Host Harry Symeou returns from ‘podcasting paternity leave’ to look back at the FA Cup defeat suffered at the hands of Manchester United on Friday night. The Gunners were rocked by another 2 defensive injuries and the supporters were left angry and frustrated following some comical defending.
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This is the grim reality most Arsenal fans face at the dawn of the ‘Unai Emery era’ – which is, by the way, a phrase that should be punishable by a John Arne Riise free-kick to the bollocks.
I compare the situation to a new relationship, where you’re constantly stalking your ex to make sure she’s still single and miserable.
But as soon as she does find someone, and is happy – in this context, Spurs finally winning something – it will be hell.
My three highlights of the past two seasons have been: Juventus knocking Tottenham out of the Champions League quarter-finals, Arsene Wenger – our greatest ever manager – being sacked and again Spurs getting kicked out of two cup competitions in a week.
As tinpot as that may be, with turmoil on and off the pitch, it’s looking pretty bleak for Arsenal fans at the moment.
Let’s start with the utter shambles that is our business dealings. Last week, former head of recruitment Sven ‘diamond eye’ Mislintat declared himself offski. One of the most revered scouts in the game, responsible for unearthing Borussia Dortmund’s Shinji Kagawa, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Ousmane Dembele and Christian Pulisic – who the German club sold for a combined profit of £220 million.
So when the now departed Ivan Gazidis formed his new triad of executives to see us through the post-Wenger era, head of football Raul Sanllehi, managing director Vinai Venkatesham, and the late, great Sven, he was aiming toward a self sustaining model where we signed hidden gems on the cheap. They came in the shape of our summer signings Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi. But for every Guendouzi there has been a Stefan Lichtsteiner. Now Sven is gone – a whole decade earlier than he originally planned – where does that leave us?
Well, apparently bidding for sub-standard wingers, when we have two fit centre backs? The latest of those outcasts being Barcelona’s out-of-favour Malcom, and Inter Milan’s ageing, and expensive, Ivan Perisic. But of course, these clubs don’t want loan deals with no promise of a fee at the end of the spell, they want cold, hard cash – of which we appear to have none.
Riddle me how the club with the most expensive season tickets in Europe can have no money? Stan. Kroenke. Who has invested £0 since taking full control of the club, and would rather splash out on his precious Super Bowl-bound LA Rams, or a brand new ranch.
The aloof owner’s lack of care seems to continue to trickle down to the pitch, where Unai Emery just can’t seem to get it right. It certainly doesn’t help when we’re likely to field a centre-back partnership of Shokdran Mustafi and Granit Xhaka at Cardiff tonight. But after 23 league games in charge, Emery still hasn’t worked out how to get his side playing away from home. Shock horror, Arsene Wenger couldn’t either.
For me there’s been no comprehensible change between Wenger’s Arsenal and Emery’s Arsenal, especially from a defensive standpoint. The same old issues come back to haunt us: no leadership, lack of positional awareness and general void in the heads of our defenders, where brains should be. When Granit Xhaka sees an attacker running towards him, I can only imagine he envisions a monkey smashing two cymbals together as he tries to summon the knowledge of how to react.
So instead of just moaning, I’m going to come up with a completely unrealistic plan.
Employ a proper director of football, like Roma’s Ramon Monchi. Give them some money, invest in a whole new back line, and tell Unai Emery to figure out his best team/system and actually stick with it for two games in a row.
On this weeks preview show we discuss Petr Cech’s decision to retire, the Arsenal U23s impressive victory over Man City, the future of Sven Mislintat and look ahead to Arsenal vs Chelsea.
My thanks to Stamford Chidge (@StamfordChidge) for joining me.
Join Broadcaster Harry Symeou for a weekly discussion on all things Arsenal. We review the latest fixtures, look ahead to those coming up and cover the hot topics surrounding the club. This show is brought to you by the @sofasportspod, the @FNXNetwork and hosted by @HarrySymeou.
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