Date Posted: Thursday 28 November 2019 11:12
Unai Emery picked up his coat Thursday night. Usually it was the wrong one. The Arsenal boss can't do anything right at the moment.
Fittingly, though, Emery's two jackets reflected the weather on Thursday night. A funeral number in black from Frankfurt had to be replaced with a gray garment, as the clouds that refused to rise above the Emirates since summer gave way to autumn. Indeed, the horizon looks even darker after a disappointing 2-1 defeat by Eintracht.
As Standard Liege failed to win Vitoria in Portugal, the consequences of the defeat for Arsenal Europa League prospects are not as serious as they could have been – they certainly are not as dire as Emery's job prospects after the latter nadir.
It's hard to understand how things can get darker than they are now. But not impossible. Emery Arsenal, without a win in seven games, are in the worst phase of the club in 27 years, with the latest episode of long-term sh * tshow played in front of an almost non-existent audience in the Emirates.
Regardless of how Arsenal fakes the numbers, attendance was as alarming as performance. Emery yesterday called for more support and the board urged fans during the international break to reduce the "noise" around the manager. In its place on Thursday night, there was an apathetic silence punctuated only by a few shrewd Eintracht Frankfurt fans and the boos of the few sadistic Gooners long enough to stay until the end.
By taking their seats and perusing the team selection, these fans may have interpreted Emery's lineup as a two-finger salute. Shkodran Mustafi was presumed to appear on his back three protected by Granit Xhaka, but on the kick it emerged that Emery had found some more sh * t to shoot against the wall.
Of course, it wasn't. David Luiz suffered an early injury that ended his midfield experiment and required the introduction of Matteo Guendouzi. During the first semester, it seemed unimportant, the visitors were so poor. Arsenal were not much better, but at least threatened and forced Frankfurt's goalkeeper Frederick Ronnow to make several saves.
Despite playing as a central striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looked strangely bogged down on the flanks and when he positioned himself between the goal posts just before the break, Arsenal were ahead.
But by then, an enthusiastic start had already given way to heavy passes and sloppy revs, plus a post-time steam that dissipated in five minutes, the Gunners were on a familiar slide.
Gloomy again. It makes no sense to talk about performance.
Now is how long Raul Sanllehi and KSE will allow this rot to continue.
They are the only culprits here.
– arseblog (@arseblog) November 28, 2019
If Eintracht Frankfurt's game plan on a night when they needed to win was to bring Arsenal to their comfort zone, with indescribably poor performance in the first half, then it was a pleasure. When the visitors, spurred on by Daichi Kamada's double-take five minutes on either side of the break, marched past, Emery and his side had no response. Within 25 minutes of being left behind, the Gunners failed to get a single shot on target. The only one they encountered was a greater danger to the corner flag than Ronnow's goal.
Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe watched it all from the bank after Emery chose to use his substitutes elsewhere. Guendouzi's introduction was imposed on him, as was Lucas Toreira's, after Mustafi failed to strike. With the only change that Emery had full control, he opted for Mesut Ozil, a player he exiled for much of the season before reinstating him on the assumption that he could do nothing worse than his other underperforming players. .
Players have to accept their part of the blame for Arsenal's problems, but Emery must take responsibility for the entire squad falling short of Emirates standards. After a miserable night like this, things may not seem to get worse, but seven games without wins can become eight, nine or ten, and the mood in the whole club is low.
The season is salvageable, but not while the board is in your hands while Emery struggles before your eyes.