

    Well, I didn’t know things could get any worse but it seems there are depths that we still reach that might finish us once and for all.

    Certainly my Arsenal looks a long way away. Can’t see me bothering if that transpires.

    andy1886,

  49. Paulie Walnuts says:

    I’d be surprised if he’s sacked tonight. We’re just not as reactionary as , well , everyone else.

    The players have thrown their expensive , fluffy towels in.

    Norwich should be fun on Sunday.

  50. andy1886 says:

    Either Granit is so thick that he thinks that he can treat a defeat like a joke after what happened a few weeks back or he really doesn’t give a rats arse about the club in which case WTF is Emery doing selecting him??

  51. andy1886 says:

    consolsbob,

    We’ve a vehicle for parasites making money, no more, no less. Sold our souls to the Yank and his cronies. I can see this going down hill even more rapidly than in the last year of Wenger.

    It’s going to get ugly all right.

  52. Wailesy says:

    That’s a great game to lose. Emery has to walk himself after that display. The players really don’t give a toss. It’s Sunday village attitude.

  53. Stu says:

    The club shouldn’t be bothered about who is available now. It’s doesn’t matter that Poch is available, or that Nuno may be available if Mendes gets a few million out of it. We just need to end the nightmare. Emery has to go now, even if Freddie steps in until the right man is appointed. We need to stop the downward spiral.

  54. Alex Ice Cream says:

    Its so bad, its comical and we have to laugh as its all we have left.

    What is amazing is that a manager clearly as useless as Emery makes any kind of living at “big clubs”.

    Surely Freddie until the end of the season will be better?

  55. Adam Singh says:

    Should have got Mourinho when we had the chance.

  56. Buckagh says:

    Adam Singh,

    We couldn’t do anything like that,
    You know we have to be whiter than white do things the Arsenal way
    mourinho could win things but would ruin the club at the same time,
    we seem to be doing a good job of that by ourselves

    Never understood why supporters were worried that we were financially self supporting must have music to Kronke ears

  57. Papa Bear says:

    It’s Freddie then, the interim……..

  58. Papa Bear says:

    Xhaka and Luiz double pivot might work in 4-2-3-1 formation and will accomodate Ozil as the #10 advanced playmaker role. I just hope if Freddie to be appointed as a caretaker he would not easily dismis this chance to at least try it a few games to see if it works.

    Laca

    Auba Ozil Pepe

    Xhaka Luiz

    Tierney Holding Mustafi Bellerin

    Leno

  59. Spike says:

    Adam Singh:
    Should have got Mourinho when we had the chance.

    No no no!

    Never ever ever… dont even think that.

    Horrible cunt of a man. He and spuds are well matched.

  60. Spike says:

    Papa Bear,

    Or, replace Mustafi with Chambers and Xhaka with Whillock or Torreira….

  61. Ras says:

    There are a number of questions that this Club are going to have ask itself.

    The Off the pitch Absentee American Owner is needs resolving. We know the reality Of what is happening under KSE it’s a slow but gradual decline.They stay are Arsenal are destined condemned for mediocrity and nothing more of this shite.

    This season is over in terms of PL qualification via the PL. It’s over.

    Whether he would take the job Arteta is the Man. Forget the ex Juve Manager Allegri.

    To old I’m not being ageist here but Arteta has youth , knows the Club, PL and can communicate.

    Arteta if he wants it should be entrusted with the job. He’d be allowed to build in same way as Klopp. Klopp got rid of Benteke. Sakho in no uncertain terms.

    The likes of D Luiz should NEVER have been signed by Arsenal.I know why Lampard let him go.

    You just look at the defense and when I see Sokratis, Mustafi and Luiz I see why defensively We are shit. Total shite.

  62. Stu says:

    He’s gone!

    Freddie in as interim manager.

    Red Mohawks all round then!

  63. The Totteridge man says:

    Unai gone. Should have happened at the end of the last season when just a home game win would have secured top4.

    Job for a man,and this rules out Arteta. Get Poch.

  64. Birdkamp says:

    Best of luck to him.

    I think my main memory of these 18 months will be confusion. It seems like he could prepare quite well for a big game, but I still don’t know what his style is.

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