I watched most of Spurs match against Borussia Dortmund and it was hard to take the disparity between their performance and that disaster last night. The stadium is bouncing and the fans are belting out their songs when their team is playing.
In contrast, we had a decent amount of proper fans who made the journey to Belarus to support our team, but their cheers and songs became muffled by the dross served up by the team. This was an abject surrender to a team, which would struggle to survive three divisions below us in England. If the presence of those fans who waved the Red & White and sung the songs were not enough to inspire the players, what exactly would it take? Don`t they think they owe a performance to the fans?
Why can Emery not raise the confidence of the team, which is clearly fading match by match? Why did we go there without Ozil or Ramsey? The selection by Emery did not contain a single play-maker who could pierce a packed defence and he left Aubamayang out until the 68th minute even though, it is patently clear that he and Lacazette play better together.
I have said repeatedly that the Wengerball has crept back into our game so that we play at walking speed and pass sideways and backwards even when we are behind. We cannot hope to pierce packed defences like that and it is almost certain that lack of goals up front means that we are no longer able to score more than we concede.
What has happened to Emery? Is he playing such hardball with his players that he is determined that those he does not like, such as Ozil will have to accept that he knows best. If he does actually know what`s best, I would love him to demonstrate to the fans that his plans are progressing. To date, I am unable to visualise even the trace of a plan. We have decent players all over the pitch but they are all playing as individuals. There are no settled combinations on the pitch, going right back to the CB,s. Kos and Mustafi rarely speak to each other and they both carry on with their own ideas of defensive play. The full backs are chopped and changed and Maitland-Niles has no idea what he is required to do when he charges up field. There is no cohesion between the midfielders or links made by them between attack and defence. Xhaka was a flop when tried as a defensive player and last night he was slow and not helped by the state of the pitch that eliminated long passes. It was obvious early on, that he was not equipped for the conditions we found there.
In short, less talented teams such as Bate are able to stick to their own simple tactics of blocking our advances and pressurising our forwards in the knowledge that the ball will eventually be given to them by a misplaced pass. When that happens all that is needed is two wingers to spring the trap and charge at our non-existent defence. That happens in game after game, so what is Emery`s solution to that? If he has one, I haven`t seen it utilised yet. I have compared many of the blogs written by Gunners Town`s writers and all of the matters referred to above have been mentioned at some time by most of them. I`m sorry, I was determined to give Emery a season to settle in without condemning him but it is increasingly hard not to say that he is not the man for us.
We don`t have the quality of players required for top 4 but we should be able to squash teams like Bate, Bournemouth, Brighton, West Ham, Crystal Palace etc.
I am not optimistic
A sophisticated, articulate Arsenal Man of Mystery. Aged 70 and a bit.