A warning to all those disenchanted Arsenal fans heaving a sigh of relief that the Unai Emery era has drawn to a close: while there are a number of credible candidates who could take his place, I don’t think there is a manager out there possessed of the kind of magic wand which would be needed to cure all the club’s ills overnight. Or, for that matter, any time soon.
On a night when two giants of the European game, and a heady mix of youngsters and world superstars, served up one of the games of the season, it was left to a 20-year-old from Cork to make the telling contribution in the penalty shoot-out.
Unai Emery has set a mean stall out. On Arsenal’s pre-season tour of Singapore, the team coach drove by the hotel from the airport and straight to the training ground. A signal of intent to his new players, perhaps, and certainly an instant contribution to the ‘narrative’.
A day after being put under investigation by Fifa for complaining about the refereeing of their 2-1 World Cup loss to Switzerland and misbehaviour by fans, Serbia’s football association has filed an official complaint with the sport’s governing body alleging “biased officiating” by referee Feliz Brych.
It seems churlish to use the word ‘crisis’ after only one defeat but Germany’s World Cup defence is looking increasingly nervous as criticism of Mesut Ozil reached abusive levels yesterday and players had to rebut reports of cliques and disunity in the camp.