What is progression under Emery?
We’re eagerly awaiting the Man City game, and our debut in the post-Wenger era.
But what is progression? How should it be defined?
And how much time do or should we give our new head coach?
There have been many media out there predicting we’ll finish sixth again:
|Phil McNulty’s predicted 2018-19 Premier League positions at a glance|
|Position||Club||Position (cont)||Club (cont)|
|3||Manchester United||13||Crystal Palace|
As Gooners, our views will be less skewed and more positive (and subjective if we’re honest). However, if we do finish sixth, is it bad? Does Emery need to get us back into the top four at the get go?
I see it as a few scenarios. it’s not to be negative, or overly positive. But then about seeing what we need to do this season.
Worst case (he goes)
– Finishing in 9th or lower (or any other unacceptably poor position)
– Poor domestic cups/Europa League placings
– Conceding more goals
– Limp attacking
Best case (Prime Wenger 2.0)
– Top four, or title challenge or champions as absolute best case
– Cup wins
– Excellent defence
– Great attacking
Realistic case 1 (he stays)
– Top four
– Cup win/Europa League win
– Better defence compared to recent seasons (fewer goals conceded)
– Good attacking
Realistic case 2 (he stays)
– Fifth or sixth
– Europa League win or latter stages
– Better defence
– Good attacking
This may seem odd logic, but I will explain further.
There are many means in my view to measure progress. For us, it’s not only league position, but structural, tactical, and stylistic concerns. We must concede less goals, and look more thorough in attack, defence, and transition.
So if we concede less goals, but even finish seventh, is this worse really? What if, somehow, we finished seventh, but then won the Europa League and League Cup? We would have won two trophies, and got back into the Champions League – the latter of which is our stated aim as a club.
So it’s not black and white really. In the worst case, I think that would be objective regression, and Emery’s position would be in jeopardy.
In the best case, well winning the league – or finishing second or third quite comfortably – would be good, as would winning the Europa League. Calling Emery prime Wenger 2.0 is a bit over the top, granted. But then who would oppose him then, or want him out? Hardly anybody.
And I’ve cited two realistic cases.
We could finish lower than last season. But if we won a trophy and/or got back into the Champions League, then it’s not “worse” in my view. It would still denote progression in some form.
I think both realistic cases can happen, especially as Chelsea are weak (no top striker) and our good pals from Tottenham haven’t signed anybody. That’s not true, they have signed a plumber to install a new cistern for their ground, so it’s not all bad.
I do believe it’s between us, Chelsea, and Tottenham for the fourth spot, and in fairness Chelsea and Spurs do have good players. Chelsea has retained Hazard, Kante, and Willian, and Spurs still have Kane, Son, Alli, Dembele, etc. Alderweirled hasn’t left, but his case will be intriguing for sure, given his desire to leave.
I just want us to move on, and progress, but for me it’s imperative that we concede a lot less goals.
I’ll be looking at our structure, shape, and off the ball movements, and if we can get this right, we have a chance.
Emery was hired based on his attention to detail and dedication. And it’s on this that ultimately he will be judged. If he can get this right, and implement his tasked duties, we could have a good season. We have the player quality, but for years have lacked the tactical acumen and structure to progress. Can Emery provide this? Let’s see. But it will be an interesting ride from 12th August to May 2019.