The essence of any winning team is consistency and stability. Obviously, there is sometimes a genuine need to adapt through the course of a season, to cope with the adversity of suspension and injury. Yet, rotation is sometimes harmful and damages confidence and it’s certainly not the answer to Emery and Arsenal’s current dilemma.
I am a supporter of the Arsenal coach but some of his thought processes trouble me. In case you think I’m joining the lunatic fringe by demanding his departure, I’m not.
He can only realistically be judged on the progress made, in two seasons time but that doesn’t stop us questioning a few decisions to see if there were other possibilities available, such as his rotation policy.
If you know what your best side is and if it is available to you, shouldn’t you play to your strengths and put that side out. If players are fit and not suffering from fatigue, are fully fit and eager to play, shouldn’t they play ? I understand that certain contests may require tweaks within different systems but at times, this rotation policy appears slightly random and less of a tactical necessity.
You can talk to me until you are blue in the face about the merits of changes but I’ll stand by the evidence of teams over the years that have stuck with a favoured starting eleven and the fact that successful sides such as Liverpool. Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City, rarely make radical tweaks, especially when the going is good.
Players thrive on playing and the consistency that is obtained by doing do. How damaging is it to play infrequently ? It could be argued, very. This brings me onto the areas of my concern.
The first being Denis Suarez, the gunners only winter transfer addition.
The loan fee is reported to have cost £2 million from Barcelona and yet the player hasn’t completed 90 minutes with the season reaching its conclusion.
Why ? Was he injured or unfit ?
Well, that simply can’t be the case, having played for the Catalan giants just before the loan deal was concluded and because he has been seen in full training. Doesn’t anyone else find it odd ?
There is a suggestion that Suarez will play against Bournemouth and Emery did his best to clarify his absence by saying before the game against Southampton:
“I am very demanding of myself to find the best performance of the players.”
“I think Suarez is improving with his adaptation every day.”
“Then his quality can give us a lot.”
“I think he is not OK today to play 90 minutes because he needs rhythm.”
“But one positive is he can start [against Bournemouth] knowing that, or he can stay on the bench and then help us.”
Suarez, as far as we are aware, isn’t made of glass and having featured for one of the best sides on the planet this season, albeit occasionally, he has given a good account of himself.
As a professional footballer, with an abundance of skills, which we are told that Emery admires, he was seen as a key acquisition in a protracted transfer, yet, he still needs considerable time to adapt. Time which Arsenal haven’t got in the Premiership or the Europa league.
If Suarez is not unleashed against Bournemouth, then one has to question the validity of the loan deal. For a club with no money, Arsenal sure know how to waste it in ways no one else has even considered.
The Ozil saga rumbles on.
He’s fit but not included, he’s on for 20 minutes, he’s ill, he’s injured, he’s not even able to make the bench, take your pick. We are now at a ‘rotational phase’ by way of explanation and who knows what the next excuse will be as the season wears on.
The lack of clarity is embarrassing, the inability to get the player back to form is astonishing, because we have one of the worlds elite coaches.
It’s one of the most baffling periods in Arsenal’s history involving their highest paid and most creative player and one can only assume and it is only an assumption, that he will be dropped off to the highest bidder, under armed guard to ensure he leaves completely.
It’s been a PR disaster of phenomenal proportions, with the club allowing such a public rift, unable to mediate or take actions that benefit both Arsenal and the player. Ozil continues to be supportive on social media, whereas Emery, is now appearing to be the belligerent villain of the piece.
He is the coach and as such assumes full responsibility but he also has to integrate the individual parts and forge them into a functional, entertaining entity.
Ozil played well against Bate and looked in good form against Southampton however, Emery insisted that the rotation policy would continue and by that we assume that means Ozil will continue to be in and then out of the side.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) February 24, 2019
The problem Emery now realises, is that he has way too many midfielders that he can fit into the side and not enough players that can play in multiple roles. Some experiments have been successful with Kolasinac able to fit in at left back or in the midfield.
Xhaka, when pushed further up, is twice the player he is as a holding midfielder and Emery has certainly managed to make Iwobi twice the player he ever was under Arsene Wenger. The perseverance and support of Matteo Guendouzi has been exceptional and has seen him flourish, supporting the claim that Emery can develop young talent.
But it’s with the established stars, that the Spaniard appears to find difficult and Ozil typifies this mentality. Obviously burnt from his experience at PSG with Neymar and his superstar status, perhaps it’s left a scar that has influenced the current impasse.
My other issue with Emery, which is connected with Ozil and Suarez, is the lack of service to Aubameyang and Lacazette. At times Arsenal have been creatively bereft but Ozil still wasn’t utilised and neither was Suarez.
This team really needs both strikers and it’s how to get them in the same side and firing together, that I feel, holds the key to Arsenal moving forward. Surprisingly the pair have only played together on 16 occasions this season, as Emery struggles to solve the Arsenal riddle. The fact is, that creativity leads to goals and the North London club have spluttered at times to provide either.
If Arsenal get knocked out of the Europa league and don’t secure 4th place in the premiership, these decisions will be scrutinised in great detail and Emery may find himself under intense pressure from the kick off next season to meet the unrealistic expectations of the fans.
If he does achieve either, then all his methods are justified and fans will feel that although the process has been painful, it has been worthwhile.
Feel free to let us know about your thoughts on this matter at hand and what is the feasible way out of this apparent mess.