Unai Emery: TINKERING OR TOTTERING

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Photo Credit - SkySports

After 22 years at the helms of the Arsenal affairs, 20th of April 2018 marked a turning point in the history of the club.

As club demigod and coach Arsene Wenger announced he would be leaving the role.

Deep down every Arsenal fan knew the transition would be difficult with underlying dark days ahead.

Barely a month later, the question on everyone’s mind on who would ascend the arsenal managerial throne was answered in the person of Unai Emery.

 

Emery got the job, with the backing of the board. Claiming he “had a plan and knew a lot about the club to move it forward and in the right direction”.

 

All the while thinking about how to keep the club running on a self-sustaining budget while still making profit for the shareholders, just like Wenger had done.

 

The sad irony in that was all around them, every “big” club was spending mega bucks to compete at the very top and rub shoulders with the elites in Europe.

 

Rather arsenal invested heavily on their training facilities and academy, with Raul Sanllehi as the head of football at Arsenal, its been his life dream to replicate the La Masia at Barcelona for which he was well revered.

 

Certainly not a bad idea to invest in the youth and the system that would improve them.

But everything seems to be wrong with the arsenal and when emery papered over the cracks in his first season.

 

His highlights such as an unbeaten run of 11 straight games in a row, their longest since 2007, going one step further than Wenger’s team in the Europa league even if their woeful performance in the final ensured they lost that final by 4 goals their only goal, a stunner from now former arsenal player Alex Iwobi.

 

They looked like a side who just needed a few more tweaks but alas the problems are ever glaring this season in the way arsenal have operated and are operating.

 

Even with the summer signings of Kieran Tierney, David Luiz and record signing Nicholas Pepe, arsenal have continued to slip deeper and deeper into an abyss of their own creation and every game has become a new avenue for comic relief and high blood pressure for the arsenal faithful.

 

In his first season, emery inherited a squad low on moral, creativity, vigor and above all the “fear none” mentality that was the trade mark of the invincible side that Wenger would forever be known for.

 

Emery came in with the now departed Stephan Lichtsteiner, Bernd Leno, Sokratis, Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi and the brand new belief that Arsenal’s fortunes could be turned around, and he would be the Joshua to lead them to their promised land.

 

But one season on and he’s looking more and more like Moses.

 

So how then did Unai Emery go from TINKERING to TOTTERING, the irony in the totter is, it’s the first 5 letters of their arch rivals names who are also struggling, but theirs is a story for another day.

Emery lost his first two games at the helm.

 

Losing to both Manchester city and Chelsea consecutively. He pulled the team together and went on an impressive run of 11 games unbeaten, his only true feat till date at the arsenal.

 

A run in which the individual brilliance of players like iwobi, Torreira, Aubameyang and most of all Lacazette showed.

 

It was a fairytale that left the arsenal fans dreaming again. in their world emery’s tinkering was finally paying off.

 

But a permanent fix could be found in the summer transfer window after they crumbled towards the end of 18/19 season that saw Chelsea clinch the last qualifying berth for the champions league having gifted them the spot by a poor last run of seven games that consisted of two wins, one draw and four losses.

 

An even deeper scrutiny of the arsenal team in the 18/19 season saw them keep 8 clean sheets, with former goal keeper Petr Cech keeping just one clean sheet with Leno keeping 6 and both goalies sharing 1 clean sheet in the game against Watford where Cech came off with a hamstring injury.

 

Worst still arsenal conceded a total of 51 goals in the Premier league and a grand total of 71 goals.

 

Losing 10 games on the domestic scene and 15 in all competitions.

The signs were there but now only clearer, the specs have cleared but now clouds have gathered over the true ability of this squad.

Emery has descended into tottering, becoming less consistent and more confused about not just his game plan, but also the right set of players to implement whatever he thinks he’s trying to implement.

 

He’s unrelenting faith in young, inexperienced players and refusal to address and arrest the indiscipline and half-halfheartedness in this arsenal squad is reminiscent of Wenger’s final years in charge.

 

His constant freezing out of star player Mesut Ozil who cost arsenal a staggering $24,000 per minute and has played just 142 minutes all season long, has raised more than eye brows.

 

Its beginning to raise questions and his continuous flirtation with all kinds of formations and wrong selections of outright underperforming and questionable players is only beginning to solidify the notion that Unai has descended into the style of a mad scientist experimenting away without caring about the consequences of his actions, only intent on creating magic that reality doesn’t support, with no silver lining to be found, just bedlam everywhere.

 

This season alone, emery has used 30 players. Last season, he used 36 in all.

 

Emery’s experiments are costing the arsenal, who possess enough talent to truly compete with any premier league team asides Liverpool and current premier league champions city.

 

But one thing is certain emery’s continuous tottering will sink the arsenal.

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