Arsenal Fans Need To Get A Grip – Emery Is Exceeding Expectations!

I’ve seen and read a lot about Arsenal’s recent slump, and the vitriol spouted at Unai Emery in particular.

And quite frankly, Arsenal fans need to get a grip.

After over two decades under the Arsene Wenger regime, Unai Emery has been brought in to improve Arsenal and get us higher up in the table.

And isn’t he doing that?

The current Arsenal squad is built to finish 6th in the Premier League table, make no bones about it. And currently, we are 5th.

At the start of the season if you said to me Arsenal would finish 5th and be in the Europa League semi-finals, I would have bitten you arm off.

The problem is, many Arsenal fans are deluded and believe we have a divine right to finish in the Top 4, or should be challenging for the Premier League.

That is going to take time. Look at Liverpool now – they’re pushing Manchester City all the way and are genuine title contenders – although that’s all I hope they are as Liverpool actually winning the league would be horrendous for all concerned. But that tangent aside, becoming a bonafide challenger for the league takes time.

Jurgen Klopp arrived at Anfield in October 2015 so it’s taken the German manager 4 seasons to mould this Liverpool side in his image. In his first season, he finished 8th! It wasn’t until his second season that his Liverpool team finished 4th, and that was only by a solitary point when Arsenal finished 5th that season.

So perhaps some perspective is needed here?

And by the by, Jurgen Klopp didn’t have Silent Stan Kroenke as the owner so actually had a hefty amount of money to spend as well (£75 million for Van Dijk anyone?).

How much has Unai Emery had to spend? Somehow, we are in 5th in the Premier League and he’s done it with a side he’s had to inherit off Arsene Wenger – which contains some absolute drivel like Mustafi. Added to that, when Klopp got Liverpool into the Top 4 that was when it was easier to do so in the Premier League – this season is the toughest we’ve seen at the top of the league in a long long time. So if anything he should be applauded for getting us to that high up in the table.

Unai Emery needs time and we need to get behind the manager like Liverpool fans got behind Klopp. It’s taken 4 years to get where they are and look where they are now. Unai Emery hasn’t even had the chance to bring in any of his own players yet and he’s trying to change a culture at the club which has been ingrained over 2 decades so he’s not going to be able to change that overnight.

Emery is doing an absolutely fantastic job and Arsenal are currently above where they should be, and Arsenal fans should remember that.

 

Can Arsenal Finish Third in The Premiership?

Arsenal’s 5-1 thumping of Bournemouth stated the team’s intention of finishing fourth in the final Premiership table – or even higher. The title race is a foregone conclusion as it will go to either Liverpool or Manchester City, both of whom, given their current form, have unassailable leads. But what’s wrong with The Gunners aiming for third place?

The North Londoners rivals, Tottenham Hotspur, suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Burnley, followed by a hugely disappointing performance (only if you’re a Spurs fan of course) against Chelsea – Arsenal’s second main rivals after Manchester United for the fourth (or third) place slot.

Tottenham face Arsenal this weekend, and they still have to play Liverpool at Anfield and Manchester City at the Etihad. Although they step up their game a little when they meet the better sides, it really does look like they have lost their bottle, and if they carry on dropping points, it can only be to the good of Arsenal.

Most impotantly – if Unai Emery’s men can beat Spurs, they will be only one point behind them with all to play for.

The Gunners have already played Liverpool and City, so that is to their advantage in terms of vying for a fourth or third place finish. The next crunch game in achieving their bid, on the assumption that they can humble Tottenham, will be when they entertain Manchester United at the Emirates of the 10th of March.

Many soccer pundits seem to have accepted that Tottenham will finish in third place. But the rivalry between the two North London clubs is part of the fabric of the game, and if the Gunners can take that third-place spot at the expense of their neighbours, that will be sweet indeed if you’re a Gooner.

So, with everything to play for, Arsenal must be prepared to take what’s on offer and win both games – first against the Lily Whites and then against the Red Devils.

Tottenham are there for the taking. Pochettino admitted when they lost to Burnley that his team are now out of the title race. After the ensuing defeat by Chelsea he has now told the world that Spurs are ten years away from being real title contenders. With Spurs’ moral at an all-time low, now is the time for Arsenal to assert themselves.

But Emery needs to get his tactics right, and one of the questions uppermost in many peoples’ minds is whether or not his will pick Mesut Ozil in his starting eleven. Ozil had a terrific game against Bournemouth. He opened the scoring himself before setting up Henrikh Mkhitaryan to score and he was the main contributor of making the team tick.

Emery was quick to recognise Ozil’s performance when he said how much he helped to seal an emphatic win with his quality and work.

Given the underwhelming start to Arsenal’s opening form this season, no-one would have thought they would now be challenging for a fourth or even third place finish. We mustn’t also lose sight of the fact the Gunners are still in with a chance of winning the Europa League.

Making all this happen won’t be easy. But if they can, as suggested by former player Laureano Bisan-Etame Mayer, (more popularly known as simply Lauren), it will turn an average season into an excellent one and it will grant them a place in next year’s European Champions League.

From Unai Emery’s point of view, coming in after the exit of Arsen Wenger was no simple task. If his team does land a third-place finish and lift the Europa League crown, it will have been a more than satisfactory start to his reign.

 

Mesut Özil’s Masterful Performance Against Bournemouth

Mesut Ozil delivered a masterful performance to inspire Arsenal to a 5-1 victory over Bournemouth at The Emirates on Wednesday night. The German playmaker opened the scoring with a deft chip, teed up Henrikh Mkhitaryan for the second and looked extremely dangerous throughout. He also displayed fantastic work rate in a bid to prove to Unai Emery that he can fit into the manager’s high intensity style of play. The Gunners look a much better team with Ozil pulling the strings and there is now a strong case for Emery to reinstate him as a first team regular for the rest of the season.

In mitigation, this was a game tailor made for a player of Ozil’s talents. Bournemouth had lost their previous nine away games and they were unlikely to offer much resistance to Arsenal’s attack. Eddie Howe’s men simply cannot bring themselves to park the bus and they always try to play expansive football, which leaves plenty of space for Ozil to wreak havoc. He will need to turn it on against a higher calibre of opposition in order to convince Emery of his newfound worth to the team, but the signs are positive.

Arsenal now enters a crucial phase of the season as they desperately try to claw their way back into the Champions League. Emery and co need money to plug gaping holes in the squad, and the absent owner is not a fan of investing his own cash in the project, so the riches that Champions League football brings would provide a huge boost. They have two avenues: finish in the top four of the table or win the Europa League. A Bookmaker review and an analysis of the betting lines reveals that they are underdogs in both markets.

Chelsea are the clear favourites to finish in the top four after beating Tottenham on Wednesday, while Man Utd are second in the betting and Arsenal are third. Spurs could yet get sucked back into it, but Arsenal are still outsiders in this market. Chelsea are also the favourites to win the Europa League, followed by Serie A outfit Napoli and then Arsenal, who are once again third in the betting. Yet the Gunners will take a huge amount of confidence from the manner of their victory over Bournemouth this week.

It followed a similarly dominant display against Southampton in their previous outing and it is encouraging to see so many attacking options at Emery’s disposal. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came in for Alexandre Lacazette and looked equally impressive, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan is in the best form of his Arsenal career thus far, and the ability to rotate players will be crucial in the run-in. Yet there is a case for Ozil being the first name on the team sheet. He has an infuriating tendency to go missing in big games, and also to miss lengthy spells through illness, but when he is on song he is unplayable.

Without Ozil in the side, the Gunners often huff and puff, but lack incision. The German can deliver precise through balls, his movement is exceptional and he links midfield and attack with aplomb. Emery is a demanding coach and he clearly grew sick of Ozil’s lack of endeavour, but it would be amazing if Arsenal’s highest-earning player has actually responded well to a spell on the sidelines and the team will benefit from a re-energised, motivated player that is ready to lead this team to greater glories. Arsenal are fourth in the table, so their destiny is in their own hands, and there are no excuses in the Europa League as Chelsea are a mess. If Ozil shines for the next couple of months it could yet end up as a successful season for Arsenal and spark optimism for a bright future under Emery, so the case for him to give his star man a chance is compelling.

 

Who Has Been Arsenal’s Best Player Over The Last 10 Years? Vote Here!

I was having a debate with a friend and fellow Arsenal supporter about who has been Arsenal’s best player over the last 10 years. Several names came up, and we agreed that the shortlist would include:

  • Alexis Sanchez
  • Theo Walcott
  • Cesc Fabregas
  • Aaron Ramsey
  • Robin Van Persie
  • Jack Wilshere
  • Andrei Arshavin
  • Laurent Koscielny
  • Olivier Giroud
  • Santi Cazorla
  • Mesut Özil
  • Hector Bellerin
  • Pierre Emerick Aubameyang

I argued that Alexis Sanchez was the best Arsenal player we’ve had in the last 10 years – simply because he the closest thing we’ve had to a world class player in that time. He scored goals that no-one else could score, his desire and determination was something else and his overall play was unreal – we talk about Messi and Ronaldo as players who are from another planet, but I tell you what, Alexis Sanchez’s level was close to those two.

He was that good.

My friend however said that the best player we’ve had in the last decade was Cesc Fabregas. He believed that in terms of having the most impact and doing most for the team, our former captain edges it.

Anyway, below are a couple of videos to look through, with the players best goals, skills, etc. so take a look at those first and once you’ve decided, cast your vote and thoughts below!

Alexis Sanchez

Cesc Fabregas

The Vote

Remember, when casting your vote below you’re not voting for the player who has done the most for the club, but for the player who was the best in terms of outright quality, talent, ability and class!


survey software
 

What Should We Do With Mesut Özil? Cast Your Vote Here!

There is no player in the Arsenal squad that divides opinion more than Mesut Özil.

Some people think he’s lazy, others think he’s under appreciated – it’s hard to know what to think of him.

On one hand he is capable of doing things no-one else can do with a football – and that is no exaggeration. I can’t think of anyone else who can see a pass like this guy. In terms of vision, execution and delivery he is a one off. He is consistently top of all the assist leader boards, and has been for the last few seasons. He was a massive part of Germany winning the World Cup in 2014 and has won honours with Real Madrid and Arsenal. On his day, he is unplayable.

But on the other he is frustrating. We all know he is capable of 10 out of 10 performances but they don’t come often enough. The problem is he isn’t like Messi, Ronaldo or even Neymar – players who earn huge money but can in the blink of an eye pull off something special – score from a free-kick, lash one in from 30 yards, take on 3/4 players and score – basically inspire the team when the going gets tough. If Arsenal are having a bad day at the office, then so is Özil.

The problem now is Emery is (quite rightly) a manager who expects certain things from his players. If we want to support the new manager and want the club to move forwards then the players have to adapt. We’ve seen a marked improvement from players like Granit Xhaka, Hector Bellerin, Alex Iwobi and others, yet some like Özil have been left behind.

The other big problem is the size of Özil’s wage packet. He’s on superstar money and according to various sources the second highest paid player in the Premier League.

List of highest paid players in the Premier League:

1. Alexis Sanchez (Manchester United) – £500,000 a week
2. Mesut Özil (Arsenal) – £350,000 a week
3. Paul Pogba (Manchester United) – £290,000 a week
4. Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City) – £260,000 a week
5. Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United) – £250,000 a week
6. Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) – £220,000 a week
7. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) – £200,000 a week
= Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) – £200,000 a week
= David de Gea (Manchester United) – £200,000 a week
= Pierre Emerick Aubameyang  (Arsenal) – £200,000 a week
= Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – £200,000 a week
= Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) – £200,000 a week

As you can see Manchester United, unsurprisingly, have some mega stars on their books, which makes sense as they are constantly at the top of the richest football clubs in the world. City have a few names in there, which also doesn’t surprise anyone and we also have Aubameyang on high wages, as he was cheap from Dortmund and to his credit, he keeps scoring goals.

But to have Mesut Özil as the second highest earner in the entire league is just ludicrous! And he’d be the highest earner if we didn’t balls up the whole Alexis Sanchez situation and kept him at the club (which for the record, we should have).

Arsene Wenger did many great things at Arsenal but giving Özil a truly astonishing pay rise was crazy. The money would have been far better spent trying to keep Alexis Sanchez (who was our best player by a mile) as well as trying to hold on to Aaron Ramsey.

The issue now is finding another club who would be stupid enough to pay Özil that kind of money. The only way Arsenal could find a willing buyer would be to drastically reduce the fee for the player – so a footballer who is probably worth around £45 million in the current climate is probably only worth around £20 million now, and that’s if we’re lucky.

But what do you think we should do with Özil? Keep him? Sell him in the summer? Sell him now? 

Cast your vote below and leave your thoughts in the comments section!

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