Enough is enough!! It’s time for Unai Emery to leave Arsenal!

 
It’s time to part ways, Unai…

Arsenal once again put in a gutless performance against a mid table team.

Enough is enough!

Under Arsene Wenger, we had defensive problems, but at least we had some sort of coherent attacking plan.

Under Unai Emery, we have defensive problems, but don’t have any kind of game plan in terms of attacking or creating chances.

It is now time to admit that Ivan Gazidis’s choice as Arsenal manager has failed, and time to move on.

There are a plethora of good managers available. Jose Mourinho, Massimilano Allegri, Laurent Blanc, Luciano Spalletti… the list goes on.

We have no game plan, no identity, no idea on the pitch…. this is just ridiculous now.

We’ve spent big money on bringing players in, and it’s the same old story. Actually, it’s not the same old story – this is actually worse.

Unai Emery is literally making things up as he goes along. He persists in Granit Xhaka, which will end up being his downfall, he has failed to address our defensive issues (and although our defence has always been suspect, it’s actually got worse) and I’m sure he has his own ideas but whatever they are, they are clearly not getting through to the players.

I don’t know what else to say… I’m so angry, frustrated and quick frankly, pissed off.

It will be a miracle if Arsenal finish in the Top 4 this season, and the Arsenal hierarchy need to have a real, hard think about the future because if they continue with Emery as Arsenal manager, then we will fail to get Champions League football next season, and risk losing our best players in the summer.

Awful Arsenal bottle it at Old Trafford! Plus player ratings…

 

Not sure what to make of that one.

Tonight saw two big teams who are in transition and struggling for form, and nether side were prepared to take the initiative to try and win the game.

One of the few positives was that Guendouzi and Saka, two of the youngest players in the team, put in really excellent performances. And Joe Willock again, when he came on, was fantastic.

Calum Chambers did well considering he was out of position, and Kolasinac did well on the other side. Luiz and Sokratis were okay, not brilliant but okay. At least neither made any stupid mistakes tonight.

Apart from that, we were uninspiring, timid and lacked any invention. And worst of all, the quality in the final third was horrendous. If we even showed even a slight bit of quality, we would have won that game.

Pepe was dreadful, overhitting crosses, misplacing passes and worst of all, giving the ball away cheaply, and not even attempting to track back! Aubameyang had no service all night, except for a brilliant pass from Saka, so struggled, and Torriera looked lost.

All night we couldn’t make the final pass or show that bit of quality – Reiss Nelson scuffed a great chance towards the end, Ceballos wasted a great chance to cross from a free kick right at the end, Pepe’s corners were terrible… it was extremely frustrating watching Arsenal tonight. Simply put, Arsenal were scared tonight.

Yet another chance to get 3 points at Old Trafford wasted.

Player Ratings

Bernd Leno: 8/10

Solid and made some good saves, especially towards the end from a Marcus Rashford free kick. Had no chance whatsoever with the goal we conceded.

Calum Chambers: 7/10

Did well tonight considering he was exposed for most of the night by Pepe who didn’t track back. Got forward when he could and tried to make things happen. Another solid performance after a good week in the Arsenal first team and he has stepped up and shown that he can be counted on which is great.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos: 6/10

Didn’t make any stupid mistakes so that’s good right? Overall did okay and did well against Rashford.

David Luiz: 6/10

Didn’t make any stupid mistakes so that’s good right? Linked up well with Sokratis on the whole, but did give away a needless free kick right on the edge of the box right at the end of the game which could have cost us dear. Did make some good and important interceptions.

Sead Kolašinac: 7/10

Did well and was solid all night. Looked comfortable defending and tracking back, and pushed forward well, and gave Aubameyang a great pass which the forward failed to read.

Lucas Torreira: 5/10

Gave everything as usual but struggled to impose himself against Manchester United’s midfield.

Granit Xhaka: 6/10

Didn’t make any stupid mistakes so that’s good right? Did okay, but still not sure what he brings to the team as Guendouzi and Torreria did all the running.

Matteo Guendouzi: 9/10

Excellent performance from Matteo get again. Full of running, full of purpose and tried to drag the team forward. Made some really important tackles and interceptions, and didn’t get involved in any of the silly games that he’s sometimes prone to – a real mature and measured performance, and deserves all the plaudits.

Nicolas Pépé: 3/10

Dreadful. We all know it takes time to get used to the Premier League but it doesn’t mean he should smash the ball into the stands every time. Showing a real lack of quality on the ball which is worrying. Of course he can’t help the price tag but you would think £72 million would get you someone who can kick a ball properly.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 7/10

Couldn’t impose himself on the game because of the lack of service from the Arsenal midfield and the poor Nicolas Pépé. Ran for the cause, leading from the front and tried his best. Took his goal with absolute class, something badly missing from the rest of the team tonight.

Bukayo Saka: 8/10

Brilliant performance, one of the best in an Arsenal shirt tonight. Never shied away from a challenge, always willing to receive the ball and take on Manchester United – a really mature and impressive performance from a fantastic prospect. Deserves to feature in more games this season and gives Arsenal something else from an attacking perspective. Gave Ashley Young problems all night.

Dani Ceballos: 4/10

Failed to impose himself on the game, and gave the ball away too many times. Had a great opportunity to deliver a good cross at the end of the game but only managed to hit the first Manchester United player.

Reiss Nelson: 5/10

Tried and had some decent runs forward but again, showed a lack of quality at important times. Scuffed a chance from 12 yards out and should have done much better.

Joe Willock: 7/10

Was only on for 10 minutes but was bright, calm and composed on the ball. Had some good runs forward and always found a pass. Certainly deserves more playing time in the Arsenal first team because he’s currently one of the most talented players in the squad.

Why on Earth is Granit Xhaka Arsenal’s new captain?!

 
I don’t understand either, Granit.

What is going on at Arsenal?

We’ve known Laurent Koscielny was leaving Arsenal a long time ago so Unai Emery has had a lot of time to think about who should be Arsenal’s next captain.

This whole thing has just become a joke in the footballing world, when earlier this week it was revealed that Unai Emery held a vote to see who the Arsenal players wanted as the next captain.

And then it was announced that we were going to have 5 captains?!

We’ve struggled with our performances and results this season, so the last thing Arsenal fans want is a manager who is indecisive and can’t even make a fundamental decision of picking the captain of his team.

As this week progressed, reports emerged that Rob Holding was the man who had the most votes, something the vast majority of Arsenal fans were more than happy with.

But then, the news came through… Granit Xhaka, a man who makes mistakes on a regular basis and brings nothing to the team, was selected as Arsenal’s new captain.

WTF?

This is a man who brings nothing to the team. He can’t tackle, he can’t defend, he’s lost the ability to do the only thing he was good at – spray the ball across the pitch… it’s all a but of a joke.

There are about 5 players who I could name who would be FAR better choices as Arsenal captain.

The first being Rob Holding – a young, dedicated player who is consistent and can lead by example. We have Aubameyang, a player who has single-handedly carried Arsenal for most of this season and last, a player who gives 110% and more importantly – is a regular starter. Lacazette has passion and can lead by example, Hector Bellerin is also a strong candidate and then we have someone like Sokratis who is another player who gives 110% and consistently puts in good performances.

The problem I have with Granit Xhaka being captain is that it effectively means he can’t be dropped – when most Arsenal fans realise that he is the main reason we haven’t been performing.

To be a good defensive midfielder, you need several qualities. You either need to be quick and have the vision to intercept balls (like Kante), big strong and good in the tackle (like Matic) or have great positional sense and leadership qualities (like Roy Keane). Sadly for us, Xhaka has none of those abilities and if anything, is a liability.

For me, this is bad, bad news and could be the downfall of Arsenal this season (in terms of having hopes of finishing in the Top Four) and could also be the beginning of the end for Unai Emery’s reign at Arsenal.

5 Important Talking Points From The Europa League Final

 

I can’t describe how I’m feeling today. I feel like complete sh*t, I’m depressed, I’m gutted – I’m just down and out. 

The problem was last night was huge for Arsenal, and the future of the club. Obviously we are in a rebuilding process but last nights defeat has set us back 5/6 years. A win would have allowed us to play in the Champions League, win a major European trophy and give us the opportunity to build on some success – attracting players and giving us more money to spend in the transfer market.

As it stands, next season we’ll be playing in a competition nobody wants to be in – we have to contend with travel to some really obscure places in “Europe” (I’m sure half of these locations are more like Asia) and the Thursday / Sunday fixture list is a massive disadvantage to us in regards to Premier League form. It’s just horrendous.

You might be thinking I’m making out that the future is really bleak but the reality is that it is. Last night was a huge setback and could have more negative repercussions than the Champions League exit in 2004 and the Champions League final defeat in 2006.

There are 5 major talking points from last night (and this season) and they are highlighted below: 

The Penalty Decision

Even after taking off my Arsenal tinted glasses – that was a penalty. There was contact and Lacazette had every right to go down. That decision would have changed the game and being 1-0 up would have been massive for us, especially when we dominated the first half an hour and needed something to show for it.

And did they actually use VAR?! I’ve seen a few Champions League games and they have the VAR logo on the screen, then the referee goes over and takes 12 years to check a slow motion replay 2134 times, then they finally come to a decision. Last night, it was almost swept aside and you wonder if it was actually used?

The Formation & Tactics

As soon as I saw the line-up, I was worried.

Our success against Chelsea this season (which was well reported) was when Aaron Ramsey sat on Jorginho and stifled his influence. With Ramsey injured, it was important to replace him with someone who could do a similar job, and the right person was not Mesut Özil.

Alex Iwobi should have (and deserved to) start the final in my opinion, and he would have done a much better job of linking the midfield and attack (which was non-existent with Özil on the pitch). And when he came on, he changed the game – not as much as we would have wanted – but there’s only so much one man can do in half an hour, and without conceding penalty who knows.

But the fact was the change was too little too late. You only get one chance at a final and we don’t have a second leg to salvage things, so why Mesut Özil started his baffling to me. Iwobi has more endeavour, energy, pace and desire so him starting was a no brainer – especially when you’re starting both Lacazette and Aubameyang and need an attacking midfielder who actually tracks back??

Mesut Özil

He needs to leave. Now.

Özil’s time at Arsenal was coming to an end already based his non-performances this season which quite frankly have been scandalous. He’s the second highest paid player in the Premier League and doesn’t care. He couldn’t influence the game yesterday, like most games this season, and when he was taken off he left the pitch like a petulant school kid.

He gets paid too much, doesn’t perform unless we’re playing at the Emirates – it’s time to part ways.

Unai Emery 

For me, Emery needs time and I think he will get it. But while I’ve always said be patient and give him time to implement his methods, certain questions need to be asked.

Tragically, the way the Europa League final panned out mirrored how our season ended. We started the campaign strong, played some good football, but ultimately collapsed at the last.

Up until half time last night our Europa League campaign was pretty much flawless. Then at the last (the second half) we just crumbled. Just like our Premier League form, until the last 5/6 games we did really well, putting ourselves in a very good position. But then we again crumbled, losing to Crystal Palace and failing to beat Brighton at home, which in the end proved fatal. 

Did our team get worked too hard throughout the course of the season? Did Emery fail to prepare the team for the crunch games? Are we mentally weak? Can the squad just not cope when the season reaches an important time?

For what it’s worth, I think Emery has made improvements this season, and don’t forget he’s inherited a lot of rot from the Wenger era – but that being said there have been some worrying aspects to his reign so far which are less than encouraging (Premier League collapse and Europa League final second half).

Petr Cech

There was a lot of debate on whether Petr Cech should have started the game, considering he was offered a position at Chelsea and the fact that Leno is the better goalkeeper. 

For me, the offer of the Chelsea job summed up that club. Perfect timing of the “announcement” was enough to shed doubt on Arsenal’s preparations and cause a bit of sh*t, while their style of play was a lot to be desired (kicking our players, the highlight of which was someone stamping on Lacazette’s Achilles).

Personally, I thought Leno should have started. I completely understand that not starting Cech might have disrupted the dressing room and affected morale, and I understand that there might have been an agreement earlier in the season about certain goalkeepers playing in certain competitions. That said, Leno played the first few games in the Europa League remember so I don’t think it would have been that much of a shock. Added to the fact that Leno allows us to play from the back which is an important part of our game, whereas Cech only knows how to kick it long which would only work (ironically) if we had a player like Olivier Giroud.

Thank You For Everything You’ve Done For Us, Aaron Ramsey

 

Arsenal played against Brighton yesterday in their last home game of the season but the match and result for me were irrelevant. Our recently form meant that we had already called behind too much and therefore blown the Top 4 before we even kicked a ball, so the main focus is the departure of a man who has given so much to Arsenal.

There will be the obvious talk about how we’ve managed to pay a player like Özil £350,000 a week, who has contributed with 2 assists all season, and with that managed to let a player of Ramsey’s stature leave on a free.

He will be going to Juventus, to play along world class players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala, and I for one will be following his Italian adventure and the Old Lady will be the team I will be supporting in the Champions League next season – I would love it if Aaron Ramsey won the biggest prize in Europe.

Now we’ve got that out of the way, what about Aaron Ramsey’s Arsenal career?

He said it himself yesterday, he arrived a boy and leaves a man. In an emotional post-match interview yesterday with Sky Sports, he was clearly moved by the whole day and it is a big wrench for him to leave – making it blindly obvious if Arsenal offered enough money he’d still be in an Arsenal shirt next year.

He was a player who didn’t want or seek the limelight, but scored important goals big games, and always put in big performances. He scored the winner in our first post-Emirates move FA Cup Final, and did the same a couple of years later by scoring the winner against Chelsea. He scored some memorable goals against Liverpool, Norwich (twice), Chelsea, Hull City, Tottenham… in fact you can some some of his best goals here:

He was a player who was underrated and at times, under appreciated by the fans. He suffered the horrific leg break against that c*nt in a game at Stoke City and he had the mental and physical strength to come back from that a stronger, better player. I remember the whole thing like it was yesterday – and along with the Eduardo leg break against Birmingham City – was the most devastated I’ve been as an Arsenal fan. The club will always have ups and downs in terms of results and trophies, but when a player who has given so much to the club and is one of your own suffers a shocking awful injury like that, they are the moments that really hit you.

Unlike some other players who have left the club in the not so recent past, Aaron Ramsey will be one departure where every Arsenal fan will wish him all the best. He is a special player, a special man and someone who gave blood, sweat and tears for the club.

Thank you for all the memories Aaron, and I hope you go to Juventus and win everything there is to win there.