Have Arsenal Improved Under Unai Emery?
If the definition of Insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result“,then Unai Emery and his Arsenal team that capitulated at Watford can be defined as such.
Time and time again, Arsenal tried to play out from the back with short passes in the six yard box to the defenders, 9/10 times, they ended up turning the ball over which led to a dangerous Watford attack.
After a good opening 20 minutes, Arsenal warmed in to control the game and got two goals from Pierre Emerick Aubameyang to end the first half 2-0 up.
The sloppy play returned in the second half and when Watford eventually punished Arsenal in the 54th minute with a Tom Cleverly shot -after some careless play by Sokratis – , even a blind man could see that coming. It was classic Arsenal.
The midfielder said after the game that they sensed Arsenal were ‘tentative’ in their approach and they knew there could be something in it for them if they kept pushing.
Cleverly’s goal was one that was supposed to serve as a boost for Watford while being a wake up call for Arsenal. While Watford stepped up and built on that, Arsenal rather went into deep slumber.
When pressure is high and Momentum shifts, top coaches put their thinking masks on and react. Arsenal’s manager reacted by taking off a very energetic and lively Dani Ceballos, who was by far the most effective of the midfielders.
With the midfield very weak and all but broken, Watford switched it up a gear and went in search of the equaliser.
Watford eventually got the second after David Luiz gace away his second penalty in 3 games as he tripped Roberto Pereyra in the box. The Argentine picked himself up and buried the spot kick.
Watford then came at Arsenal with all their arsenal but an array of chances were not connected as Arsenal, from 2-0 up had to scrape a draw.
Speaking after the game, Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka said,
“We knew they had nothing to lose and they would come for us but we didn’t show our game, we were too scared, nobody wanted the ball”.
This is a clear admission of a weak mentality from Xhaka, who was Arsenal captain on the day.
It most of these cases, the manager gets the blame,sometimes unfairly as one can argue the players must share the responsibility. Except this time, genuine concerns can be raised regarding the manager.
In 5 games this season, Unai Emery has used 5 different starting 11s, 5 different systems and 3 different formations.
When asked of his preferred style of play as in his first press conference as Arsenal manager 16 months ago, Emery said he liked his teams to press high up the pitch without the ball and play out from the back,with the ball.
There was a lot of pressing high up the pitch in the game at Vicarage road, except the only team pressing were Watford. And as for the little matter of playing out from the back, Arsenal are just simply horrendous at it.
So in 16 months, Unai Emery neither imposed his style (if he even has one) on the team nor A figure out his preferred starting 11.
This brings us to the question, is this really an improvement on his predecessor? The answer is in the following statistic; Arsenal have conceded more goals (59) in Unai Emery’s first 43 league games than they did in Arsene Wenger’s last 43 games(53).
No redemption In Sight For Neymar
“We invite all fans who felt hurt at one time or another to show him today he has no margin for error, and that the road to redemption will be long, very long”
That was the message from PSG Ultras to their number 10, even after Neymar had scored a breathtaking goal in injury time to secure a win at Strasbourg.
The fans haven’t held back at all in letting him know how they feel about him and he knows it.
After refusing to take a picture with the team after victory in the French super cup and days later, offering to pay €20m of the asking price to force a move away, it is clear now, there is an obvious disconnect between the fans and the player.
The fans no longer see him as one of their own and it will take far more than that goal to repair this relationship.
Bonus: Tammy Abraham
The young Chelsea striker scored a hattrick at the Molineux in a brilliant 5-2 Chelsea win. With 7 goals in his last 3 games, Tammy looks to be paying back the faith shown in him by manager Frank Lampard.
Also on the scoresheet were fellow academy graduates, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori.
Pick Of The Week
Ghana’s Black Meteors put up a stunning display to beat their Algerian counterparts 2-1 on aggregate to qualify for the Under 23 AFCON.
The meteors now have a chance to make the final 3 in the competition and qualify for the Olympic games for the first time in 16 years.
Aftermath Personality of the month(August)
The quartet’s time of 38:30 was 0.18 shy of the national record of 38.12 set in 1997 by Abu Duah, Eric Nkansah, Aziz Zakari, and Emmanuel Tuffour.
This outstanding achievement earns them the maiden aftermath personality of the month award.