Unai Emery


I can’t remember when our defence was worse than this, not just in terms of inadequate players, but also the lack of organisation.

We’re well known for having some of the best FB’s in the league, which clearly couldn’t be said of this team, and we had great CB’s as well, who were not only great players but leaders as well, which is definitely something we have lacked in recent seasons.
So that, together with a complete lack of proper defensive coaching, has meant we have a disorganised defence that will consistently let in goals…

The fact that we haven’t kept a clean sheet this season, and we let Cardiff score two goals, when they hadn’t scored in any of their other PL games so far, shows that Emery has a lot of work to do.


I would point out that our very best CB by miles for the last 5+ or so years is injured… we literally have a shambles Moose (we’ve known that so far), a brand new Papa, and kids… add that to a wingback system that leaves them even more exposed (ok, that is on Emery to some degree so far), a regressed Bellerin (at least defensively, guy has developed zero spider sense), and an aging Monreal (who I still think is decent, but he isn’t quick enough for current system/flaws)…

Combined with no solution at DM/DLP and a new system/new coaching methods, etc… and of course wide attacking players who are mostly braindead when it comes to defensive instincts…

To me this is the natural conclusion of the trajectory we have been on if you combine with Koss injury and other aspects here.

Having said that, with more facts on the table so far, it doesn’t look like keeping Xhaka was wise… it doesn’t look like Papa was good signing… it doesn’t look like keeping Welbeck makes any sense with our gap out wide… it doesn’t look like Leno signing makes much sense so far, especially combined with Cech playing more with his feet (FFS that is awful, stop it)… it doesn’t look like not starting Torreira makes ANY sense any more (ok I get it for a game or two to get him fit)… and it doesn’t look like we handled Ramsey well (ofc this is now still at least a year old problem, so that is on AW and old regime)…

Really we are mired in a pile of legacy troubles, worse than we perhaps realized and compounded by not smart acquisitions in the last 2-3 years… add up Chambers, Papa, Xhaka, Moose, Leno… and that is a pile of cash that could have been used much more effectively (around 120 million I reckon)… selling Ramsey and Welbeck probably gets us another 40 million at least… buy Lafont keeper for cheap, get a WC CB and wide attacker and then use remainder as depth/spot fixes…

We were abominable in transfers and frankly had plenty of resources and assets - just failed miserably… hope I’m wrong about Papa and Leno starts most of season and is revelation, but still…


We knew Kos had injury problems and we also knew that we lacked quality defenders but, as you say, the our transfers were not good enough or nothing was done at all.

We need at least a top quality CB and GK, and possibly a replacement for Bellerin, which isn’t going to be cheap.

All those seasons of scrimping and saving on proper defenders has really not paid off.
It will cost a lot more in the long run, not only financially but with our league position.


Expect us to have a whole new backline next season, as no one of the current players (maybe only Papa and Kos, but he is almost finished) are good enough for us.


So you think we are going to sign 4 starting material defenders over the next 2 transfer windows ? :eyes:


Lot of talk here about our defenders being not good enough but as with many other issues time could change this.

Its very hard to look good when your learning still only four games into the season. Especially as with last season as well when the midfield is being dissected again and again - and no shield or barrier is offered to assist.

Emery got them running like fuckers so im sure he will get them into place. Then im sure two or three will come good and those that dont fuck off.


I think you are overreacting a bit. A lot of people talked about the fact that the goal of this season was to stabilize the ship and obtain Champions League qualification. If we meet that goal (either through a top four finish or Europa League victory) with Sokratis is that choice really a failure? In the mean time we started to build a foundation for the future with Leno, Guendouzi and Torreira (let’s not forget he is 22 years old). A lot of what they did does make some sense to me. I do have a bit of problem with extending Xhaka and maintaining Mustafi as a first choice. Extending Chambers could make sense from the homegrown-rule perspective in the future when Welbeck is gone. Sure as hell hope he is not here in the 19/20 season.


Merson is on the beer again…


Yeah, a new manager can fix 14 years of misery in just 1 month. Go home, you are drunk.


Let’s not exaggerate the whole 14 years since our last league title under Wenger were not all misery.


Yeah, you are right. I meant years of slow decline.


I agree.

Emery needs time.

Look at United, they’ve gone through 3 high profile managers and they still haven’t found the answer. I say give Emery time, maybe even as much as he needs, because IMO United have proven that switching managers quickly after having a legendary manager doesn’t necessarily work.

Sometimes you’ve just got to bite the bullet and suck it up and see what comes of it. Sacking off Emery after even only two seasons might be too quick, Van Gaal and Mourinho haven’t been able to sort United out and they’re considered as some of the best managers around.

I say give Emery a serious grace period, even if it starts looking dark. It’s always worse before it gets better.


You being optimistic? :cech:


I’m always optimistic!!!

When I’m not kneejerking that is :wink:


As long as we see progress I’m with ya. When we stagnate then it’s time for him to go. Or if pep wants to come in on the cheap. That could work too.


To be fair, as critical as I’ve been of playing it out from the back, if that’s how Emery wants it, I say go for it.

It’s gonna be painful though. It’s gonna be a steep learning curve for our defence to learn how to do it and we’re going to concede some stupid goals (like we almost did against Cardiff) but I’m ok with that because we’re talking about resetting the clubs philosophy after 22 years of the same manager.

It’ll be rough but it’s needed. We need wholesale change at the club.


Tony Adams does not always talk sense, but this is pretty much spot on:


I just watched the game against Cardiff again, and If Emery insists that we play the ball out from the back, it might be better to not include Cech in the equation.

When he has the ball at his feet and has an opposition attacker running at him, he looks as nervous as a pregnant nun, and about as useful.


Its weird with us as we start at the 6 yard box and go almost further back next pass. Think wed be better trying it 20 minutes or so in.


Did you really need to rewatch a match to come to that conclusion? :laughing:

The problem is, as bad as Cech is with his feet, Leno is just as bad with his hands. Take your pick.