Having dealt exclusively with the Gunners’ boardroom structure in the first part, it’s time to look at how Arsenal killed off their season before a ball was kicked.
It started with a flawed strategy in terms of their defence, with Bellerin and Holding already sidelined, they drafted in the injured but potentially solid Kieran Tierney. William Saliba was permitted, in desperation, to go on a season long loan and early on, there was an opportunity to secure additional top quality cover before the transfer window ended, Arsenal didn’t take that opportunity.
Instead they went for David Luiz, with Chelsea managing to squeeze an exorbitant £8m from a willing and naive Arsenal. The jaded defender was ushered through the doors in what was said to be a transfer window master stroke, it wasn’t but it was exactly the same type of bluff in which Chelsea extracted £10m for Petr Cech in 2015.
To date, Luiz has looked anything but a good purchase, his arrival has just added to the frailty and anxiety of one of the worst Arsenal defences in living memory.
It’s becoming clear that Arsenal are becoming an MLS style retirement home for senior Chelsea players, who would otherwise have sat in the bench for three or more seasons.
One wonders if Emery had the final say in transfers after the mess which saw Sven Mislintat jump ship and Edu’s protracted appointment.
Is this eclectic and convoluted transfer structure the reason that Arsenal are so dysfunctional. Were players bought in willy nilly by someone other than the coach. Lucas Torreira was, as were most of the previous seasons buys, all the work of the eagle eyed Mislintat.
Were any of the players bought in the summer the first choice recommendation of Emery ? Is that the reason they don’t fit together, because they were bought with no overall vision ? Are Arsenal now a collection of talented individuals that aren’t able to function as a collective ?
All very reasonable questions and it would certainly fit the phrase ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’
In terms of the team, Emery’s belligerent position on playing out from the back was puzzling, as if it’s the most important factor in his style of play. He seemed reluctant to try another game plan, even though it clearly didn’t work and the players seem uncomfortable with it.
He rotated the squad far too much to suit his tactics for individual matches, which would have been fine if Arsenal were third and winning, but they aren’t.
Then he started forcing players into positions that didn’t suit their game, with Torreira, the prime example and by way of a confusing contrast, Emery refused to accept that Xhaka, Luiz and Mustafi are not competent in their established positions within the team.
It’s not about finding scapegoats, they just didn’t compliment the other players or the team as a whole, yet Emery stick with them to differing degrees but he was happy to exclude Ozil and Torreira.
It makes no sense !
The dressing room is said to be another element of major concern and rumours persist that Emery had lost control and support completely. The division was apparently so bad between the players and coaching staff, that it couldn’t be repaired unless the entire structure got replaced and eventually, it didn’t take much long to happen.
Players had issues with the head coach, the other coaching staff, the tactics, the training and the length of tactical briefings. None of which had been addressed but they have been mentioned through various channels.
Arsenal should have also addressed it’s own policy regarding the treatment of players. Ozil was being treated abysmally, even with his indifferent form. The Xhaka situation was so badly managed that it appeared amateurish and in fact, Emery has absolutely no clue when facing a mischievous press.
There is no single factor for Arsenal’s current position but there has been a host of unresolved elements that have been completely mismanaged and as Emery left the Emirates, he knows that to some degree he has been made the patsy.